Since 1992, Nerf guns have been one of the few toys that are popular among both children and adults alike. Kids love shooting the soft foam darts at their parents and friends and office workers have learned that covert Nerf wars are a fun way to blow off some workplace steam. But while the concept behind these toys remains the same, the technical designs and choices available today are simply staggering. With so many options out there, finding the right Nerf blaster can be a bit tough.
After all, a small single-shot gun isn’t the right weapon for a workplace skirmish and a huge rapid-fire model might be a bit too much for an 8-year-old kid to handle. With this in mind, we took a look at some of the most popular Nerf guns on the market today. After putting them to the test, we came up with our list of the 10 best Nerf guns of 2021. Whether you’re looking for a simple, kid-friendly model or an all-out powerhouse blaster, we’re confident that each of these models hits the mark.
Nerf guns are one of the most popular toys among the young and the young at heart. That’s because few things are as fun as launching soft foam missiles at your friends, family, or co-workers. But these toys have been around for a long time and there are so many more options available today than there were over 25 years ago. Today you can choose from dozens of compact pistols and gigantic rifles designed for different things like laser accuracy, rapid-fire action, and blunt force.
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When you consider this, it’s easy to see why picking the right Nerf gun is a lot tougher than it used to be. That’s why we took a good, long look at some of the most popular options on the shelves today. We evaluated them based on their design, performance, price, reviews, features, and fun factor. In the end, we came up with our list of the top 10 Nerf guns of 2021. So whether you’re looking for an all-out Nerf assault blaster for the office or a lightweight model for your son or daughter, we’re confident that each of the Nerf guns below will hit the bullseye.
View the Top 10 Best Nerf Guns, Below.
- Official N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster
- Nerf N-Strike Elite TerraScout Recon
- Nerf N-Strike Elite Triad EX-3 Blaster
- Zombie Strike Hammershot Blaster
- Nerf Rival Nemesis MXVII-10K
- Zombie Strike Brainsaw Blaster
- Nerf N-Strike Elite SurgeFire
- Zombie Strike Doominator Blaster
- Nerf N-Strike Elite Rampage Blaster
- Rival Phantom Corps Kronos XVIII-500
Official N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster
- Comes with blaster, 6 Elite foam darts, and instructions
- Easy-to-load rotating barrel
- Rapid-fire is easy thanks to the Slam Fire slide
- Fires darts up to 90 feet
- High-velocity performance with impressive long-range accuracy
The N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster is designed for all-out Nerf warfare. The blaster holds 6 Elite darts and launches them up to 90 feet at high speed and with impressive accuracy. It’s designed with a rotating barrel that flips open for easy loading. And Hasbro designed this Nerf blaster with the Slam Fire slide that gives you total control over your rate of fire, allowing you to launch a stream of darts by squeezing the trigger and pumping the slide rapidly back and forth.
The N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster is one of the best options if you want a solid long-range Nerf gun with rapid-fire shooting ability. The blaster is designed with amped-up velocity which means that it launches darts with impressive accuracy and stability, even at long range.
It’s also very easy to load since you just flip the barrel open and can load 6 Elite foam darts at a time. Plus, the Slam Fire slide allows you to control the rate of fire so you can choose between single shot or machine-gun like performance.
Nerf N-Strike Elite TerraScout Recon
- Record battles or view live video feed
- Comes with tank drone, remote control, charger, 25 darts, and rechargeable battery
- Holds and fires up to 25 Elite darts
- All-terrain tracks
The Nerf N-Strike Elite TerraScout Recon is a remote-controlled, all-terrain tank drone that’s perfect for recon missions and surprise attacks. You can use the remote control to operate the tank, take aim, and fire up to 25 Elite foam darts from the 25-dart drum. Captured video displays on the LCD screen, allowing you to get live feeds or record your sneak attacks.
The tank has all-terrain tracks, rotates 360 degrees, and can reach speeds of up to 215 feet per minute on a fully-charged battery. Plus, it runs on a rechargeable NiMH battery so you don’t have to worry about wasting money on batteries.
