Blowgun Weapons and Blow Darts
Power of the Blowgun
The blowgun could be considered the oldest and simplest type of airgun. Depending on the person's lung capacity, bore size of the barrel and ammunition, velocity of projectiles can range between 100 to 400 ft/sec.
Blowgun darts are much lighter and pack less energy than bow arrows. But they are extremely fast and accurate. At 400 ft/sec which is roughly twice the speed of an ordinary arrow fired from a bow, their advantage lie in short distant targets of 100 feet or less.
Although there are claims that the Jivaro Indians can hit a hummingbird at 150 feet. With practice the average person could reasonably hit a grapefruit at 10 yards.
WARNING : Blowgun Safety First
Blowguns provide hours of recreational fun but always follow safety rules.
• Use only for target practice or survival hunting.
• Children should be under proper adult supervision.
• Even if the mouthpiece contain a safety ring that prevents the blowgun darts from being inhaled or swallowed, always draw your breath before turning to the mouthpiece to blow. It is not necessary to blow extremely hard. A short, sharp burst of air works best.
• Handle blowgun spearhead darts with care. Store darts in a quiver not only to prevent dulling or damaging the sharp points of the dart but also to avoid self inflicted injuries. Certain blowgun darts have razor edge that can slice fingers and hands.
• Never point a blowgun at anything you do not wish to kill or injure. Treat the blowgun as if it were a firearm.
• Blowguns are considered weapons. Check State and local laws for possible violation by it's use or possession.
Where were blow guns invented
The Blowgun has been in use in different parts of the world for centuries. Archaeologists believe that this weapon dates back to the stone age.
Blowguns have change little over time. It may have been invented at the same time in different parts of the world because of it's simplicity. But many historians believe that through migration and contact of prehistoric people, the weapon was re-invented and fabricated with the available materials of the area the tribes inhabited.
It can still be found among many primitive cultures and in some of the wildest regions today.
Geographic Distribution of the Blowgun in Early Times
The earliest recorded reference to blowguns are from Rome in the 2nd century mention by the architect, Appollodorus of Damascus. He says" Reeds are put together, such as bird-catchers use after they have bored holes all the way through them."
•Artifacts discovered in Peru illustrating the blowgun in use by the 6th century.
•Written records of blow guns from the Chin dynasty between 265 and 429 AD in China.
•In Europe a 14th century French illuminated manuscript shows a youth shooting a rabbit with a blowgun one and a half times the length of the boy's body.
Igorot Warrior Headhunters of the Philippine Cordilleras
• Primitive blowguns made from bamboo could be found in North, Central, and South America, Europe, Asia, and across the Pacific.
• Native American tribes known to have use blowguns include the Cherokee, Choctaw, and Iroquois, among others.
• Seafaring Arab traders in 1250 AD introduced the blowgun to Northern Africa and Europe.
• The Mamelukes of Egypt referred to the weapon by it's Arabic name "zabatana". Derived from the Malay "sumpitan" or "sumpit" which is what natives in the Philippines call the blow gun.
• Various Indian tribes in the Amazon basin like the Yaguas of Peru and the Jivaros of Ecuador still hunt with the blowgun. Their darts tipped with the deadly "curare" toxin.
• In Mexico, the Aztec king Montezuma reportedly presented the Spanish conquistador Cortes with several beautifully crafted blowguns inlaid with gold among gifts for the Spanish king.
• Iron tube blowguns were manufactured during the renaissance in Europe. Leonardo da Vinci was fascinated with the weapon and conducted research on their capabilities.
• Some blowguns made of brass found in India were rig for shooting fish. They had lines with barbed darts attached to it.
• Japanese Ninja assassins supposedly carried short concealed blowguns.The "Fugu" poison of the puff fish coating their blow darts. Use for short distance, blowguns containing fine pepper dust was also employed much like the modern mace.
• Pacific islanders made a blowgun out of several large leaves rolled and bound together to form a tube. Blowguns with two or more inner tubes were also constructed to allow multiple projectiles to be shot with one breath.
• Fourteen century documents in Flanders (A medieval country in northern Europe that included regions now parts of northern France and Belgium and southwestern Netherlands) indicated that the blowgun was known across Europe to as far as Scandinavia. It was called various names. Sarbacane, zerbatana, esgarapatana (Portugal), cerbatana (Spain), soumpetana (southern France) cerbottana ( Italy), Blasrohr,literally "blow tube" (Germany)
Darts are fletched with feather tips, down, "kapok" cotton or animal fur to provide an air seal that acts as a gasket, preventing the air from the lungs from passing around the dart. It provides compression and stabilize the darts in flight by acting as ballast.
Traditional method of making Blowguns
• The earliest and most widely distributed worldwide were made from bamboo, reeds, canes and other natural tubes of plant origin.
• Natural tubes were split open end to end and their septum or partition remove. Once the inside walls were clean the resulting halves were then glued and lashed back together with cord or rattan. Other wrappings may include bark, leather or cloth. Water proofing materials like wax, gum or lacquer was then applied.
• Small hot coals are repeatedly drop into the tube to burn out the inner partition. Soft sponge like center cylinder like those found in palm stems or elder trees could also be pushed out with a rod. A long shaft tipped with an arrowhead is then use to ream away what remained inside the hollow.
• A platform was erected the height of the propose blowgun. The long piece of cut hard wood is lashed vertically to the edge of the platform. The maker then lift, drop and turn a long iron rod tipped with a triangular steel point in proper alignment with the attached guides. Water was ladled into the bore to float out the wood chips.
The barrel was then planed and it's bore smoothed.This method required skill and took longer to complete. But the resulting blowgun needed no gluing or wrapping and was strong enough to serve as a spear shaft. Many surviving examples were found equip with bayonet-like iron lance.
Blowgun Showdown in the Amazon
• Modern blowguns are generally made of aluminum or carbon-reinforced plastic tubing. They come in standard size bore (.40 cal., .50 cal., and .62 cal.) and various length (3ft. - 6ft) Two-piece assembly unit comes with an additional threaded tube that could be coupled to the main barrel to increase accuracy,distance and velocity of the blowgun projectile.
• Big bore (.62 cal.) hunting blowguns are capable of dart penetration through a half inch thick ply board at 20 ft.
For the beginner as well as for recreational purposes like target practice or paintball shooting the .40 cal blowguns are the most popular.
• Modern blowguns are relatively inexpensive when compare to other shooting equipment. Some blowguns cost less than $20. Aside from ammunition, accessories includes an anti-inhale safety mouthpiece, muzzle guard, a handy sight and a shoulder carry sling.
• There are different ammunition commercially available like sharp wire darts, spear darts(razor tip broad head), spike darts, stun darts, paint balls (for fun competition or target shooting). One can also make projectiles as well as the blowgun with ordinary hardware items. D.I.Y. instructions are readily found in the internet.
Present Day Popularity of Blowguns
Blowguns are growing in popularity for hunting and sport. As a sporting event, the International Fukiyado Association (IFA) is standardizing the competition style and barrel caliber in hopes that blowgun competition becomes an Olympic event.
In the United States the National Sport Blowgun Association is attracting many blowgun enthusiast.
Blowgun competition in Tokyo,Japan among senior citizens
Yawara Stick for Self-Defense
- Yawara Stick for Women Self Defense
The advantage of the Yawara stick is in catching the attacker off guard. A general rule to remember is to strike body areas where the bone comes close to the skin surface.