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Brats with Slingshots

When you need to weaponize a child in fiction, you give him a slingshot. It is always in the classic Y-shape and preferably made out of a single piece of wood. Kids use them either to cause mischief or as actual weapons; when not in use the slingshot will be carried shoved into the back pocket of trousers or overalls. Sometimes when the child has to inflict serious damage with the weapon in combat, the pellets they launch can be explosive.

Slingshots are weapons, which makes you wonder why all these fictional parents let their kids wander around with them in their back pockets, especially considering kids who use them always display amazing accuracy. Slingshots are also likely to be As Lethal As They Need To Be; sometimes they will merely annoy the person they're fired at, but they will be quite effective when used against enemies.

The Weapon of Choice of the Bratty Half-Pint and other Youngsters, probably because it allows them some means of defense without any expectation of them actually killing someone. Also a frequent starter weapon in Video Games and a Weapon Jr. for younger versions of Archer Archetype.

In Britain, a slingshot is known as a "catty" or "catapult," while in Australia, it's sometimes called a "shanghai."

Also note that a "slingshot" is not the same as a "sling" or a "slungshot," which was a 19th century gang weapon consisting of a weight on a string attached to the arm. Laws on the books prohibiting "slingshots" may be talking about this weapon, depending on how old the law is.

Compare Suffer The Slings, which is about slings. Water balloons may be used in conjunction.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Usopp from One Piece. Justified in that he's an Improbable Weapon User and customizer; it's much easier to make custom slingshot bullets than pistol or musket bullets.
    • Taken Up to Eleven with Kabuto, his giant slingshot introduced in Enies Lobby. He can snipe people at distances far beyond the reach of Marine guns.
      • Its range is explained by the use of Dials from Skypeia (sea-shells that count as bio-tech for those not familiar with the series), along with the five bands it uses to fire ammo.
  • Angel Beats!: While not a brat, Tenshi used a slingshot when she and Otonashi are helping Yui fulfill some of her desires so she can move on.
  • SKET Dance: Bossun's Weapon of Choice.
  • Speed Racer: Spritle's Weapon of Choice.

    Comics 
  • Dennis the Menace: Dennis (both of him) is probably the Trope Codifier. The better-known Bart Simpson owes a lot to him.
    • The American Dennis wears his slingshot all the time. By comparison, the British Dennis very frequently uses his catapult...though not quite as much nowadays, what with political correctness and the level of bowdlerising in the media.
  • Archie Comics: Veronica Lodge's bratty cousin Leeroy was often wielding one.
  • ElfQuest plays with this. Ember thinks she has outgrown slingshots, but during a time of really bad hunting, the tribe start using them to hunt mice. There's a non-canon story where it's suggested that Skywise's distinctive metal faceguard is actually part of a troll-made slingshot, dubious as it sounds.
  • DC Thomson:
    • Most characters in The Beano used them at one time or another. Minnie the Minx certainly did, and so did the Bash Street Kids.
    • Oor Wullie: The extremely Scottish Wullie in his eponymous comic strip.
  • In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns', the new Robin uses one.
  • Calvin has used one at least once, but he prefers to fling snowballs (and he once made a giant slingshot for hurling large snowballs).
  • Huey, Dewey and Louie have used them many times in the comics, frequency Depending on the Writer, more often in European stories.

    Film 
  • In Newsies most of the Brooklyn Newsies used slingshots as their primary weapons, with marbles as ammo.
  • In The Devil's Backbone (El Espinazo del Diablo), the bullies at the orphanage have them.
  • In The Mummy Returns, Alex O'Connell uses a slingshot to torment the bad guys early in the film (and that kid is definitely a bit of a brat).
  • In The Hobbit, this is the weapon of choice of Ori, one of the younger dwarves in the company and the scribe of the Book of Mazarbul. So we saw his skeleton in The Lord of the Rings.
  • In An American Tail, Tony Toponi uses one to unmask Warren T. Rat as a cat.
  • During one of the wacky-parenting-hijinks montages in the Adam Sandler movie Big Daddy, the kid is given a slingshot, then proudly shows off the dozens of dead birds on the roof (and gets it taken away from him, with Sandler's character Sonny mumbling, "Go to your room, or, I dunno, do whatever you want"). Roger Ebert and others understandably thought this, among other things, sort of broke the aesop about Sonny being the best person to raise the kid.
  • The Lost Boys use lots of these in Hook, including a giant one intended to help Peter fly. It... doesn't work.
  • "Fuck you Lucky Charms!
  • The title character in Mikey uses one a couple of times, the second time he uses to kill his teacher by firing a ball bearing through her head.