The TerraScout Recon is a high-end Nerf blasting drone that’s perfect for someone looking for a premium option. It’s a blast to use and the remote control and LCD screen work remarkably well, allowing you to navigate the vehicle and fire up to 25 darts at unsuspecting enemies. Plus, the ability to record footage is a great bonus that allows you to save your victories and battles for later viewing.
Nerf N-Strike Elite Triad EX-3 Blaster
- Comes with 3 Elite foam darts
- Powerful Nerf gun for its size
- Compact design
- Shoots up to 90 feet
The Nerf N-Strike Elite Triad Ex-3 Blaster proves that good things come in small packages. This compact shooter weighs only 5.6 ounces but delivers impressive power and is capable of launching darts for distances up to 90 feet. The three-barrel design allows it to hold and fire three consecutive foam darts and you just cock the handle when you’re ready to fire. Plus, it’s small enough to hide in your palm or tuck away in your pocket.
The Triad Ex-3 is the perfect choice when you want a small blaster but don’t want to sacrifice range or power. Plus, the small size and lightweight design is great for secret missions when you want to conceal your Nerf gun until it’s time to shoot. The compact size also makes it a practical model to take along with you on trips, to the office, or to a friend’s house.
Zombie Strike Hammershot Blaster
- Comes with 5 Zombie Strike foam darts
- Hammer-action means you can fire it with one hand
- Cool zombie theme
- Holds 5 darts at once
The Zombie Strike Hammershot Blaster is a terrific Nerf gun built with a fun zombie apocalypse theme. The unique “wrapped” handle makes it perfect for survival missions and battles. It holds 5 Zombie Strike foam darts, which are included in the package. Best of all, unlike most pump-loading Nerf guns, the Hammershot features hammer action. This means that it only requires one hand to shoot this Nerf blaster compared to other models that require two-hand use. Just pull the trigger and send darts flying.
The Zombie Strike Hammershot Blaster is simply fun to use. The zombie-style theme is unique and is great for older kids or for adults looking for a conversation piece. The fact that it holds up to 5 darts means that you don’t have to reload too often. But the best thing about this model is that it’s one of the few Nerf Guns that offer impressive range and accuracy in a one-handed design.
Nerf Rival Nemesis MXVII-10K
- Easy-load, high-capacity hopper
- Available in red or blue
- Includes 100 rounds
- Shoots at 100 feet per second
The Nerf Rival Nemesis MXVII-10K is the machine gun of the Nerf Blaster world. This fully-motorized blaster offers impressive precision and unleashes rounds at a speed of 100 feet per second. It fires 100 yellow foam balls that can easily be dumped into the high-capacity hopper so that you’re ready for action in a moment’s notice. This battery-powered automatic blaster is compatible with the Nerf Rival Rechargeable Battery pack, which is sold separately. Plus, it’s available in red or blue so you can easily compete in team battles.
The Nerf Rival Nemesis MXVII-10K is the ideal Nerf gun for anyone looking to unload mass quantities of foam projectiles at targets in a matter of seconds. It’s perfectly suitable for playing out in the yard or in the neighborhood but where it really shines is in team-based battles.
With red and blue models, opponents can easily pick their team. And thanks to the easy-load hopper, a 100 round capacity, and fully-motorized performance, you can have paintball-style battles without risking injury.
Zombie Strike Brainsaw Blaster
- Comes with 8 Zombie Strike foam darts
- Shoots one dart at a time with pump-action firing
- Equipped with spinning foam chainsaw blade
The Hasbro Zombie Strike Brainsaw Blaster is simply one of the most fun Nerf guns around for kids who love zombies. It has an 8-dart capacity and uses pump-action to shoot 1 foam projectile at a time. Just pump the handle to prime the blaster and pull the trigger to send a dart flying. Plus, it’s designed with a spinning foam chainsaw blade to keep the zombie hordes at bay. Just pull the string and the blade spins around.
