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Brats with Slingshots

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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.

Tends to be used by 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.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The ending of Doraemon: Nobita and the Tin Labyrinth have Nobita and Doraemon confronting the main villain, Professor Napogistler who rules the robot army, trying to reason with him. When Napogistler refuses to scrap his plan to Kill All Humans, Doraemon then takes out a slingshot and threatens to use it, causing Napogistler to name-drop the trope ("You think a couple of brats with slingshots are going to scare me?"). Cue Doraemon firing a disc into Napogistler's mouth — one containing a Computer Virus that can shut down the entire robot army from Napogistler's brain.
  • Usopp from One Piece used these when he actually was a brat and never stopped, even when he became a pirate. 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. The Improbable Aiming Skills he got from his father (who is part of one of the best pirate crews in the sea) also help. Exaggerated 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. It's stated that the bands cause the ammo to spin in the air, in effect giving his slingshot a rifling effect. This is significant as the guns in the series use ball ammo and no rifling.
  • 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.
  • In Ulysses 31, Telemachus is occasionally seen using a slingshot which fires energy balls.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • Robin (1993): Tim Drake chose a slingshot from an arrangement of weapons when tasked with choosing one to master by his chosen master. He becomes very good at using it but when his training is derailed by Lady Shiva and she asks him the same question as his new martial arts instructor he chooses a staff instead for its non-lethal atributes and is rarely thereafter seen with a slingshot despite how good he was with one.
  • In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Robin uses one.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: Huey, Dewey and Louie have used them many times in the comics, frequency Depending on the Writer, more often in European stories.
  • Asterix: In "Asterix in Spain", Pepe, the Bratty Half-Pint son of the Spanish chief Huevos y Bacon has a slingshot as his weapon of choice. He dings Julius Caesar twice with it.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dennis the Menace:
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin has used one at least once, but he prefers to fling snowballs (and he once made a giant slingshot for hurling large snowballs).
  • A cartoon that Whitney Darrow, Jr. did for The New Yorker depicts one circus elephant talking to another: "There's a character in this town I'd like to catch up with — a snub-nosed, freckle-faced, barefooted little upstart in blue denims, goddamn handy with a slingshot. I guess he'd be about sixty now."

    Fan Works 
  • Viridian: The Green Guide: When Izuku is looking for items to use for his vigilante weapons at a hardware store, he comes across a display of hunting slingshots. He decides to buy one and also purchases a large number of marbles in bulk at a toy store to use as ammunition.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Tremors 4: The Legend Begins, set in the Wild West era, the Chang boy brings out a slingshot when everybody in town shows Hiram that they're armed.
  • In Ring of Fear, Wallace the circus manager confiscates a slingshot from a trio of boys who are looking at the animals. O'Malley later uses the slingshot to further antagonize the tiger he hates.
  • The second Shaolin Temple movie, Kids from Shaolin, have a couple of the younger boys from the Long family hitting things with their slingshots. They even managed to help out in the final battle by firing a couple of stones into a bandit Elite Mook's butt, distracting him long enough for the heroes to defeat him.
  • Used in the climax of Leprechaun to defeat the titular villain. Young boy Alex places the four leaf clover into a wad of gum before firing it into the leprechaun's mouth.
    Alex: F—- you Lucky Charms!

  • The murder weapon in the Lord Peter Wimsey novel Murder Must Advertise is a "catapult" of this sort that was confiscated from 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.
  • 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 off 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 require a lot of effort 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's Stalky & Co. has his well-worn catapult or 'tweaker', and used it in his trademark indirect strategy schemes as per Liddell Hart.
  • Una, in Puck of Pook's Hill, unwittingly dings a Roman centurion with hers. He tries it out in his turn but hits nothing but his thumb and gravely observes that a man should stick to the weapons he knows.
  • 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.
  • In Pact, Blake Thorburn recounts having been attacked by a bunch of kids with slingshots and potato guns while he was homeless. He forgives them, on the grounds that Children Are Innocent, i.e., he does not believe that they really understood what they were doing when they attacked him.
  • In The Hunger Games, Katniss comments on Rue's skill with a slingshot, but then notes that this would offer the younger girl little protection against the stronger tributes.
  • Thinner: Gina Lempke, great-granddaugther of Tadzu Lempke, is highly skilled with a slingshot, and even performs with it for money. She uses it to shoot a ball bearing through Billy's hand when he comes to the Gypsy camp to demand the curse is taken off, and it's strongly implied she killed Frank Spurton, the man Richie hired to spy on the Gypsies, with it.
  • Hope in Sky Jumpers uses a slingshot to shoot rotten apples at the horses the bandits are riding at the orchard, spooking them so they rear up and drop their rider off.
  • The horrible Balbini twins in The New Chalet School have a catapult, which Mario Balbini uses to shoot stones at Joey Bettany while she's having lunch with her friends. Joey responds by confiscating and breaking the catapult, and the Balbinis get their own back by playing a series of pranks on the school with their gang, the Mystic M.
  • Deeplight: Hark and Jelt carry slingshots, which they use to take out a couple of beacon towers. It's no harmless prank; they're being paid by smugglers to do it.
  • In John Birminghams short story Fortune and Glory, the three protagonists use slingshots. The story is set in S.M. Stirlings Emberverse world, where modern technology, including firearms, has failed and bows, crossbows and slingshots are the only ranged weapons. One of the characters loads her pouch with several steel balls for an instant ‘area suppression’ shot when ambushed.
  • Everland: Bella's weapon of choice is a slingshot.

