Whether it’s for office warfare or a family skirmish around the house, you need to be the one with the best NERF gun. But which NERF blaster should you buy? We've rounded up the finest foam-flingers you can buy right now.
NERF guns vary in price, size, power, ammo capacity and ammo type. You don't want your eight-year-old struggling to aim a massive fully automatic rifle, and similarly your demanding 12-year-old might not be so impressed by a single-shot pistol.
There’s a massive range of NERF blasters available, though, and the line-up changes regularly. Certain large retailers even have exclusives that you won’t discover unless you shop around.
Here to help clear up the confusion and ensure you're properly armed, we’ve created a definitive list of the best NERF blasters you can buy.
But let’s quickly clear up a few details first…
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Anyone who's ever had a NERF battle knows there aren't enough darts on the face of the planet to get you through without having to scavenge on the floor at least once for a desperate reload.
Trouble is, Hasbro isn't overly generous with the initial supply of darts with most of its NERF guns, so make sure you factor into your budget that you’ll need an extra pack for each gun. Maybe go for two packs with a higher-capacity full-auto rifle such as the Elite Hyperfire.
Currently there are five different types of official NERF ammo to choose from. The standard NERF dart is a small, rubber-tipped foam cylinder that these days is sold under the Elite, Zombie Strike or Doomlands branding – all identical except for their colours. The newer AccuStrike darts are compatible with all standard NERFs, but promise increased accuracy from an improved tip design.
Then there’s the Mega dart, which is a bit bigger and makes a satisfying whistling noise as it flies through the air. Don’t expect quite the accuracy you get from the standard dart, but Mega weaponry is darn good fun.
The Missile is larger still, but only used as a secondary one-shot ammo type by certain NERF blaster models, such as the Elite Demolisher.
More serious are the foam balls used by NERF’s Rival range, aimed at ages 14 and up. This spherical Rival ammo, which looks like little yellow golf balls, is designed to be fired at higher velocities and with more precision.
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There’s also a load of accessories to choose from – including many from third-party manufacturers. Some of them, such as sights, are mainly cosmetic. They look cool, but won’t really help in close-quarters dartplay.
The most useful accessories by far are higher-capacity magazines (or what Hasbro calls "clips"). There are official NERF ones in various shapes and sizes, and there are a few third-party options out there too. They’re interchangeable between models – as long as your model of NERF gun has a magazine that’s actually removable, that is – so a stock of mags is a worthwhile investment.
The NERF Modulus range includes the most official accessories, including complete upgrade bundles. You can get grips, sights, barrel extensions, bipods and more. Just make sure your blaster is compatible with all the accessories in the bundle, or you could make an expensive mistake. The Modulus Tri-Strike, for instance, has an upper accessory rail, but not a lower one, so it can’t take advantage of a flip-down grip or a bipod.
Hasbro even makes wearable items for NERF warfare. Vests and bandoliers can be bought for holding extra darts, but more worthwhile (and less dorky) are face masks that are a good shout if you’re using the hard-hitting Rival gear.
Lucky NERF warriors in the US can also gain access to a dart-firing tank drone, the Elite TerraScout.
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