The Zombie Strike Brainsaw Blaster is simply a fun model that any kid will love to use. The zombie-style design and faux “wrapped” handle is perfect for roleplaying and the 8-dart capacity ensures that kids don’t have to reload too often.
But for young children, the real selling point is going to be how it resembles a real-life chainsaw and comes with a spinning foam chainsaw blade that is activated by using a pull-string, just like the real thing.
Nerf N-Strike Elite SurgeFire
- 15-dart rotating drum
- Slam-fire action lets you choose from single or rapid-fire performance
- Shoots darts up to 90 feet
- Comes with 15 Nerf Elite darts
Think of the Nerf N-Strike Elite SurgeFire as the Tommy gun of the Nerf blaster world. This powerful Nerf launcher is designed with a 15-dart rotating drum that fires Nerf Elite darts up to 90 feet and features pump-action blasting for optimum velocity. Plus, it features slam-fire action which allows you to choose from single shots or letting all 15 rounds fly.
For single shot action, just load the darts, pump the grip to prime the blaster, and pull the trigger. And when it’s time to slam-fire all the darts, just hold down the trigger and rapidly pump the grip back and forth to unleash your entire arsenal.
This is one of the best options if you want a high-capacity model capable of rapidly firing countless foam darts. With an impressive range of up to 90 feet, you’ll have no problem hitting your target from any distance and the 15-dart rotating drum makes it incredibly fun to use.
Plus, it’s great for a variety of situations since it lets you choose how to attack by giving you the option of firing one or all of your darts in a matter of seconds.
Zombie Strike Doominator Blaster
- High-capacity 24-dart Nerf blaster
- Built with four 6-dart flipping drums
- Choose from single shot or rapid-fire
- Adjustable handle
The Doominator Blaster is the workhorse of the Zombie Strike line and is capable of firing up to 24 darts without reloading. This blaster is designed with 4 flipping drums that hold 6 Zombie Strike darts each. You can fire one dart at a time for careful targeting or rapidly pump the grip to slam-fire 6 darts in mere seconds.
Once a drum is empty, just pull the secondary trigger to flip to the next drum for continuous action. Plus, for comfortability, the handle can be attached at three different connection points, making it perfect for right-handed or left-handed use.
The Doominator is one of the best values in its price range. It has an impressive 24-shot capacity and is capable of handling both long range and close-up firefights with ease. The fact that you can shoot 1 dart or continuously pump the handle to unload each 6-dart drum makes it perfect for any Nerf war.
Add this to the fact that it features a really unique design and is incredibly fun to use and it’s clear to see why it’s a great addition to any Nerf blaster arsenal.
Nerf N-Strike Elite Rampage Blaster
- Great for close-up or long-range battles
- 25-dart drum magazine
- Capable of single shot or rapid-fire action
- Comes with 25 Nerf Elite foam darts
If you’re looking for the perfect weapon for an all-out Nerf war, take a look at the Nerf N-Strike Elite Rampage Blaster. This dynamo features a 25-dart drum magazine and an impressive firing range of up to 90 feet. Plus, it’s perfect for high-speed combat since you can just repeatedly slide the slam-fire handle and hold down the trigger to unleash all 25 of your darts in rapid-fire succession. Plus, you can use the drum magazine on any N-Strike Clip System blaster, allowing you to customize your arsenal.
The N-Strike Elite Rampage Blaster offers great design and high quality at a reasonable price. It’s a versatile option that delivers impressive accuracy and a phenomenal range. Plus, the slam-fire mode is a fantastic feature that allows you to unleash a storm of darts on any unsuspecting opponent.
Rival Phantom Corps Kronos XVIII-500
- Breech-load blaster
- Comes with 5 high-impact rounds
- High-velocity performance at 90 feet per second
- Compact size makes it perfect for close-quarter combat.
