Although they are all over TikTok and social media, and Google Trends shows that interest in ‘gel blasters’ has increased steadily since 2018, most people do not know what gel blasters are.
This in-depth article hopes to change that by helping you learn everything you would ever want to know about gel blasters, including but not limited to:
- What are gel blasters?
- How do gel blasters work?
- What ammunition do gel blaster use, and what are the most important things to know about this ammo?
- How far can gel blasters shoot?
- How do gel blasters compare to paintball and airsoft guns?
There’s a lot to learn, so let’s get started:
1. What are Gel Blasters?
Gel blasters are also called gel markers, ‘orbeez guns,’ hydro blasters, gel guns, and gel soft. They are safe toy guns that look like real firearms; this makes them a popular shooting toy.
Even though they often look like real guns, very few countries in the world consider gel blasters firearms, which is why they are legal to own and use in most countries.
TIP: Before we continue, it’s important to remind you that gel blaster laws and regulations vary from country to country and state to state. Therefore, check your area’s gel blaster laws and regulations to avoid legal issues.
Gel blasters are toy guns designed to look like accurate copies of real gun models. For example, here is an image of a real Heckler & Koch MP5.
Now here is a picture of what most automatic MP5 gel blasters look like:
Can you see the uncanny resemblance?
That is because most gel blaster models draw inspiration from real gun models to give the blasters a realistic look and feel.
Gel blasters have a design and functionality similar to airsoft and paintball guns. They all look like real gun models, and most use similar mechanics.
However, as we shall discuss shortly, the ammo gel blasters use, which is gel beads, makes them a unique shooting toy.
Gel blasters are recreational toys that stimulate safe toy gunplay. However, like paintball, laser tag, and other close-combat games, gel blaster playing facilities, events, and tournaments are becoming increasingly common.
2. How Do Gel Blasters Work?
Gel blasters use a spring-and-piston-loaded firing mechanism to shoot gel balls out of a barrel, similar to how a paintball gun operates.
Courtesy of gelblasterguns.com, here is a handy image showing the internals of a gel blaster’s firing mechanism:
Like paintball guns, most gel blasters use battery-powered firing mechanisms to shoot gel beads after you pull the trigger. Below is an infographic illustrating how paintball guns work.
The image should give you a clear idea of how both oy gun types work, but while a gel blaster has a feeder/hopper, trigger, and different firing mechanisms, it does not have an external air tank.
Gel blasters have different power grading or FPS, accuracy, and custom hoppers based on the blaster’s design.
For example, the Ferventoys™ UZI Splatter Ball Gun, an automatic gel blaster, has a removable hopper at the top, as shown below:
In contrast, the M416 Pro gel blaster in the picture below has a below-the-barrel magazine or hopper.
Because we have mentioned it in passing, you know that gel blasters shoot gel beads.
Let’s talk about them a little bit:
3: What Are Gel Balls?
Gel blaster balls are also called gel balls or gel ammo. They are small spherical beads made of a water-absorbent polymer. A pack of new gel balls comes dehydrated, and a pack of 30,000 dry gel beads can fit into three hand-sized pouches.
To prepare dehydrated gel beads for shooting, you should soak them in water for 4 hours. The beads absorb this water and expand to several times their original size. Hydrated gel balls can measure anywhere between 6mm to 10mm, but the most common ones are 7-8mm.
4: How Do Gel Balls Work?
When gel balls are dry, they are as big as a pinhead.
However, they multiply in size when soaked in water since most gel ball manufacturers make them from water-absorbent, eco-friendly, non-toxic, and non-staining starch-based polymers. That’s why when you soak them in water, the dry gel beads fill up with water -and grow to the recommended 7-8mms—but some gel blasters need bigger-sized gel balls.
Further, because they are water-based, you should shake off any excess water before loading your gel beads into your hopper. More importantly, never leave a loaded hopper on your gun when you’re not using it; otherwise, it might jam your blaster.
It’s also important to buy the same gel balls recommended by your blaster brand because some sizes may not work with your blaster.
PRO TIP: If you like experimenting and can get your hands on sodium alginate and calcium chloride powder, you can make gel beads from home using instructions for Oregon State University.
5: Do Gel Blaster Balls Hurt?
Previous blogs have discussed how much gel blasters hurt and answered the most common gel blaster questions. Check out that blog:
The truth is that getting shot with gel balls hurts, but not as much as you might imagine.
Gel beads are 7-8mm and filled with water. When we compare this to paintballs, which are often 17.3 mm or .68 caliber, it’s clear that gel balls hurt way less.
Secondly, because they are kid-friendly, gel balls are non-lethal and made to splatter on impact. Because of this, they don’t cause much pain or bruising.
Ultimately, getting shot with gel balls in standard gameplay with an unmodded gel blaster is so bearable that many people have said it feels like a rubber band snap or firm pinch.
How much pain you will feel when someone shoots you with gel balls depends on factors like where the hit lands, how far the shooter is from you, how much FPS your gel blaster has, repeated shots, etc.
Generally, though, the pain is bearable if you wear safety gear like goggles to protect the eyes and clothes to protect your bare skin. Also, following the honor-based system used by other CQB-style shooting games like airsoft can minimize pain. Never aim gel balls at unprotected eyes/body parts and keep the balls from kids and pets.
6: How Far Do Gel Blasters Shoot?
The distance a gel blaster can shoot varies depending on the specific model and its condition.
Generally, as a gel blaster comparison table published on Outdoors Warehouse shows, most gel blasters have an FPS range of between 90 to 300, allowing you to shoot gel balls up to 100+ feet.
