What is a sling?

February 23, 2019 by  
Filed under Special Forces

What is a sling?

The sling was likely mankind’s first, true projectile weapon. It generally consists of two cords and a pouch. These cords are held in one hand and a projectile is placed in the pouch. The length of the sling provides greater mechanical advantage than one’s arms. Projectiles can be slung over 1500 feet (450m) at speeds exceeding 250 miles per hour (400 kph). The sling is unique in that the movement of the weapon is merely an extension of the user’s body. The power and accuracy of the weapon is not by technological means, but rather user skill. The connection between slinger and sling is an intimate one.

There are many historical sources which describe the sling’s extraordinary performance characteristics. Its main competitor, the bow, had both a shorter range and slower rate of fire. Additionally, dozens of historical sources note the remarkable accuracy of a sling in trained hands. Although use of the weapon diminished after the fall of the Roman Empire, the weapon’s supremacy as the premier, personal, long-range weapon was not supplanted until the 15th century. Ultimately, changes in society, technology and military tactics rendered the sling ineffective in large-scale, organized warfare. The sling continues to be used in various smaller conflicts and by enthusiasts to this day.


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