The Rival Phantom Corps Kronos XVIII-500 is a compact model that’s ideal for intense, close-quarter battles. To load it, simply open the breech, load the 5 included high-impact rounds, and prime the blaster with the spring-action cocking mechanism. It’s capable of tremendous accuracy and launches rounds at an astounding 90 feet per second. The Kronos XVIII-500 also features a tactical rail and trigger lock. Plus, it comes with red and blue team flags so you can wear your team colors or play capture the flag. This Nerf gun gift is best suited to teenagers.
The Nerf Rival Phantom Corps Kronos XVIII-500’s compact pistol-like design and light weight make it the perfect blaster for close range combat. It’s also a terrific option if you’re looking for a secondary Nerf gun to bring along with you. Plus, the high-impact darts travel short distances at incredible speeds, making them perfect for tagging hard-to-hit or evasive targets.
What to Look for in a Nerf Gun
If you’re looking to purchase a Nerf gun, chances are you’re feeling a little overwhelmed. That’s because Nerf offers so many different types of products. That’s great because it means that this popular brand truly has something for everyone. But it also makes narrowing your search down to that one perfect Nerf blaster pretty difficult.
So before you go shopping, take a few minutes to read our buyer’s guide. It will help you understand what kind of Nerf gun is right for you and what you should be looking for when it’s time to purchase one. Nerf guns make great gifts for 10-year-old boys!
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Speed and firing capacity is critical when you’re in the middle of a Nerf firefight. That’s why a model’s firing performance is one of the first things you should consider. There’s a variety of models on the market including manual, semi-automatic, and automatic blasters. Manual Nerf guns need to eject a dart from the chamber before the spring can load the next one, this means that you’ll have to pull the trigger every time you want to fire.
Semi-automatic models have a mechanism that enables you to fire more rapidly but will still require you to perform some sort of action to load and launch each consecutive foam dart like sliding a grip or pump back and forth while holding down the trigger. Finally, automatic models are electric blasters that run on batteries.
These models are the most expensive but can send a steady stream of foam projectiles at your target. The important thing to consider is your playing style. If you enjoy popping off one shot at a time and pride yourself on expert marksmanship, then a manual blaster is the way to go. But if you want the best of both worlds, look for a model that offers versatility.
There are plenty of terrific Nerf guns that give you the option of shooting one dart by pulling the trigger or holding the trigger down and rocking a grip back and forth to unleash all of your ammo consecutively. Models like this are incredibly popular because they allow you to choose between single-shot or rapid-fire performance.
Type of Nerf Gun
The next thing to think about is the type of blaster you’d want to carry. There are countless options when it comes to Nerf guns but they can generally be broken down into four categories. Nerf pistols are made to resemble handguns are offer terrific accuracy and easy operation. They’re fantastic for close quarters and make great secondary weapons since they’re generally very lightweight. Plus, you can use a Nerf pistol with one hand.
The downside is that you’ll need to reload these models more frequently since they have a lower ammunition capacity. Nerf shotguns and rifles are probably the most popular options out there since they offer the best of both worlds. They have a longer firing range than a pistol, making them great for nailing targets from up close or far away. They can normally hold anywhere from 5 to 25 foam darts, depending on the model.
The downside is that these blasters are larger and require two-hand operation. The next type of Nerf gun is the machine gun. These models feature some sort of high-capacity drum, hopper, or magazine and are capable of holding anywhere from 20 to 100 projectiles. This makes them the weapon-of-choice when you need massive firepower.
They also allow for rapid-fire shooting but do tend to have a bit less accuracy than a pistol, shotgun, and rifle blasters. The final option is the crossbow hybrid Nerf blaster that is designed with a bow-like design but can shoot darts like traditional blasters.
They generally have a solid accuracy that’s on par with rifles and shotguns but is actually better than machine gun models. The drawback is that these large models tend to have a lower ammo capacity of 10 darts or less.
The next thing to consider is how far you need your new Nerf gun to shoot. These toys can have a shooting range of anywhere from 40 to over 100 feet. When considering the range you’ll need, think about how and where you’ll be playing. If you want to use your new Nerf blaster in the office, around the house, or in other close-quarter areas, then a shorter firing range is totally acceptable.
