Have you seen the Orbeez gun around the neighborhood? If not, you probably will soon as they gain in popularity.
When it comes to summer fun, a timeless tradition has always been running around with water guns and shooting anything that moves. In adult years, some of that gets ramped up into paintball which has considerably more firepower. But there is now something of an in-between and you might have seen it around the neighborhood. They are Orbeez guns and they’ve become incredibly popular for a number of different reasons. Let’s take a look at everything we know about the Orbeez gun, whether they are safe, and if there are larger concerns about kids using them.
WHAT ARE ORBEEZ?
For starters, to understand the Orbeez gun we need to first understand the ammunition. Those are Orbeez and you might already be well-acquainted with these little pellets. They are described as being made of acrylic acid, sodium hydroxide, and water coming in the form of squishy little balls that almost look like candy. They definitely aren’t.
In the past, children and adults have used these almost as a therapeutic device seeing as how their feel and texture can make folks want to rub their hands through them as a measure of comfort. Originally, they were made to help plants retain moisture because they could take the water out of the Orbeez ball after the soil had dried up.
After this initial use though, the development of Orbeeez as a sensory toy for kids has built up steam in recent years, and they have even been used as decorations as well. Because Orbeez come (or can be turned into) an assortment of colors, the “uses” for Orbeez are a bit more far-ranging now than they were at the start. The Orbeez gun, of course, has given them an entirely new use.
ARE ORBEEZ TOXIC AND/ OR BIODEGRADABLE?
The good news here, from a health and environmental perspective, is that Orbeez is definitely biodegradable and not toxic at all. Look, there’s a reason they are used in so many toys and also with plants. They aren’t harmful to humans or the planet. This is especially good to know when they are firing all over the yard from the Orbeez gun.
Orbeez are known as water beads because that’s mostly what they are. They will dissolve eventually and even if they have been colored in a variety of hues, that doesn’t change. Kids, at least those about five or older, should have no issue playing with these. And you needn’t wring hands around whether they are going to sit in the soil for generations and not biodegrade. It is recommended to keep them out of the reach of young children though because there is a choking hazard.
THE ORBEEZ GUN
Even with all of these uses for Orbeez, it was only a matter of time until someone found a different, and possibly more active use, for these water beads. Enter the Orbeez Gun. These “toys” have been developed by a variety of manufacturers to use Orbeez as ammunition. They are more often referred to as Gel Blasters because of the shape and texture of the actual Orbeez so seeing them referred to as that could cause some confusion. The Orbeez gun resembles the same workings as an airsoft gun in that an air pump is used to shoot the gel bead ammunition. The air can flow through by either using a pumping action or, for the more advanced Orbeez guns, a battery-powered piston that allows the shooter to fire more in a shorter period of time.
The Orbeez gun or gel blaster gun is used in a variety of situations and in some places has replaced paintball games because the actual orbs are much cheaper than the paintball pellets, can be found much for readily, and are much safer. While it’s still recommended to wear eye protection when using an Orbeez gun, by and large, the pellets are safe to use even with air-powered action.
While many paintball guns have the ammunition loaded in the top compartment for the balls to flow downward in the gun, that isn’t always the case with these Orbeez guns. As you’ll see some definitely have that feature but others use a lower magazine more similar to an actual firearm. In fact, some Orbeez guns look very much like the real thing.
POPULAR ORBEEZ GUNS
There are a couple of different outlets for purchasing Orbeez Guns though the styles each place sells differ drastically. The most popular comes from Gel Blasters which touts itself as the first one on the market. They sell two different styles, the Surge Gel Blaster and the Starfire Gel Blaster which glows in the dark. You can see the former below.
Then there is Orbeezgun.com which has a variety of different options ranging from around $50-$100. These are brightly colored Orbeez guns, many of which are of the top-loading variety, though not all. They have the Automatic M4A1 Gel Blaster Gun or the M16 Water Bead gun. Check the M4A1 out below:
There are plenty of other options from this shop that offer a bunch of different styles. Some have cool features like double-barrel action and come in styles that resemble actual firearms.
On the more realistic side of things is OrbeezGuns.com. This one is backlogged with some of its styles but these are considerably more realistic looking and resemble actual firearms. You can see the SCAR Orbeez Assault Rifle below. They also have the Orbeez MP5K Submachine Gun.
SHOULD PARENTS BE CONCERNED WITH THE ORBEEZ GUN?
One trend that had started this summer was the Orbeez gun TikTok challenge that involved, you guessed it, kids shooting the gel pellets at folks who least suspect it. While this seems to have started as a rather harmless trend in which some folks got hit as part of a prank, it has escalated in some places. With more and more folks pushing the limits of the trend, there were some who were shooting Orbeez guns at delivery people or innocent bystanders on the street. In some cases, criminal charges were brought against those firing the Orbeez gun.
Some examples include a delivery driver being shot with one in Florida, some students in Delaware brought up on charges of misconduct, and even one incident that turned deadly in Ohio when a fight broke out on a basketball court and a student died.
In all though, the actual Orbeez Guns themselves appear perfectly safe and a better alternative to paintball action for sure. They are reasonably priced and are only gaining in popularity.