First Impressions: Barnett "King Rat" Slingshots

Sixty years ago, David Barnett faced down the king of all the rats and triumphed ... and you can, too!

posted on July 27, 2023
King Rat Lede

The story of the Barnett King Rat series of slingshots echoes an old English folktale, "The King of the Cats." Unlike the felines of the folktale, the King Rat is rooted in a real event that took place in David Barnett’s childhood. Like the Cat King, the Rat King hails from West Midland, England, in an industrial market town of Willenhall. As a boy, David Barnett visited his father’s workplace, often after school, waiting to be taken home.

For his seventh birthday in 1972, his father brought back from America a tubular band slingshot. The new contraption was so different from all the things he had seen from classmates and neighbors. Mesmerized by the slingshot, he couldn’t wait to kill some vermin with the “Pocket Full of Power.” Armed with marbles, David Barnett set out amongst the overloaded trash bins in the backyards of the local buildings as he set his sights on the numerous black rats that scavenged in the area. 

“One day, I was in luck and hit one so square, it slid up against the wall and started screeching loudly, bouncing up and down until it finally froze still. As I walked over to it with the excitement of the kill, it started screeching loudly again, and to my horror, the ugliest and biggest Black rat I had ever imagined ran in and started tearing it apart, 10ft from me. Looking at me with a bald, fire-burnt red face, it hissed, unflinching and unafraid,” recalled David Barnett.

It wasn’t long after that that the family business started to make slingshots. So, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Barnett and to try to put this “demon” to rest, David Barnett has decided to relive the excitement of a young boy’s adventures with slingshots with the King Rat Slingshot designs. 

The King Rat line of Barnett slingshots includes the Havoc, Havoc Hunter, Cobra, Black Widow, Black Widow Hunter and Ambush models. All slingshots are great for young hunters looking to practice target shooting, squirrel hunting and plinking with a beginner hunting tool. Each slingshot features a brushed leather center-shot pouch, various textured grips and sights in a lightweight and compact design.

Different models will feature a standard slingshot band, a magnum power band, or a Double-X tapered band that is replaceable. For ammo, each slingshot comes with Hotshot .38 steel pellets that are also purchasable in 50, 100 or 200 counts. In the King Rat lineup, there truly is a slingshot for everyone. (Except for the Rat King.) Find yours at Barnett Crossbows


Savage Arms Wild Table Pulled Canada Goose
Savage Arms Wild Table Pulled Canada Goose

Wild Table with Savage Arms: Pulled Canada Goose

Don't call it "Canadian Goose," just call it "delicious." (And then call us for dinner.)

NRA Family Entertainment: "The Blind," Starring "Duck Dynasty" Robertsons

It's the Robertson family origin story — the true tale of how Phil and Kay Robertson nearly lost it all.

Henry Guns for Great Causes: Join Team Kaia!

Fifty limited-edition lever guns are on sale ... and all proceeds will go directly to 8-year-old Kaia's family for medical expenses!

Throwback Thursday: Pheasants, Then & Now

If Christmas came on the Fourth of July and it also happened to be your birthday, you might have some idea of what a first pheasant is like…”

Video Review: KFI Monza Bolt-Action Rifle

This feature-rich rifle boasts accuracy, reliability and a beautiful factory trigger for a price that's hard to believe.


Get the best of NRA Family delivered to your inbox.