People use spud guns for fun and recreation, but they are not toys. "You know, they can be extremely, extremely dangerous...if used unsafely or inappropriately," says Suprise. "You never look down the barrel of a loaded spud gun, no matter what type it is."
Igniting a flammable gas is, naturally, a hazardous process. But using the correct fuel minimizes the risk. Acetylene, gasoline, gunpowder and oxygen are dangerous, and spud guns should never use these fuels.
Stray projectiles can cause property damage, serious injuries and death. An ideal spud gun firing range is a large, open area, far from people or buildings. In addition, several basic rules are vital to the safe use of spud guns. The Spud Gun Technology Center has a comprehensive list of safety guidelines.
The United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms does not classify spud guns as firearms when they are used appropriately -- that is recreationally, and without intent to harm people or damage property. However, firing a spud gun is illegal in most cities, and some states have outlawed them. Other countries have their own regulations regarding spud gun ownership and use.
For more information about spud guns and related topics, check out the links on the next page.