Toy weapon

From Academic Kids

Missing image
example of a toy "cap gun"

Toy weapons are toys that mimic real weapons, but are designed to be fun for children to play with and less dangerous.

Some are essentially similar to the real thing, but less powerful. Weapons for cutting and stabbing have dull, plastic toy versions. Metal weapons often have toy versions of a lighter material such as plastic. Toy guns either cannot really shoot projectiles or just soft ones (such as nerf darts) with limited velocity.

However, cap pistols use caps with small amounts of explosives for the sound effect. Toy hand grenades do not contain explosives. BB guns are often called toy guns, but their shots can cause bodily harm.

Many newer toy weapons are brightly colored and oddly shaped to appeal to children and distinguish them from the real thing (see Dangers below). For example, a toy that shoots nerf balls might have a rounded shape and a neon yellow color.

For big weapons, the toy version is usually on a smaller scale. It might be much smaller, such as a toy catapult that is 20cm tall. Or it might just be sized for children, such as a squirt gun that is half the size of a similar firearm.


Toy weapons can cause harm like most objects in the hands of children. Unlike most other toys though, much of the danger of these toys is related to mistaking a toy weapon for a real weapon.

Toy weapons that look very much like a real one are forbidden in many countries because they can be mistaken for the real thing. For example, a robber might threaten people with a toy weapon or a child might handle a real weapon confusing it with a toy. Realistic looking toys are often called "replicas". In the United States since 1992, toy guns are required to have an orange plug or be entirely brightly colored to signify them as toys.

People might mistake a toy weapon for a real one and bring attention to the individual. Police officers or other authorities might treat the person as armed until their weapon is identified as a toy and their intentions discovered. As a consequence, toy weapons are sometimes banned from certain public places where such responses could cause a disruption.

External link

  • CNN: "A toy gun, a real crime" ( (January 8, 2003) Matt Bean on the dangers of toy guns being mistaken for real ones in the US.

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