The Pocket Predator story:
Let me introduce myself, my name is William Hays. I am the designer and creator behind the Pocket Predator slingshots.
I was born in Waco Texas in the mid 1960's and have been inventing, making and shooting one thing or another pretty much all my life.
Hunting and shooting sports are a passion of mine and when a weapon whether it be a bow, knife, gun or slingshot is well designed and accurate
it brings a certain unexplanable joy to me when using it. When I worked in law enforcement, this love of accuracy helped me to achieve expert
marksman rankings in both rifle and pistol.
The Pocket Predator designs were born of a challenge offered to me by a close friend.
He knew I had designed and built improved knives and guns and was interested in seeing if I could do the same with the ergonomics and accuracy of a slingshot.
Well, I had recently taken up shooting slingshots again after a long time off, so I took up the challenge.
The first thing I did was do an internet search for slingshot shooting and techniques. After looking around quite a bit I found some pretty good examples to emulate and develop my own
Shooting style and slingshots from. One person goes by the name Bill "Tex" Herriman (two time National Champion) and another was an Englishman by the name of Neil Bingham... as well as looking at past video
footage of tournaments held in Europe and America.
By looking at what was accomplished in the past it allowed me to kind of get an idea of what might be possible in the future. I just KNEW more was possible when I saw Mr. Bingham hit a soda pop can
about 10 times in a row without missing... that told me slingshots CAN be shot with enough consistency to make them interesting for further developement... and by watching Tex Herriman shooting I was able to figure
out a technique that would allow me to pull the most accuracy from a frame.
At that time hitting a soda can sized target 9 out of 10 times was considered an almost "world class" feat... and in fact most of the tournaments I watched would have been won by someone who could do just that.
My path was clear and I had an achievable goal... to create a better slingshot and to shoot it well enough that it's accuracy could rival the best of the best.... what was needed then was some other people's work, so
that I could figure out first hand what does and what does not contribute to a better frame.
In the process of testing out many different manufacturer's slingshots and some custom slingshots as well,
I came to the conclusion there was much that could be improved upon.
Furthermore, I concluded that accuracy in any slingshot comes from REAL consistency. Bands, pouch, frame, ammo, ammo path and whether there's fouling from the pouch and or bands..
how you hold and how you release are all variables that can lead
to diminished accuracy if the slingshot is not properly designed or good shooting practices observed.
Design, invention and innovation:
First, almost every slingshot I had seen was simply a reworked "Y", in fact many were actually a "Y" or a "y"... The shooter has to contort and conform to the slingshot to shoot at
the correct angle instead of the slingshot being designed to fit the shooter's hand and natural shooting style properly.... that leads to inconsistencies in shot to shot hold.
Second, the materials used in the manufacture of the slingshots I'd seen were not the best for the purpose with which they were serving.
Third, the elastics used in the propulsion system for slingshots can be widely varied in type. No single slingshot could properly utilize different types
or different attachment configurations... such as shooting over the top of the forks or shooting through the forks with tubes and or flatbands.
Fourth, after trying a lot of things out, designing and building many different concepts and
reviewing slow motion footage of bands I came to the conclusion that the most consistently accurate setup is for through the forks (TTF) shooting.
That led to my simple invention of redoing the forks so that the bands are tied around the outside of the forks instead of pulling against a slot...
this gave the least amount of shot fouling in the same size frame... and since everything is in line when drawing, no part of the fork obscuring the line of the band, it's
the easiest method for true precision aiming and "intuitive" shooting.
This simple innovation, where you aim a slingshot the same way as a tubed weapon changed everything....
It increased consistency and accuracy... it made the frame virtually "handslap" free, and because the pouch goes through forks straight, it causes the pouch to open up completely before reaching the end of it's elastic
stroke... That means return to sender (RTS) shots are basically a thing of the past as well. Adding all the advantages together makes for a more pleasant long term shooting experience, and thus
allowed the next level of shooting to be realized by many all over the world.... because when there's no handslap or RTS to contend with you're able to use better, more traditional types of aiming concepts.
For example, keeping everthing in one
aiming line for a true point and shoot method and now since there's
no need for flipping you can shoot lighter ammo with much greater speed without the fear of a punishing slap to your holding hand... this making the trajectory much flatter
causing the impact point to be much closer to the aim point.
To get it all started the first thing I did is research the best materials to use for the making of a slingshot. The materials needed to be light but not to light.
They need to be strong but not brittle, and they need to be able to be formed into somewhat complex shapes... and if at all possible,
the materials need to have an attractive
Keeping all that in mind I settled on using a variety of space age and a few traditional materials...
To name just a few... G10 & G11 composites, Dymondwood, Micarta, phenolics, multiplex woods, aircraft aluminum and super strong high tech resins!
The next thing I did was to design the slingshot to fit the hand, grip, wrist and forearm with proper ergonomics so it lines up properly when you grip
the slingshot and point it at the target with a more natural, unstressed feel.
Instead of the other way around where you try and make your hand conform to the shape of the slingshot, the slingshot conforms to you and your shooting preferences.
