The Best Slingshots, Tested and Reviewed

These modern slingshots go well beyond a Y-shaped stick
Best Slingshots

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If you haven’t shot a slingshot in a long time, you might be surprised by how much they’ve changed. The materials, shooting styles, and bands have evolved to be more powerful and accurate. What hasn’t changed is how much fun it is to shoot them. From backyard target practice to knocking down cans at hunting camp, slingshots are plain fun. Here’s a look at the best slingshots that are readily available and beginner friendly. 

How I Tested the Best Slingshots

All the slingshots in this review are affordable and widely available in the USA.

Slingshots, also called catapults, vary widely and you can go down a rabbit hole researching the various types. Instead of overwhelming you with options, I centered my testing on readily available modern slingshots that are ideal for new shooters. So you won’t find frameless, pickle fork, wrist rocket, or arrow shooting slingshots in this review. 

I shot each of the slingshots with different bands and ammo at 10 yards with a 2-inch target to evaluate their shooting characteristics and features. I also shot them using different types of grips—mainly pinch and thumb-braced. The goal was to find where each slingshot excelled, where it needed improvement, and who it was best for. 

The Best Slingshots: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: SimpleShot Scout LT

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Key Features

  • Can be swapped between OTT and TTF
  • Fork Gap: 2 inches (inside width) and 3-5/8 inches (outside width)
  • Interchangeable and removable palm swell 
  • Includes clay pellets, two bands, palm swells, and target
  • Made in the USA
  • Price: $45

Pros

  • Comfortable in pinch or thumb brace grip 
  • Easy to change bands 
  • Ideal for new and advanced shooters

Cons

  • Some shooters might prefer a wider fork width 
A quick review of the SimpleShot Scout LT.

The Scout LT is the perfect introduction to modern slingshots because it allows you to experiment with bands and grips. That way you can find what works best for you. Not sure if you like over the top (OTT) or through the forks (TTF) shooting styles? No worries. The clips that secure the bands easily swap between OTT and TTF positions. The clips are also convenient because you don’t have to learn how to tie on bands. Just stick the end into the clip and tighten the screw. 

I found the Scout LT comfortable while shooting with a pinch grip and thumb-braced grip. The fork width is slightly narrower than the SimpleShot Scout XT, but I don’t think it’s too narrow for a new shooter. The current trend is for narrower frames and the LT is a good starting point before going to something very narrow. I prefer shooting OTT and the Scout LT has nice square edges on the fork tips for OTT aiming.

Your customization options continue with its removable palm swell, which can be swapped to a different color or removed. You can even add a weight inside the palm swell. 

The Scout LT comes with two bands that are ideal for 3/8 ammo, but I suggest picking up a few target bands and 8mm steel ammo. The lighter bands will be easier to learn technique and build accuracy with. With the target bands and 8mm ammo, I’ve been able to consistently hit a 2-inch target at 10 yards and the Scout LT is by far the slingshot I’m most accurate with. 

Read Next: Best Pellet Guns

Best Pocketable: SimpleShot BeanFlip Ocularis

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Key Features

  • Can be swapped between OTT and TTF
  • Fork Gap: 1-5/8 inches (inside width) and 3-7/8 inches (outside width) 
  • Includes clay pellets, two bands, palm swell sets, and target
  • Made in the USA
  • Price: $35

Pros

  • Thin and easy to carry in a pocket 
  • Comfortable in thumb brace grip 
  • Easy to change bands with no tools required 
  • Ideal for new and advanced shooters

Cons

  • Rounded fork tips can make OTT aiming challenging 
  • Some shooters might prefer a wider fork width 
The Ocularis plug system is fast and doesn’t require tools.

Whether you’re hunting or hiking with your slingshot to take shots at pine cones, a thin and narrow frame like the BeanFlip is enjoyable to carry. The BeanFlip also has one of the easiest methods for swapping bands. Just pop out the plugs, slip your band through the frame, and put the plugs back in. There are no tools required and the process takes a minute. 

For me the BeanFlip Ocularis frame is most comfortable with a thumb supported grip, but it could be shot with a pinch grip. OTT aiming isn’t as intuitive as the Scout LT’s sharp corner, but after a few shots with the BeanFlip I had my hold figured out. If you prioritize a frame that’s easy to slip into a pocket, then you can’t go wrong with the BeanFlip Ocularis. 

Best Value: Huntingdoor Hunting Slingshot

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Key Features 

  • Fork Gap: 1.57 inch (inside width) and 3.14 inches (outside width) 
  • Made of stainless steel
  • OTT band attachment 

Pros 

  • Easy to change bands with the built-in clips
  • Heavy weight provides a stable shooting experience 
  • Comfortable in a thumb-brace grip

Cons

  • OTT only 

While the Scout LT appeals to a wide range of shooters, this Huntingdoor slingshot is for people who know they like OTT and a narrow frame. If that’s you then this could be your next dedicated tack driver because the heavy weight makes it very stable while aiming and after the release. The sharp corners offer a fine aiming reference and the bands easily change with the secure clip system. 

The thick width makes the Huntingdoor comfortable and adds weight. Scott Einsmann

There’s a lot to love about this nice shooting slingshot, but its width made it less than ideal for me. It’s about .5 inch narrower than the Scout LT, which means I have to aim a few inches lower at 10 yards for my anchor point. But, narrow frames are all the rage right now so I have no doubt it will work well for a lot of people. 

