X Products AR Can Launcher

There’s modular, and there’s crazy modular. Here’s an AR upper with a twist — it contains a plugged, ported barrel, and launches an ordinary 12 oz. soft drink can out to 100 yards. Coming soon from X Products, you can preorder it (as an upper) now with a $20 deposit.


More fun than anyone should have… The Can Cannon is a patent pending launching device that uses a propriatary gas ported barrel and pressure tube to launch heavy, thin wall objects, without burning a hole in them or directing hot gas directly into them. Currently set up for launching full un-opened 12oz soda cans, when used with standard mil spec blanks it can reach an average distance of 105 yards!
Why would you launch a soda can? Because it’s fun! Plus, it’s an incredibly fast and fun decoy to shoot at. Every demonstration leads to more smiles and laughs than any product we’ve ever introduced. BATFE approved design is not considered a Destructive Device or firearm.

via AR-15 Soda Can Launcher – Accessories Launcher – X Products.

Expected cost of the whole thing will be $399 or less (again, this is upper only) and it works with GI M200 blanks.

X Products is, of course, well known for its line of 50-round drum magazines for ARs and various other rifles in 5.56, 7.62 and 9mm. One is shown above in the Can Launcher, and the one below is in a Black Rain Ordnance AR.

X-15_Drum_in_Black_Rain_Rear_ViewThe metallic X Products drums are heavy for a 50-round mag, but reliable (although they can be… selective… about the supposedly-STANAG weapons they’ll work with, X is pretty up-front with this information).

You’re probably wondering a few things. Like: how does X make this work? And how did they get ATF to sign off on this as a non-gun? And we wouldn’t be Weaponsman.com if we didn’t have answers for you.

That big, soda-can-caliber cylinder threads on like a free-floating fore-end, but the barrel of this AR is radically different. It’s short, and ported, and capped. When you drop a can in, it rests on the cap and creates a de-facto high-pressure-low-pressure system like that going on inside a 40mm grenade.

The blank’s high pressure in the barrel exits through the ports into the large area behind the can, pressurizing it and sending the can downrange with a satisfying toonk!

The pressure in the “low pressure chamber” behind the can is sufficient to launch the can.

The ATF, for their part, appears satisfied that the capped blanks-only barrel is not intended for live-ammunition use. (And indeed, if you tried it, you would not be pleased with the result).

There are videos of this in action at the link above. So, how much did we like it? Enough to put ourselves down for one:



We have absolutely no earthly, practical use for the thing (X Products suggests launching decoys for training gun dogs, but our dog only thinks he’s big enough to do that). But we are buying it because it’s neat, it will be fun if we can figure out where to shoot it, and because imagination ought to be encouraged, and we know no better encouragement than the profit motive.


27 thoughts on “X Products AR Can Launcher

    1. Oberndorfer

      Or to fire some paracord guide line into the trees,
      to get a climbing rope up for bee swarm harvesting.

  1. Miles

    I wonder what the KE would be of the impact of a pop can @ 50m?

    And somewhere, someday, somebody will figure out how to launch a fin stabilized discarding potato sabot.

      1. LFMayor

        here goes, please correct my math:
        KE = .5 *( (.345 kilos) *( velocity * velocity))
        .345kg is a standard “can” (approx 5300 grains)
        so let’s use 100 meters/second for arguments sake
        KE = .5 * (.345 * 10000)
        KE =- .5 * 3450
        KE = 1725 joule
        foot lbs = (1725 * .737 ) 1271

        My biggest question is how fast could we actually get that thing moving? That’s a lot ( A LOT) of payload to accelerate. What sort of recoil will it generate?
        How much can the platform take?
        How much can the human platform take before it bloodys your nose and knocks you out?

  2. Aesop

    Because no one will find or make a suitable-sized glass bottle, and fill it 87 octane, dish soap, and aluminum glitter, and a lit bit of rag, and launch it 100Y downrange.
    Nor do the same thing with a canister of bearspray OC.
    Or fill an empty soda can with ball bearings and black powder or substitute, light the cannon fuse, and fire it downrange. (Gawd help you if you get a hangfire.)

    Yeah, gotta get me one of those before they figure all that out.

    1. Randy

      There’s a video out there of a Syrian having a misfire with a shotgun converted to launch pipe bombs. He whipped that contraption around like he was casting for bass and rid it of the bomb, laughing the whole time.

      Apparently it happened often enough they’d developed a drill for it….

