Interested in flamethrowers? Check out the XM42: http://xm42.com/
She’s a Flamethrower! Some of you will get the reference. Some of you won’t, and that’s okay (the rest of us forgive you). Perhaps you should crank up the volume and watch the video at the bottom of this page to ensure that you’re well rounded, culturally.
When I started this review, I knew it would be fun. I’ve had this feeling before. In the late 70’s and early 80’s there was a product advertised in the back of magazines called the M-19A Annihalator BB Machine Gun. It looked somewhat like a the love child of Buck Rogers and a MAC-10, and had a hollow plastic body that you filled with BB’s (which were propelled by a 1lb can of Freon). You pulled the trigger and the M-19A spewed a stream of ice-cold BB’s .
Pulling the trigger on the XM42 is the same kind of fun, only a bit warmer. If you’ve ever held a Bic lighter in front of a can of WD40, the XM42 was made for you. If not, well we’ve got all kinds of super serious articles you might rather read, including one on screwdrivers. I recommend you go ahead an click on that one now and save yourself the headache.
Why don’t we all have Flamethrowers?
I have been trying to get my hands on a flamethrower since 1995, which was the year in which I found out that there are no state or federal laws regulating their purchase. The only problem was that most, if not all, of the military-grade flamethrowers out there dated from WWII, and had been rendered inoperable. By “rendered inoperable” I mean “cut into pieces and sold as scrap.” This left me with two options: try and weld one of those beauties back together, or build one myself. Both of these options seemed less than ideal, as I have always harbored a strong aversion to dying in a giant napalm cloud. Even the handful of working models I did find for sale were advertised as-is, where-is, with no guarantee that they would work at all when they made it to me. They all seemed to be more of a project than the “flame and forget” experience I was yearning for.
The good folks at Ion Productions Team have cracked the code with the XM42 Flamethrower. No mixing required, no need to go get refills on expensive propellants, and it’s simple to operate! You just charge the battery, fill the tank with unleaded gasoline, and attach a butane bottle from your favorite camping store. Now push the power button, light the igniter, punch the hot button and bask in the glorious 25 feet of flaming freedom! This is pure American fun! You can’t help but smile at the prospect of grown men going the way of GI Joe in front of your eyes.
Let Freedom Ring
Now I’m sure some people out there are wondering why anyone would need such a thing. Need? Please! This has nothing to do with “need,” this is about Freedom. Without flamethrowers, the terrorists win! Of course, once you have your flamethrower fun, you’re going to be wondering what you can do with it aside from freaking out the wife, neighbors, animals and Facebook friends.
Never fear! I have come up with lots of practical uses. You could clear snow and ice, eliminate weeds between pavement cracks (with extreme prejudice), kick off controlled burns with a bang, or clear the ground of unwanted foliage. The XM42 is a great way to re-define insect control, do some kick-ass pyrotechnic event displays. It even allows you to start bonfires like a real American.
Now that I’m thinking about it, there are hundreds of household uses for the XM42. Light the grill. Use it as a cigar lighter. Strip paint. Burn those annoying autumn leaves before they even fall!
And don’t underestimate the potential for celebrity impressions. Take off your shirt, throw on that tall black stetson and amaze your friends with the sensitivity of your Kilgore impression. ” The smell–you know, that gasoline smell, the whole hill…. Smelled like… victory. Someday this war’s gonna end….”
In all seriousness this XM42 really is simple. I took these lines from the product spec sheet and found them to be spot on.
“The XM42 is capable of generating flames reaching 25 feet in distance, with a full tank of fuel lasting over 35 seconds if continuously operated. When the tank is empty, simply open the fill cap, pour in fuel like a lawn mower, ignite the pilot torch, and reach out with a stream of fire!”
- Weight: 7.41b (empty) 10.4lb (ready to run)
- Dimensions: 29.5″ L x 10″ W x 14.25″
- Materials: All aluminum/stainless steel construction with fluoroelastomer seals
- Fuel Capacity: 1.5 liters
- Recommended Fuel: Gasoline, gasoline-diesel mixture, denatured alcohol
- Pilot Ignition: Push button piezo start
- Battery: 11.1volt (35) lithium-polymer 2200mAh with XT60 connector
The XM42’s utilizes an electric fuel pump powered by a rechargeable battery (included along with a charger) to spray fuel from a nozzle. The pressurized fuel is ignited by a butane torch mounted at the tip of the nozzle.
How far will it spray? 25 feet easy. Maybe more. The spray breaks up at longer distances and the fuel burns itself out. But a slight arc will carry the flame at least 25 feet.
The Practical Difficulties
There are two things that have to be considered here. One is the search for butane. If you live in a large enough city, you should have no problem locating the butane. We actually lost an entire day at the range, though, because our intrepid Editor-in-Chief assumed he’d be able to pick up the butane necessary for priming the XM42 at any old store. Not so. The hardware stores didn’t carry the right size. And the local big-box catch-all retail behemoth sold the right size, only with the wrong nozzle. You should really make sure you have the butane before you head out to the range. Or suffer the extraordinarily depressing sadness that comes when you have a flame thrower full of gas, a range on which to shoot it, but no way to light it.
But that’s a one-time-mistake. We won’t make it twice. The real difficulty comes when you try to find someplace to shoot this thing. Let’s be clear. It is a flamethrower. It throws flames. This tends to freak some people out. We all know those asshole R.O.s at ranges who like to ensure that you don’t have too much fun (even when you are obeying every safety precaution). Imagine asking for permission to shoot your flamethrower. It doesn’t go over well.
So some ranges will simply say no. And, depending on where you live, I wouldn’t suggest firing it up on the street. So where do you shoot it? Where can you go?
There’s no denying that the thing is dangerous. Or it can be. But it doesn’t have to be. Napalm is a substance designed to stick and burn where it lands. The gasoline doesn’t have the same staying power. It is designed for combustion. It burns itself out quickly. It will still catch other flammable objects on fire, no doubt, but it is very manageable. Be safe. Know your local laws. Keep a fire extinguisher handy. Use your head. Never–under any circumstances–utter the words “Hey Bubba, watch this!” before pulling the trigger. That’s just asking for trouble.
The bottom line
The XM42 is made from high-grade materials (both in the construction of the body and the wiring). It looks to be very durable. This flamethrower is not crafted like a toy; it’s made for serious, long-term fun. The MSRP is $999.00 with about a 6-8 week lead-time. You can order one on their web page at http://store.xm42.com/category-s/106.htm. There are some choices of finish: polished aluminum (what I have) for $25.00 more, or you can select a powder coating and have any color you’d find in a bag of skittles.
Looks like my hunt for a practical flamethrower is finally over. And it is made in Troy, Michigan! If you find yourself with the insatiable craving for a real American flamethrower, I highly recommend you treat yourself to one of these.