GUEST ARTICLE-article 2 of 2 today
Low Tech Weapon Options
The purpose of this article is to discuss low tech/low cost, weapon options. I’d also like to concentrate on options that are concealable, and would easily fit into an emergency pack. I’m not advocating bugging out from the city, but rather, the possibility that even rural dwellers might find a time when it will be necessary to retreat in haste to the woods for awhile. Obviously, it goes without saying that a gun is a superior choice. But for the purposes of this article, we will assume that firearms are not a practical option, for any myriad of reasons.
The first consideration is a take down bow. My Samick Sage take down bow is a decent quality recurve, but it is still pretty bulky, and wouldn’t fit into anything but a larger pack. The bow is easy to control and aim, and slings arrows with decent force, even using the 30lb limbs (The limbs on this bow are interchangeable, and you can purchase up to 60lb limbs if you wish). Also, to keep this ensemble truly packable, you would really want to include take down arrows along with it. This goes for the following concept being discussed as well.
Still, I really wanted something that was much more concealable, would still be fairly effective, and would fit into a small minimalist bag. I also wanted something that would be affordable for the limited income survivalist. First off, I purchased a Slingbow for $20 (linked below). I purchased a model that does not have the arm stabilizer (As with the wrist rocket) and I found my Slingbow harder to control as a result. So if you do get a Slingbow, consider getting a model that includes a stabilizer. Also, my slingbow was horribly inaccurate, even after I straightened the misaligned forks. It also shot arrows with very little force. So be careful when deciding to purchase one, and be sure to read through the reviews thoroughly before making your decision. But a good quality slingbow will suffice for game up to the size of deer and wild pig. Here is a video that I came across a while back, that shows you how to make a simple, yet effective slingbow, for very little cost.
How To Make A 45 Pound PVC Slingbow for $5 Zommbie Defence (sic) fishing, compact
Also worth mentioning is that some savvy individuals turned their simple slingshots into slingbows by increasing the poundage on their slingshot bands, and by placing a keyring across the forks to serve as an arrow rest, secured by a rubber band. I will be trying this myself at some point.
At the same time that I was researching Slingbows, I came across The Pocket Shot (Link below). I didn’t purchase one initially, but I found myself intrigued by this small, unconventional slingshot. It should be noted right off, that the standard pocket shot is designed to fire steel shot. However, there is also The Pocket Shot Arrow Kit. The arrow kit, in addition to firing arrows, can also fire steel shot, so it’s more versatile than the standard pocket shot. I paid $25 for my pocket shot arrow kit, because I didn’t want to pay the $50 that Amazon was charging for the official version, so I got the cheaper Chinese knock off at Ebay. I’m sad to report that the pocket shot was unimpressive in my test results. Sad, because I really wanted it to work out, being so concealable, and I loved the concept of the design. And even though I did purchase the Chinese knock off, it should be noted that I did purchase the authentic pocket shot arrow pouches, which also fit my Chinese model. Even then, I was still unable to get any kind of draw length in order to propel either arrows, or steel shot, with any kind of serious force or accuracy. As such, I’d have to say that you should pass on the pocket shot, at least at this point in time, until further refinement hopefully comes along at some point down the road.
Finally, there is the good old fashioned slingshot, the weapon of choice for such youthful television icons as Bart Simpson and Dennis The Menace (Speaking of which, did anyone else here want to bang Dennis’s mom? Okay, now we’re getting off topic :D ). In my research, I was surprised to see that there were entire online communities out there devoted to the use of the slingshot. As one might assume, many of these folks are from areas of the world where gun rights are heavily restricted. To my amazement, I was quite impressed by how well these folks put their slingshots to use, and with great effectiveness. Small game hunting with good success was no issue for these slingshot aficionados. I had never given the slingshot much consideration as a serious survival weapon; my only experience with them being the wooden Wham-O slingshots of my youth, that we just toyed around with. But of course, as one might imagine, there is many, many hours of practice involved, before one could ever hope to take to the field, and have any level of success with hunting. They would also suffice for defense, if that’s all that you had. But I’m not suggesting that they be used as a primary source of meat procurement. The ability to produce snares, dead falls, and fish traps, should be the primary method of meat procurement in a survival situation. Though if you are good enough, and game is plenty enough, you might find yourself reassessing this strategy, by taking a proactive approach.
Finally, another important consideration is that the slingshot/slingbows are heavily dependent on oil age rubber or latex materials. The good news is that the bands and tubes are quite affordable to buy in bulk. This means the ability to stockpile the bands, and being able to preserve enough of them, until hopefully, a rubber cottage industry once again emerges. Some people also made decent slingshot rubbers from old bicycle inner tubes, so think twice before throwing those old inner tubes out.