    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 Borrowers, a gang of boys start firing slingshots at figures in the model village, decapitating the policeman. One of them takes aim at Pod, who is standing dead still, pretending to be one of the figures.
  • Lou in Bunk'd thinks of any kid with a slingshot is this trope, although averted with Gwen.
  • Lindsay in CSI: NY is a good shot with a slingshot. She's a woman in her thirties. An only child, apparently her father wanted a boy as he often gave her shotguns and fishing rods for birthday presents.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In the made-for-TV movie Problem Child 3, Junior uses his to excellent effect. On the flank of a horse. Behold.
  • Lucas from Stranger Things has a slingshot, though he stresses that's it's technically a "Wrist Rocket."
  • Doctor Who
    • "The Talons of Weng Chiang," guest character Henry Gordon Jago comments that he was "a dab hand with a catapult" as a boy.
    • A Seventh Doctor Episode had Ace sniping Cybermen with a slingshot and gold coins.
  • On Riverdale Jughead's baby sister Jellybean saves Archie by hitting would-be assassin Penny Penny Peabody in the head with her slingshot.
  • A group of new survivors introduced in Season 9 of The Walking Dead use slingshots to fight zombies, and are able to pick them off with headshots with relative ease.
  • Agatha Raisin: In "Agatha Raisin and the Fairies of Fryfam," the killer uses a military-grade slingshot firing ball bearings in an attempt to do in Agatha.
  • El Chavo del ocho used one in several episodes, mostly to hunt lizards.
  • Midsomer Murders: In "With Baited Breath", the third Victim of the Week is done in with a projectile fired from a commercial fishing slingshot (normally used to fire bait into the water).
  • A vignette on The Benny Hill Show has Benny improvise a slingshot out of a stick and some undies. He subsequently runs around causing havoc with it. Surprisingly Realistic Outcome when he accidentally deflates a stripper while trying to pop the balloon she uses in her act, and nearly gets lynched, sparking the customary Chase Sequence used to end each episode.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The Bible: King 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).

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dragonlance: The childlike (and sometimes bratty) Kender have the hoopak, a staff with a sling at the top and a spike on the bottom end, so it can be used as a slingshot or a spear. Kender also have the chapak, 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).
  • Mutant Chronicles: The Children of Illian are small child like zombies who have slingshots that can knock a mans head off.

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

  • LEGO Minifigures:
    • In the first wave of The Simpsons minifigures, classic troublemaker Bart Simpson is depicted with his trademark slingshot in his back pocket. In the second wave, a slingshot is the accessory of his superhero alter-ego, Bartman.
    • In the second wave of Disney minifigures, classic half-pint Dewey Duck comes with a slingshot, making him the most heavily armed of the three nephews.

