A Player's Guide to Gel Blasters
Not long ago, the major first-person shooter sports were limited to paintball and airsoft. However, in recent years, a new kid on the block has appeared to contend with: Gel blasters! These innovative toy guns have risen in prominence over the past couple of years because of the game's low cost and lower age-appropriateness. As a result, many people consider them to fill the gap between airsoft and nerf guns, and kids today are loving it! To find out more about gel blaster guns and why people are going crazy about them, read on!
What is a Gel Blaster Gun?
A gel blaster gun is a toy gun that shoots small gel pellet projectiles. These pellets are little balls of super-absorbent polymers that players leave in water to soak up. They start out about the size of a pinhead and end up being anywhere from 9-11mm wide–about the size of a large pea.
While some gel blasters look like real guns, most are obviously toys. The speed of the gel projectiles that they shoot is also significantly lower than the speed of a paintball or an airsoft pellet. As a result, gel blasters are perfect for kids who are about ten years old or more. In addition, the relatively low cost of the blaster and ammunition (10,000 rounds cost $10) makes these toys perfect for kids, especially during the spring, summer, and fall months.
Difference between Gel Blaster and Paintball Guns
Paintball and gel blasting may be similar because they're both first-person shooter games. However, a closer look at the details of each game reveals significant differences. Paintball guns generally use compressed CO2 or nitrogen stored in a tank to power the projectile. However, gel blasters are powered by a battery or are spring-loaded. The muzzle velocity tends to be substantially different between paintballs and gel blasters. Fields generally throttle paintball markers at 280 FPS, but gel blasters rarely get past 200 FPS, making them much safer for kids to use.
Because of the lower velocity, the effective range of a gel blaster is significantly less than that of a paintball gun. Paintball guns are effective at 100 - 150 feet, but the maximum range for a gel blaster stops at about 60 feet.
How do Gel Blasters Work?
There are two basic categories of gel blasters: battery-operated and manual. Spring-loaded gel blasters must be cocked manually before every gel ball is fired, but battery-operated gel blasters cycle automatically. This automatic cycling is similar to an automatic firearm and allows for a high rate of fire–several hundred gel balls per minute. The gel blasters can also be hopper-fed, like paintball guns, or magazine-fed, like airsoft guns.
How to Play with Gel Blasters
Gel blasters were created to fill the gap between a nerf gun and an airsoft gun. A gel blaster's niche is for outdoor home use; some good backyard fun with the friends! Paintball must be played at a special paintball facility since paintballs create a mess and can easily damage others' property. Likewise, airsoft pellets can travel a long distance and hit unsuspecting bystanders or damage property as well. On the other hand, gel blasters can be used safely in residential areas without fear of hitting bystanders. The gel balls don't travel slowly and don't go far, so the risk of damaging a neighbor's property is virtually non-existent. The biodegradable gel pellets also dissolve easily into the soil, so cleanup requires no additional work.
Do Gel Blaster Rounds Hurt?
While getting hit with a gel pellet doesn't hurt as much as getting hit with a paintball or airsoft pellet hurts, it does sting slightly so that you're aware you've been hit. Many have compared the sensation to getting snapped lightly with a rubber band. In addition, as opposed to paintball and airsoft, these gel blasters rarely, if ever, leave welts so children can safely play and "tag" each other. Many gel blasters also offer adjustable projectile velocity to minimize the risk of injury.
There are, however, two hazards to keep in mind. First, as with any projectile, eye and face protection is extremely important. Even though gel blasters don't shoot very fast or very far, they can still damage eyes in the event of a direct hit. Furthermore, the small gel pellets represent a choking hazard for young children. Therefore, we recommend gel blasters for kids who are ten years old or older.
Our Favorite Gel Blaster Gear
If you're ready to take the first step and get ready to blast some gel, here is our favorite beginner setup!
The Gel Blaster SURGE is our favorite beginner gel blaster because it has everything you need at a very reasonable price. The SURGE is an electrically powered gel blaster that comes with a rapid-charge battery. In addition, the pellet velocity is adjustable from 90fps for younger players to 170fps for more seasoned players.
This gel blaster also comes with an 800-round hopper, so you can spend more time playing and less time reloading. Additionally, the SURGE has selective fully automatic (continuous stream) and semi-automatic (one pellet per trigger pull) settings. This great package also has safety glasses and a bag of 10,000 balls so that you can start gel blasting right out of the box!
Ammunition generally comes in packs of 10,000. However, Lone wolf does sell larger quantities of gel ammunition. You can purchase bags of 10,000 rounds, 35,000 rounds, or even up to 175,000 rounds if you're planning on having a tournament or afternoon with a bunch of friends.
For a quick upgrade, we recommend the Valken Gel Blaster Hopper. This hopper holds way more ammunition than the stock hopper that comes with the Gel Blaster SURGE and easily fits onto your Gel Blaster SURGE gun. In addition, the higher capacity means that you spend less time reloading and more time blasting!