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Reviews > Base Camp Gear > Pocket Shot Pocket Hammer > Test Report by joe schaffer
The Pocket Shot Sling Shot
NAME: Joe Schaffer
HOME: Bay Area, California USA
I enjoy California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year. For comfort I lug tent, mattress, chair and such. Typical summer trips run 5-8 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food and water related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day in the bright and sunny granite in and around Yosemite. I winter base camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); a mile or so (1.6 km) on snowshoes.
Product: The Pocket Shot-Black
Manufacturer: Pocket Shot, LLC.
Length with stowed pouch: 2.3 in (58 mm)
Length w/ ready pouch: 5 in (127 mm)
Ring outside diameter: 1.3 in ( cm)
•projectile speed up to 350 fps (107 mps)
•1/4-5/16 in (6.4-7.9 mm) recommended shot
cap, rings, pouch: 2 oz (55 g)
cap: 3/4 oz (21 g)
black pouch: 3/8 oz (11 g)
blue pouch: 1/2 oz (13 g)
Total relaxed length: 5 in (127 mm)
Pouch relaxed length: 3 7/8 in (98 mm)
Black Pouch extended length: 9 in (23 cm)
Ring outside diameter: 2 3/8 in (60 mm)
Ring inside diameter: 1 5/8 in (41 mm)
MSRP: $25 US
Received: October 14, 2017
This is a slingshot that uses an elastic pouch instead of a strap for loading energy behind a projectile. The pouch can hold multiple projectiles (as shown in the directions attending the product, though the lawyer page for liability says not to do it). The pouch anchors to a round base gripped in the fingers of one hand, palm towards up, similar to holding a flashlight but with enough grip strength to hold the ring steady as the pouch is pulled back. The ring is grooved all the way around to gain purchase for grip. Aim the Pocket Shot as one might aim a flashlight, pinch the pouch in front of the projectile load and pull back on the pouch. The pouch is molded in substantially the same shape as a pipe reamer--cone shaped with ridges. The pouch folds into the ring for storage. The ring has a screw-on cap. Fishing and other accessory items are available on the website, including various ammo choices and replacement pouches and parts.
The blue pouch is the Pro model and has substantially stronger elasticity. It's hard for me to pull back. If the arthritis has a good day, perhaps I'll be able to take advantage of the more powerful potential.
An inner ring/outer ring assembly holds the pouch in place. According to instructions, the inner ring must not be over-tightened or it will be difficult to replace the pouch. At the moment that appears to be the case.
However, reading the instructions (argh) again (ARGH) reveals that the cap can be turned around and inserted to use as a tool. Directions don't say which way to turn, and as I held it, the cap needed to be turned clockwise, which seemed backwards for loosening.
Lawyer page warns against using ammo such as BBs, rocks, glass or any type of sharp object.
And perhaps it should be noted if not patently obvious that a product capable of spitting out a projectile at 350 fps (100 mps) is not a toy and is capable of causing injury.
How can this not be fun? I can shoot multiple projectiles at once if I want, (which may not be within vendor guidelines) and in my book shotgun always outranks solo bullet for killing beer cans adequately dead. I might be able to fire grape tomatoes at squirrels chewing on the internet cable, which will give the crows something to eat instead of squirrel babies. I might dirty a neighbor's window, but shouldn't break anything. I can't think of a more win-win-win situation. Even the grocer's happy! (The lawyer page says the product might kill small animals, but presumably they aren't anticipating tomatoes as bullets.)
Replacement pouches are available on the website, so I won't have to be careful about what kind of detritus I load. (It should be noted that the lawyer page says not to use anything except paintballs, airsoft pellets and slingshot ammo.) My backpacking Leave-No-Trace ethos objects to flinging not-in-nature projectiles about the wilderness, so I will not be using manufactured loads. (Kudos to the mfr. for not selling lead, but I don't like leaving any kind of man-made stuff out there.)
I took a few quick shots in the bedroom (which the lawyer page says could kill me) and lost the (plastic) projectiles. (I may be in trouble with an authority far more capable of instilling fear.) They went fast enough I couldn't see them in the short distance of a room; and they seemed to hit what I was aiming at, though one did ricochet off several walls.
I feel compelled to nit-pick that the beverage can shot on the website doesn't look much of a test of accuracy or power--arm's length distance?
