Though the modern flyswatter usually just usually consists of a small rectangular sheet (about 4 inches or 10 cm across) of lightweight, flexible, vented material, usually rubber or plastic, attached to a lightweight wire or plastic handle about long, probably the earliest fly swatters were nothing more than some sort of striking surface attached to the end of a long stick.
The venting allows the flyswatter to move more quickly through the air, making it easier to hit a fast-moving target such as a fly. The venting also allows the flyswatter to get closer to the fly before it is detected, as flies can sense the change in air pressure caused by an approaching solid object. With the vents in it, the flyswatter usually gets close enough to the fly that when it is finally detected by the fly's pressure-sense or its eyes, it is too late for the fly to escape.
In response, a schoolteacher named Frank H. Rose created the "fly bat", a device consisting of a yardstick attached to a piece of screen. Crumbine invented the device now commonly known as the fly swatter.
Electric flyswatters are handheld pest-controlling devices that resemble tennis rackets designed to quickly and cleanly terminate insects by administering a brief, but powerful electric shock when any conductive part of the insect bridges the terminals of the device. Most electric flyswatters are fashioned in a similar way. They consist of a handle containing batteries, and a charging mechanism, usually a capacitor or a transformer, for the electrically charged grid on the face of the head. These are banned from importation into Australia.
The fly gun (or flygun), a derivative of the fly swatter, uses a spring-loaded plastic projectile to "swat" flies. Mounted on the projectile is a perforated circular disk which, according to advertising copy, "really does work" and "won't splat the fly".