The Can Cannon’s Triumphant Return — ATF Drops NFA Status

can can atf aproval

The Can Cannon is officially back in action thanks to a recent Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, BATF or ATF decision. The X-Products Can Cannon, introduced two years ago, was pulled from the market late last year after the ATF classified the AR-15 accessory as “any other weapon” or AOW.

Literally a can launcher, the wide-mouthed upper uses 5.56 rifle blank rounds as a propellant to blast soda cans across the sky, at distances up to and over 100 yards away. It is the very definition of a “range toy” and it’s last-hour reclassification as an NFA-regulated upper confused and upset gun owners everywhere.

Thankfully all that is in the past. X-Products posted an ATF clearing their updated Can Cannon design as not a firearm thanks to a couple of small changes they told were in the works back in September of 2015.

See Also: Exclusive Interview: ATF Bans Can Cannon

“The Can Cannon has been officially acquitted by the BATF and is not considered a short barrel shotgun, short barrel rifle, or any other weapon when installing it on an AR-15 lower receiver,” said X-Products in their short and sweet announcement. “Our new design restores the Can Cannon back to the status of “not a firearm” and ‘not a destructive device’ in the eyes of the law.”

The ATF determined that the new sample doesn’t construct any type of firearm, NFA-regulated or otherwise, if installed on an AR-15-pattern rifle or pistol.

x products can cannon part swap program

“As a part of this device, we noted the muzzle portion of the barrel portion is welded to prevent a projectile from passing through,” stated the ATF. They also noted the “metal blocking bar welded in the forward portion of the chamber, to prevent the chambering of a commercially-available .223 Remington cartridge.”

The redesigned “gas port” is available as a free upgrade for all existing Can Cannon owners. If you have a Can Cannon and would like the upgrade–which is necessary to use without a tax stamp in most cases–head over to the X-Products “Legalize My Can Cannon” website.

X-Products will replace gas ports on a one-for-one basis. “The only part that requires replacement is the actual gas port which is located inside the barrel,” explains the exchange program website. “Simply unscrew the barrel from the upper receiver and pull the gas port from the upper receiver.

Turnaround time for ATF-approved gas ports is expected to be around two to three weeks.

In the interim X-Products has been working on expanding the utility of the launcher with their soon-to-be-released grappling hook. The company just posted this sneak peek of the Can Cannon Grappling Hook in action.

With this slick little accessory, the Can Cannon is not only a great range toy, it can be a versatile little utility launcher as well. The can-sized grappler tows a rope as it flies to its target, deploying four spring-loaded hooks as soon as it pops out of the Can Cannon tube. The grappler is propelled by blanks just like cans, with a round pusher plate at the bottom.

Now that the Can Cannon has the green light for the second time, we’re sure to see more fun and utility payloads developed for the entertaining launcher.

About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. His ambition is to follow Thomas Paine, as a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Barbara Fee September 17, 2018, 8:42 am

    Sounds like a fun toy and potential safety item.
    Though I must say I’m disturbed at the legal today-felon tomorrow attitudes of politicans and cubicle monkeys.

  • loupgarous April 22, 2016, 3:10 pm

    I can think of a use that might actually be useful – a plastic can-shaped object through which a light rope could be threaded – like the grappling hook shown, but not quite as lethal if it hit someone. This would be for marine rescue personnel to throw lines over to distressed vessels, where the survivors of a high-seas incident that disabled their craft could then take the line and pull a heavier line attached to the ‘leader’ made of light line, and effect a tow without rescuers having to send a dinghy over. It might actually reduce the risk to all concerned during a rescue in heavy seas.

    X Products might consider developing this as a product for sale to the Coast Guard, Navy, and other organizations with rescue responsibilities.

    • Dan February 3, 2017, 7:33 am

      Line throwing guns have been around for many years, going back to the Lyle cannons of the 1800s. Many ships are required to have line launchers that are usually shotgun or rifle based, using blank rounds. Also, many military/police uses for launching grenades or tear gas canisters, so your thinking is on the right track.

  • Al Soto April 22, 2016, 2:09 pm

    Now they can use this to throw t-shirts at sports events past the second row… jejejejeje

  • Rouge1 April 22, 2016, 10:51 am

    We have a federal government agency who’s soul purpose is the infringement of the bill of rights. Traitors to the nation and constitution the lot of them.

  • cawpin April 22, 2016, 9:23 am

    They didn’t reverse anything. The manufacturer modified the design to be compliant.

  • CharlieKing1 April 22, 2016, 9:03 am

    This is great news, glad to see BATFE found some common sense and reversed their course on this cannon.

    However, what disturbs me is the capriciousness and arbitrariness of bureaucrats. One day it’s illegal, then with the stroke of a pen, it’s now legal. As a nation, the vast majority of folks want to follow the law; but when you have unelected bureaucrats making it up as we go along, then we deserve better from our agencies and elected officials. Pray for a day when our elected officials will see the light and put and end to this nonsense.

  • Cea April 22, 2016, 8:09 am

    Completely useless!!

    • Bill in Lexington,NC April 26, 2016, 4:23 pm

      I suggest, then, that you not buy one. Aw hell, while you’re at it, don’t buy two!

      I can think of multiple uses for both the can launcher and the grappling hook. If you were more inclined to look for possibilities than slam doors, I suspect that even you might find a use or two for this device.

      Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to buy some blank .223 cartridges.

  • George April 22, 2016, 7:51 am

    Good to hear, I’m not in the market for one of these myself, but it is good to see it’s back. The original design sounds like it should never have gotten the green light in the first place, and it must have been painful to be off the market for a while.

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