A net gun is a non-lethal weapon designed to fire a net
Net (device)
A net, in its primary meaning, comprises fibers woven in a grid-like structure, and is very infrequently mentioned in discussions of philosophy. It blocks the passage of large items, while letting small items and fluids pass...

 which entangles the target. Net guns have a long history of being used to capture wildlife, for research purposes. A net gun is currently also in development for riot control
Riot control
Riot control refers to the measures used by police, military, or other security forces to control, disperse, and arrest civilians who are involved in a riot, demonstration, or protest. Law enforcement officers or soldiers have long used non-lethal weapons such as batons and whips to disperse crowds...


Popular culture

Net guns are becoming increasingly popular in both fiction and non-fiction settings, often seen as an "easy-fix" weapon for capturing a target without causing serious harm to it.

One notable example of a net gun is used in the Predator series of films, most notably Predator 2
Predator 2
Predator 2 is a 1990 science fiction action film starring Danny Glover, Gary Busey, María Conchita Alonso, Rubén Blades, and Bill Paxton. Written by Jim and John Thomas and directed by Stephen Hopkins, the film is a sequel to 1987's Predator, with Kevin Peter Hall again playing the role of the...

and Alien vs. Predator
Alien vs. Predator (film)
Alien vs. Predator is a 2004 American science fiction film directed by Paul W. S. Anderson for 20th Century Fox and starring Sanaa Lathan and Lance Henriksen. The film adapts the Alien vs. Predator crossover imprint bringing together the eponymous creatures of the Alien and Predator series, a...

. This version is somewhat lethal, as it tightens around the target and cuts them like razor wire
Razor wire
Barbed tape or razor wire is a mesh of metal strips with sharp edges whose purpose is to prevent passage by humans. The term "razor wire", through long usage, has generally been used to describe barbed tape products...

. Other examples include the films Total Recall
Total Recall
Total Recall is a 1990 American science fiction action film. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside, Ronny Cox & Mel Johnson, Jr.. It is based on the Philip K. Dick story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale”...

and The Running Man
The Running Man (film)
The Running Man is a 1987 American action film loosely based on Stephen King's 1982 novel of the same name. Directed by Paul Michael Glaser, the film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, María Conchita Alonso, Jesse Ventura, Jim Brown, and Richard Dawson....

, in which a net gun is used to capture the stuntmen of characters played by Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger is an Austrian-American former professional bodybuilder, actor, businessman, investor, and politician. Schwarzenegger served as the 38th Governor of California from 2003 until 2011....

, and Escape from L.A.
Escape from L.A.
Escape From L.A. is a 1996 film directed by John Carpenter. The sequel to the action film Escape from New York, the film follows former war hero Snake Plissken, played by Kurt Russell...

where Kurt Russell is captured doing his own stunt. The net gun used in the latter two references, as well as I, Robot
I, Robot (film)
I, Robot is a 2004 science-fiction action film directed by Alex Proyas. The screenplay was written by Jeff Vintar, Akiva Goldsman and Hillary Seitz, and is very loosely based on Isaac Asimov's short-story collection of the same name. Will Smith stars in the lead role of the film as Detective Del...

is manufactured by Coda Enterprises, Inc.

In "Birds in a Truck", an episode of the Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel is an American satellite and cable specialty channel , founded by John Hendricks and distributed by Discovery Communications. It is a publicly traded company run by CEO David Zaslav...

 television series MythBusters
MythBusters is a science entertainment TV program created and produced by Beyond Television Productions for the Discovery Channel. The series is screened by numerous international broadcasters, including Discovery Channel Australia, Discovery Channel Latin America, Discovery Channel Canada, Quest...

, Jamie Hyneman
Jamie Hyneman
James Franklin "Jamie" Hyneman is an American special effects expert, best known for being the co-host of the television series MythBusters. He is also the owner of M5 Industries, the special effects workshop where MythBusters is filmed...

 constructs a jury-rigged net gun using PVC
Polyvinyl chloride is a plastic.PVC may also refer to:*Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military honor*Peripheral venous catheter, a small, flexible tube placed into a peripheral vein in order to administer medication or fluids...

, an air tank, a fishing net
Fishing net
A fishing net or fishnet is a net that is used for fishing. Fishing nets are meshes usually formed by knotting a relatively thin thread. Modern nets are usually made of artificial polyamides like nylon, although nets of organic polyamides such as wool or silk thread were common until recently and...

, and some tennis balls in an attempt to capture pigeons. The net gun functioned as planned, but Jamie failed to catch any of the pigeons. Recently, a net gun was seen on the MTV
MTV, formerly an initialism of Music Television, is an American network based in New York City that launched on August 1, 1981. The original purpose of the channel was to play music videos guided by on-air hosts known as VJs....

 television series, Rob and Big, as a means of non-lethal home protection from unwanted intruders. After one was featured on Rob and Big, internet searches for net guns drastically increased.

The term has lately been adopted for fantasy
Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...

weapons used in imaginary or text-based combat. These fantasy weapons work in the same way as real-world net guns: an explosive charge or compressed air propels a weighted net toward a target. The net envelopes the target and immobilizes it.

External links

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