The 10 Most Insane Weapons You Can Legally Own

The second amendment gives us lucky American citizens the right to bear arms, and we’ve managed to stretch that definition into encompassing a whole ton of heavy artillery. In this feature, we’ll spotlight ten weapons that are still street legal in most of the United States (New York and California have slightly more stringent rules) so you can start building your personal armory.


M134 General Electric Minigun

Automatic weapons aren’t legal anymore, right? Well, sort of. Laws prohibit ordinary citizens from owning any fully automatic rifle made after 1986. This puppy sneaks in just under the wire, and if you’re looking for a device that spits hot death at an insane rate, here it is. The M134 has a capacity of 166 shots per second, and packs so much recoil that you’d rip your arms off if you tried to hold it and shoot. Mount it on a vehicle (say a Toyota Yaris, which you can get for less than the $40,000 cost of the gun) and you’re all set for Mad Max time. (Photo courtesy of: World Guns)


If you’re a big fan of Daryl Dixon on “The Walking Dead,” here’s some good news: you can walk around with a crossbow just about anywhere you like – at least during archery season. The only state in which they’re an absolute no-go is Oregon. First developed in China during the Warring States period, crossbows combined the lethality of a traditional bow and arrow with portability and ease of aim. They were a popular weapon for assassinations in the middle ages, and some contemporary armies have used them for urban warfare. (Photo courtesy of: Dwight Stone via Flickr CC)

XM42 Flamethrower

In general, it’s hard to pass laws regulating flamethrowers. If you make them too broad, you accidentally end up outlawing Zippo lighters and then barbecue season is ruined. If you make them too narrow, stuff like the XM42 ends up slipping through the cracks. This personal flamethrower is currently raising funds on Indiegogo for a full production run, but at a base price of $699 it’s not an impulse buy. The interesting thing about flamethrowers is that their use in warfare is banned by the Geneva Convention, so civilians can have them but soldiers can’t. Checkmate, Obama. (Photo courtesy of: Popsci)


It seems pretty difficult to outlaw a blowgun, as they’re basically just tubes, but unlucky residents of California and Massachusetts aren’t allowed to own these iconic weapons of jungle warfare. Everybody else, have fun. Blowguns were originally used by indigenous tribes in South and Central America as well as South East Asia. Hollowed-out sticks or reeds are puffed into to expel seeds and darts. Modern Western blowguns are much more high-tech, and used by scientists to stun and capture rare lizards in the wild. If you’re thinking about using one for self-defense, keep in mind that darts don’t have a lot of stopping power and producing the kind of poison you’d need to bring a man down is definitely against the law. (Photo courtesy of: Ryan via Flickr CC)

LED Incapacitator

Non-lethal weaponry is a major growth industry, with the United States government spending millions on new ways to shut people down without ending their lives permanently. One recent invention, the “Dazzler,” is a flashlight-sized device that emits a strobing visual signal that can make people nauseous and even fall unconscious. You can’t have the military version, but a group of inspired hardware hackers reverse-engineered the technology and released instructions on how to make your own. There aren’t any laws on the books in regards to light-powered combat devices, so go nuts with this puppy. (Photo courtesy of: ar15)

Chain Whips

Sometimes the traditional ways of ruining someone’s day are the best. Chain whips have been used in martial arts since the Jin Dynasty, and surprisingly these weapons are legal in most states. You can’t brandish them in New York, California or Maryland, but that leaves 47 other places to have fun. Made of sections of metal threaded together and attached to a handle, chain whips take a lot of training to be able to use without seriously injuring yourself. The multiple videos of people on YouTube slicing through watermelons make it look like a lot of fun. (Photo courtesy of: Aliexpress)


If things really go ass up and you need to defend your property Civil War style, you’ll be happy to know that it’s completely legal for a private citizen to own an old-school black powder cannon. Any artillery device where the propellant is separate from the shell is allowed by law. For these relics, a charge of black powder is required to launch an iron ball into the air and through whatever target you deem most appropriate. One caveat: owning more than 50 pounds of black powder is against the law, so hopefully you don’t need to get off that many shots. (Photo courtesy of: Chris Devers via Flickr CC)

Grenade Launchers

This one is going to come as a surprise, but it is in fact completely legal for a private citizen to own a fully functioning grenade launcher. Gun laws regarding these weapons are pretty quirky – a 37mm launcher, which is often used for flares, is regulated differently than a 40mm launcher like the big boys use. To get one of the latter, you need a permit from the ATF, which requires a ton of background checking. Owning grenades to shoot from it is a little trickier – because they’re classified as destructive devices, you need to find a chief law enforcement officer in your area who is willing to sign off on you owning one, then pay a $200 tax per grenade, which is a little steep for just one boom. The 37mm isn’t classified as a weapon, but there isn’t explosive ordinance that works with it. (Photo courtesy of: Program Executive Office via Flickr CC)


If the most outrageous climate change predictions come true, the rising oceans could swamp a good deal of our great country within a few generations. It might be time to learn how to use a speargun while you can. Typically used for fishing, spearguns are either powered by rubber tension bands or pressurized air. Some states have regulations on when you can use them, but ownership is not regulated and sales are at the discretion of whatever sporting goods store you can get one from. People in real life have tried to use spearguns to commit crimes, most notably the hijacking of Federal Express flight 705. (Photo courtesy of: Harrison Krix via Flickr CC)

Homemade Guns

The advent of 3D printing has opened a gaping hole in America’s gun laws. While you need to have a license to purchase a firearm, you don’t need anything of the sort to build one yourself. Homemade firearms are legal because the receiver – the part of the rifle that connects the mechanisms – are sold unfinished, which doesn’t require registration. As long as you don’t sell your homemade gun or transfer it to another person, you can own any kind of firearm you make yourself. (Photo courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons)