Description and uses
The atlatl is a weak weapon that is not often used because of its (formerly) relatively complex construction and use of leather.
Pronunced "ott-lottle", an atlatl is a weapon renowned for its use against the Spanish conquistadors accompanying Cortez in Mexico around 1500. Essentially, the dart is an oversized, flexible arrow (roughly six feet long), and the atlatl itself is a hand-held launching apparatus, about two feet long. The dart is placed on the atlatl, and then using the leverage of the atlatl, launched into the air.
Trained use can result in accurate shots of up to 100 feet, with a force which could penetrate the conquistadors' armour. Furthermore, barbs along the dart's length would make removal near impossible: the dart would have to be pulled all the way through the impaled victim. Instead, the conquistadors often died a slow, painful death, impaled and stuck inside their own armour.
Go to SECRETS OF THE ATLATL - Wyatt R. Knapp for photos and a visual explanation of how the atlatl works.