How to match your slingshot bands to your ammo.
When it comes to shooting your slingshot with accuracy, as well as getting the most out of the experience, matching your bands to your ammo is essential.
If you are not matching your bands to your ammo, please make sure to read this page carefully!
If you don't match your bands to your ammo, you'll waste energy, decrease your band life and have hand slap (OTT).
The Summary: Why is it important to match your slingshot bands to your ammo?
Matching your bands to your ammo is one of the most important things you can do to get the most out of your slingshot shooting. If you don't match your bands and ammo, you'll have an energy mismatch that can lead to problems.
When your bands are too weak for your ammo (your bands are UNDERPOWERED):
Your experience will be boring.
Accuracy will suffer.
Band life will be shortened.
The opposite error also brings a host of issues. When your ammo weak for your bands (your bands are OVERPOWERED):
Your experience will be frustrating.
Accuracy will suffer.
Band life could be terribly short.
The important info: let's take a look at a SimpleShot bandset.
All SimpleShot band sets come with loads of helpful information right on the packaging. If you know where to look, you will find all the help you need to make sure that you have properly matched your band set to your slingshot ammo.
Here is a look at the packaging on one of our 3/8 inch band sets.
Latex thickness for each band set
The taper (the dimensions of the bandset) is only one measurement. We list the thickness of the latex on every package as well, so you know the power potential of the band. The more latex, the more power potential, so the thicker latex has more energy stored up in it.
Recommended ammo for each band set
We match your ammo for you! Every SimpleShot slingshot band set comes with a matched ammo recommendation. For example, this band set is matched to 3/8 inch / 9.5mm steel ammo. This means if you want to shoot 1/2 inch steel or 1/4 inch steel, this bandset is mismatched.
Skill level suggestion for each band set
We don't recommend every band set for every skill level. Every band set we sell comes with a skill recommendation. This band set shown is recommended for 3/8 inch steel and therefore is recommended for everyone. This is a great band set for beginners and advanced shooters alike.
Here's what happens during a shot (it's all about energy).
Step 1: The draw
During the draw, the band set is elongated. (Band set elongation is a separate topic which is covered elsewhere.)
As the band is elongated, the potential energy to project the ammo increases.
Step 2: The release
When the pouch is released, the stored energy from the band is transferred to the ammo. This energy fires the projectile downrange.
When there is a mis-match, energy is misplaced.
It's all about mass and energy.*
We need to balance the energy in the system for best results.
The heavier the ammo, the more energy it needs from the band to move at a desirable speed.
The lighter the ammo (less mass), the less energy it needs.
The more latex in the band set, the more energy it "gives" to the ammo.
Less latex in the band set = less energy "given" to the ammo.
So we have to match the bands to the ammo. Too much OR too little is a problem!
* We're trying to make this simple. We're not putting this in perfect scientific terms; our goal is to simplify this info to help as many people as possible. 👊
When the band gives more energy than the ammo can receive, we call it over-banding.
When the band does not have enough energy to propel the ammo at the desired speed, we call it under-banding.
They are BOTH a problem. Here's why:
Over-banding causes premature band wear and can cause wild inaccuracy and hand-slap.
Let's look at each one of these.
1. When the band has too much energy, the band slams into the frame on every shot and wears the band dramatically. Band life will plummet when the ammo is too light for the band set!
2. When the band is over-powered, the ammo can fly erratically. Shooting clay (a light ammo) from a 7/16 inch steel bandset, for example, will result in wild inaccuracy. The shot will bend in the air and you won't hit much at all.
3. Hand-slap is a direct result of excess energy in the band set after the release. That energy has to go somewhere, so the band comes crashing BACK into the frame (and your hand, causing a sting).
In summary, over-banding (when your band is TOO POWERFUL for the ammo you are using) causes broken bands, a sore frame hand (especially if shooting OTT) and lousy accuracy.
Under-banding also causes premature band wear and can make your shooting boring and inaccurate. 😰
Let's look at each one of these as well.
1. When the band has too little energy, the band cannot send the ammo efficiently. This is putting undue strain on the band (forcing it to do more than it can) and will wear the band set out in no time.
2. When the band is under-powered, the ammo has to be shot high to drop in on the target. This leads to less than desirable accuracy and since your bands will wear quickly, it becomes worse and worse very quickly.
3. Hand slap is not an issue with under-banding, but your shooting will likely be far less satisfying than it could be. A properly matched band set will shoot the ammo straight to the target with very little drop and give a satisfying hit on contact.
In summary, under-banding (when your band is NOT POWERFUL ENOUGH for the ammo you are using), you'll end up with broken bands, a sore frame hand (especially if shooting OTT) and lousy accuracy.
We list all our band sets with titles and descriptions to help you match them to the correct ammo!
Our titles help you understand what the band set's common use is (ex. target shooting). Then in parenthesis we show the recommended steel for each band set.
We also offer new sample sizes of ammo so you can try out each size without committing to a larger amount.
Always be sure to match your bands to your ammo.
Avoid the pitfalls many make when they don't match their bands to the ammo. This is a crucial step to enjoying your slingshot shooting. Failure to do so results in boring shooting, broken bands, poor accuracy and consistency, short lifespan of the band set and no where near as much fun.
We hope this helps you understand this topic and to make informed decisions when you are choosing bands and ammo!
Bonus: Nathan's least favorite video ever.
In this video we not only talk about hand slap (resulting from mismatched bands and ammo), we demonstrate it. Nathan's hand was sore for days after this one. But it demonstrates exactly what we're talking about here concerning matching bands and ammo for your slingshot.
(There's even a blooper reel for this one)