Want to know if yours is the biggest? Or shoots the fastest, and the farthest? And is it good enough to whip out on the playground or show off to your pals in the office? In case you are wondering, we’re talking about the Nerf gun, a toy that has grown in popularity since its launch in 1992.
And not only is the nifty Nerf more popular than ever. They’ve evolved over the years into some of the most rad designs you can imagine, including semi-automatics and limited editions like the Transformers Starscream Barrel Roll Blaster and the Rival Star Wars Battlefront Apollo XV-700 Blaster.
If you are one of the very few that has yet to purchase a Nerf gun (where the heck have you been?) or are maybe adding to your armory, we have reviewed what we consider the top 10 weapons that hit the mark time and time again.
Best Nerf Guns 2018
The N-Strike Elite Disruptor is a great starter gun for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it is affordable and comes in under $15. Also, we like that you can load your ammo from the front of the gun, which makes it easy and more importantly, quicker.
Depending on the pace of the game, or where your target is, you can fire one dart at a time or activate the “Slam Fire” feature and shoot all six darts in quick succession. The tactical rail means you can add Nerf accessories and customize it to suit your needs. Another cool feature is the indicator; when it turns orange it’s ready, aim fire time.
The Elite Disruptor has a shooting range of approximately 90-feet which is pretty impressive, and it comes with six Elite darts, a tactical rail, and a whole lot of attitude.
When it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and when it’s a best-seller don’t change it. The Nerf Official N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster has maintained its original pistol design, with a rotating flip-out barrel for easy loading.
The “Slam Fire” feature is a recent improvement to the Strongarm Blaster that we really like. Like the Disruptor, you can fire one dart at a time, or shoot all six in quick succession. The blaster weighs less than a pound, making it easy to maneuver, while the included tactical rail means you can customize your blaster with scopes or lights.
Perfect for Nerf newbies or as a secondary gun, the Strongarm Blaster will annihilate (or rather foam dart) your opponent from close to mid-range.
Want to know why it is called the “Rampage” Blaster? It is because of the gun’s 25-dart capacity, slim design, its shotgun style pump, and of course, the “Slam Fire” function.
It features a side mounted dart drum that allows for easy and convenient left-side loading, and while some gunners feel it messes with your aim, we don’t think this baby needs it. All you have to do take your enemy down is keep slam firing, and you’ll be the last man standing.
The Rampage Blaster includes two tactical rails which are compatible with the majority of N-Strike accessories, and there is a clip point for when you need to strap it around your back and dive for cover. Included in your purchase is a drum magazine, 25 Elite darts as well as a drum connector.
The SurgeFire is a pistol-style pump action Nerf that is perfect for when you need to hold down the fort or run headlong into battle. With a 15-dart capacity and “Slam Fire” function, you can take down an entire unit in a couple of seconds, or get rid of your opponents one by one.
For indoor wars, we like that the SurgeFire is relatively quiet, and easy to load for younger Nerf troopers. Of course, we love the pump action that makes us feel like Rambo on steroids. It is worth mentioning that assembly is easy, and the gun doesn’t need batteries or charging, so you can take it out of its box, and be armed in a few minutes.
It comes with one tactical rail as well as 15 darts and the drum.
Mega CycloneShock Blaster
Bigger opponents call for bigger darts, and that’s when you need the Mega CycloneShock Blaster. It is an excellent entry-level choice that is compact in size but packs a mega punch.
The aptly named CycloneShock, the blaster wreaks havoc with a shooting range of around 90-feet and the mega darts that literally whistle as they fly toward your opponent. Nerf-perts, otherwise known as Nerf experts have pointed out that this particular gun combines the best features of several Nerfs, including the smooth handling of the Mega Magnus, and the easy reloading system of the Strongarm.
The ergonomic design means you can run and shoot at the same time, and the rotating drum lets you shoot six mega darts without having to stop to reload.
The perfect hand-gun to survive a Zombie onslaught, the Hammershot Blaster is lightweight and can be fired using one hand. The budget-friendly price tag means you can arm yourself with two, and take out double the lamebrains in half the time.
The design of the Hammershot is based on the kinds of handguns from classic westerns, including the “wooden” handle. With little doubt that five shots were fired instead of six, the blaster is perfect for close as well as long-range shooting. And its accuracy means all five darts will hit the target every time. There’s no need to ask the punk-zombie whether he’s feeling lucky.