After much experimentation I found the grip types, sizes, styles and angles that allow optimal strength and stability to be applied with a
non-wristbraced grip for a slingshot... because I also decided that "no wrist brace" is the way to go as braces limit concealment and in many jurisdictions are in conflict with the law.
After that I invented many different types of Universal Fork tips, which allow for use of all types of flatbands and tubes in over the top (OTT) or through the
forks (TTF) shooting configurations... Evolving from our inspiration of drilling a simple hole beneath the band groove in an OTT shooting slingshot for using tubes and solids in addition to bands... and then that being copied by several will known
makers.... on to over 20 different styles of Universal Fork configurations settling on a few... My favorites being the ones
that allow a simple tie on method for around the outside of the forks attachment of flat bands... and the also settling on a couple of tip designs that allow for
fast small tube changouts while still allowing for the possiblity of "one line aiming" concepts.
The forks I settled on allow the highest degree of accuracy and strength, without having weird or unusual looking things like lasers or sights needing to
be added to the forks to maintain accuracy.... and by going with a simple tie on method (unless top or side slots are incorporated as well), the attachments are faster to put on for the average person...
plus one never needs to worry about having to use a tool
or losing small parts when you simply want or need to change out bandsets.
The result of all the research and experimentation is the Pocket Predator series of slingshots!
No one has been able to produce a more accurate slingshot than these. Some say "accuracy is with the shooter", and that is true to some degree...
but that statement is misleading too.
The very best of shooters shoot more accurately with the best of tools, which is why there is a market for highly tuned sniper rifles for example... it's easier to hit the target with better equipment.
In slingshots accuracy is in consistency, and the Pocket Predator slingshots are designed to bring out the highest levels of consistency in the shooter, which allows for more accurate shooting.
It is no accident that cards are easily cut and matches are lit using them... That's the kind of accuracy they were designed for in the first place...
things most people would have believed impossible to do with a slingshot, easily accomplished by MANY good shooters using Pocket Predator and Pocket Predator styled slingshots!
Our first year was a treat, inventing many new designs... and even more new attachment methods like the TopSlots and looped clamping in addition to several other new universal fork designs.... putting up
a gallery on the website made up of examples of works that have been done.
economy line of slingshots so every one can afford a nice slingshot... or if a person just wants a "knock about" model in addition to the more expensive
high end models.
Business keeps growing and the future looks great.... AND the accuracy "bar" possible for a slingshot... it's not just cans anymore... we can light matches!
2012, and as you look at other websites that sell slingshots you'll notice there's many that look like many of my designs...
well, it's been said that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. So I'm very "flattered" to see designs like
my Ranger (complete with one of my universal fork designs)
or Hathcock or SEAL being so closely copied and so aggressively marketed... "Flattered" indeed, as some are now trying to claim credit for things that didn't
before I made them in the first place!
Anyway that being said, as we try to maintain the lead in cutting edge design and innovation,
we haven't forgotten about price and the reason we
all love slingshots in the first place.... so we offer affordably priced models in some of the best materials you can find, all with a true eye
to what it takes to be as accurate as possible with one of the "simplest" weapons in existence!
2013, it's been quite ride so far... business has expanded so much that it in itself has become a self standing concern.
Now we've had customers in over 90% of the countries on earth with a very respectable rate of growth...
The future looks bright for the further developement of slingshots.
As the year draws to an end I can say for certain, things have changed and will never be the same in the slingshot world... and we feel honored to have played a fairly significant role in the evolution of
slingshots. Where once it was considered a true world class feat to hit a soda can 9 out of 10 times... we now have many people who can do feats of marksmanship with a slingshot that most expert marksmen
can't do with a gun... Just check out the Super Shots page and see how far we have all come in a very short period of time!
2014 - 2017 Since we have become so popular both here and internationally... and demand is starting to far outdistance supply....
We decided to look into expansion of our production abilities...
In our search, water-jet cutting, EDM, CNC (lathe, mill and router), and injection molding were all looked at.... and after substantial research and experimentation we decided to go the injection molding route.
Injection molding offers the greatest and best of almost every aspect in slingshot manufacture. For example you're able to use a mold, so differences from one piece to the next piece of the same design are pretty much inperceptable.
You're able to use extremely difficult to machine by hand materials such as PolyCarbonate (many tests have shown this difficult to work with and expensive material to be the best possible for slingshot use... strong, yet will flex before breaking..
same stuff used for bullet and bomb proofing vehicles and structures).... and Colors... the whole rainbow is possible!
Because injection molding seems to be the best choice, there are some obstacles that must be overcome... mainly, the ergonomics of of most of our favorite high end pieces to not lend themselves to being made in a standard mold... So we had to get
extra creative and come up with solution after solution to each problem as they presented themselves. But, after a LOT of money, time and creativity invested... we were able to get molds made for our 7 most popular designs plus some other
things as well!
2017 This is the year when it should all come together... mass production, starting new and better tournaments, and promoting the sport to gain more popularity... This will be a great year!