NERF guns have long been a favorite toy for kids of all ages. However, the single blaster guns that were popular years ago, may not excite the average 10-year-old today. This is why we looked at many different factors, including ammo, design and accessories, to come up with our choice for the best NERF gun. Based on this criterion, our top choice was the NERF N-Strike Elite Disruptor, but we found a number of other great NERF options as well.
NERF Gun Buying Guide
If you are looking to buy a new NERF gun and are feeling overwhelmed by all of the options, we’ve highlighted some of the key features to look for during your shopping experience to insure you end up with the right toy. One of the things that makes NERF such a popular brand is because they have so many different types of products. Despite focusing mostly on NERF guns with their inventory, there is truly something for everyone in their collection—and our buying guide will help you get a better understanding for which guns are best for you. Here’s what to look for.
Manual vs. Semi-Automatic
One of the major differences you will see among the different available NERF guns are manual guns or semi-automatic guns. As the names suggest, manual guns are those that use a spring loaded design to shoot darts one at a time. Some of the manual guns still shoot darts relatively quickly, but you have to wait for one dart to exit the chamber, before the spring can reload the next one.
Semi-automatic guns on the other hand are battery-powered. They are typically more hefty guns and will be able to dispense darts faster than the manual guns. You will need to supply your own batteries with these gun options. Many times, they also have coordinating lights and sounds as well since they are battery operated.
Style of NERF Guns
NERF currently has a few different styles of guns available. Of course, there are different types and subsets within these categories, but these are the four main classifications.
Pistols – The pistols are the smallest types of NERF guns available right now. They are lightweight, easy-to-shoot and can be held in one hand. They are also great options for smaller kids who may have issues managing the large NERF guns. Pistols are only going to let you shoot one dart at a time, due mostly do their size. However, there are new models and accessories that can help you add on extra ammunition later on. Due to their simpler design, these NERF guns are also some of the more affordable NERF guns available.
Rifles – The rifle style NERF gun is one of the most popular types of guns available and come in both manual and semi-automatic modes. These NERF guns are the bigger than pistols and while they carry a little more weight, they aren’t too heavy. You need two hands to fire a rifle-style NERF fun, but you will find that the darts have a must longer range than pistols, and they come with larger magazines, which means you can store and shoot more darts at a time.
Shot Guns – NERF shot guns are generally the biggest in the brand’s line of toys, and also come in both semi-automatic and manual forms. The shotguns can be quite large, and they typically come with big magazines that hold a lot of darts for more high-action fun with every shot. The shot gun also tends to come with more accessories.
Specialty Guns – NERF also has a number of different specialty guns available. They have special-edition guns base on different movies, characters and themes and things like battery-powered machine guns and bows and arrows. These guns may not always coordinate with NERF’s normal line of accessories, but they come with features and add-ons that you may not normally be able to find in standard NERF products.
Ammunition is a big deal when it comes to NERF guns. Typically, most guns don’t come with a ton of darts to begin with, so you will likely need to buy extra ammunition later on down the line. Make sure to look into not only how many darts come with your NERF guns, but how many darts it can hold at a time as well.
Most NERF guns are designed to work with the standard NERF dart. This is small rubber-tipped dart that is sold for use with all NERF guns including Elite, Zombie Strike or Doomsland lines of NERF guns. NERF also make AccuStrike darts that are compatible with all standard NERF guns as well, but promise to deliver better accuracy.
Some of the specialty guns will work with certain specialty darts, including the Mega dart, which is bigger than a standard dart, and makes a whistling noise as it flies through the air. It doesn’t deliver as much in terms of accuracy, but the noise is a great novelty factor.
There are certain NERF blasters, including the Elite Demolisher that use the brand’s Missal darts. They are secondary, one-shot darts, which are some of the largest the brand has. If you buy a specialty gun such as a bow and arrow, you will need to buy arrow darts to go with it.
Finally, there are certain guns in the brand’s Rival line that use yellow foam balls. This type of ammo is only designed for users age 14 and up. This type of ammo can be fired at a higher velocity than darts and typically have better precision as well.
There are so many different NERF gun accessories, not only available from this brand, but available from other third-parties as well. Some NERF accessories are mostly cosmetic, but others can add scopes, grips, barrel extensions, lights and extra magazines to your gun as well. In fact, the higher-capacity clips are some of the most common accessories you will find.
When it comes to enjoying accessories like this, the most important thing to remember is that your original NERF gun needs to have accessory rails on it, so these add-ons can easily clip-in. Not all NERF guns have accessory rails, and most pistols don’t have any, so if you are interested in some of the fun extras that can come with NERF guns, make sure the gun you are buying has the accessory options. Each accessory will let you know what type of guns they work with.
If you really want to make the most of your new NERF gun, there are also wearable accessories such as vests and bands for holding extra darts. These, of course, can work with all NERF guns.
A NERF gun can be a great toy for yourself, or for a special kid in your life. Whether you are looking at NERF guns for fun, or if you are buying them to participate in a league, knowing about what you are buying is important with these dart toys. With so many new types, brands and styles of NERF guns making their way to the market, the more you know the better. Take a look at our top rated guns and our insights into the NERF gun purchasing process to make sure you walk away with a NERF gun that will work for you.