Jeremy Burge, writing on Emojipedia:
🔫 Pistol emoji has changed from a realistic-looking gun in iOS 9.3 to a bright green toy water gun in the iOS 10 beta.
In the history of running Emojipedia, I have never seen an emoji change so poorly received.
I’m not much of an emoji user — I believe the one above is only the second I’ve ever published on the site. I find them difficult to interpret and often have to ask my wife whether someone’s being sarcastic or serious, that’s why I typically avoid using them. But changes like this aren’t helping matters.
There are too many instances where the water gun and the pistol could mean completely different things within the same context. I understand why Apple would want to do this, but I don’t think it’s the right move. Unfortunately, you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. Once you go with a realistic-looking gun, you can’t just change it to something with an entirely different tone. I suspect this move will result in a lot of uncomfortable situations when an iOS 10 user is communicating with someone on an older version of iOS.