The Atlatl is one of the strangest weapons you’re likely to come across.
At its most basic, an atlatl is really just a stick that throws another stick… er, a spear.
This provides for a more powerful throw than simply hand-throwing a spear. The atlatl gives you serious leverage and greatly increases the deadliness and range of the projectile.
The atlatl was mostly replaced by bows and arrows, however, since the accuracy and range of a bow, plus its generally smaller size, makes it a more efficient weapon.
That said – don’t underestimate the deadly power of the atlatl. These are wicked weapons which can take down large game. They also take more work to construct properly than you might think – though a “primitive” stick that throws another stick, it’s really a highly-engineered weapon.
Though I haven’t built an atlatl yet, it’s on my list of things to do – I’m going to base it on Billy Berger’s design.
Check out his series on how to build an atlatl:
Quite a process – but seeing the really great throws in part 5 looks like the work was all worth it.