THE slingshot is a competent weapon with a long history. It has also proven itself very effective at harvesting small game in the right hands. As a fan of the slingshot, I never considered it could effectively be any other platform than the traditional “Y” shape with two bands and a pocket.
Then one day as I was wasting more time than I probably should have on Facebook, I came across a video that made the wasted time worth it. The video showed a few guys shooting this crazy contraption that was quicker and easier to load than a slingshot, launched the projectile faster than a slingshot, and looked to be as accurate as a slingshot. I had to see for myself if this was real or just another “survival” gear gimmick.
THE NUTS AND BOLTS
The Pocket Shot package consists of the main outer ring with screw-on cap (for carrying ammo in the pouch), one standard pouch, and one blue pro-pouch. The container it all comes in isn’t much bigger than the unit itself and would be perfect for carrying your Pocket Shot, spare pouch, and ammo together in your pack, allowing you to keep the Pocket Shot protected during travel. Although it is made of sturdy material, nothing is impervious to wear and tear.
The outer ring and cover are constructed of a durable, very substantialfeeling polycarbonate. Color choices are orange or black. The cover also acts as a sort of wrench for changing pouches. The pouches are constructed of high-quality latex for maximum durability and longevity.
The standard (black) pouch is a slightly thinner material and delivers its payload at approximately 275 feet-persecond (fps).
The pro-pouch (blue) is a thicker material and is a little tougher to draw, but sends the ammo downrange at approximately 350 fps. In comparison, a standard slingshot has a velocity of 200 to 250 fps.
The Pocket Shot website offers bags of ¼- and 5/16-inch steel shot ammo at a decent price. The ¼ inch comes in 100, 500 and 1,000 count bags, while the 5/16 inch comes in 100 and 500 count bags. You can also purchase extra standard and pro-pouches.
A very cool add-on is an arrow whisker biscuit that screws right onto the outer ring in place of the cover. As of this writing, they have not completed the arrow pouch, but they are working on it and it will be out soon.
The Pocket Shot instructions recommend stretching it out about 30 times before use to break it in and make it a little more user friendly. While doing that, I could tell the pouch was very durable, but it is thin enough that I don’t recommend shooting out of it anything with rough edges, such as a rock. This is definitely made for small, smooth ammo.
For testing, I went to a friend’s house and we set up a 1.5×1.5-foot target on an old car hood and started taking shots at it from 16 yards. Loading the ammo is extremely easy: drop the ammo into the pouch and you are loaded.
While using it, I remembered all the times I had ammo drop out of the pouch of a normal slingshot, which only enhanced my feelings about how easily and consistently I was able to load the Pocket Shot.
The draw with the standard pouch was quite good: we were able to draw
it back about 1½ feet. Shooting 5/16-inch steel balls and one-inch marbles, we got some decent dents in the car hood we were using as our backstop.
But with the grip being cylindrical and not offering a traditional slingshot grip, the aim was not intuitive, and it took us a little time to zero in on the target. Eventually we were hitting it fairly consistently, but not with enough accuracy to zero in on a kill zone of small prey, although I did find that my hits increased when I just brought it up and fired right away.
Due to the cylindrical grip, the Pocket Shot will be harder to use for anybody with arthritis or injury to the hand holding the outer ring. This proved to be especially prevalent with the propouch, as it was much stiffer. It did send the shot downrange at a much higher velocity, but with the arthritis I have in my thumb from an old injury, I found it hard to get a full draw with it.
Since I had the whisker biscuit, I wanted to try shooting an arrow, though the standard pouch is not designed for arrows and the pro-pouch isn’t long enough.
With the shortness of the pouch, I can see it will need the pouch designed for arrows. I was not able to get a draw the full length of the arrow, which caused it to be a little lackluster when heading toward the target. I was able to hit the target at about ten yards, but it was a bit wobbly in the air and not consistent enough to trust just yet. I believe it will do a better job with the arrow pouch.
For some final playtime, I took it out to a lake with a few friends and we shot one-inch glass marbles across the lake to see how far they would travel. Shooting straight
(as if shooting at a target), the marbles stayed in the air for approximately nine seconds before hitting the water. Using the standard pouch, at 275 feet per second, we figure that our ammo was traveling roughly 2,475 feet before hitting water. We were all impressed and a little tickled by the whole thing.
Overall, I was impressed with the Pocket Shot for what it is: a small, portable piece of gear that takes up far less pack space than awkward Wrist Rockets. Being a pretty good shot with a Wrist Rocket, I am apprehensive about replacing it in my gear too quickly, so I’ll be taking both with me until I get more comfortable and consistent with the Pocket Shot. With some practice, I see it happening in the not-too-distant future.
However, the Pocket Shot is not for everyone. Although the friend who shot it with me at his house had fun, he was not sold on it. It’s worth noting that he is not a backpacker and was looking at it from an entirely different point of view.
I personally think the Pocket Shot is a great solution for backpackers and bug-out bags for its light weight and small footprint. I recommend it to anyone when they ask me about a good slingshot for that purpose. And at only $25, you can’t go wrong.