Atlatls and darts are the primitive weapon system that predate the bow and arrow. Rather then storing energy in the weapon, as with a bow, the atlatl increases the throwing leverage of the person using the device, and propels the dart forward with far more energy than would be possible just by hand.
I’ve been making and throwing atlatls for as long as I’ve been making bows, since way back when I met Tom Mills, founder of PaleoPlanet, and well known atlatl expert.
In addition to the atlatl workshops we put on to teach people to make their own equipment, we also sell custom atlatls and darts.
My personal favorite design is the Mills Woomera, which is a hybrid design by Tom Mills, based on the Woomera atlatl of the Australian aborigines. It’s wide, scooped out front offers ease and quickness of loading (very helpful when hunting), and I find they throw very well. I do offer several other designs for sale. I prefer beautiful, figured woods for atlatls, but I can make them plain, too.
With the recent appearances of atlatls and darts on the Top Shot television show, I believe more and more people will be exposed to and catch the enthusiasm for this ancient weapon system.
I put archery field points on my darts, for convenience and so they can be used on archery targets without causing any more damage than normal arrows. It is my hope that this will help bring atlatl enthusiasts to the archery ranges, and introduce more and more people to both sports.
I’ll have photos up of some of my custom atlatls soon. They are finished to the same standards as my bows.