Elon Musk's 'Not-A-Flamethrower' has been turning up in drug busts and weapon seizures

Elon Musk's 'Not-A-Flamethrower' has been turning up in drug busts and weapon seizures
An attendee operates a Boring Co. flamethrower at the company's photo booth during an unveiling event for the Boring Co. Hawthorne test tunnel in Hawthorne, California on December 18, 2018.Robyn Beck/Pool via REUTERS
  • In 2018 Elon Musk's Boring Company sold a flame-shooting device called the "Not-A-Flamethrower."
  • The Not-A-Flamethrower has turned up in at least three police weapon seizures since July last year, TechCrunch reported.
  • Not-A-Flamethrower owners outside the US have also run into problems with local law enforcement.

Three years after Elon Musk started selling flamethrowers for $500, the devices are showing up in police hauls.

Elon Musk's Boring Company - which he set up to build underground transit tunnels - sold the "Not-A-Flamethrower" as a piece of limited edition merchandise in February 2018. It sold 20,000 of the machines for $500 each.

A new report from TechCrunch details how the Not-A-Flamethrower has attracted the attention of law enforcement the world over.

Read more: How Tesla bounced back from worst mistake Elon Musk ever made and became the world's most valuable car company

TechCrunch reported the Not-A-Flamethrower had turned up in weapons hauls from at least three narcotics busts in the US and Canada since July 2020.


Earlier this month police in Guelph, Canada seized a Not-A-Flamethrower alongside 11 firearms and a compound bow in a cocaine bust.

According to TechCrunch's report, Not-A-Flamethrower buyers outside of the US have also run into problems with law enforcement for possessing the device.

American reality TV star Max Craddock spent a week in an Italian jail in June 2018 after he tried to take his Not-A-Flamethrower on a bus, and the driver called the police.

Elon Musk said the company had named the Not-A-Flamethrower with foreign laws in mind. In Italy, for example, possessing a flamethrower can carry a sentence of 10 years, per TechCrunch.

"We were told that various countries would ban shipping of it, that they would ban flamethrowers [...] to solve this problem for all of the customs agencies, we labelled it, 'Not a Flamethrower,'" Musk told podcaster Joe Rogan in 2018.


Musk: "It's dangerous"

Musk also joked on the podcast that selling the Not-A-Flamethrower was a "terrible idea."

"It's dangerous, it's wrong. Don't buy it. Still, people bought it. I just couldn't stop them," he said.

Technically speaking, the Not-A-Flamethrower is exactly that - not a flamethrower. Military flamethrowers project flames using burning liquid fuel such as diesel or gasoline. The Boring Company Not-A-Flamethrower is powered by a propane tank.

"It's just a roofing torch with an air rifle cover, it's not a real flamethrower," Musk told Joe Rogan in 2018.

Musk's companies have a habit of releasing limited-edition merchandise. In November the billionaire's electric vehicle company Tesla released own-brand $250 bottles of tequila, and in July the company sold red satin short-shorts in an apparent taunt to Tesla short-sellers.