Saturday, June 20, 2015

Simple Shot Slingshot Scout and Torque Review

I am not going to develop a scoring system for slingshots because I don't really know enough about them to make such fine distinctions. I have a good handle on the band shapes and materials.  I understand the basics of side shooters v. normal slingshots.  But I am not super serious about them, not as serious as some.  Given that, think of these reviews more as a summary of my experience with the two units and a quick overview of the plus and minuses as opposed to the more critical, cerebral reviews of knives and flashlights that I normally do.  I am not a slinghshot aficiando, but merely someone who likes to take out a few bottles every once in a while.  And that's the great thing about slingshots--for a few bucks and a little bit of time you can get a damn good shooter that is accurate, tough, and fun.  You don't need invest a lot on slingshots to have fun.

Simple Shot Slingshots are really the first system and full product line of enthusiast-grade slingshots.  You don't just get a fork and band--they have thought of it all--bands of all types, pouches, forks, everything.  And it is not just products and accessories, they have the entire thing down pat.  How so you might ask?  Well, their bands are sealed in their packages to ensure that the bands remain elastic until you decide to open them.  They also have a design aesthetic and inventiveness that goes beyond merely rethinking the shape of slingshot.  

The two that are reviewed here are both entry level slingshots, one of which is the core of an incredibly versatile system that can take you from backyard plunker to backwoods dead eye, and the other of which is, for lack of a better term, an EDC slingshot.  Both are available from and designed by Simple Shot Slingshots.  The "system" slingshot is known as the Scout and the EDC slingshot is the Torque.  Both offer a great pick-up-and-play experience and both can be very accurate.  For their price, $39.95 and $29.95 respective, the Scout and Torque, while not a part of my core EDC kit or my hiking gear, make any trip outside a bit more fun.

Twitter Review Summaries: A pair of awesome plunkers.

The Scout

I have owned a few slingshots before, including the very good one I reviewed here.  In the end, they all fell to the wayside because changing the bands was a pain the in ass.  I'd shoot it for a while and then the bands wear out (they always wear out, bands are like batteries--a consumable).  I'd replace them, finding bands where I could.  Then it would come time to shoot and whaddyaknow one was slightly shorter than the other and the whole slingshot would pull to one side.  I'd untie them and try again and again and again.  Untying rubber is not an easy thing to do, but getting your bands dead even is even harder.  The Scout coupled with Simple Shot's pre-assembled bands solves all of those problems.


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Yes, the bands will cost you more than just getting rubber tubing at Home Depot, but given the amount of time I was spending redoing bands, I was getting paid something like eleven cents an hour (you know, time is  money).  The pre-assembled bands come with the pouch centered and the FlipClips on the Scout make retying a thing of the past.

Here is a shot of the front of the FlipClips:

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and a shot of the back.

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Simply unscrew the clamp, feed in a bit of the band, and screw the clamp back down.  It takes about 90 seconds to get DEAD even bands.  The FlipClips also allow for over-the-top or traditional configurations and take all sorts of band shapes--flats or tubes (generally, flats are faster shooters but tubes are more durable).  The rest of the Scout's body is high strength plastic with a rubberized grip.  It can be shot either side shooter style or traditional, and there are finger impressions to guide your hand to the perfect grip position.  Overall, the impression the Scout makes is a good one.  Slingshots are no longer the exclusive domain of small home brew guys.  Simple Shot's stuff all looks and feels high end, on par with any of the rest of the gear we carry.

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The Scout is also available in ton of color combinations and I chose white and red to make sure I wouldn't lose the slingshot if I put it down while on a hike.  The entire thing is very compact and very sturdy.  A few minor fork hits have done little to the entire unit, but more on that in a second.  There is no question that the Scout is a huge leap forward for slingshots, the perfect shooter for someone like me that has an interest in slingshots but doesn't do it all the time.  I imagine that the band adjustment process becomes quicker with experience, but with the Scout, why bother?  This is a great starter shooter and its versatility means it could be your sole shooter as you move up to become a more experienced marksman.

