Super Soakers aren't "Squirt Guns"

For all of history, guys have taken joy in shooting things at other things, whether it was the bow and arrow, the slingshot, the cap gun, or the paintball. The joy of it goes back to our origins as hunters (I'm guessing), but over time it evolved into sport, and then into shooting harmless substances at each other for kicks. A useful skill, I know.

The 90s did have one major innovation in the history of toy weaponry, and that was the Super Soaker. The original, which was released in 1990, could hold about 1 liter of water and fire it a good 50 feet, not to mention it also finally looked like a pretty badass "gun" like you'd expect in a Predator movie or something. The major innovation of the Super Soaker was that, unlike squirt guns, it had a "pumping action," which not only made you look like a badass Rambo-warrior when you were out prancing around the backyard with it, but also compressed the water so that when it actually did fire, it would fly! And when you got hit with these jets, you were bound to be streaked and squishy-heeled in short order.

Over the years these things just got bigger and meaner, holding more water and firing it further and further distances, with all kinds of accessories, like lazor guides and multiple shots with less pumping and easier "pump" refill (much easier than having to take the water jug off!), but whatever form they took, these things just about ruled whatever birthday party I was ever invited to. Once the guns were dusted off from the garage, there was no stopping the blitzkrieg... until they had to be reloaded of course. And so it was that after decades where toy weapons were only for target practice, kids were finally allowed to use other kids as the bullseye, thanks to this device. Boys will be boys, but only because a little water never hurt anyone.

But do yourself a favor and stop calling these things "squirt guns." I had many of those small see-through plastic pistol-shaped squirters with the push-button trigger, and I don't even see how they can be compared. Every squirt gun I ever had only carried about a cup of water at most, and it only fired it about a foot or two. You maybe got one or two decent tiny squirts out of it before you had to pour water down that impossibly tiny hole in the top or submerge the thing and wait for it to "glub glub" its way to being stocked. There's no question that the Super Soaker and its band of clones blew the squirt gun out of the water.


  1. These Super Soakers changed the summer time water game for ever.

  2. Invented by Lonnie George Johnson, an African American NASA Scientist from Mobile, AL. Unfortunately, he recently had to sue the toy company for back pay in royalties ($72M)