Toy guns are toy weapons that mimic real weapons, but are designed to be fun for children to play with and less dangerous.
Some are essentially similar to the real thing, but less powerful. Weapons for cutting and stabbing have dull blades usually in plastic. Weapons formerly made out of metal and wood are now often made of a lighter material such as plastic.
Toy guns either cannot really shoot projectiles or just soft ones such as cork shooting pop guns or Nerf darts with limited velocity.
However, cap pistols use caps with extremely small amounts of explosives for the sound effect. Toy hand grenades do not contain explosives except for a cap. BB guns are often called toy guns, but their shots can cause bodily harm.
Many newer toy weapons are brightly colored and oddly shaped to appeal to children and distinguish them from the real thing. For example, a toy that shoots Nerf balls might have a rounded shape and a neon yellow color.
For big weapons, the toy version is usually on a smaller scale. It might be much smaller, such as a toy catapult that is 20 centimetres tall. Or it might just be sized for children, such as a squirt gun that is half the size of a similar firearm.
A prop weapon (such as a stage gun or a stage sword) has to look real, but like a toy weapon, it should not be dangerous. A woodworking business, the Parris Manufacturing Company was contracted by the United States Government to provide over 2 million accurate copies of the M1903 Springfield rifles for the large World War II US armed forces. After the war they manufactured and sold their replicas to drill teams and to children as toy guns.