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Using the Atlatl and Dart

July 7, 2011

Sorry to be a little long between posts. I’ve been out of town for a few days. Now back to the atlatl and dart.

Using the atlatl and dart is easy. Using it well is hard. Much practice is required in order to be accurate with the atlatl.

After you have inserted your wrist through the loop on the atlatl, grip the atlatl firmly by wrapping the thumb and all four fingers around the handle.

Next take the dart in your other hand and fit the projecting point of the atlatl into the socket on the back of the dart.

Now keeping your last three fingers wrapped around the handle of the atlatl, raise your thumb and index finger and use them to pinch a grip on the dart shaft.

You are now ready to throw the dart. Stand with your shoulders square to the target and you left foot forward. Bend your left knee moving you weight over it. Extend your right leg back. Bring your right hand back, maintaining your grip on the atlatl and dart. Sweep the right hand forward trying to keep it parallel with the ground. As you come forward open your thumb and index finger but be sure and keep your grip on the atlatl with your other three fingers. Continue sweeping your right hand forward and follow through as the dart leaves the atlatl.

Did you hit the target? Me either. It takes a lot of practice.

  1. I built one of these out of bamboo to try and nock a model rocket out of a tree. I made the darts about four feet long and the atlatl about five, so that dart is shorter than the dart. The finished product threw a dart almost sixty yards, thanks to a lightweight building material. I still have the atlatl, even after most of the darts were lost or broken. It never did get the model rocket, though. That took a neighbor with a riot gun, originally intended to shoot grenades, two shots to vaporize the offending branch.

    • Holden,
      Atlatls get used for some funny stuff. I taught a young survival student how to make an atlatl. He went on to become a Marine. One night while doing guard duty on some ammo trucks he got bored and decided to make an atlatl. He threw a dart and it went astray and pierced the radiator of one of the trucks.He called his Sargent and confessed his goof. The Sargent came out, looked at the truck, looked at the atlatl and said, “Don’t ever tell anyone about this.” The next morning he looked out his barracks window to see a tow-truck hauling the wounded ammo truck off. Only instance I know of anyone killing a duce-and-a-half with an atlatl.
      Thanks for reading,

  2. thepalmettowoodsman permalink

    I’m planning on making one soon. I’m preparing myself to be patient as I understand it takes quite some time and practice before even thinking of trying to use this for anything.

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