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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everybody,

Fork hits are always a possible occurrence, even for the more experienced slingshot shooters among us. They can be destructive for a beautifully made slingshot, and in the worst case scenario, the cause of a potentially serious injury.

Those most afflicted by the fork hit dangers are newcomers to our sport, as they gradually acquire the appropriate techniques in terms of holding the slingshot and releasing the pouch correctly, according to proven techniques.

I very rarely experience fork hits these days, but nevertheless decided to take a closer look at possible fairly simple solutions intended precisely for those in the early learning stages, where a nasty fork hit with a painful outcome may put them off slingshots for good.

This is definitely relevant for those using slingshots where the finger and thumb are placed in a "pinch-grip" mode very close to the fork prongs to minimize wrist torsion; many of the Chinese slingshots are made in this way, and frequently have narrow fork widths of 4 cm (1.57 inches). Wider forks are more forgiving in my opinion, but fork hits can still happen.

The fingers of so-called pickle-fork shooters are particularly exposed to nasty fork hits. Here are some solutions I came up with since 2017:

- My first design (protector A) was a 6 mm aluminium rod slingshot with a beech wood "shield" placed behind the forks (from the shooter's perspective). A PVC layer placed in the center part of the forward angled wood "shield" (roughly 45 degrees to deflect ammo) is to avoid damage to the wood from stray ammo. I used a rod bender for the frame.

- My second design (protector B and C) is a single strip of 2 mm thick PVC heated and molded into shape using a jig, which incorporates two "windows" for the index finger and thumb to be placed. This PVC "shield" is angled forward to deflect ammo from a bad pouch release, and is screwed to the birch plywood slingshot shown with two 5 mm screws.

- My third design (protector D and E) consists of three 2 mm thick strips of PVC cut, heated,and molded into shape, where two strips (extensions) are attached to the index finger and thumb by means of leather straps with Velcro: the extensions rotate with the finger and thumb movement by means of 2 separate screws fixed to the third PVC strip, which acts as a base, but also protects the thumb arch in the process. The ends of the two extensions are bent upwards to deflect any stray ammo that could hit the index finger or thumb after a bad release. A lanyard ensures that the device stays in place while reloading, etc. When folded, this lightweight device fits inside most jeans pockets.

Design no.3 seems the most relevant to me, as it can be used for most slingshots where a pinch-grip is used.

Both PVC designs are very efficient in providing fork hit protection. I am not saying that such devices are necessary, but I wanted to explore the possible options from an experimental perspective. Newcomers (children?) may benefit from such a protective option when starting out with the slingshot shooting learning process. Once they master the techniques, the device should no longer be necessary for them.

Please let me know what you think of the general idea of a fork hit protection device: useful or not?
 

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I found an archers left hand hold glove on eBay that I like and find comfortable. It has fingers for the index finger and thumb only. Not only protects the hand but provides a nice grip esp. for slick frames.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
As mentioned, I do not have a problem with fork hits since I learnt the correct techniques (YouTube is a great school).

I was merely looking at technical solutions to a problem that can be of concern particularly to novice slingshot shooters, and to anyone using slingshots where the index finger and thumb are placed right below the fork tips (pinch-grip).

My devices are all relatively simple to make, and are truly effective - which may or may not be the case with glove-like contraptions sold at Aliexpress.
 
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