9 Best Nerf Guns for Kids in 2019 (Nerf Buying Guide + FAQ)
Do you grow up playing with Nerf? Generations of boys and girls have enjoyed these soft sport toys – and Nerf gear today is more fun than ever before!
Nerf has a huge selection of different guns suitable for young kids, older kids and even adults. Looking for a Nerf gun but not sure which blaster is best? We’ve rounded up 2019’s top picks plus we’ve included a buyer’s guide with everything you need to know:
Our #1 Choice – Nerf N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster
A fun, fast-firing Nerf gun which launches darts up to 90 feet.
- Fires six darts in rapid succession
- Simple, easy reloading
- Compatible with all Elite darts
- Easy, single-handed operation
- Only includes six darts
Do you want to be the quickest draw on the block? Nerf’s Strongarm Blaster fires six darts in blazing fast succession. Each dart soars, too. They can fly up to 90 feet!
Aside from traditional firing, you can also engage the Slam-Fire Blasting feature. Moving the slide back and forth while holding down the trigger launches all darts in a rapid-fire wave.
Reloading is simple, too. Flip open the rotating barrel to add up to six darts at a time quickly. The gun includes six Official Nerf Elite darts. You can also buy additional Elite darts separately.
Our #2 Choice – Nerf N-Strike Elite Disruptor
A simple, fun blaster with ultra-fast reloading and slam-fire action.
- Darts soar up to 90 feet
- Fast, easy reloading (faster than the Strongarm)
- Simple operation safe for kids eight and up
- Only includes one six-dart clip
The N-Strike Elite Disruptor is similar to the Strongarm Blaster but without the pull-out barrel, making it faster and easier to load.
Operation is simple. Load up to six Elite Nerf darts in the rotating drum. Pull the slide back and release to prime the blaster. Slam-fire action launches all darts in fast succession up to 90 feet.
Recommended for kids eight and older, it’s a lightweight, durable blaster which is easy to hold and aim. It’s a good choice for kids new to Nerf.
Our #3 Choice – Nerf Rampage N-Strike Elite Toy
Overwhelm the other team with the large drum and rapid firing power of the Rampage.
- Giant ammo drum holds 25 darts
- Slam Fire Handle empties the magazine fast
- Drum magazine fits into other Nerf guns
- No batteries required
- 25 darts can be hard to keep track off
When you need to bring out the big guns, choose the Rampage. It holds a whopping 25 darts in the drum magazine. Hold down the trigger while sliding the “slam fire handle” to launch the darts in rapid succession. Opponents will be overwhelmed by the incoming dart storm!
The Rampage also fits in well with your existing Nerf gun collection. The drum magazine fits onto any other Nerf Gun with the Clip System. Additionally, the Elite darts work with all Elite blasters and most N-Strike blaster.
Each dart can fly up to 90 feet. But no batteries are required. Prime and fire the blaster using simple hand-power.
Our #4 Choice – Infinus Nerf N-Strike Elite
Unique Speed-Load technology automatically loads darts for continuous blasting.
- Motorized Speed Load technology
- Capable of firing and loading at the same time
- High-capacity drum holds up to 30 darts
- Requires batteries
- No hand-pumping option
If you want to win the Nerf battle, you can’t be out of ammo. The Infinus blaster features blazing fast reloading times. The motorized Speed Load Technology automatically loads darts into a drum. You can actually fire and load simultaneously!
The high-capacity drum holds up to 30 darts. It’s compatible with all other products in the Elite line. Note that, unlike many Nerf blasters, the Infinus does require batteries (which must be purchased separately).
Our #5 Choice – Nerf Zombie Strike Hammershot Blaster
Double-tap the undead horrors with this handheld Zombie Strike blaster.
- Cool zombie-fighting design
- Fast reloads with working pistol hammer
- Launches darts up to 75 feet
- Compatible with any Elite darts
- Smaller range compared to many similar Nerf guns
The Zombie Strike series of Nerf guns have a gritty, post-apocalyptic style perfect for hunting monsters – and the Hammershot Blaster is one of the most popular guns in the line. It’s a small, powerful pistol which can be easily wielded with one hand (or you can buy two to dual wield.)
