The water gun is a relatively new marine seismic sound source that produces an acoustic signal by an implosive rather than explosive mechanism. A comparison of the source characteristics of two different-sized water guns with those of conventional air guns shows the the water gun signature is cleaner and much shorter than that of a comparable-sized air gun: about 60-100 milliseconds (ms) for an 80-in3. (1.31-liter (I)) water gun compared with several hundred ms for an 80-in3. (1.31-1) air gun. The source spectra of water guns are richer in high frequencies (>200 Hz) than are those of air guns, but they also have less energy than those of air guns at low frequencies. A comparison between water gun and air gun reflection profiles in both shallow (Long Island Sound)-and deep (western Bermuda Rise)-water settings suggests that the water gun offers a good compromise between very high resolution, limited penetration systems (e.g. 3.5-kHz profilers and sparkers) and the large volume air guns and tuned air gun arrays generally used where significant penetration is required. ?? 1984 D. Reidel Publishing Company.