XVIII 700 Combat Blaster
The Nerf Helios XVIII 700 Combat Blaster includes a 7-round magazine that can be upgraded to a 12-round magazine, and the tactical rail allows you to easily add a sight or scope attachment. The popular blaster has a spring-loaded mechanism as well as a priming indicator that lets you know when your gun is ready to fire.
You can wear either the blue or red flag that is included, depending on where your allegiance lies, or up the ante with a “capture-the-flag” type-battle. With an easy-loading magazine, the Helios XVIII fires rounds at 100 feet a second. All we can say is “bring it on!”
Triad EX-3 Blaster
Proof that dynamite comes in small packages, the Nerf N-Strike Elite Triad EX-3 Blaster can be easily concealed to infiltrate the enemy’s headquarters, or kept in your office drawer for turf battles during lunch time. It’s a great starter Nerf, and its safety features make it suitable for Nerfettes.
The Triad blaster is compatible with most Nerf darts, which means you can replace the blue Elite darts that come standard with the AccuStrike darts. These spin through the air when fired, and make for more accurate shooting.
The tiny pistol-style gun holds three darts that are good for close to mid-range shooting, and is ideal as a secondary weapon.
Taking you where no other Nerf gun has gone before, the Doomlands Impact Zone Longarm will keep you safe from crazy alien spore or the office ogre. The five-dart blaster is very easy to use, loads quickly and conveniently and shoots with a simple squeeze of the trigger. We really like the transparent cover that lets you see the firing mechanism up close and personal
Although you will need cover while you reload this Nerf, it is perfect for the Doomlands landscape and depending on your skill level and accuracy, five bullets might be all you need to protect mankind from an alien invasion.
The Doomlands 2169 Persuader is hammer-action Nerf gun with four separate chambers. The design has been described as a little over-the-top (is there such a thing?) and as is the case with all the Doomlands range, it has a transparent section where you can see the firing mechanism in action. The Persuader shoots four darts without needing to reload it.
Its intimidating design does the talking, while the cocking hammer situated at the top of the blaster is super easy to use. Quick loading means you can carry one in each hand and destroy any creatures that cross your path. We love hammer action Nerfs, and the Persuader Blaster is no different.
Nerf Gun Benefits
Nerf guns, besides providing hours of entertainment, for shooter and targets alike, also have a few benefits that are worth looking at.
It gets the imagination working
For kids, war games get the imagination working, whether it’s shooting mutant aliens, slaying zombies or ridding the world of “nerfarious” super villains.
It teaches good sportsmanship
Kids are taught about fair play, winning and losing, as well as healthy competition. In fact, even older people could benefit from this.
It develops critical thinking skills
Without even realizing it, kids develop critical thinking skills when they play war-games. They have to formulate different scenarios and figure out the best outcomes. They also have to think fast to avoid getting hit and to finish the game alive.
It gets everyone active
One sure (fire) way of getting everyone off their butts is with a fast-paced Nerf war. Depending on where you play, there is crawling, running, kneeling, crouching, jumping and a whole lot of dodging shots. Suitable for home and office play, it’s all the action and excitement of console games, without all the blood and gore.
It gets people interacting
There are a few essential life skills that can be learned when playing with Nerf guns. For one, it teaches teamwork and shows how best to use one person’s strengths to overcome another one’s weaknesses. Younger kids can be taught about strategy as well as the importance of following rules.
It gets people thinking under pressure
An action-packed game of Nerf wars will get people thinking under pressure, and teach them how to make quick decisions. It is an effective team-building exercise and a great way to get rid of pent up (office) anger.
The Best Nerf Gun Buying Guide You’ll Ever Need
If you’re adding to your arsenal, or maybe getting your very first Nerf, It is easy to feel overwhelmed by all the Nerf guns available. This is why we’ve put together the only buying guide you will ever need.
Over the years, the range of Nerf guns has grown considerably, but there are four main styles. Let’s take a look at these in more detail.
Because their design is relatively simple in comparison to other Nerfs, they are an affordable choice for newbies and as gifts, and make great secondary weapons for the more ardent fans (is there any other kind?)
Older pistol styles let you shoot one dart at a time but newer models are available with accessories should you want to add extra ammo.
