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Missing Barns and Telling Yarns
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not sure if this is the correct place for the question, so Moderators feel free to bounce me around.

Living in the US, it seems like slingshots are mostly a solitary hobby. People enjoy making, shooting, and hunting with them. There are a few tournaments I see listed every year throughout the country, but they don't seem to be sponsored by a unifying body or organization. Those people who do compete are amateurs who spend most of their time practicing in their back yard.

Having ordered some products from China, it seems to be much more competitive. I've seen professional grade targets and pictures that look like they come from big tournaments with shooting lanes and sponsors. It seems to be a lot more organized and sport focused. So I'm curious for all the members in Asia or Europe (or Central/South America), what is the slingshot scene like in your neck of the woods? Is it predominantly a toy for kids, fun hobby, sport, hunting implement, etc?
 

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I am a Chinese and engaged in slingshot business since two years ago. I have been living in Spain for 12 years and picked up the slingshot 8 years ago.
Let me explain something from my point of view.

Slingshot sports or activities is becoming more and more popular in China. The main reason is the demand rising. Behind the demand, there are 3 reasons. First is the largest population. Second is the gun control and changes to slingshot. Third is easier communication than ever with mobile Internet connection. We find lots of people having same hobbies. It's no longer shame for an adult to play slingshot. And lots of adults picked up it again like me. Thus brings competition, personal show on short video platform.

At the end, people enjoy it for illegal hunting or entertainment. More and more people join. There is a huge market for more and more shooters become business men.

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Hers in Spain slingshot is still mainly a hobby for entertainment. Lots of towns has competition with 50 persons during festivals. There is also people hunting secretly.
But in China there are professional competition shooter. They travel over the country to win the prize. Some of them are sponsored by slingshot brand owners, some of them sell their own products. Some people setup clubs, companies and organize national level completions.

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Missing Barns and Telling Yarns
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hers in Spain slingshot is still mainly a hobby for entertainment. Lots of towns has competition with 50 persons during festivals. There is also people hunting secretly.
But in China there are professional competition shooter. They travel over the country to win the prize. Some of them are sponsored by slingshot brand owners, some of them sell their own products. Some people setup clubs, companies and organize national level completions.

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Hey JDP, that's exactly the sort of explanation I was looking for! Thanks so much. I had heard it was pretty popular in Spain too (I've seen those cool spanish frames posted). I have dozens of friends who love to use rifles or bows to hunt. I suppose if those were restricted they'd be a lot more likely to take up the slingshot. Most used them as boys before getting their first BB gun. I do like to think about the life of a professional slingshot competitor. That's got to be a weird microcosm of athlete/celebrity. Like our NFL players, just on a muuuuuch smaller stage :D
 
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A very Interesting topic.

As a shooting tool, slingshots have for a long time carried the stigma of being a child's toy used mainly for mischief: think "Dennis the Menace". As mentioned by JPD, the idea of adults shooting slingshots was (is?) generally frowned upon, and anyone seriously interested in shooting was (is?) quickly directed to airguns and/or firearms, which are more or less accessible to both American and European shooting enthusiasts.

The regained interest in slingshots and acceptability of adults making and shooting them is most certainly linked to the spread of the Internet as an instant communication and information exchange tool accessible to (almost) everyone. My first experience with slingshots dates back to the early 1970's, when some kid in the neighborhood introduced me to the concept of bending 4 mm steel rod handles from discarded paint buckets at building sites, and using rubber-coated copper wire to wrap around the (sometimes wonky!) frames to form a grip. My next big slingshot moment was when I purchased a "Barnett" slingshot with an armrest for tubes and 9 mm ammo sometime back in the 1980's. Eventually I lost interest and got busy with life.

Moving on a few decades, and after having had fun with airguns and high-caliber S&W revolvers (no problem in Switzerland), I was highly inspired by videos on YouTube about 10 years ago showing high powered slingshots using flat bands, which got me involved in making and shooting my own slingshots once again.

Indeed, slingshot makers and shooters seem to be a rather solitary lot, but not necessarily by choice. It is a fact that when presented with other alternatives such as CO-2 BB guns, precision pellet air rifles, high performance bows and crossbows, and of course firearms, it is hard to convince numerous people of the merits of making, buying, and shooting slingshots: most people simply have no idea how slingshots have technologically evolved into high precision tools with plenty of oomph - not to mention the astounding artistic creativity that one regularly sees on this forum. To many people, the humble slingshot is still a child's toy, an image that is quite difficult to change.

To me, the Slingshot World Cup of 2018 in Italy was an eyeopening experience, particularly with emphasis on the Chinese slingshot technology with its flat band clamp attachment mechanisms, fiber-optic aiming sights, and well-calibrated flat band sets for supreme accuracy at 10 yards using 7 to 8 mm steel ammo. The fact that the Chinese team won the tournament is linked to their top notch shooting equipment, but also because the attending shooters had apparently been selected from the 500 or so slingshot clubs (!) in China (according to what the owner of GZK told me at the time). Strict Chinese laws that ban even low-powered airguns are doubtlessly linked to this context.

This major event was also a further move towards creating both national slingshot federations and an international slingshot shooting federation - an essential element in terms of bringing together competitors, while acting as a global platform to disseminate relevant information and a positive image about our sport to attract newcomers. The fact of the matter is that public ignorance about modern slingshots, and the fun factor involved with the latter when fundamental safety rules are implemented, needs strong marketing efforts and "open days" to get more people of all ages involved. This forum is great in the way information is shared and discussed.