    Literature 
  • The Bible: David actually used a sling to defeat Goliath (and was quite adept with it, boasting about killing animals), people commonly confuse the two weapons and believe David wielded a slingshot. Thus, despite the story itself not being example, many of its adaptations are (The Simpsons Bible Stories episode couldn't resist, for obvious reasons).
  • The murder weapon in the Lord Peter Wimsey novel Murder Must Advertise is a "catapult" of this sort that was confiscated one of the office boys. Peter later enlists the boy's help in finding the murderer.
  • Mark Tidd: The main characters in Clarence Budington Kelland's books seem to always have a slingshot when the story calls for it, along with improbably good aim.
  • A slingshot figures prominently in the book and Film The Kite Runner.
  • In P. G. Wodehouse's novel Cocktail Time, a young man in the Drones Club is a famous crack-shot with a slingshot. In a subversion of this trope, however, the elderly Lord Ickenham hears of the man's reputation and decides to demonstrate how easy the weapon is to use. With a slingshot, he knocks of the hat of a respectable legal professional, 'Beefy' Bastable. Bastable, assuming he was 'assaulted' by a young man, then writes a scathing satire on the degeneracy of the youthful generation.
  • In Stephen King's IT, a slingshot is employed against Pennywise after the kids figure out making silver projectiles to use against the werewolf form, and used defending against the bullies. Of the seven protagonists, the one girl (Bev) is by far the best shot.
    • In the fourth book of The Dark Tower, Wizard and Glass, a slingshot is shown to be Cuthbert's weapon of choice. He is mocked only the first time he takes it out - after that, everyone knows better. He also uses metal pellets as ammunition.
  • The Monkey Wrench Gang: Used by the eponymous characters to shoot out the windows of construction equipment.
  • In Labyrinths of Echo, the personal projectile weapon of choice in the Heart of the World is called "Baboom slingshot". Pellets made of sensitive explosives make many injuries lethal and the rest requiring a lot of efforts to fix even with high-magical healing. It's metal and the tips are sharpened to use in melee; local martial artists even manage to make this look graceful.
  • Stalky of Rudyard Kipling has his well-worn catapult or 'tweaker', and used it in his trademark indirect strategy schemes as per Liddell Hart.
  • In a Will Henry short story, a school teacher uses a slingshot he had confiscated off a student earlier to drive off a gang of bullies who are attempting to run him out of town.
  • In Timothy Zahn's Blackcollar series (a high-tech setting), the titular elite force uses the slingshot as their preferred sniper weapon. Picked for concealability from searches and scanners, difficulty of locating the sniper when in use, and being friendly-fire safe (blackcollars wear armor specialized against bullets and shrapnel). This goes with the force's general theme of using low-tech, high-skill weapons and tactics, relying on enhanced reaction times and outthinking the enemy for survival and success.

    Live Action TV 
  • There's an episode of The Andy Griffith Show where Opie accidentally kills a bird with a slingshot and then must adopt the bird's babies to atone for his crime.
  • In The Beverly Hillbillies, Elly May Clampett.
  • Lindsay in CSI: New York is a good shot with a slingshot. She's a woman in her thirties. Multiple brothers are apparently the cause.
  • Trixie in the original stage version of Lazytown could be seen with one.
  • A staple of legendary 80's Venezuelan child show Contesta was a section where kids got rid of their slingshots, and the host gave them in reward a more wholesome toy and/or a short rhyme specially improvised for each kid.
  • Alex from LOST.
  • An episode of Robin Hood featured a group of young boys who reenacted Robin's adventures with slingshots.
  • In Malcolm in the Middle the boys build a gigantic slingshot on top of their roof so that they can hit people with projectiles from several blocks away without being seen.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dragonlance: The childlike (and sometimes bratty) Kender have some as their crazy, but versatile cultural weapons. The hoopak is a staff with a sling at the top which due to the whippy haft is useable as a slingshot too (a spike on the bottom end makes it also a short spear/alpenstock). The chapak is an axe with the blade's back extending as two prongs used as slingshot arms (and prying bar beak; the haft is hollowed to use as a blowgun/snorkel pipe or flute).

