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Some Fun Toys: Rubber Band Gun

Holiday Buyer's Guide 2005
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Compelled by the need for safer toy weaponry, Paul Sundstrom of Tasman Engineering Services of Australia created an ideal solution that simulates fiiring a weapon, but with none of the inherent danger: the Firewheel Rubber Band Gun. It may be harmless, but it maintains a take-no-prisoners image by copying aggressive styling cues from real guns.

This isn't your ordinary, blocky, wooden rubber band gun from childhood. Does your wooden rubber band gun offer a variable rate of fire as well as single shot action? Does it have a folding rifle stock? Is it available in a variety of custom finishes? Can you order replacement parts? Firewheel's RBG offers all of these features, and more. And it looks sufficiently menacing to cause double-takes!

Firewheel construction begins with a well-known thermoplastic resin called acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, or ABS for short. It's a high-density material commonly used in bicycle crash helmets, automotive bumpers and household toys. The body, trigger, and folding stock are all composed of ABS plastic, making for a lightweight but durable product. Both the trigger and firing wheel are constructed of a more flexible resin.

Even the manufacturer is convinced of its ability to withstand punishment. Firewheel offers a lifetime guarantee that covers damage under normal use. In the event of breakage, Firewheel will send either replacement parts, or at its option, replace the entire unit at no cost; see the vendor Web site for details.

A unique trigger design that works on push instead of pull effort lets the user shoot single shots, in bursts, or unload all their rubber bands in continuous fire. However, executing all three of these at will requires a well-coordinated hand, so practice shots on co-workers are a must.

Not only is this must-have gift item fun (and safe!) it's also affordable. (MSRP $26 online)

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