It is when people see how accurately one can shoot a slingshot after learning the right techniques and significant practice (no free lunch) that they get involved more seriously. The solitary aspect of slingshot shooting is, in my view, linked to the still prevailing aforementioned stigma, and the general lack of organized regional slingshot shooting clubs with at least one or two very good shooters able to instruct newcomers right from the start: a global federation could also help with fundraising (sponsors) for shooting events and promotional activities, and organizing voluntary slingshot shooting instructors to attend regional clubs on set dates every year.

My 2 cents worth...
 

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With shops like this... goodness...

Whatever the reasons, I am glad it is picking up in China. The sheer size of the market, ease of sourcing and a crazily efficient supply chain makes it possible and viable to produce high quality stuff very quickly.

For us as enthusiasts, we can just sit back, scroll through websites, order cheaply and enjoy...

http://instagr.am/p/ByiE94dHJx_/
 

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Missing Barns and Telling Yarns
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
PebbleShooter - I agree that governing bodies would greatly increase the visibility of the sport, and enhance it's reputation a bit. If there were national or international rules regulating competitions, it would also attract those more interested in competitions.

I don't have the time or money to do so now, but I always thought it would be cool to try and start a local club. My city has approx 400,000 people, so I figure you could find 5-10 people who would be interested. There is a group called the Lunting Society that did something similar. Good example of how to make a club using social media, and bringing together a lot of people who enjoy a rather solitary pursuit. Could be a good framework for starting a slingshot club.
 

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Good thread. Thank you MLI for posting and Pebble Shooter for a detailed post. Thanks to everyone for adding his/her perspective. There is a similar thread on Slinging.org.

In Colorado slingshots are legal to hunt small game - mammals and some small game - birds. Beyond that, they are really thought of as toys. For example, the last time I shot at the public rifle range, there was a sign prohibiting slingshots. Slingshots are part of the Cub Scout shooting sports program, but not part of Scouting shooting sports. Slingshots are not part of the 4-H shooting sports program, although pistols, rifles, airguns, shotguns, and archery all are.

Public perception (Bart Simpson, Dennis the Menace, etc.) play a part in this. Wire-framed slingshots with poor performing band-sets and mismatched ammo from big box stores add to this.

Demonstrations of precision slingshot shooting, such as Grandpa Pete's thread about a pistol v slingshot shoot off, might help change the public perception of slingshots. The difficulty is getting people to attend and participate. Sadly, it seems that people would rather sit in front of their computers (or now - smart phones).

The internet is both a boon and a bane. While it is a great way for us to exchange information about slingshots, it also keeps us from pursuing our hobby. For example, right now I am typing this thread when I could be at my workbench or better yet, outdoors shooting.

Several years ago, I took over a local archery meetup group. I posted information, offered loaner equipment, free lessons (at the time, I was a level II NFAA instructor), meet and greets at the local coffee shop, and a regularly scheduled shooting time at a local indoor range. At one point, we had 50 members in the meetup group. In the course of a year, we never had a single successful meetup.

We are in a golden age of slingshots. Innovative frames, better understanding of the relationship between pouch design, bands, and ammo size, better understanding of frame grip, pouch grip, release, and sighting, all contribute to accurate shooting. This is a fun hobby. It is less expensive than archery and firearms. It is also more accessible. Logically it should be just as popular.

Looking forward to reading everyone's perspective on this issue.
 

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Also its the space the hobby requires for storage etc. Slingshots and ammo targets etc. all take up no space - even compared to other shooting sports like archery. Also its possible to shoot wherever and any time. Archery clubs etc. can only be accessed certain times and even certain days.

Think it is a logical shooting sport for a country such as China.
 

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Its safe to say that slingshots will never attain the status of archery, even though they are way more accessible, but that is ok. We share a passion, and whoever shares it with us is welcome, who doesn't, is welcome to his preferences too.
Now that I am member in an archery club, I do spread the word about slingshots. Ibojoe once said that slingshots are an invaluable training tool for archery, and now I know he was right, from my own experience. Of course, archery made me a better slingshot shooter too.
I will start a slingshot club of three people, which will be based in our archery club. I expect more people will join in time.
 

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Shhhh don't suggest they aren't toys, otherwise in the UK we will have to apply and pay for slingshot certificates. That will also include full background checks of mental health and character, a home visit from an official all with the possibility of being told no. Wish I was joking but sadly not ????
You Brits really shouldnt complain, the slingshot scene in the UK is VERY good!
If I had the chance, I would live in the UK just for this ????
 

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Shhhh don't suggest they aren't toys, otherwise in the UK we will have to apply and pay for slingshot certificates. That will also include full background checks of mental health and character, a home visit from an official all with the possibility of being told no. Wish I was joking but sadly not ????
You Brits really shouldnt complain, the slingshot scene in the UK is VERY good!
If I had the chance, I would live in the UK just for this ????
I'll swop you to have my firearms back and join in with slingshots in the states ????
 

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I am in Greece...no firearms here. Well, we can get firearms, but the selection is very limited, and the procedure so gross and costly, that in essence we cant ????
 

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Oh, your archery scene is also quite good! You have catties, bows, well, the best things in life ???? No place on earth is perfect mate! (At least here we have sun.....a LOT of sun)
 
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