Read Next: How to Make a Deer Antler Slingshot

Best Budget with Sights: RCZZSUWE Slingshot

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Key Features 

  • Includes bands, ammo pouch, steel shot, and sights
  • Clip band attachment system 
  • Fork Gap: 1.7 inches (inside width) and 3.4 inches (outside width)
  • Price: $23

Pros 

  • Comfortable with a pinch grip
  • Easy to change bands

Cons

  • OTT only
  • Sight could be improved but serves as a functional reference point
The sight on this slingshot is serviceable reference point for aiming.

For most slingshot shooting you either aim instinctively or by using the frame as a reference point. But, there’s something to be said for an adjustable sight because you can dial it in to suit your anchor point, bands, and ammo. The RCZZSUWE has an unpronounceable name and a good design for those that want to experiment with a sight. The sight is elevation adjustable, and has fiber optics. Its metal frame is perfect for a pinch grip, but can also be shot with a thumb-braced grip. 

Bands: SimpleShot Target 

For people in the USA, SimpleShot bands are readily available and high quality. They come in varying thicknesses and tapers to suit everything from shooting light clay ammo to arrows for sling bows. Their target band is my pick for beginners because it’s light enough for hours of fun shooting and matches easy-to-get 8mm (5/16 inch) steel ammo. 

Ammo: 8mm Steel

You can shoot clay, glass, lead, or steel ammo from a slingshot, but steel is the best all-around option. It’s uniformly round, it’s reusable, and reliably precise. 

Catchbox: YANDIA 

A catchbox allows you to reuse your ammo and serves as a backstop for safe shooting. The Yandia comes with targets and uses curtains inside the box to slow down projectiles. The curtains also quiet down the impacts. 

Slingshot Pouch or Magnet 

A simple disc magnet is helpful for keeping your steel ammo from rattling around your pocket and for collecting it out of your catchbox. You can also get a dedicated pouch to hold your ammo and slingshot in one package. 

Slingshot Shooting Basics 

Bands

Slingshot bands come in different thicknesses and tapers, which translate to power output. Think thicker bands for heavier ammo and thinner bands for lighter ammo. Most companies that sell pre-made bands will offer ammo suggestions to make choosing the right ammo/band combo easier. Some quality band manufacturers are SimpleShot, GZK, and Snipersling.  

Bands must be tuned to fit you for the best performance. If bands are too long they won’t generate much power. If they’re too short, they’ll be difficult to pull and won’t last very long. The goal is to find a nice happy medium by cutting bands to match your draw length. 

To do that you’ll mock draw your slingshot and measure the distance from the frame to your anchor point. Then divide that measurement by 5.5 to get your active band length. Add .5 inch to 1 inch to account for the material used for attaching the band to the frame. Cut each side with sharp scissors and attach to your frame. 

Here’s an example: 

Let’s say your draw length is 30 inches. Divide 30 by 5.5, which equals 5.45. You add .5 inch to that and get 5.95 inches. So you’ll cut each side of your band to about 6 inches. From there, you can continue to refine your band length until you find what works best for you. 

Another method is to just cut the band a little at a time until you’re happy with the feel and power you’re getting. 

Grips

There are three main grip styles: hammer, pinch, and thumb brace. A hammer grip is when you grab a slingshot with a balled fist,  just like a hammer. It’s most commonly used in wrist-rocket style slingshots. A pinch grip is when you wrap your index and thumb around the slingshot’s forks. In a thumb-braced grip you’ll place your index finger around the fork and your thumb on the fork. 

Ammo

Clay

Clay ammo has the advantage of being biodegradable. It’s also very light. So it won’t generate as much kinetic energy and if you’re shooting without a backstop, it will eventually break down. Its downside is that it can deform easily and is therefore harder to reuse than steel.

Steel

Steel ammo is the standard for target shooting because it’s reusable and precise. It also comes in a wide range of sizes to suit your shooting style and discipline. 

Glass Marbles

Roundness is important for slingshot ammo because any flatspot will create inaccuracy. Glass is uniformly round and it can make great slingshot ammo. But, glass marbles are still glass and can shatter. So if broken glass in your shooting area is an issue, I’d steer clear of glass projectiles. 

Lead

Lead is ideal for one purpose, hunting. It’s denser than steel and can dump more energy into a target. Just be sure that slingshot hunting is legal in your state and that you can use lead shot. 

OTT vs TTF

A look at the difference between OTT and TTF aiming from the shooter’s perspective.

Slingshot bands can go over the top of the forks or around them. The style that works best for you will depend on two factors: fork hits and your aiming preference. 

A fork hit is when the projectile hits your slingshot as a result of a poor release or misalignment. Fork hits are less likely to happen with an OTT setup because the projectile is going over the top of the forks rather than through them. That’s why OTT is a good choice for new shooters. 

Another consideration is the difference in sight picture. With TTF, you’ll aim down the bands and center the band on your target. With OTT, you’ll use the fork tip as your aiming reference and the bands for alignment. Both work well, and it’s truly a matter of personal preference. 

Final Thoughts on the Best Slingshots

Slingshot shooting doesn’t require a massive financial investment or a ton of space. The standard shooting distance is 10 yards and all the slingshots in this review cost under $50. So for under $100 and 15 to 30 feet of space, you can have a fun new hobby.

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Scott Einsmann

Executive Editor, Gear

Scott Einsmann is Outdoor Life’s gear editor. He oversees the gear team’s editors and writers who are subject matter experts in bows, knives, hunting, fishing, backpacking, and more. He lives in Richmond, Virginia with his wife and two bird dogs.

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