For example, the Gatling Gel Blaster below, a monster gel blaster designed with a rotating barrel, can shoot up to 60 feet at 130 fps.
Besides FPS and shooting conditions, other factors that can affect how far a gel blaster can shoot are:
- A poorly charged battery: When the battery is low, the shots will be slower and shorter. Make sure you charge your battery well before use, following the instruction on battery charge time and correct charger use.
- The type and quality of the gel balls used: Use the gel balls recommended for your particular gun, paying special attention to the size and how long you soak gel beads.
- The blaster’s condition: How well-maintained your gel blaster is can determine how far and well it shoots. A poorly maintained blaster is likely to have a shorter range than a well-kept or modded blaster.
- The weather conditions: Extreme weather conditions affect how far your blaster can shoot.
7: Where Are Gel Blasters Legal and Illegal?
Gel blasters have more and varying legal restrictions and regulations in different countries than paintball guns and gaming zones.
Where are gel blasters illegal?
According to the Brisban Times, all Australian states and territories except Queensland consider gel blasters firearms that are illegal to carry in public without a special permit.
Where are gel blasters legal?
Gel blasters are legal in the following countries:
|Argentina||Legal to own for anyone above the minimum age.|
|Armenia||Legal, and you don’t need a license for blasters that can shoot 0.20g bullets.|
|Belgium||Legal to own except for blasters that shoot at over 900 FPS.|
|Bulgaria||Legal, but there’s an age restriction of 18 years and above.|
|Chile||Legal, but you must transport gel blasters out of sight in public.|
|Czech Republic||Legal, but there’s an age restriction of 18 years and above.|
|Denmark||Legal, but there’s an age restriction of 18 years and above.|
|Finland||Legal, but there’s an age restriction of 18 years and above.|
|France||Legal, except for gel blasters shootings with an FPS of 465 and above.|
|Germany||Gel blasters below 230FPS are legal to anyone above age 14.|
|Greece||Legal for anyone over 18 and classified in the same class as airsoft guns.|
|Hong Kong||Legal and considered toys, as long as the FPS is below 465.|
|Hungary||Legal; anyone above age 18 can buy one.|
|Ireland||Legal, but you need a permit for blasters with an FPS above 330.|
|Indonesia||Legal, without any rules or restrictions.|
|Italy||Legal, with blasters below 330 FPS categorized as toys.|
|Japan||Legal for gel blasters below 330 FPS.|
|Latvia||Legal; gel blasters below 400 FPS are toys anyone above 18 years can buy.|
|Lithuania||Legal; gel blasters below 400 FPS are toys anyone above 18 years can buy.|
|Malta||Legal, with no license or permit requirements.|
|Norway||Legal to buy for anyone above the age of 18.|
|Poland||Legal, but only for blasters below 1350 FPS; you must conceal a blaster in public spaces.|
|Russia||Gel blasters below 568 FPS are legal to own in Russia.|
|Serbia||Legal to buy and own for anyone above the age of 16.|
|Slovakia||Legal to use for anyone above the age of 18, as long as the blaster has an FPS below 1250.|
|Slovenia||Legal, but you must keep your blaster concealed in public spaces.|
|Sweden||Legal to anyone above the age of 18.|
|Ukraine||Gel blasters below 568 FPS are legal.|
|United Arab Emirates||Legal, but you need a permit to import one outside the UAE and must conceal your gel blaster in public spaces.|
|United Kingdom||Legal, but only for gel blasters with an FPS below 375 for automatic blasters and 520 for single-fire ones.|
Because gel blaster laws vary so much, always check the laws of your area before purchasing a gel blaster to avoid legal issues.
8: Airsoft Gun vs. Gel Blasters vs. Paintball: What Are The Differences?
Airsoft guns, gel blasters, and paintballs are replica firearms that shoot non-lethal projectiles.
However, although they are similar in many ways, there are key differences between gel blasters, airsoft guns, and paintball guns.
Read our more comprehensive blogs below to learn more about these differences.
- Gel Blaster vs. Airsoft: Differences, Similarities, Features, & Which is Better?
- Gel Blaster vs. Paintball: Which Hurts More?
9. How To Take Care Of A Gel Blaster
How you take care of your gel blaster will depend on the make and model. Therefore, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
With that said, below are a few things you can do to take better care of the gel blaster:
- Keep the blaster clean and dry to prenevt jamming or other damage: Always empty your hopper or magazine after each use. When using the blaster, ensure the gel balls do not have excess water.
- Use the recommended type and weight of gel balls: Please always read the instructions on your gel blaster package and use the correct gel bead sizes for your blaster gun. If it’s 7mm balls, use 7mm balls.
- Maintenance is key: Once in a while, lubricate moving parts, such as the gears and hop-up unit, with silicone oil to maintain smooth operation.
- Storage matters: Store the blaster gun in a cool, dry place to prevent warping or cracking. Avoid direct sunlight when storing the blaster guns because heat affects plastic, which might damage your gun.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s or seller’s maintenance instructions and use only high-quality, compatible replacement parts for your model.
Gel blasters are a great alternative to paintball and airsoft, especially because they shoot gel balls, which are non-toxic, non-staining, and mess-free, making them ideal for home use.
However, although gel blasters are safe, it is crucial to wear protective eyewear while playing and to supervise children under 14 to ensure a safe gameplay.
Additionally, only use brand-recommended gel balls with your blaster to avoid damaging your blaster or hurting yourself and others.
If you’re looking for gel blaster balls or the next gel blaster to add to your collection or to give to your kids, remember to check out our wide range of gel blasters for all levels: starter, intermediate, and pro.
We’re sure you’ll find something you like.