Shooting the Can Cannon by X Products

I had the pleasure to shoot the Can Cannon, a new fun product from the folks at X Products. It’s a modified AR-15 upper that allows you to shoot 12 oz soda cans using .223 blanks. The pressure in the chamber propels a single can way past 100 yards.

The chamber is modified so that it only accepts blanks. In the event you accidentally mix up a live .223/5.56 round in the the magazine, the round will not chamber and the BCG will stay out of battery.

One thing I thought was interesting was how the bolt does not cycle with each shot. It’s a safety feature so that each time you shoot you should load a new can in, and then rack the bolt.

The X Products team had a fun chest rig that could hold eight cans of ammo, which you see me wearing in the video below.

Here’s the Can Cannon in action:

Chris Cheng

Chris Cheng is History Channel’s Top Shot Season 4 champion and author of “Shoot to Win,” a book for beginning shooters. A self-taught amateur turned pro through his Top Shot win, Cheng very much still considers himself an amateur who parachuted into this new career.

He is a professional marksman for Bass Pro Shops who shares his thoughts and experiences from the perspective of a newbie to the shooting community. He resides in San Francisco, CA and works in Silicon Valley.


  • Budogunner

    I would love a t-shirt launching upper. “Free t-shirts! [Ffooomp!]”

    • Dracon1201

      You can make it work with this.

    • David Sharpe

      Dracon is right, some thick cardboard first, then the t-shirt and you have a t-shift cannon.

      • Random Disabled Person

        You would also need to roll the T-shirt into a straight cylinder. Then ether rubber band(risk factors) it, use clear package tape in multiple places, shrink-wrap( worse case and ghetto…saran wrap it), so it stays together and holds air dynamic qualities but not tot tightly for risk of impact damage from any hardness and/or edges. Rubber bands can break becoming their own dangerous projectiles in crowds especially under the dual pressures of launch acceleration force and the outward compression force of tightly rolled up shirt. There is amazing science & safety involved in things as simple as T shirt launchers.

        That was the basic things needed for use at the NBA games when fired from a similar but compressed air cannon. Although the exact details I’m not 100% fully sure of for being up on the catwalks usually running spotlight. Due to limited visibility from costumes, most mascots tend to fire farther shots then anything close for reduced risk factors to fans.

        • David Sharpe

          Well yeah, all T-Shirt cannons need the shirt rolled up and held with rubber bands or wrap. The only thing extra you would need to launch shirts from this compared to a compressed air gun is a thick cardboard disk, and of course, blank ammo.

    • Ethan

      Bud Light Presents: Real Men of Genius.
      Today we salute you, Mr. Soda Can launcher inventor.

      (Sorry, I had to)

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    When I was a kid we used to make explode on contact grenades by filling soda cans with silver fulminate, black powder, match heads and fireworks innards then wrapping it with duct tape.
    Might make interesting ammo for this thing.

    • iksnilol

      I am a tiny bit worried about the blank detonating the grenade thingy.

      Just a smidge worried.

      Though you could possibly fill the can with gasoline and make a tip that ignited on impact (strike anywhere matches?).

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        True, fulminate is extremely sensitive to pressure. Some kind of cotton wadding between the charge and the can might alleviate it some.
        The gas thing might work if it was top heavy maybe with primers glued to the top.
        ATTN BATF: This is all purely hypothetical.

      • Random Disabled Person

        Actually in the military’s TM 31(21)-210 Improvised Munnitions book there is a type/design for a Molotov cocktail that has one chemical in the mottle and the other is socked on a rag out side of the bottle and rubber band/string tied to hold in place while it is thrown. Potassium chlorate or something like that. When the bottle broke the two chemicals reacted creating a jelly type fueled(naplam-ish) fire. So download away for research purposes only.

    • Zach

      That reminds me, I once saw an old image of how to make exploding arrows; using much the same technique, but putting a percussion cap on the end for impact. Always wanted to try that…

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        I would hate to be a kid today. I’d probably be in Gitmo.

        • Zach

          Do you one better (or maybe worse), I’m an SF kid. Lotta put downs for my interests.

  • Swarf

    “Your Honor, all my client did was lob a can of cola at the invader.”.

  • Dracon1201

    I need one so bad.

  • mrsatyre

    Your “candolier” is awesome!

  • Vhyrus

    Wonder if this works on bottles too

    • mosinman

      send some cocktails to the thirsty

    • BattleshipGrey

      OOH, like a modern blunder bus? That sounds kind of wicked assuming the bottle would break before leaving the tube.

  • Sulaco

    Two questions: 1. Cost? 2. If there is an over pressure problem/event would the lower or the upper take the brunt of it.

  • LCON

    any word on my Grappling hook rounds? Otherwise those capes and cowls I have will look very foolish

    • Dracon1201

      XProducts is making a grappling hook attachment.

  • wade

    I wonder if a Molotov cocktail could be fired out of this, use something as wadding so the glass doesn’t break perhaps, although i don’t know about the the legality of doing such…

    • You go first–LOL!

      • Dracon1201

        Hypothetically, cardboard wadding/buffer would work. The barrel is capped and the sides are ported, so there is a pretty good chance it wouldn’t burst and leave you with third degree burns. (People do it with potato cannons, too.)

    • MR

      The Molotov Cocktail on its own is a destructive device, I think launching one might convert the cannon into a destructive device as well, like launching a grenade from a 37mm flare launcher. IIRC, YMMV, JMHO, etc.

      • MR

        Or maybe that was twelve gauge adapters for 26mm flareguns, you could use them to launch 12ga flares, but if you used them with shot shells they require a tax stamp.

  • Nergyl

    I wish I had a time machine so I could go back and tell Eugene Stoner that his rifle would eventually be adapted into a soda can launcher.

    • Budogunner

      I think he would face-palm more about the crossbow uppers.

      • tts

        The black powder single shot uppers would probably make him fall over laughing.

  • Tom Currie

    I recall quite a few years ago when devices like this were available that mounted directly to the flash hider on many milsurp rifles, and then when the AR started being popular they were available in a screw-on version that replaced the flash hider. I recall these in sizes for golf balls and sizes for soda cans.

    Obviously the simple add-on versions aren’t available any more but I have to wonder exactly what nonsense caused that.

    • Dan

      I could have sworn I still seen them for sale recently in CTD or sportsmans guide. To google i go!

      • MR

        Yeah, CTD, Keepshooting, Sportsman’s Guide, etc. They’re still around, might just have to dig a little.

    • Dracon1201

      I’ve seen those. They are still around. These are better, though.

  • Marcus D.

    Exploding bottles? Contact grenades? Why not just go old school and make canister shot. Cut the top off the aluminum can, fill it with the projectiles of your choosing, and mow down the invading ranks.

    • Dracon1201

      Now, now… Don’t give the BATFE any ideas…

  • Martin Grønsdal

    he said these are flying off the shelf? During an earthquake maybe!

  • MR

    *runs off to find a set of airsoft grenade launcher sights*

  • John Esch

    I want to use this to launch home made parachutes. It was save the throwing arm and future shoulder injuries.

  • John Esch

    I want to use this to launch home made parachutes. It would save the throwing arm and future shoulder injuries.

  • ghost

    How far down range does the can arm itself?

  • TexianPatriot

    Anyone notice the truck down range? Hope no one was around it.

    • The truck was being shot at by .50BMG rounds. All targets downrange were just that, targets 🙂

      • TexianPatriot

        I assumed so but the truck looked newer than what I would use as a target.

  • John Borsoff

    did u know that u can shoot Potato out of it