Toy gun sales doing very well

This is a nice cultural change. Toy companies might not like to call them guns, but they do have triggers and they are sometimes called cannons.

Toy companies are coming out with new extreme toy weapons for summer, outfitting kids for the traditional summertime pastime of playing in the yard . . . and blasting each other to smithereens with foam projectiles and water.

Noting the explosive popularity of outdoor "blasters" from Hasbro's Nerf and Super Soaker lines, more companies are jumping in with rival products, whether weapons that shoot wet paper pellets (a modern take on the old-fashioned spitball) or bows that fling foam arrows.

Amid overall lackluster toy sales in recent years, sales of outdoor playthings have been a bright spot, jumping 8% last year, according to market-research firm NPD Group. Industry experts say much of the growth is due to innovations like shooters that dispense foam darts with machine-gun rapidity and water blasters that let loose a torrential stream at increasingly greater distances. Hasbro's Nerf blasters and Super Soaker water shooters dominate the category. Innovations this summer include a cannon soaker with expanded water capacity and a battery-run soaker that promises a long, steady stream with no pumping required.

The shooters—makers assiduously avoid calling them "guns"—are antidotes to other summertime activities that kids or their parents soon tire of, whether it's the demands of day camps and other structured activities, or videogames and computer screens. According to NPD, the amount of face time kids spend with friends and siblings in leisure activities declines as they grow older, with an average of 10.8 hours a week by the time they are in the 9- to 12-year-old range. . . .

I remember this toy gun from when I was a kid. I didn't own this toy, but friends did.



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