#2. Paintball Weapons
Messing around with pretend guns is a large part of childhood for most men, regardless of whether their weapon of choice is made of plastic or pixels. Paintball is a natural extension of this -- a chance to experience the joys of shooting each other without the whole dying part and (more importantly) without having to settle for laser tag.
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Fucking laser tag.
Paintball is pretty popular these days, and variations of the theme are commonly used to train military and law enforcement personnel. With this in mind, it's no surprise that some enterprising souls have started straight up weaponizing paintball. One of the more popular entrepreneurs on the field is a company known as PepperBall, and the list of their projectiles reads like the contents of your average superhero's utility belt: There are solid glass-breaker balls, marker projectiles for suspect identification, water-filled pellets for when Sandman attacks, and, of course, capsaicin-filled pepper spray balls. These also come in a "Live X" variety that's 10 times stronger than usual, for those cherished occasions when you want to hate-fuck the entire world right in the eye socket. Although they're technically survivable, prison guards who have been on the receiving end of a strong pepper ball will tell you that getting hit by one is to your face what fire ants are to a picnic (that someone is having on your face).
Via Less Lethal Products
At least they keep the pain festive by packing it in candy jars.
The U.S. Army also has a version of weaponized paintball guns, because of course it has. An actual toy company (the one behind Tickle Me Elmo, of all possible things) is developing the charmingly nicknamed "Big Hurt," a military-grade paintball rifle with adjustable muzzle velocity that enables the weapon to shoot a wide variety of projectiles at various speeds. There's also the FN303, a "super paintball gun" capable of shooting pepper spray and impact balls. FN303 is already out there and has seen plenty of action, but we're not going to delve into its specifics, because it has already proven to be unreliable as all hell in its job of not killing people, and nothing is more depressing than getting killed by a goddamn paintball.
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Except getting killed in fucking laser tag.
Kids have their wedgies and adults have their Taser kickboxing, but at the end of the day, we all know that the most effective way to end a fight is smell. Children usually have to resort to a nice, wet fart as the ultimate argument ender, but if they had a liberal budget and a horde of loyal witches, Skunk is totally the weapon they'd create.
What, you thought these things were made in a lab?
Stink bombs as weapons are nothing new. Rotting corpses and poopy surprises have been employed by the more sadistic catapult users since time immemorial, and longtime readers might remember the Vortex Ring Gun, which basically works by farting at you really hard. However, according to the poor souls who have experienced it, no one has ever smelled anything as vile as Skunk. Its odor is described as a combination of rotting meat, raw sewage, and gym socks so unwashed that they stand by themselves, all amplified above and beyond their logical limits. The stench lingers on your skin for days, and I genuinely hope that wasn't your best shirt, because it's going to smell like the mother of all asses for up to five years.
And that's if you make a teeny tiny contact with the source of the smell. Chances are that you and Skunk are going to get slightly more intimate than that, because they're totally going to blast that shit at you with a fire hose.
Pictured: an actual skunk, desperately trying to mask your horrible stench with flowers.
A loving product of the Israeli military machine, Skunk is so vile that, even in its grand debut at a demonstration in 2008, the soldiers were instructed to use every other non-lethal means they had before stinking up the place. However, when Skunk is used, it's used with gusto. The substance is a completely organic yeast-based mixture that's actually safe for consumption if you're really thirsty or truly stupid. This is bad news, because the troops that are about to blast you have no poison element to be wary of. They're free to hose you down with the worst scent in existence until their hosin' hand gets tired, which is never.
Although the jury is still out on Skunk's legal and moral aspects (it's technically not a chemical weapon, but come on), the Israeli forces have high hopes of turning their invention into a bona fide international franchise, selling Skunk to other countries' various agencies to employ and enjoy. So, while it's probably not going to happen in the immediate future, there's a chance that someday you may unassumingly pop out for some Taco Bell, only to walk right into a thousand gallons of Skunk some short-sighted riot cop is accidentally blasting directly at your screaming face instead of whatever sports team's fans are rioting that week.
On a positive note, chances are it'll be a better taste experience than Taco Bell.
Pauli Poisuo is a Cracked columnist, a freelance editor, and almost certainly not an alien (although it would explain a lot of things, now that we think of it). Follow him on Twitter.
For objects of destruction that came from a child's mind, check out If 5-Year-Olds Were In Charge of Weapon Design.