In closing, I’d say if you do not mind packing a larger item, then the take down recurve bow is hard to beat. Regardless of your bugout choice, everyone should have a simple bow, or the ability to produce simple bows for the apocalypse. You should also have plenty of Dacron for string making material as well.
The slingbow is a great bugout option for those that do not wish the bulkiness of the bow, though still bulkier than a standard slingshot, and even more so after including the arrows.
And the slingshot is a great option, due to its ability to be easily packed in an emergency kit. A small slingshot, even with some steel projectiles (recommended for accuracy) will take up almost no space in a pack. In the end, the small, compact, metal slingshot (linked below) with steel projectiles, was my personal choice.
The Pocket Shot (I cannot recommend it at this time without further refinement)
My Slingbow (I do not recommend this particular model)
My slingshot ($13 and all metal construction)
Good stuff. I appreciate your honesty.ReplyDelete
I too have evaluated many alternative weapons over the past few years and almost all of them have been unacceptable for various reasons. Like you, I believe the slingshot is the only viable alternative and I agree that extensive experience is required for any degree of accuracy. Combined with tactics I believe a decent slingshot system in the hands of a competent user could be a formidable weapon in certain circumstances. They are fairly quiet, even acorns for ammo will take an eye out, can be carried in a pocket, and the slingshot and accessories are inexpensive.
The only downside to slingshots is their limited power and of course the amount of time and effort required to become proficient.
When I was in the tween years, mid to late 60's, I was seldom seen without my slingshot in the back pocket. The sling of choice back then, and seems to no longer exist, was a heavy gauge wire, maybe twice the diameter of a coat hanger or a little larger. It was called a Wrist Rocket but that name is used for everything but now a days. Poor white boys easily adapted rubber bands to them. Sometimes putting 2 or more on at the same time. Stones laying along the road were the most common ammo though they would lose their accuracy with increased distance.
I put your slingshot link in my wishlist and will evaluate it further later. I already have several on that list from past researches. Surgical tubing of the appropriate diameter cam make decent horsepower for sending ammo down range but it must be stored properly. I bought several diameters at the hardware store from rolls they had on hand. I think I got 20' of 3/8"OD and 1/2" OD. I coated them with baby powder then rolled them up and stored them in a ziplock with the air squeezed out. Couple months ago I threw out a box of rubber bands that were in a desk drawer and they were maybe 10 years old as every one I tried broke when stretched. If you know how to whip a rope end with thin gauge wax impregnated twine you can attach latex tubing to a sling shot Y no matter what it's made of.
Appreciate the comment GS!ReplyDelete
I left a few important criteria out of my article, such as the differences between tubing and bands, and storage of the latex. I will include that now.
Power and strength, with long lasting qualities. If you wanted to make a slingbow, a good candidate would be Theraband Silver tubing, which is rated between 40lbs and 50lbs under normal usage.
Much slower than bands.
Much faster than tubing
Doesn’t last as long, and if it comes in sheets, such as the number #1 band choice of the serious slingshot enthusiasts, Theraband Gold, then you need to cut it with a rotary knife. If you want to propel something with the weight of 1/2” steel shot, or an arrow, then you will have to double or triple it up.
Jörg Sprave’s Theraband Gold Slingshot calculator (provides details for Width at both ends, and length)
Storage: Latex tubing or bands must be stored in a zip lock plastic bag, with the air removed, and in a cool, dark place. You want try to prevent the bands from getting wet, or exposed to too much UV, if at all possible. Personally, I would vacuum pack the bulk of it.
Theraband Gold. 6’x5.5”. Enough to make several slingshot bands. $9.95 and free shipping. What a deal! (But don’t forget that you need a rotary cutter to cut it with)
Silver Theraband Tubing ($30 for 25', so it’s a bit more costly than the gold band)
Great link to the video. I may have to try that.ReplyDelete
Thanks Steve. I think that I will pick up some of the Theraband Silver tubing and give it a go myself some time.Delete
I would choose throwing stars. They're compact, relatively light weight and have the potential to be deadly. Of course you will lose some on missed throws, but if you paint them fluorescent orange that will help in retrieving many of them.ReplyDelete
"I would choose throwing stars."Delete
For what, pissing people off and getting yourself killed?
Hell, even a sling shot is begging for an ass whippin.
My son went through that throwing star phase when he was in tae kwon do and we threw em around in the backyard. They curve all over the place, if sharp enough to do damage the first damage they do will be to the thrower. Just carrying razor sharp ones is dangerous.
I placed the OP's slingshot in my list then back and scrutinized it and upon looking at a pik posted by a buyer I decided not to get it. It showed the slingshot laying in the reviewers hand and at just over 4" tall is just not big enough for me.
