Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Safe Air Gun To Let Your Kids Play With

As I hinted in an earlier post, I've received a box of goodies to review from Edmund Scientific. The first one I'll review is an oversized air gun called the Megazooka.

The Megazooka, fully assembled.

Looking down the scope of the Megazooka.

Megazooka, which is suitable for children ages six and up, sends a harmless blast of air at just about anything or anyone. It took me about twenty minutes to assemble mine (parents will need to help smaller kids with this), mostly because I was being overly cautious when I was extending the main body of the gun. (It comes collapsed, like a plastic drinking cup that you take camping.)

It uses a durable diaphragm attached to elastics to propel air from its chamber. Basically, you pull back the diaphragm and lock it in place, and then press the trigger to release it.

Megazooka from the rear, showing the diaphragm.

You can also remove the locking plate on the back to allow "semi-automatic" shooting mode, where you quickly pull back and release the diaphragm from your hand. I've found going this route diminishes accuracy a lot, but if you've got a lot of folks you want to blast in a hurry, who cares about accuracy?

Cats scurry out of the path of the Megazooka.

Let me tell you, our cats really don't like the Megazooka. Yes, I did aim it at two of them (after I tried it out on my wife and she tried it out on me). One of them was on top of the woodstove at the time, and it really shook him up. The next morning, he was still chary of getting too near the stove or the chimley. More effective than a squirt gun for warning cats, I'd say.

Here are two quick vids showing just how harmless the air vortex emitted from the gun is. The first vid shows me shooting a large houseplant leaf from about five feet away.

The second vid shows me shooting at a bunch of houseplants about twenty feet away. They're right against a window.

One thing that makes this toy safe for little kids is that the force of the air right at the gun's muzzle is very small. You have to get a few feet away from the muzzle to really feel some pressure. It would be a neat experiment for a young demolition crew to document the force of the air blast at different distances from the muzzle.

Here's another two-part demonstration of the safety of the Megazooka, shooting it right at my face point blank, and then at arm's length.

Overall, it's a safe toy that all ages could have a great time with. You could get several of these and have a paintball-type of afternoon without the safety concerns. Or you could just get one and lie in wait for your next victim.....

Please keep coming back to my blog to find more reviews of other great science toys and products from Edmund Scientific. The products I'll be reviewing in coming days range from a radio learning kit to another toy for shooting things!



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