KIDS love weapons and inflicting harm, and the children of the 70s had less supervision than most. Luckily their weapons were far too rubbish to do any real damage. Like these.
Could be a forked tree twig made with duct tape and knicker elastic, or the Holy Grail of catapults: a high-velocity version strapped to the forearm. They could shoot though a car, according to your friend Dave. Understandably unpopular with parents and neighbours, due to broken windows and ‘having someone’s eye out’. They needn’t have worried – it took about 200 shots to finally hit your target by chance.
Verdict: Effective only in experienced hands.
Every child with a pea-shooter thought they were an Amazonian jungle warrior or master assassin. Despite the propaganda of Dennis the Menace, peas usually only travelled about two metres before plummeting pathetically to the floor. Also had a tendency to cover your hands with spit, which is worse than being hit by a pea. Not to mention the obvious choking hazard of carrying dried peas in your mouth, which, looking back, was phenomenally irresponsible.
Verdict: Don’t get weapons advice from the Beano.
The closest a 70s kid got to being James Bond was owning and operating a spud gun. However firing a Walther PPK doesn’t involve endless f**king around with a plunger and a potato, or the Bond films would have had very different outcomes. Battles using these weapons never lasted long, possibly due to boredom, and the only real jeopardy a child spy faced was explaining to ‘M’ why you’d ruined all the potatoes.
Verdict: A small piece of potato is not effective for military use, storming an embassy or home defence.
Modern kids have great fun with super-soakers capable of squirting jets of water over great distances. 1970s kids had tiny hollow plastic revolvers with a thimble-sized reservoir capable of one decent spray or several pathetic spurts. Usually obtained as a free gift with a comic, these always had a crap seal on the small water hole, getting you wetter than the victim. Which, admittedly, wasn’t very wet.
Verdict: Kids with water pistols today don’t know they’re born.
The weapon of choice for the 70s kid with no boundaries was a long stick plunged into the nearest dog turd. Wielded like a toxic lightsaber, it guaranteed all around fled swiftly with a collective ‘Urgh!’. Accidentally smearing dog shit on yourself wasn’t unknown, in a misfire no weapons operator wants.
Verdict: Consigned to the annals of history due to killjoy dog owners disposing of turds responsibly.