I think it is simple; tube style slingshots caused the decline! The early ones were horrible, very slow, a lot of recoil and low energy. Most of the few shooters that were dedicated to the sport were shooting flat bands all along. Then after the tube style slingshots became popular with first time shooters, it became very hard to get flat bands. For a long time (until Saunders started making them again) flat band slingshots were not available commercially. -- Tex
I think you can't pin it all on tubes. Kids these days have other things to occupy them. Also personal and corporate liabilities are more developed and there are ever more laws restricting potentially dangerous and/or hunting activities. Slingshots are not constitutionally protected, so are following blowguns and crossbows into legal oblivion in some jurisdictions.
Both good points. Id like to add that it seems these days kids lives are very busy running from one organized activity to another. They dont spend alot of time entertaining themselves. And when they do its TV or video games or texing.
I think that part of the answer is the rise of the airgun. Early airguns were rather expensive, had no standartized ammunition and suffered from leaking leather seals, unrifled barrels, relatively low power etc. This started to change during the 60's. People got richer, mass production lowered the prices, airgun ammunition was easier to purchase and synthetic seals greatly improved the airguns.
Today - like it or not- you can buy a 150$ airgun and will get a shooting device that will out-shoot the slingshot in about every respect. The big trump the slingshots still hold are their compactness in relation to an airgun.
Well I agree with you sort of Mel. I had an airgun as did all my friends growing up. But they weren't anything great. Cheap airguns were common and contributed. I played with slingshots growing up because it was more fun for me. But anybody and everybody had bb guns as a kid and the older generation had better ones. The airgun in general was a factor here.
I totally agree that a slingshot gives you a different shooting sensation, which you may like more (or don't) than shooting an airgun. But take the average farmer who wants to clear out his shed from rats. He'll opt for the airgun, as it is so much easier to shoot. Or the 14 years old who (like every 14-year old) wants some shooting device and has adventerous hunting stories in his mind...not to mention that an airgun resembles a firearm, and firearms are prominently displayed in movies, stories etc. and are liked by many people - to a point that some spend a lot of money on an airsoft gun that resembles a real firearm, yet is not much more than an accurized pea shooter.
I don't know that any "one" factor can be blamed for the decline. Everything that others have posted and more "combined" to make a downward "trend" for slingshots. All hunting and outdoor sports took a hit during the same period of time due to anti-lobbying. Other contributing factors were changing values which included more youth perpetuated vandalism and resulting "attitudes" and laws. I still can't talk with people here in So. Cal. about my slingshots business without someone saying with a nod and a wink "Oh going to shoot out some windows?" Sales themselves could even have contributed, being that once a market is flooded a subsequent cessation of buying results. One must also remember that the appeal of slingshots is a comparatively small niche market. There is also just a natural cycle to "common interest" items such as slingshots. There was a "peak" period in the past followed by decline, level out, small interest spikes and most recently I think a new increasing interest trend again.
Crazyslingshot has the answer in his question THE 60s (I M O ) when the "LONG HAIRED HIPPY TYPE LIBERALS" started "BITCHING" about every thing, boys should be more like girls kind and more gentle they shouldnt play with toy guns or G I Joe figures.
All of you have valid points, now put them together with "MANS" constant desire and way of thinking that"BIGGER IS BETTER" and we must look to the future it only natural that things go in and out of favor. In addition to that , take a look at our towns. What used to be a few hundred people in a village / town is now a few thousand and vice versa , look at rural living. What used to be many small farms and few larger farms is now is many larger farms and few small farms. From what everyone here is saying I have the feeling that many of you guys have memories of being able to go walking somewhere near where you grew up or during your daily travels when you were younger and being able to carry a slingshot, an some plinkin along the way.Well, were do the majority of kids these days get to do that ??? People these days are not self reliant minded any more these days and that also has an impact, But it's adults like us that have the memories , that will keep this thing alive !And that's the Wisconsin perspective on things ! LOL
Everyone including me has two cents to put in so here it is. I think sling shooting got to be regarded as infantile or unsofisticated or even a worthless pursuit. Whatever. But, I love more than ever. Im hooked.
If you have not shot a flat band slingshot yet, you need to try a good one. I think that about everywhere that the slingshot sport has made a comeback, you will find that flat bands have been leading the way. I have good air rifles, fire arms, but they don't give me the satisfaction that hitting the mark as much as a slingshot or a bow does. I have loved the challenge of bow hunting most of my adult life. Tubes were one of the main reasons that I and many older shooters like me gave slingshots up in the sixty's. I know this for a fact because a great number of my customers have told me that they had given up on slingshots, because there distaste for tube style slingshots. Ninety percent of my band customers are over 60 years old. Most of these started shooting again in later life when they found out that they could get flat bands again. Even today, if I was only limited to tubes, I probably would not be shooting a slingshot. Some of the new small multi-strand bands are narrowing the gap, but are not quit there yet for my money. I believe that Large thin wall tapered dipped tubes might be great, if the air was removed (sucked flat) at the time of mounting. A person might even design a fork that would let you remove the tube air after mounting. Hmmmm -- Tex
When you become skilled at something it gives you a sence of PRIDE or it should , and (I M O) that is something that is sorely lacking in todays youth sitting on their A__ in front of one of these things is about as good as it gets for alot of them [just like I am doing now]!
I have nothing against flat bands but when I put my flat banded slingshot away after dicovering GIRLES way back when , when I picked it up again damb if it didnt have tubes on it (I M O) todays surgical tubing is way better than the origenal tubing!!
I think Marbles figured out the single one pivital event in history that spelled out the demise of slingshot shooting as we know it today.........it was...........IT was............IT WAS...............G I R L E S !!!!
It was by no means just the change over to tubes that caused the decline.The 40's,50's and even the early part of the 60's were "innocent" times compared to later years. Magazines were filled with slingshots, BB guns, big knives,blowguns, arrow shooters etc.These were available mail order. I even remember a black powder gun being offered through the mail.The mid 60's to the late 70's saw a very steep decline in just about every mail order weapon you once were able to get-reasons? Corporate liabilities (sueing became very popular),death of innocence,disgruntled citizens,rebellious youth,different behavior protocols,increase in violent crimes,increase in all crimes totally. Basically a change in societies behavior made these changes necessary. Years ago we would carry a BoyScout knife or Pen knife to school or any place we went,do that now and you'll have problems. Changing times and ideals ruined a lot of things. Ah,the good old days!