By Roxroy Ballers
The process is simple: put some pinhead-sized nuggets in water, wait an hour or two for them to hydrate and enlarge, load them in your fully-automatic gel gun, and shoot your friends. Like paintball or airsoft, shooting small gel-o-balls is really catching on. Unlike paintball or airsoft, the small gel balls, called Orbeez, don’t cause much pain and allow the use of smaller spaces, like backyards, to be used as makeshift battlefields.
My personal gun is made by a company called Splat-r-Ball and functions really well for its intended use. I use my regular clothes and a pair of safety glasses and within seconds my kids are blasting me with their gel guns. It’s a great way to hang out with your kids and the shorter range (50 ft) puts you on a somewhat level playing field in terms of your ability to playfully plink each other.
Safety-wise, the gun is designed to look like a blaster from “Battle Star Gallactica” with white and orange highlights, so it looks minimally like a real gun. It has a safety selector with “safe” and “full auto.” The gun comes with eye protection and thousands of the small hydrate-able beads that constantly litter the floor of my kitchen these days.
Despite the inherent fun in shooting your own children with goo, not all is well in the Gel-o-verse. People are finding ways to get in trouble with these full-auto gel-o blasters. Police reports are popping up all over the country of adolescents using them inappropriately to blast the unsuspecting. Not surprisingly, there is even a social media “challenge” that encourages the misuse of these toy guns.
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Like other inane Tiktok challenges that invite you to eat dish soap or launch your body into a frozen lake, shooting people not actively involved in this pursuit is ill-advised. One teen in Michigan is facing assault charges and California police warn of misdemeanor battery charges for making unwanted shots on non-participants. Despite the guns being relatively safe, getting shot in the eye would not be pleasant and I’m certainly not signing up to get blasted at close range on my bare skin.
Like with bb guns, squirt guns, cap guns, airsoft guns, and other toy guns, there is at least one concerned mother out there trying to convince the masses that these guns will lead to nothing less than mass casualties, suggesting that gangs may mistake them for the real thing and retaliate.
Personally, I’m skeptical. About 50 students at my son’s high school belong to a group of gel-gun owners that have regular “wars” and “raids” on other schools. The kids opt into the group on social media and allow others to know their location so that they can participate in the fun. It sounds like a hoot and I’m honestly jealous I didn’t have this as a kid!
While problems will arise and civilians have the potential to be injured, it’s not near as dangerous as say, driving a 5,000-pound steel car filled with screaming teenagers. To boot, there are really a lot worse things kids or adults could be doing with their free time. So long as my kids continue to behave responsibly with this newest iteration of the same toy guns I played with, I’m happy to deal with the random gel-o balls kicking around my house.