I liked that it was metal, titanium, so it was haevy duty and lightweight, and at $13.46 it was affordable. But at 4" it is just not enough. I measured 4" on my palm and that's about how tall my palm is from the heel at the wrist to the 1st joint of my middle finger. It would be uncomfortable to try to shoot it and proficiency would never happen. I need it to be about 6", maybe a little more. So I'll keep looking. Or use the bandsaw to cut one out of some white oak I have. Sand it real good on the stationary belt sander. Then some boiled linseed oil.
GS. I chose that slingshot specifically to be concealable. But for something with a bit more size to it, I’d take a closer look at the Scout (Linked below). It’s kind of expensive at $40 though. I like the idea of making your own, though personally, I’d probably just find a nice fork on a tree. When I was a kid we made our own from the Manzanita bush, which is probably the hardest wood that I have ever encountered. Though I’m gonna guess that you do not have that species in your neck of the woods? Oak or Eucalyptus would probably work fine.Delete
Never bring a slingshot to a throwing star fight. The razor edge is safely mitigated with cut- proof/snag-proof safety gloves used in most factories where the workers use razors. Think of the danger as a feature, not a bug. It means that it's unlikely any will be successfully thrown back at you.Delete
Left arm extended, right hand back at the shoulder, 3/8" surgical tubing under maximum tension connected to a white oak Y with a 3/8" chrome steel bearing, distance of 50'. I wonder how deep it will penetrate a human skull?Delete
The star bearer would never hear it coming.
The star trooper must wait til the slinger gets closer and his accuracy is damaged by the heavy leather gloves.
I suggest getting some stars and a half sheet of plywood and go out in the backyard and practice. Observe where the weaknesses are in this method.
The "THUNK" of a crossbow will get your attention and it will be a sound you're not used to. If you hear it in the woods you'll definitely look around for the source. Though it's not a natural sound, say something a tree or animal would make, it doesn't fit any of your preconceived notions of what sound is supposed to be. If you've never heard a crossbow shoot the sound it makes will stymie you. You probably won't bolt, though you will be under caution.
A gun however, any gun, when fired, has a distinctive sound that is very loud and unmistakable. Even a .22 rifle. You will bolt. This difference is the primary advantage a crossbow has over a gun.
Research your ideas then go with what you think might work and don't be afraid to accept failure.
You learn more from failure than you do reinforcing your notions.Delete
There was a comment thread here not too long ago when I suggested such a thing. Those with experience talked me out of it. Short answer, you'll cut your fingers up more than you will harm the enemy.ReplyDelete
Ninja stars were for distracting the enemy. Distracting the enemy & metal shop classesDelete
I used to have some Chinese stars. It’s been years since I got any, but I want to say they no longer ship them to Commiefornia where I live? They would be pretty effective at close range, for self defense, I suppose, but you would want a lot of them. A slingshot would have better range and accuracy overall I think, and a 3/8” to 1/2” steel shot, fired with velocity, would really ruin someone’s day!Delete
Thanks for the contribution. I actually have a slingshot but I bought it for rocking a~holes roof at night. You wouldn't think I'm in my mid fortiesReplyDelete
"The Dingo ate-cho baybay."Delete
Thanks Dingo! No worries, you’re in good company. I’m 54, and the same immature rascal that constantly makes raunchy juvenile comments about Rosie O’Dumbbell, Richard Simmons, and Madonna :DDelete
I haven't messed with them personally, but have you considered Cold Steel's boomerangs? It's an aerodynamic rabbit stick. Can also be used to hunt deer. You aim at the legs, which then break, then you chase it down on foot and finish it with the manual method of your choice. Supposedly they were used in warfare too, with lethal or disabling head wounds upon impact. They're nice and thin so you can stack them up in storage if necessary.ReplyDelete
No, I hadn’t even given much thought to boomerangs lately. Though coincidentally enough, when I was a kid, I had a thing for boomerangs, and had a few, since one of the characters in a cartoon that I watched, used one (I think that it was Marine Boy?) But it’s definitely worthy of consideration, and thanks for the suggestion, I’ll be looking into it.Delete
If the parameters are to choose a small, concealed, rudimentary weapon then the best choice would be a tomahawk style hatchet or a machete. Both would have many other uses as tools. If you are further reduced to pure cave man status, you would be better off with a bag full of baseball sized rocks rather than a slingshot.ReplyDelete
I purchased one of those Kukri when you sent me the link a few years ago. I was pleased although the 2 small ones are junk. It is quite heavy and feels substantial. I have no idea how good an edge it will hold.ReplyDelete
You only bought one? :) Kidding.Delete
Cold Steel Assengi is a good melee close contact weapon. A short hafted spear. If you want to do it on the cheap, their Bushman knife, mounted on an appropriate handle would do much the same. No one will physically attack you with this bad boy in your hands - a mutha could be shanked really easy.ReplyDelete
Is Cold Steel a good brand? My one experience was a tomahawk with a loose handle.ReplyDelete