Even though Japan has a reputation as a peaceful country, don’t be fooled: it’s a nation full of sharpshooters. If you’re not careful, you could find yourself hit square in the face by a rubber band.

Even though firearms are tightly controlled in Japan, not-so-deadly rubber band weaponry is still fair game. While some might dismiss rubber band guns as kid’s toys, they don’t know just how wrong they are.

Rubber band militias are forming all across Japan, and while they might come across as harmless fun, they’re . . . well, I guess that’s actually what they are. It’s hard to look at an organization like the Japan Rubber Band Gun Shooting Association and not be charmed.

Japan Rubber Band Gun Shooting Association

The Japan Rubber Band Gun Shooting Association, or 日本ゴム銃射撃協会 (nihon gomu juu shageki kyoukai) in Japanese, is Japan’s premier club for rubber band weapon enthusiasts. Over 2,500 people are part of the JRBGSA, with chapters in various cities throughout Japan.

The JRBGSA is not your typical social club. Membership seems pretty varied, with a wide range of ages and people from all over the country. Even, according to this picture, new mothers are part of the crowd. I guess as long as your baby is wearing appropriate gear and the mom doesn’t do any crazy acrobatic dodges, it would be ok.

What do you do in the JRBGSA? Besides honing your rubber band shooting skills, you can socialize with your fellow sharpshooters, compete to see who’s aim is the greatest, and even talk a little shop. After all, you wouldn’t want your fellow members to think that you use just any old rubber band or gun, right?

Rubber Band Arms Dealers

Rubber band warriors are very particular about the tools of the trade. Not only do rubber band warriors have their preferred brand of rubber bands (one member likes the rubber bands from Kyowa Ltd. the best), but rubber band guns vary quite a bit too.

Of course, you can make your own rubber band gun with little more than two pieces of wood, but that’s kind of primitive. If you want quality weaponry, then you’ll have to go to the professionals.

Take a steel cabinetmaker by the name of “ZumA2,” who decided in 2008 that he would expand his horizons and start producing metal rubber band guns too. Since then, his armory has grown and grown and he’s gained a reputation as one of a craftsman of some of Japan’s finest rubber band guns.

As you can see on his site, ZumA2 produces a ton of rubber band guns, including a variety of pistols and a fully-automatic rubber band submachine gun, complete with stock and grip. Behold, the mighty Yeti 30:

Unfortunately for all of you rubber band warriors living overseas, ZumA2’s wares are only shipped within Japan. On the bright side though, there are penty of other gunsmiths across the country. Just check out this power-drill-driven rubber band machine gun:

A few are even, by the looks of it, available on Amazon, starting as low as ¥400 (about $5). None of the guns I found had any reviews, but I suspect that’s because the owners are far too busy at the shooting range, firing round after round into unsuspecting paper cups.

So should you happen to meet a rubber band warrior in Japan, just be careful — that snapping sensation on the back of your neck might just be your initiation into one of Japan’s coolest subcultures.

Read more: Rubber-band gunslinger right on target, Badass Full Metal Rubber Band Guns, We Visit Factory For Some Shooting Practice

  • Jamal Antonio

    Haha, the ultimate anti-little brother weapon!

  • DeTo-13

    I remember when these were big in the 90s I used to have a double barrel rubber band shotgun I made (my dad made) that worked by attaching the bands to a pin in the wood and a peg that fired them when I squeezed it haha good times!. I love your articles Hashi can’t wait for the next one.

    P.s I love everyone’s articles.

  • Mescale

    This is unrelated but awesome, specially if you’ve heard the vocaloid version.

  • Esteban

    Hashi must have some hidden habilities with rubber band shooting… I knew you were up to somethnig ¬¬.. agh! *gets a rubber band in the face* Where dat come from?

  • Zalin

    This is what happens when you are not allowed to own a gun. Use the next best thing a toy.

  • ZXNova

    You spelled Plenty wrong in the paragraph after the first picture.

  • fee_fi_Fiona

    Oh my god I wish I had one of these growing up. That would’ve kept my two annoying brothers in line.

  • JAKE

    A new form of civil war could emerge if they’re rebels armed with this, and everyone not taking them seriously.

  • 古戸ヱリカ

    That would be the most adorable war ever.

  • Joel

    ….And another impulse one click buy on Amazon.

  • Raymond Chuang

    Comment of the day for me! ^_^

  • Hashi

    It’s mutually assured destruction, Fiona! Everybody loses!!!

  • rabbi_jstu

    why isn’t there a manga about this? or have I been missing out on some awesome?

  • Jonadab

    The submachine gun is a suboptimal weapon in two ways. First, the problem with a fully automatic design is that you run through your entire magazine in a very short period of time, and then you’re caught needing to reload in mid-battle, which is not conducive to winning. A semi-automatic design significantly complicates the trigger mechanism, but it’s well worth it. Second, with rubber band guns (unlike with firearms), there is a direct relationship between barrel length and the product of caliber and force. With firearms a longer barrel either gains you range (at a given accuracy) or accuracy (at a given range), both of which are typically unimportant in the primary use case (close-quarters combat). Caliber is determined by chambering, and packing more punch into each shot can be done merely by adding more powder to the round (which increases the weight of the ammo you must carry). Barrel length is thus not very important, but with a rubber band gun this is not the case: barrel length has a direct impact on the force with which the band is stretched prior to release. Further, larger-caliber bands must be stretched farther to leave the muzzle at the same speed, so with a short barrel you find yourself in the unenviable position of having to balance band weight against the ability to launch it with any significant level of momentum. In a rubber-band arms race, the guy with the longer barrel is generally going to dominate. Thus, the optimal rubber-band weapon design is a semi-automatic rifle.

  • qburt

    Eventually we will have an organization in the United States too. Perhaps rubber band gun builders like Rubbergunner will start one.