    Theater 
  • In The Sparrow, ten-year-old Charlie McGuckin uses a slingshot to fire marbles at Emily Book.

    Video Games 
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Ocarina of Time, the weapon you start out with as Young Link is a slingshot. Oddly, grown-up Link in Twilight Princess also gets a slingshot to play with the village kids, and it's obviated halfway through the second dungeon. It reappears in Skyward Sword, where it is more useful. Hyrule: Total War has Kokiri Child Soldiers armed with slingshots.
  • The token kid character in Shadow Hearts uses a slingshot
  • The ten year old main character of Monster Bash uses a slingshot.
  • Fallout 3 has the dart gun, which you can construct using a paint gun, surgical tubing, toy car and radscorpian's poison gland. As the name suggests it fires darts, much like a crossbow; however it is much more like a slingshot with a trigger in it's construction (using surgical tubing rather than a bow). The poison bit made it a Game Breaker as it made Deathclaws into cripples unable to move more than a snail's pace.
  • In The Goonies II, one of Mikey's weapons is a slingshot with limited ammo.
  • Jimmy from Bully has a slingshot.
  • Ape Escape: Spike's only ranged weapon is a slingshot.
  • Earthbound: A slinghot is available as an early weapon and possesses higher attack power than other weapons sold in the area, but is inaccurate to the point of being rather impractical. An upgraded bionic slingshot is available later, and makes a good weapon for everyone, due to not suffering from the aforementioned flaw.
  • NES game Little Red Hood gives the little Red a slingshot as her only means of attack. Bafflingly, instead of using the slingshot to launch pebbles or something, Red actually has to throw the slingshot to kill enemies. Throwing Your Slingshot Always Works?
  • Freddi Fish: This is the closest thing Freddi has to a Weapon of Choice, though as an Actual Pacifist she never directly shoots anyone with it. At least one version turns out to be an incredibly sophisticated device, complete with a targeting HUD.
  • Cyprien from Evil Twin Cypriens Chronicles is armed with a slingshot. Initially he can only fire stones with it, but he later gets some quite Abnormal Ammo.
  • Flintstones: The Rescue of Dino and Hoppy: A slingshot is one of the weapons Fred can use. In Surprise at the Dinosaur Peak, it's Barney who uses this weapon.
  • Conkers Bad Fur Day requires the use of a slingshot at key points. Bizarrely, in the War chapter the titular characters gets to use one to shoot flaming pellets.
  • Metal Arms: Glitch in the System has a slingshot as one of the available weapons, which is odd at first when you realize the game is set in a futuristic world of robots. It does have an excellent use though: tossing explosive grenades farther and more accurately than one would by hand.

    Visual Novels 
  • Nina in Rose Guns Days has this as her weapon of choice. Useful to create diversions or knock guns of the mooks' hands.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • The Second Intifada. Children throwing stones at soldiers with M-16 and tanks. By hand, with slings, with slingshots. Improbable Aiming Skills doesn't begin to describe the survivors: one was a teacher at school, and whenever a kid made trouble, he'd throw him a piece of chalk to the middle forehead. And never missed. No matter how hard you try to dodge. Frightening...
  • Once, in an interview, Shirley Temple mentioned she was fond of playing with a slingshot. One of her victims was apparently Eleanor Roosevelt.
  • According to Deadliest Warrior, the IRA carry around slingshots that are far more effective in a fight than the children's variety. Consider the Wrist Rocket. Introduced in 1954, it's a serious weapon (the suggested ammo is .50 cal (that's half an inch in diameter!) steel shot), and it can even be fitted with a fiber-optic sight. It may look innocuous enough - until someone uses them to launch an explosive shell.
  • The Slingshot Channel, proving that slingshots are not just toys. Includes such thing as a machete firing slingshot, a pump-action slingshot, and a slingshot gatling gun.


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