The coilgun is one of those science fiction weapons that’s tantalizingly close to being reality. Sadly, we will not be firing chunks of metal at each other in a post-apocalyptic future just yet. But you can make your own coilgun and as this YouTube user shows, make it look good.

First, we should clarify what a coilgun is. Essentially, it’s a series of electromagnets arranged along a tube. As the magnets go off in series, they pull the projectile to ever-faster speeds before said projectile leaves the gun at what is hoped to be “face-obliterating” speeds. Also called a Gauss gun, there are various reasons coilguns won’t exactly be terrifying the local populace and blowing away mutants any time soon.


But this particular coilgun is undeniably neat, not least because it’s kitted out with all sorts of stuff. Built around an Airsoft rifle, it’s a pretty attractive piece of work, first of all, with LEDs threaded through it just because, really, it’s not a future weapon if it doesn’t have a bluish glow. There are three targeting lasers, so you can get a rough idea of where your ferrous projectile will be landing. Also included, for no particular reason, is an infrared camera, complete with LEDs, and a viewfinder to look through so you can destroy unsuspecting CDs and lightbulbs in the dark.

The main downside is, as you may have noticed on the video, that the thing seems to emit a high-pitched whine when activated. Man, that must get annoying. Although we suppose you can drown it out with the high-pitched whine that will come from the victims you tag on the buttocks walking through the neighborhood.


Obviously, you’ll need to build this yourself, and we’ll warn you that coilguns are dangerous and shouldn’t be built by people who don’t know what they’re doing. But how else will you take out lightbulbs?

Dan Seitz

Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.