Everyone loves the Nerf rifle. People like that they’re bigger than a pistol but aren’t too heavy or cumbersome. Also, they have a longer shooting range than a pistol and come with various sized magazines.
The Nerf shotgun is the biggest, and dare we say baddest of all the Nerfs. Armed with large magazines, they can hold a lot more darts and best of all, they come with loads of accessories.
Nerf releases specialty guns around specific movies, themes and characters like the Nerf Hulk Abomination Blaster and the Star Wars Nerf Captain Phasma Blaster. These usually are available in limited numbers and cost a little more than the standard Nerf products.
Manual vs. Semi-Automatic
As you would expect, there are manual and semi-automatic Nerf guns. The manual styles work on a spring-loading system and don’t need batteries. The semi-automatic weapons are usually a little heftier, work with batteries and fire darts a lot faster.
Believe it or not, there are five types of ammo for the different Nerf guns. There’s the standard dart that is sold with the Doomlands, Elite, and Zombie Strike ranges and the AccuStrike which is compatible with most types.
The third type, the Mega dart, is bigger and whistles while it flies through the air. It isn’t as accurate as the other two, but it is loads of fun. Then there is the Missile that can only be used with specific models, like the Demolisher.
Last but definitely not least are the foam balls that come with the Rival range of Nerf guns. They look like a golf ball, only smaller, and fire at a higher velocity with a lot more precision than any of the other ammo. Some specialty models are designed like a bow and arrow, which needs arrow-type darts.
It’s worth looking at the shooting range of the gun. Usually, the longer the range, the better, but this doesn’t necessarily always apply. If, for example, your battles are fought indoors then a close to the mid-range weapon is perfect.
Capacity is important too. Some Nerfs can hold three darts, while others can hold up to 40 at a time. If it is your primary weapon, you will want one with a capacity of 20 darts or thereabouts, whereas a secondary gun with a five-dart capacity is more than enough.
One of the best things about Nerf guns is the different accessories you are able to buy. These include grips, scopes, extensions, lights and higher capacity magazines or clips. Just make sure that your Nerf has what is called a tactical rail. This allows you to add accessories like scopes, lights, and magazines. As an FYI, some guns have one or two rails, while most of the pistol-style weapons don’t have any.
The Modulus range is jam-packed with accessories, from sights and barrel extensions to different grips and bipods. There are also complete upgrade bundles, but we suggest you double check that your weapon of choice is compatible with everything that is included.
For extreme Nerfers, there is wearable gear including bandoliers, vests and even face masks.
Nerf Guns: The Most Frequently Asked Questions
Are Nerf guns suitable for all ages?
Nerf guns come with an age recommendation, which is usually ages eight and up. However, the Rival range, for example, is best for kids 14 years and older.
If your little ones are really persistent and you cave under pressure, maybe look at the pistol style Nerfs. Also, put a few safety rules in place that include not aiming at the face, or at the eyes.
Is there an age limit?
Are you kidding? There’s no such as thing being too old for a Nerf gun. In fact, if you really want to score major points with the grandkids, get a few for their next visit.
Is there an average shooting range?
Not really, the range depends on the type of gun. Some are best for close to mid-range shots, while the Mega series can fire up to 90-feet. The range of a Nerf depends on how you fire; a straight shot will travel differently to a curved shot.
Do Nerf guns need batteries?
No, not all Nerf guns need batteries as most are manual. But there are some that are motorized and require batteries to load and fire. Also, some blasters need batteries for sound and light. When you buy your Nerf, check the packaging to see if you’ll need to grab a pack or two.
Is it necessary to wear protective gear?
To avoid any kind of injuries we suggest you wear safety glasses. While there are Nerf guns that aren’t powerful enough to cause any sort of damage, the Rival series shoots darts at around 30mps, so protective gear is a must.
Do they make a lot of noise?
The good news is no, although we have found grown men (and women) making their very own “phew phew” noises while they’re engaging in nerf wars. Most click or clack, but some of the motorized models have motors that make a whirring noise.
Whether you’re buying one for your kid, or because you’re a kid at heart, there is a Nerf gun with your name on it. Grab the Clint Eastwood-styled Hammershot Blaster for covert office operations or wrap your hands around the Mega CycloneShock Blaster to get the adrenalin pumping. And while you might not think being shot with a foam dart is a great way to bond, we (and millions of other Nerf fans) will beg to differ.