I test hundreds of products each year that span all kinds of categories. From smartphones, tablets and wearables to clothing, headphones, accessories and everything in between. From the best-selling products of all time to the most obscure gadgets you’ve never heard of, I’ve probably tried it all. Of all the great devices I have tested over the past decade or so, I’ve never had more fun than I did testing out the new Pyro mini wrist-mounted fireball shooter.
Cooking is great. Heated homes are nice. The internal combustion engine might be somewhat impressive. But the Pyro mini is without question the greatest thing man has ever done with fire.
Maybe I’m exaggerating.
Ellusionist made quite a stir ahead of the holidays last year when it debuted the Pyro fireball shooter. It was awesome. This tiny $174 gadget strapped to the user’s wrist and contained four barrels, each capable of firing a round of flaming flash paper 10 feet through the air before it vanished, leaving behind almost no smoke. The Pyro Fireshooter was a device unlike any other, and now Ellusionist is back with a second-generation model that is better that its predecessor in every way.
But before we get to that, allow us to reiterate the warning from our original coverage. As the device’s maker said, “This is not a toy. This is a ‘badass’ professional device that allows you to launch fireballs from your open palm.” Pyro is not a child’s toy or even a device that creates the illusion of fire. It shoots actual fireballs. They can actually burn you. Please be careful.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the fun.
The new Pyro mini is more compact, more comfortable, and better-designed than its predecessor. It’s also less expensive and it features a rechargeable battery that can be charged with any standard microUSB cable and lasts for upwards of 600 shots before needing to be recharged. Oh, and let’s not forget that the new Pyro mini can shoot a fireball up to 40 feet through the air, which is four times further than last year’s model.
Pyro mini was designed to be used by professional illusionists, and you’ll see why in the video below. A quick and subtle sleight is impossible to pick up on when the audience is misdirected by a fireball that’s shooting toward them or above them through the air. Does this incredible gadget have use cases outside of magic? I have a feeling plenty of people will want to find out now that Ellusionist’s Pyro mini order page is live.
So, how does the Pyro mini work? There are two main components, a small box with a velcro band that straps to your wrist and an even smaller wireless remote used to trigger a fireball. Of course, since the remote is wireless, it means the unit itself doesn’t actually have to be worn on the wrist. The Pyro mini remote has a range of about 30 feet, so you can place the main box anywhere and trigger fireballs from afar.
Prepping your flash paper and loading the Pyro mini is a process that takes some getting used to, but it’s very easy once you learn the proper procedure. Detailed instructions are provided on Ellusionist’s website. You’ll want to devote some time to that page if you buy the Pyro mini, because you can injure yourself or break the device if you don’t know what you’re doing. That’s not to say it’s a difficult device to use — once you cut your flash paper to size and get the hang of it, the device can be reloaded in a matter of seconds.
Then, you fire it… and it’s every bit as awesome as you think it is.
Using the Pyro mini is so much fun it’s hard to describe. I felt like a kid again as I began to test it, and this is a rare case where the device I was testing absolutely lived up to my expectations.
The Pyro mini is safe to use indoors as long as you know what you’re doing and you’re careful, but I went out on my balcony to test it at first. Needless to say, anyone and everyone passing by on the street below stopped and stared — it’s impossible to ignore fireballs sailing through the air from the side of a building and then vanishing into nothing.
The Pyro mini’s barrels are loaded with a small amount of cotton and flash paper, and it took me about 20 rounds before I got the hang of exactly how much cotton I needed to load. This is exactly why Ellusionist recommends firing the device between 20 and 30 times before strapping it to your wrist, and I’m glad I listened — several of my early shots didn’t use enough cotton and the flash paper was ignited inside the barrel.
Once I got the hang of how much cotton to load with each round, it was smooth sailing from there on out. The size of the fireballs it shoots depends on how much flash paper you pack, and I highly recommend sticking to Ellusionist’s recommendations when cutting your flash paper to size. I varied the sizing a bit just for testing, and even small size differences can have a dramatic impact.
The device barely makes any noise when it fires, and it’s so compact that it can easily be hidden under a tight shirt sleeve so that it’s invisible to the audience. The effect will wow onlookers each and every time, without fail. In fact, Pyro mini will likely wow its owner each and every time as well; I’ve fired off more than 100 rounds at this point, and I was just as impressed with it at round 100 as I was at round 1.
I’m not sure how I made it this far in life without ever having shot fireballs from my wrists.
Pyro mini is available to order from Ellusionist beginning today, November 17th, and it costs $147 so it’s even more affordable than last year’s model.