How to Fire an Elastic Band Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

How to Fire an Elastic Band

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NOTE: the information contained within this entry is designed to help you to have fun, not to cause injury to others. Do not use this information to try to hurt, irritate or upset other people. If you do, you have nobody to blame but yourself.

An elastic band is a rather strange creation. It is a piece of stretchy elastic, usually brown, used to hold things together - paper and money being the two favourites. Some groups favour special coloured elastic bands, such as the red ones used by the Royal Mail. Some are thin and weedy, while others are big, tough and excellent for firing!

The Technique

Firing an elastic band is fairly easy, but firing it accurately is not. Most band-shooters will adopt the 'off-the-thumb' technique. This is where the shooter hooks one end of the elastic band over his or her thumb, then pulls it back and releases to fire. While fairly accurate over short distances, this technique is lacking in the long-distance sniping competitions that can wage across classrooms, offices and other large spaces where a target can be set up. What's more, users of this method often fall prey to the dreaded misfire and wind up shooting their own thumb.

In order to successfully fire your elastic band, you should loop it around the fingers and thumb of your left hand. Next, spread your fingers to gain tension and, using your right index finger, pull down on the length joining thumb to pinky. Next, release all fingers except your index. Rotate the index finger of your left hand so that your right hand is aiming and your left is holding the tight band.

This method is a very efficient one. The priming method twists the band, making it fly more accurately and reduces the odds of a misfire. With practice, this method of priming can be done with frightening speed. The additional power it provides means that when you do hit, you are far more likely to cause significant damage and sometimes enough to dent an empty drinks can!

If you are in a band-war when you are not supposed to be, the band can quickly and easily be rolled up your left hand and around your wrist, leaving you with the simple task of explaining why that pencil is balanced between two desks like that...

This method can be used by both the left-handed and right-handed. Do not try to flip the instructions.


Now that you know how to shoot, here's some ideas for what to shoot at:

  • Blackboard Tic-Tac-Toe: Draw a grid and fire at the board. The square you hit is the square your cross or circle is drawn into. Using this technique, you can hit the blackboard with impressive accuracy from the other side of your average classroom.

  • Pencil Sniping: Balance a pencil on two soft-drink cans or similar objects, then try to knock it off without disturbing the cans.

  • Can Stack: Set up a stack of six cans and fire.

Happy firing!

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