Even before man had discovered fire, he utilized tools in his everyday life. Most certainly in his array of tools were weapons that he used to kill game for food and to defend himself from other tribes intent on taking what was his.
The first weapons were of very simple design, made from stone or wood. Very likely man first realized the value of weapons when he threw a rock at a bird or rabbit to provide food for himself and his tribe or family. As man realized the usefulness and importance of weapons he tried to create more effective weapons. So through trial and error over the centuries stone was eventually replaced with steel.
By simply throwing a stone man could extend his reach far beyond his grasp. Small animals like birds, rabbits, squirrels, or even lizards and snakes can be taken with a rock. However, sometime in the distant past man determined that he could throw a stone much farther and harder by using a sling. The oldest known surviving example of a sling is from about 2,500 years ago from South America, although it’s almost certain it has existed much longer.
A sling is a length of cord made from plant fibers like hemp or flax, or materials from animals like wool or leather. It consisted of a finger loop on one end to insert the thumb or middle fingerwith a small flat pouch in the middle, it then had a small grip on the end made from a knot or a flat patch.
By placing the stone in the center patch, grasping the free end and spinning the sling over head then releasing the free end at just the right time, (this takes quite a bit of practice) a stone can be hurled much farther and harder than throwing by hand. Larger game could be taken with a sling by hitting it in the head with the projectile.
A man could be easily brought down using a sling as well. As technology advanced, lead sling bullets that could travel twice the distance of stone and hit the target with much greater effect replaced the stone projectiles. Slings were actually used quite frequently and with great effect as a weapon of war in ancient times.