But models with a limited range aren’t going to cut it when you’re trying to take a target out from a distance since the dart will drop before it reaches its mark. On the other hand, anyone who is going to be playing around the neighborhood or in any wide-open area should make sure that they buy a blaster with solid long-range performance.
A longer firing range is also ideal for anyone interested in playing sniper with their friends since it will allow you to hit your target from a distance.
One of the most important factors is how much ammo your new Nerf blaster can hold. That’s because you don’t want to run out of ammo at the wrong time. Some smaller models can only hold up to 3 darts while other larger blasters can hold up to 25 or even 100 foam projectiles. If you are looking for precise control and are more of a sharpshooter, then a model with a low capacity is perfect for you.
But if you don’t want to reload and are looking to take your opponent down in a storm of flying foam darts or balls, then you should invest in a Nerf gun with a high-capacity magazine, drum, or hopper.
How Does a Nerf Gun Work?
Nerf guns use air pressure or momentum to send foam darts flying through the air. There are a few types of Nerf guns out there. While the end result is always the same, the mechanics behind each style are very different.
Spring-loaded blasters are designed with a spring that cocks back to introduce air into the chamber. The spring is released when you pull the trigger, causing a sharp increase in pressure that propels darts forward.
This format can be found in a variety of models but is especially common in pistols. Flywheel nerf guns are electric, battery-operated models. They have two small wheels that rotate rapidly. The dart travels through the wheels when you pull the trigger, launching the dart at high speed.
The last type of Nerf gun is the air blaster, which allows you to create pressure by pumping air into the chamber. Once the chamber is pressurized, the dart can be fired by pulling the trigger. Most manual Nerf rifles and shotguns are designed are air blasters.
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What is the Most Powerful Nerf Gun?
You’ve got several great options if you’re craving power and want to send foam projectiles flying at your targets and opponents. But one model that stands out from the pack in terms of sheer power is the Nerf Rival Nemesis MXVII-10K. This powerhouse assault weapon is designed for all-out Nerf wars. It’s fully-motorized and can hold up to 100 yellow foam balls.
But the thing that makes this foam-launching beast really special is the fact that it rockets these projectiles at an astounding speed of 100 feet per second.
How to Fix a Jammed Nerf Gun
Nerf guns are surprisingly reliable and are designed to prevent jams. That being said, there are a few things that can cause a foam dart to jam in the barrel or in the magazine clip of a Nerf blaster. The three main causes are using the wrong dart size, improperly loading darts into the clip, and misaligned or damaged barrels. To avoid a jam from happening it’s important to make sure that the darts you’re using are compatible with your blaster.
And when you’re loading, make sure that the darts are facing the right direction and that they’re loaded straight and not at an angle. Also, make sure that there are no gaps between the chamber and the blaster’s barrel and that the barrel isn’t damaged or bent. But if your Nerf gun does jam, don’t worry. It’s a pretty easy problem to solve.
If the dart is still in the clip, you can probably pry it out with your fingers or a flathead screwdriver. And if it’s stuck in the chamber, you’ll need to remove the magazine and reach into the chamber with a pair of needle-nose pliers or a flathead screwdriver and carefully pull or pop it out.
Any Nerf blaster veteran will tell you that there’s nothing worse than running out of ammo and having to search the ground for stray darts. To avoid this, make sure you purchase extra ammunition. For standard guns, one additional pack should be fine. But if you are buying a high-capacity model, you’re better off purchasing two additional packs of foam darts.
Did You Know?
Not all Nerf ammo is the same. In fact, there are 5 different types of Nerf ammo on the market. Depending on the Nerf blaster you choose, you’ll be shooting standard rubber-tipped foam cylinder darts, high-precision AccuStrike darts, whistling Mega darts, super-sized Missile darts, or high-velocity foam balls. Read more about the types here.