    Video Games 
  • In The Legend of Zelda: 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 combat-wise.note  It reappears in Skyward Sword, where it is more useful. Hyrule: Total War has Kokiri Child Soldiers armed with slingshots.
  • Halley Brancket from the first Shadow Hearts 1 is a 12-years old Street Urchin, who uses slingshots as his weapon. His naming screen even calls him "Heckling Brat".
  • Fallout 3 has the dart gun, which you can construct using a paint gun, surgical tubing, toy car and radscorpion'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 its construction (using surgical tubing rather than a bow). The poison bit makes it a Game-Breaker, as it makes anything that attacks in melee, even Deathclaws, into cripples unable to move at more than a snail's pace.
  • In The Goonies II (as well as Wai Wai World), one of Mikey's weapons is a slingshot with limited ammo.
  • Jimmy from Bully has a slingshot. He eventually upgrades from the classic 50's Y-shaped stick to a more modern one with a wrist brace.
  • Ape Escape: Spike's only ranged weapon is a slingshot.
  • Deceive Inc.: While Agent Yu-Mi isn't a child, she appears to be the youngest member of Deceive Inc. and uses slingshots that can be loaded with EMP pellets.
  • Mother:
    • EarthBound Beginnings: Slingshots are purchasable weapons from the First Town Podunk's department store and can be equipped by all members of the party, though they have low attack power and are outclassed pretty handily by the other weapons in the game, some of which include baseball bats, frying pans, ray guns and swords.
    • EarthBound (1994): 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: Cyprien's Chronicles is armed with a slingshot. Initially he can only fire stones with it, but he later gets some quite Abnormal Ammo.
  • The Flintstones: The Rescue Of Dino & Hoppy: A slingshot is one of the weapons Fred can use. In Surprise at the Dinosaur Peak, it's Barney who uses this weapon.
  • Conker's 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.
  • The Secret World has the League of Monster Slayers, a bunch of kids quite adept at killing monsters with the use of weapons a kid could use - wooden stakes, firecrackers and, well, a slingshot. The PC needs to collect these weapons in one of the quests.
  • In Deadlight, the slingshot is used to hit targets or create distractions. Shooting a Walker with it is pointless.
  • In the TaleSpin Licensed Game for the Sega Genesis, a slingshot is Kit Cloudkicker's basic attack. While it is able to attack enemies at a further distance than Baloo's paddleball, it's only half as powerful.
  • LIT (2009)'s protagonist, Jake, has one that he can use to shatter windows to let light in through, and also break electric appliances (computers, TVs, lamps) to control the power usage in the room he's traversing. Pellets come individually and have to be carefully rationed, and they're single use.
  • In Persona 5, Morgana is a snarky cat-thing who uses slingshots as his primary ranged weapon. He can rapid-fire it, too.
  • Shroomboom from Skylanders uses a slingshot as his primary weapon, and him creating it plays into his backstory. He came from a pizza topping garden belonging to Kaos, and he and all his fungi friends knew one day they would be on the chopping block. Thus, Shroomboom took a twig and a strand of spider web to make his slingshot, using it to fire his friends and eventually himself out of the garden. In combat, Shroomboom primarily uses the slingshot to shoot bouncing explosive mushrooms rapidly (which can be charged to launch a bigger mushroom). Alternatively, he can use it to launch Mushroom Paratroopers that can be used as traps by pushing opponents into where the paratroopers will land. He can even launch himself as a massive projectile and, with his Series 2 version, can also summon mushroom bumpers to become a literal Pinball Projectile.
  • In Horizon Zero Dawn, slingshots are used by Aloy to fire grenades of various types.
  • In the Animal Crossing games from Wild World onwards, one of the tools your villager can use is the slingshot. This is mostly used to pop balloons carrying presents that fly through the sky every ten minutes, but in Wild World and City Folk, your villager can also use it to shoot down Gulliver's Flying Saucer, and in Wild World, your villager can use it to shoot down Pete the Postman. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the villager uses the slingshot as a weapon.
  • Betabound
    • The slingshot is an early-game craftable weapon which can later be upgraded to shoot military-grade grenades.
    • The incredibly simple console command allows the spawning of slingshots which fire whatever number projectile at once.
  • In the Dennis the Menace Licensed Game for the SNES, a slingshot is one of the weapons Dennis can use to defeat enemies.
  • El Hijo - A Wild West Tale: El Hijo's weapon from the start of the game is a slingshot. He can use it to open window shutters and break locks on cages.

    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.

    Web Comics 
  • Sleepless Domain: Zoe Blecher wields a silver slingshot as her Magical Girl weapon of choice. From it she can fire off seeds that sprout into metallic flowers that can push, weigh down, and/or impale enemy monsters. The slingshot as a weapon stands out for Zoe in particular — while slingshots are typically associated with bratty young boys, Zoe is instead a female Shrinking Violet. The author has in fact credited The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time as the primary inspiration for her choice of weapon.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons: Bart Simpson is probably the most well-known example, although he hasn't used his slingshot much of late. Inspired by Dennis the Menace (US), Word of God is that Matt Groening wanted to ensure Bart Simpson used his slingshot, because his recollection was that Dennis just carried one.
    • Bart's slingshot and the connection with Dennis was lampshaded and mocked by a group of tweenaged friends of Lisa in "Summer of 4 Ft. 2"
    "Who does he think he is, with that slingshot in his back pocket? Dennis the Menace?"
  • Wheelie of The Transformers is a child-like robot, and his weapon of choice is his little slingshot.
  • During a Histeria! sketch about Apollo 13, Loud Kiddington is shown using a slingshot to knock his pals' coffee mugs out of their hands.
  • In the pilot of Courage the Cowardly Dog, Courage digs one up to hit a space chicken.
  • Mixadel from Mixels is actually a living catapult, but he uses it just like the spoiled brat with a slingshot he is would, tossing things from dodgeballs to spitballs at other students.
  • In the first half of season one of Star Wars Rebels Ezra uses an energy slingshot. It's almost entirely useless (being the only weapon in the series that Stormtrooper armor actually protects against; throwing fruit explicitly does more damage) and he abandons it pretty quickly.
  • The Fairly OddParents!, Timmy, Chester, and AJ use slingshots in "Boy Toy", though mostly on old junk. The only human they fire at is Tootie, and they use water balloons as ammo rather than anything dangerous.

    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.
  • Jörg Sprave's Slingshot Channel has been proving for years that slingshots are not just toys. Within the catalog are monsters such as a machete firing slingshot, a pump-action slingshot, and a slingshot gatling gun. Even the more basic models are more than strong enough to pierce coconuts and go straight through 30 centimeters of ballistic gelatin, and his smallest slingshot yet can break a solid champagne bottle.
  • When the Athenians invaded Sicily to bring "New Greece" under its control, the previously invincible (but slow) hoplites of the phalanx were harried all the way to and from Syracuse by light, fast, enemies sniping with slings who took a deadly toll. Many of the Syracusian slingers were just children.