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Toy guns have been around for a very long time, and they are still very popular among children today. While toy guns were originally meant for little boys, they are now being made in colors and with functions and features that appeal to both genders.
History of Toys Guns
Toy guns first hit the market in the 1860s. After the end of the Civil War, gun manufacturers were hurting for business, so they geared the market toward children by making toy guns. These were the original cap guns, and they closely resembled real guns. They were fairly expensive, making them available only to children of wealthy families. Because of the dangers that came with the close resemblance to real guns, a law was passed in the late 1980s to protect children and adults from accidents involving real guns being mistaken for toy guns. This law required toy gun manufacturers to make the guns look less realistic. To further reduce incidents of mistaking one for the other, a new law was implemented in the 1990s that required all toy guns to have orange plugs in the tips of the barrels.
Types of Toy Guns
Toy guns come in many variations, and they are made to correspond to just about every type of real gun that has been made. Even with such a large selection, however, most toy guns fall under four categories.
Cap guns have been around since the beginning of toy gun manufacturing, and they remain popular today. They typically resemble "cowboy" guns and come with belts and holsters. In the past, they were made of metal and wood, but plastic material has become popular for cap guns due to its availability and low cost as well as the fact that most toy guns are mass produced. Orange is a popular color, but pink and other bright colors are also available. The caps for these guns have just enough gun powder to make popping sounds and produce a small amount of smoke. Unlike water guns and projectile guns, cap guns do not come in a variety of designs. They are most often made to look like western-style guns.
The first water guns made their way into society in the 1890s and closely resembled real guns. They became increasingly more popular over the years, and the invention of the Super Soaker in 1982 brought about big changes for water guns. Instead of operating similar to a spray bottle, the Super Soaker could be pumped and shoot water through tubing at high pressures. Though many years have passed and electronics have changed the way children spend their free time, water guns are still a favorite summertime toy for children of all ages.
Water guns have styles ranging from small to large guns and realistic colors to brightly colored designs. Some only squirt a small amount of water while others spray a large amount of water, sometimes in multiple directions. Some water guns only shoot water in short streams of water at a time, but others can shoot streams that last for long durations. Most modern water guns bear little resemblance to real guns and feature bold and fantastical designs to accommodate their large components, such as water tanks and hand pumps that are incorporated into the barrel to build up pressure.
Unlike cap guns, projectile guns shoot objects from their barrels. These objects are typically made of soft materials that cause little to no harm when fired at others. Projectile guns usually fire soft foam darts, balls, and disks. Some darts stick to walls and windows and can come with targets. They usually come in brightly colored designs that attract children's attention and prevent the reusable darts from getting lost.
Sound Effect Guns
Unlike other toy guns, sound effect guns do not shoot objects or make smoke. They are simple toys intended for younger children who still derive a thrill from basic sensory stimulation. They can make loud popping sounds that imitate those of real guns, or they emit weird noises that are meant to represent alien guns. Some are even loaded with pre-recorded phrases that policemen would utter to villains. Like projectile guns, they come in many colors, sizes, and styles. Some popular designs include assault rifles, BB guns, pistols, and shotguns. The colors can include basic colors, such as brown and black or bright colors, such as neon pink or hunter's orange, and some feature flashing lights or glow-in-the-dark decals.