There is one thing that the Scout did poorly.  The FlipClips have three pieces--the clamp, the screw, and a small plastic ring that acts as a seat for the screw.  Without the ring, the screw passes through the forks and pokes out the other end.  It also can tighten down too much and damage the forks.  The ring isn't strictly necessary but without it the Scout probably won't last as long.  Well, that's a problem. A few fork hits, minor ones really, shatter the ring on the right fork.  I did some fiddling and got the FlipClip to work without them, but it wasn't ideal.  I then took a quick trip to the hardware store and found some neoprene washers.  They worked perfectly, solving all of the problems the ring was intended to solve AND being far more resistant to strikes.  This isn't a fatal flaw, but it is something Simple Shot should look into.  The solution is a very inexpensive one.  

Overall, the Scout is an excellent slingshot, the center of a shooter system that could last you quite a long time, but still a fun plunker good for beginners.

The Torque

The Torque is an entirely different beast.  It is small, simple, incredibly lightweight and an exclusive over the top shooter, side shooter.  There is a honeycomb pattern cut into the body to make the Torque exceptionally lightweight without any real lost of strength or rigidity.  The Torque review sample (sent by Simple Shot, the Scout was purchased with personal funds) was tube banded with doubled up configuration.  This combination is perfect for the occasional shooter, as it is strong and durable, much longer lasting than the Scout's out of box flat band configuration.  

In the picture below you can see just how small the Torque is.  Its size and weight make it an ideal EDC slingshot according to Simple Shot, though I am never going to EDC such a specific and attention grabbing item.  For me, the size and weight made it easy to tuck the Torque into the pocket for a hike.

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The cutouts really do lighten the load here as they are both numerous and large.  Despite the proliferation of perforations (oh man), the Torque was strong in hand, demonstrating no flex at all and withstanding quite a few fork hits as I was learning to shoot it.

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One thing I would note about the Torque is the side cutouts in the forks for threading the tube through, they make it possible for the bands to slip out when shooting.  If you used the over the top method, they will never come out, but newer users or less careful folks might pull the bands out of place.  Putting them back in is easy, but them slipping could result in a misfire.

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The Torque was an excellent plunker, a fun thing to take when you hike around water.  It was very durable and the double band configuration added to that.  It is small enough for my five year old son to use (with safety glasses and close supervision). While not as versatile as the Scout, the Torque has more "pick up and play", as you don't need to fidget with band attachments and the like.

Both the Scout and the Torque are miles ahead of other slingshots on the market both in terms of design and execution.  There are a lot of custom sling shots out there (yes, there are customs) that are nice,r but in terms of production stuff,these look factory made while most other stuff looks like it was made in someones garage (because they were).  Either would make a good, fun summer item, but if I could only choose one and I had no illusions about wanting to get obsessed with slingshots, the Torque would be my first choice. If I thought there was a chance I'd fall deeper into this weird rabbit hole, I'd buy the Scout.  Both are good starter units, and both are better than any other company's production slingshots I have seen.  

9 comments:

  1. I've been wanting a slingshot for awhile and this post helped solve the dilemma for me. Just ordered a Torque in green!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Conider getting this stuff to protect your bands and tubes

    http://www.amazon.com/303-Aerospace-Protectant-Trigger-Sprayer/dp/B0004ELKC4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1434892619&sr=8-2&keywords=303+Products+Aerospace+Protectant&pebp=1434892634885&perid=0S9H1ZCDDGMX0H3TNH75

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fork hits can be avoided by paying attention to your release. The Scout slingshot cannot be damaged from overtightening the clips. The clips can be damaged from overtightening, but the slingshot itself is practically bullet proof. Check out the SimpleShot youtube for some great tutorial videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/everythingslingshots

    ReplyDelete
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