Nerf never disappoints. The company has been making quality products using the same basic philosophy of safe, fun play that began with the Parker Brother’s Nerf ball in 1968. From that single foam toy – you know, for kids – sprung up an empire. Today Nerf is synonymous with foam combat toys. Though, it still makes plenty of soft sports equipment as well.
You can find Nerf items – and imitations – anywhere. The toys are in classrooms, desk drawers, car glove boxes, and tucked in strategic locations for when my wife gets home from work. Whole office buildings stage Nerf battles to boost morale. Businesses use it as team building to enhance communication and to provide new roles for employees to fill. Like Lego, Nerf has an entire culture that has grown up with these toys, and their children are eager to join the fray. As such a cornerstone of popular culture, whenever Nerf does a new rollout, it’s imperative to look at the 12 best Nerf guns.
N-Strike Tactical Vest
Get your head in the game. You don’t waltz into a foamy firefight without protection. No matter what series of Nerf you favor, the Tactical Vest provides you ample places to put extra ammo of all types, and customizes with velcro and fabric loops. It’s extremely light and made with foam in mind. Purchase: $20
Condor Tactical Ronin Chest Rig
Nothing against Nerf, but sometimes you need more options to get the job done. Since the newest pieces in the Nerf family have a tactical base, we figured why not get a true tactical vest. This is a little weightier than the N-Strike vest, but not by much. The Ronin is 1.4 pounds alone, while the Nerf vest is 1.24. The price is noticeably different, but with the Ronin you’ve got velcro and MOLLE straps at every grab point. With that, you can add all the pouches and darts you want, easy to hand. Purchase: $33
Microshots N-Strike Elite Stryfe
To kick things off, you need a boot pistol for those last-ditch, up-close and personal moments you and your own worst enemy share. This uses the handle design of the classic Stryfe blaster and turns it into a Derringer. It’s a little more comfortable, and has a bit better aim and distance than the Mega Bigshock, so unless you’re a Mega enthusiast, or need the smaller size, stick to the Stryfe. It’s also got a touch more modification space if you like to tweak. Purchase: $7
Laser Ops Pro
Analog is the best way to play, but being able to get Laser Tag folded in allows for all kinds of new play styles. Serious fanatics can also upgrade to the phone app which interfaces with the Laser Ops weapons to give you real-time battle data and changes the entire rules of engagement. Though, these blasters face the uphill battle of making laster tag go mainstream. Something it’s not been able to accomplish since it was invented.
We’re positive about the Laser Ops line and see a lot of potential for growth. As time goes on, third party apps and other games could connect your phone to your Nerf gear. The potential for making real world Nerf the next big First Person Shooter is there. But it’s all a question of making the tech work without being cumbersome.
While we like it and see growth potential, this might also be a fad. No matter how many companies try to bring laser tag to every kid, it always fades to black. Purchase: $30-$50
Zombie Strike Hammershot Blaster
Nerf enthusiasts most often will say they use a Hammershot as their secondary weapon. It’s slim enough to make holstering on the hip or under the arm in a rig easy. It’s one of the shortest multi-shot blasters, which makes carrying and movement in the field easier. The firing mechanism is simple, and the Hammershot can be modified in a wink. That’s imperative if you’re hoping to upgrade it down the line, and puts it head and shoulders over other sidearms. Purchase: $14
The Disruptor – which is the new name for the altered Strongarm – is another popular choice for a secondary armament. It’s bigger, clumsier, and harder to mod than the Hammershot, but does have an extra shot in the cylinder. Unfortunately, it has a longer trigger pull and shorter rate of fire than the Hammershot, so the real trick is getting to that final shot. Purchase: $11
Rival Phantom Corps Hades XVIII-6000
We like this blaster. We hate the name. It was terrible when it was the Artemis XVII-3000, but you do you, Nerf. Firing the Hades makes you realize that this rifle is yours. While there are many like it, only your rifle is special. Without the Hades XVIII-6000, you are nothing. Without you, the Hades XVIII-6000 is nothing. Now get out there and bleed for the Corps!
Seriously, it’s so much fun to unload this thing, feeling like a badass. Purchase: $66
Rival Kronos XVIII-500
The Kronos is the next generation of blaster. It outdistances the Hammershot and reloading is done by pressing darts into a simple slide. Tons of mods and accessories are available for the Kronos, though they’re rarely needed as the basic mechanic provides range and accuracy above anything in the same size. Purchase: $15
If you’re going to go huge, either one of these is good. Intended for the biggest users, the TwinShock is quick and modular, while the Thunderhawk is half supersized battle rifle and half entrenchment warfare tool. Anyone who likes to go big, and enjoys a ton of shell space to play with the insides will be happy as a clam in slop, or however it goes. Purchase Thunderhawk: $47 Purchase Twinshock: $36
Zombie Strike RipChain
The return of chain firing is a beautiful thing to see. Not since the Vulcan has there been the option to string darts together. With the RipChain, the weight has been shifted to the front so it’s easier to tote around. Without a stock on the back, accuracy can suffer, which is why you have so much ammo. Purchase: $40
Zombie Strike Scravenger
The Scravenger is defined as a whole survival system. Like the Modulus line that comes with a core and then an array of attachments, the Scravenger has a few of its own optional loadouts. You can add in a stock with a melee axe or a set of throwable discs that rise to the prestigious level of being “okay.” Seeing different gun and out of the box mod choices is nice, and hopefully marks the path Nerf plans to take with more new releases. Fire rate on the Scravenger is good, with a switch to swap between standard and slam fire. That alone makes this a scrapper worth trying out. Purchase: $47
Going bigger than the Nemesis isn’t necessary. You can pick up a Prometheus or a Mastodon, but both are added bulk and far more awkward to wield. Being hopper-fed, the Nemesis only requires that you dump in a handful of balls to be ready to go, and it churns like mad. There’s fewer more useful primary weapons than the Nemesis, though it’s chunky size still isn’t terribly nimble. Purchase: $90
The Caliburn isn’t an official Nerf release. Instead, it’s a sniping blaster you build yourself. All the materials are top notch, and you can can learn a lot about modding your Nerf gear from building one. Purchase: ~$120