Primitive Survival Weapons: The Sling

Paracord Sling

Alternative Survival Weapons: The Sling

One of the basic philosophies governing survival is redundancy. Two is one and one is none. I’m not just talking about having redundant survival gear…such as having both a survival knife and a tactical tomahawk to help procure materials for a shelter and defend yourself… I am also talking about knowing different ways to get the same end result. For instance, if you know several different ways to hunt small game that don’t require a gun, you have just upped your chances of survival. Today I want to cover an ancient primitive weapon that is easy to make and is an effective tool to hunt with: the sling.

Now some of you are probably think I am talking about the slingshot. I’m not. I’m talking about the sling as used by David in the Bible to slay Goliath, not the common slingshot that you grew up knowing. That mention in the bible is all that most people know about the sling, and some people I have met even thought the Bible was referring to the slingshot!

Palesinian shepard boy with sling.

Slings are still used daily by palestinian shepard boys.

There are some major differences between a sling and a slingshot though. While the sling is an ancient weapon that as been used for millennium, the slingshot is a relatively new weapon. About the only things the two have in common is a pouch that holds a projectile. The slings projectile is hurled at it’s intended target by swinging it and releasing one of the chords while the slingshots projectile is flung at its target using rubber bands.

Traditional Uses of the Sling

The sling is a weapon that has been used for thousands of years for activities ranging from hunting small game to killing men in war. Amazingly, it is still used for those purposes today. Palestinian Shepard boys still use the sling to fend off jackals and to hunt small game, while the adults have used them recently to fight riot police during the First and Second Intifada. Slings were also used to lob Molotov cocktails at Soviet tanks by the Finns during the Winter War.

Making Your Own Sling

Slings are very easy to make. They are often made of braided chords of a material that doesn’t stretch. They are braided because the braid resists twisting, which improves accuracy. Hemp, wool, leather and flax are some of the classical materials that were used for braiding the chords. Today they are often made from paracord and other polyester chords. If you are in a survival situation you could make one easily with your boot strings and the tongue of your boot cut to make a pouch.

Different Slinging Styles:

There are different preferences for different slinging styles. Your style and sling length might seem very unnatural to me and vice versa. For instance, you may prefer a much shorter sling than mine (shorter slings are generally more accurate for beginners) and a vertical slinging style rather than a horizontal style. It is all simply a matter of personal preference.

Balearic Slinging Style:

Sidearm Throw:

Someone who is expert with a sling can ‘throw’ the projectile at speeds of 60 mph or more. Distances reached can be 250 meters or more with practice. Of course the further the stone is thrown, the more difficult it is to hit its intended target.

If you are new to slinging it is a wise idea to practice in an open area where it doesn’t matter what you hit. It takes some practice before you get proficient with it but the practice will eventually pay off.

It is important that you practice so that if you are stranded and need some food you will be able to procure it. Small game and birds are often abundant around people in a survival situation, and will be easy pickings if you have practiced. Your skill with the sling might mean the difference between you eating and going hungry.


As with any alternative weapon that you are going to potentially use in a survival situation, the sling requires beforehand knowledge of how to make it and use it. I suggest that you practice both until you are comfortable enough to make one from whatever materials you carry everyday (shoelaces, paracord bracelet, etc.) and you can hit what you are aiming at at 20-25 yards.


Here is the best sling resource that I am aware of:

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