  3. Y.

    Or fill an empty soda can with ball bearings and black powder or substitute, light the cannon fuse, and fire it downrange. (Gawd help you if you get a hangfire.)

    Have you tested that? I’m not sure if soda cans are sturdy enough pressure vessels.

    1. Hognose Post author

      The typical aluminum soda can relies on its filling to give it strength in compression and shear. That’s why Big Jake Jakovenko was so impressive for his rumored ability (I say rumored because I never saw it with my own eyes, but I heard about it a lot) to tear full beer cans in two. Empty cans, lots of guys could do.

        1. Hognose Post author

          Absolutely, some materials are strong in compression but not in tension… and some vice-versa. The alloy beverage can is much like the chicken’s egg. The shell of the egg needs the yolk and white inside for what little strength it has….

  4. Bill K

    Ignoramus non-military that I am, what’s to keep someone from using this as a poor man’s M79?

      1. Aesop

        Couldn’t help myself, I had a classical education: Leonardo daVinci’s notebooks, and the humor of George Carlin:
        “Consider the flamethrower. Proof that somewhere sometime, someone decided, “I’d really like to set those people over there on fire, but I can’t quite get close enough.”

        And in discussions on a hog-culling thread elsewhere, it strikes me that loading a suitable canister with tannerite would enable one to launch a muzzle safe piece of ordnance downrange, and then allow a second shooter to helpfully detonate it once it lands. And if it had been thoughtfully encased in a layer of ball bearings, nails, nuts & bolts, etc., well, doom on whoever.

  5. redc1c4

    i regret to inform our host that, upon her seeing the item in question, Household 6 decreed we needed one immediately, and gave up the sacred purchasing numbers to complete the order then and there.

    i am heartbroken over it all…

    i’d also point out, based upon personal experience, that IMI blanks, loaded as M-200 equivalents, have (or at least had) a hotter charge than the Lake City equivalent, which should result in improved range/performance with this wonderful invention. i’ll have to peruse the Shotgun News to see if they are readily available still.

    and has anyone considered the terminal ballistics of a can with *frozen* contents, at least on a human torso?

    next up: if you cut the top off a can, and insert a suitably sized bottle into it….


    1. Hognose Post author

      They’ve already contacted me for the rest of the money so these suckas are shipping in days. Woot! I’m glad somebody else is as twisted as we at WeaponsMan.com.

      Now we not only have to find the cheapest blanks, but the cheapest soft drinks. Reminds me of the 70s when we shot the cheapest beer cans as targets — “Billy Beer,” Jimmy Carter’s brother’s stuff.

      1. redc1c4

        making your own blanks wouldn’t be hard either… albeit crimping the neck might take some figuring… and a dab of nail polish on the point when you’re done…

        start out with a standard powder charge for the round and w*rk up from there? i may have a blank round or two around here, somewhere, but getting the powder out to measure it is gonna be fun…

        i mean, you obviously *don’t* want to cut the case. ;-)

        1. Randy

          There are a variety of sites out there, including ones that have the ammo TMs, explaining how to make grenade launching blanks as well as regular blanks. There are some real safety issues in play re: Pressure.

          1. redc1c4

            i’d say that the pressure issue goes w/o saying, but the world is full of idiots & fools…

            it certainly was on the top of my list of concerns with trying w*rk a load up myself.

    2. Randy

      I can’t speak to what this will do but when we tested Armor Holding’s “less lethal” 40mm round, it flipped a #50 block of clay end over end for about five feet.

  6. redc1c4

    Update: got an invoice via e-mail today… shipment to follow shortly, w/tracking number…


    1. Randy

      You’re talking me into one…. I made the mistake of eyeballing my antenna set up and thinking “Just another 30 feet higher.”

      Pressure issues probably go without saying on this site but, as sure as the sun will rise, some knothead will launch that plunger over the horizon. Odds are he’ll complain about it on youtube. :)

      1. Hognose Post author

        I talked to Dewey at X Products for a while today and this could be the departure point for a series of launchers for various things. That was not a great master plan but people keep asking if they can make it do X. Like firefighters launching a grapnel, their current launcher has a max slant range of maybe 100′. They’re also looking at making it safer (i.e., working with special blanks and not capable of chambering any standard round) in future versions.

      2. redc1c4

        they have YouTube connectivity in the afterworld?

        i figure once the bolt carrier group goes though your unoccupied brain case, that posting videos might be a tad awkward,

        1. Randy

          Naw, it’ll wipe out a herd of observers and That Guy will walk away….

          Looking forward to watching the development of this thing. Lots of potential.

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