On Tuesday, Ion Productions will launch a crowdfunding campaign for its XM42, which they claim is world's first commercially available portable flamethrower. Flamethrowers aren't really something new, they were used in both world wars and if you've ever been to a Rammstein concert you've probably seen plenty of them in action.
Military surplus and homebrew flamethrowers have been available for many years but Ion Productions claims this is the first attempt at launching one for consumers. One of the unique aspects of the XM42 is that it's the only one available that doesn't require an external pressurized fuel tank.
The XM42 runs on gasoline (87 octane E10) and produces a stream of fire up to 7.6 meters from the nozzle. Potential uses range from snow clearing to starting a bonfire or just having plain old fun with friends. Weed killing is also listed as a potential application but for that task you're probably much safer of with a more traditional flame weeder.
CNET spoke to Chris Byars, CEO of Ion Productions and got to hear that the XM42 is legal in states where there are no laws or codes specifically written against flamethrowers, which means it can be bought in all states except California and Maryland.
The firm is launching an Indiegogo campaign to fund production, the device will be available from $699 for funders.
The XM42's FAQ confirms this. It says: "There are generally no restrictions on flamethrower ownership in the United States. However, we are currently aware that California and Maryland have legislation regarding flamethrowers."
But what about the unhinged who might buy one of these things? Byers told me: "It is not made to be used as a weapon. Much like how a hammer is not made to be used as a weapon. Punish the offender, not the tool."