Flamethrowers, Given Up By Military, Are Now Being Sold To The Public

By Aaron Smith

Flamethrowers, Given Up By Military, Are Now Being Sold To The Public

CNN Money

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Flamethrowers were gruesome weapons of war and so controversial that the U.S. military stopped using them after Vietnam.

But as crazy as it may sound, they are available for sale to the public.

A Cleveland startup called Throwflame is selling flamethrowers for $1,599 that can shoot fire for 50 feet. Another company, Ion Productions Team of Detroit, is selling $900 flamethrowers that can eject flames for 25 feet. Both companies started selling them this year.

The flamethrowers are marketed not as weapons, but as fun devices.

“We always have the people who just want it for fun. Impress the neighbors at the BBQ,” said Throwflame founder Quinn Whitehead.

Both Whitehead and Ion CEO Chris Byars said their flamethrowers have caused no injuries, and safety is a priority. But Ion notes on its website that the flamethrower “may result in injury or even death.”

The flamethrowers do have practical uses, both companies told CNNMoney. They said farmers can use them to clear fields by burning unwanted brush, and fire departments can use them for controlled burns, to try and prevent accidental forest fires or to stop them from spreading.

How do they work? Throwflame's fire comes from a hose connected to a backpack with a tank of fuel. The Ion flamethrower is powered by a fuel can that's attached directly to the device.

Are flamethrowers legal? A spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it doesn't regulate them because they are not guns. That means buyers don't need to go through background checks from the FBI.

Still, flamethrowers could run afoul of state or local laws. They are banned outright in Maryland. California considers them “destructive devices,” which are illegal, but the state does issue permits for use on movie sets.

Many other local jurisdictions have fire codes and weapon controls, which could prevent people from buying or using them.

XM42 Handheld Flamethrower
XM42 Handheld Flamethrower

There's no outright ban on them in the country's National Parks. However, you cannot use one, and displaying one could result in prosecution for causing “unrest,” according to the Parks' regional chief ranger William Reynolds.

The Department of the Interior, which controls the Office of Wild Fire, said its firefighters use a variety of incendiary devices, including drip torches, flares and propane torches. While it didn't name a flamethrower, it does use a Terra Torch, which behaves like one. However, it's fueled by a tank mounted in a truck, which isn't portable.

Throwflame and Ion sell their flamethrowers online.

Byars said he ships via the U.S. Postal Service, which has restrictions against flammable liquids. So he ships them without the fuel.

Whitehead said he ships via UPS. Susan Rosenberg, a UPS spokeswoman, confirmed that “a flamethrower device without fuel is not a restricted item and is not licensed in the same way as firearms or ammunition. UPS will accept the device for shipment if legal in the origin and destination locations.”

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  • 14 thoughts on “Flamethrowers, Given Up By Military, Are Now Being Sold To The Public

    1. I wonder If the darn things could be used to stop a riot and looting of stores. If I was a store owner in one of those areas prone to savage riots, I’d want one. o_O

      [8~{} Uncle Monster


      1. Yup! So true! So where can I buy a nuclear weapon? After all, I have the LAWFUL RIGHT AND PRIVILEGE (notice the correct spelling of the word) IN OWNING SUCH THINGS! Seriously, Gregory, THINK before you post…..

    3. I was trained on one in the military. I’d love to get a military surplus model. It’s a real “Blast” to fire off, and a useful tool for many tasks around the farm/ranch. As to the jihadist using one, one shot in the tank and he is immolated within nanoseconds.

    4. Silencers are not “guns” either so why are they “regulated”?
      I can see where these would be useful when the Zombie apocalypse starts.

    5. The IslamoFascists being imported by Sheikh Hussein will LOVE this product, especially if they are relocated as instant Democrat Entitlementarians in the Left Coast. Think of all the goats and sheep (and immodest women) they will be able to barbecue at the mere pull of a trigger, and then enjoy dinner by firelight…

      1. “I just gotta stock up. Er…er…for my BBQing needs, that is…;)”
        The preferred method for cooking long pig, eh?

    6. I can see where they would come in use for clearing brush, cat tails, and back fires. I can also see where gangs could do some serious damage to a rival gang members home and family. Might be a good idea to know who has one. That and BBQs will never be the same on the 4th of July 😉

      1. You are right John, first time some gang member, or other wanna be thug uses one of these for destructive purposes, these will pulled of line quicker than a politician can flip flop.

      2. You were fine until you said “might be good to know who had one”. That’s the same rationale that has led us down the road to 22,000+ gun laws. PLEASE, let’s not start that with something else.

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