Long Term Report
1. Oct 20-27, 2017: Emigrant/Yosemite Wilderness, California. 31 mi (50 k) 4,700-8,100 ft (1,400-2,500 k).
2. Oct 29, 2017: Bedroom (which vendor says explicitly not to do)
3. Multiple occasions: Deck, 10 ft (3 m) off ground level.
1. Emigrant/Yosemite: I had hopes of making it to a large lake in Yosemite (Spotted Fawn) where the beach would provide abundant, polished pebbles (though not any of the ammo listed by the vendor as acceptable) and the water a convenient backdrop for assailing floating targets. However, closure of the road over Cherry Creek Dam added too many miles to the hike to make it to that destination. The places I did camp had only granite shards and I abided the vendor's admonitions regarding inappropriately sharp munitions. However, on the return trip at the lower altitude of the hike I picked up a couple pocketfuls of acorns. I expected these might make splendid projectiles--naturally occurring in the environment, smooth and towards round (much like a hazel nut)--and I only wish I'd had the wherewithal to sustain a larger stash for home. I did errantly note out loud the irony of plying acorns against my rodent nemesis and was ordered to deplete my pockets pursuant to getting in the car. (Sometimes people just have no sense of humor--I would never throw anything at those tree rats but expletives.)
2. House (indoor use against manufacturer's recommendation): I could not wait until my next trip to test my secreted acorns as munitions. I fired off a couple from the deck, coming remarkably close to a can-size target about 50 ft (16 m) away. Unfortunately a gaggle of resident feral cats is often in the area and I fear being seen as a kitten shooter and who'd believe I'm not, so I bring my artillery indoors. The first time I set up a pillow on the bed as a backdrop to my 50-page AARP monthly bulletin. On my maiden shot I could not find the acorn, having heard it hit the paper at a measured 16 ft (4.9 m). An acorn in the bedroom could lead to discomfiting questions if found by someone other than myself. After checking around on the floor and surrounds I looked behind the paper. Much to my surprise and amusement the PocketShot had propelled the nut completely through the monthly. I was so impressed I shot the paper a dozen more times using the same lucky nut. Though it has cracked, it remains a viable bullet for further diversion--how efficient! The paper is not so lucky and I had more trouble getting through it than the acorn.
I found that if the pouch is drawn back off center it can sting the palm when released. Evidently I got lazy or perhaps distracted trying to improve my aim and let the fat part of my thumb base get in the way of the contracting pocket. I hope fear of reoccurence will not affect future performance.
3. Deck: When the feral cats hang out somewhere else I have a clear range. I replenished my acorns returning from a walk downtown, though of a different variety. This batch is relatively long and skinny, with a sharp point not altogether unlike a bullet. The ballistic coefficient on these acorns is not good for slingshot ammo. The pointed end is lightest, but would quickly damage the pouch. Shooting them from the heavy end of course causes them to turn around in flight, thereby making the path highly erratic. I took about 20 shots at various targets all more than 25 ft (8 m) and marveled how the nuts sliced and hooked and dove, more like the flight of a sparrow. I never came close to any target, but I did avoid hitting anything man made and frightened the blackberry bramble into retreat. It was great amusement watching the acorns flitter about and hearing them whistle and whack as they ricocheted off the ground and into the bushes. I seem to be able to take 15-20 shots before the arthritis in my gun hand starts whining. Wrist pain begins to diminish grip strength and the risk of a backfire must be accounted.
The force of a shot causes the pouch to squirt through the ring, which must then be pushed back through to proper position. This slows my reloading time, especially since my fingers aren't quite long enough to push it all the way back, requiring some fiddling to get the pouch restored to ready.
I probably could have anticipated failure in this regard, or perhaps it would be possible to practice until perfect, but even grape tomatoes wanted to squish, projecting little more than muck. I thought I might be able to pinch the pouch in front of the load, but that didn't work out.
The Pocket Shot is much more powerful than it looks, shoots with remarkable accuracy. The blue pouch is too stout for me, and I get kicks enough from the black one. It is so small and light that it's a must carry for those times I would expect to find locally available munitions.
Repeating the vendor's caution against shooting indoors, I discovered the lost shot on my last backpack outing. This shot ricocheted around the room and then went silent. It found its way into one of the pockets on the hip belt of a pack that was sitting on the floor. It is such a lovely little projectile I thought about firing it off into Catfish Lake, but I wasn't about to go in after it.
b) easy to use
c) more powerful than it looks
Thank you Pocket Shot, LLC., and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product. This concludes test reporting.
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Reviews > Base Camp Gear > Pocket Shot Pocket Hammer > Test Report by joe schaffer
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