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Are homemade water guns dangerous?

Written by Ben
Last updated on 2008-06-12

A common question I am asked is whether homemade water guns are dangerous. The answer is the same answer for all water guns: water guns are not dangerous unless used or built improperly.

To those who fear something more powerful like an APH would damage eyes, consider that the APH typically has larger streams. Larger streams are the exact opposite of what is necessary to cause eye damage. Smaller streams have much more cutting pressure, in fact, "water jet cutters" use very small water streams with very high pressure to cut through wood and metal. With that being said, all water guns shot in the face are not pleasant. I suggest wearing sunglasses to reduce the possibility of water in the eyes.

Regardless, water streams by their nature are safer because they break up on impact. Ask any paintballer about frozen paintballs and why they hurt more--it's because they don't break up on impact.

To those who fear that homemade water guns will explode, fear not. The materials used have much higher pressure ratings than those of manufactured water guns. In fact, I have never seen a simple PVC tank fail but I have seen Super Soaker tanks fail before.

The most dangerous thing you can do with any water gun is hit someone with it, and no water gun is immune to that. Given proper materials and construction methods, any homemade water gun used with respect to normal safety procedure (no headshots, no hitting with water guns, etc.) is safe.

(Note: This page is about water guns designed for water wars. Extremely high-powered water guns like Supercannon II are much more dangerous to be shot by because the volume of water shot can and will cause bruising at close range. That has been demonstrated before by riot water cannons. I never will suggest using a water gun like Supercannon II at a water war.)

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