Operation is fast and fun. You pull back the hammer then start blasting away. Reloads are quick, aiming is accurate, and the darts can soar over 75 feet.
The Hammershot Blaster holds five Zombie Strike darts, which are included. However, Zombie Strike Darts are green Elite darts, so any traditional Elite darts from other guns will work here, too. It also shoots the original Nerf darts, the orange Streamline, although accuracy can be affected.
Our #6 Choice – Nerf Rival Nemesis MXVII-10K
Step aside, hand-powered guns. The motorized Nerf Nemesis launches over 100 high-impact rounds.
- Large capacity ammo hopper holds 100 rounds
- Motorized action allows for consistent firing
- Red and blue banners for easy team switching
- Too complicated for younger kids
- Batteries not included
Conquer the Nerf battlefield! This motorized blaster launches over 100 high-impact rounds without reloading.
Plus, it’s motorized. Fill the hopper and pull the trigger – no hand-power needed. The Nemesis XVII-10K fires tiny Nerf spheres.
Although still safe, the Nemesis is a bit faster and more complex than hand-powered blasters, so it’s recommended for kids 14 and older.
Red and Blue versions are both sold so you can easily divide players into two teams. Each blaster requires four DD batteries (not included).
Our #7 Choice – Evader Modulus Light-Up Blaster
A modular blaster with a light-up barrel allows for creative fun.
- Light-up barrel for nighttime games
- Motorized blaster creates rapid fire.
- Modular components can be mixed and matched
- Ghost Ops upgrade kits sold separately
Stealth meets strength with the Evader Modulus. It’s a rapid-fire, motorized blaster with a 12-dart clip – and just a bit more.
The blaster has an attachable barrel extension which lights up with a ring pattern. Press the activator button to light up the blaster. It guides the way in low-light environments. Of course, other times stealth is the secret to success. Turn the barrel light off to hide in the shadows.
The Evader is part of the Nerf Ghost Ops series. They’re modular, so you can add and subtract various components to create custom designs. Other popular parts of the Ghost Ops series include the Reflective Targeting Kit and the ChronoBarrel.
Our #8 Choice – Nerf N-Strike Modulus ECS-10 Blaster
A two-handed blaster rifle with modular parts is great for kids who enjoy tinkering and customization.
- Rifle with scope, grip, stock, and dual-rail barrel
- Designed for highly accurate shooting
- Components interchangeable across Modulus line
- Modulus line can be too complicated for younger kids
Show those pistol-packing Nerf warriors who’s the boss with this two-handed Blaster rifle. The ECS-10 Blaster is a two-handed Blaster rifle which includes a targeting scope, drop grip, storage stock, and a dual-rail barrel. With a 10-dart banana clip, you can launch Nerf darts up to 90 feet with precision unmatched by pistol Blasters.
It’s part of Nerf’s Modulus line. All the parts from the Modulus blasters are interchangeable so that you can create thousands of unique combinations. Plus, while the ECS-10 Blaster includes ten darts, it also fits any other N-Strike darts. You can add extra clips and magazines for super-fast reloading.
Our #9 Choice – Nerf N-Strike Elite Delta Trooper
A rifle-style blaster with simple operation designed for fast, accurate firing.
- Includes stock, barrel extension and other extras
- The 12-dart clip allows for fast reloading
- Perfect for kids who like to shoot targets
- Darts soar up to 90 feet
- Older kids might be more interested in motorized blasters
Take aim and fire with the Elite Delta Trooper. It includes an attachable stock with a barrel extension for custom modifications. The 12-dart clip slams into the rifle for fast reloading.
You can launch all 12 darts in fast succession with the slide-and-fire action. They soar up to 90 feet. It’s a great blaster for kids who want accurate firing but are just a bit too young for the motorized Nerf guns. The Delta Trooper is recommended for kids eight and older.
What are Nerf Guns?
Parker Brothers created Nerf toys in 1969. The first Nerf toy was a polyurethane foam ball marketed as “the world’s first official indoor ball.” It was named after a slang term for the foam padding used in off-road racing.
The original Nerf ball was so popular other products soon followed. Larger balls, footballs and more hit store shelves throughout the seventies. Starting in the early 2000s, Nerf introduced dart guns, which they call blasters.
Nerf blasters, like the other Nerf products, are designed with safety in mind. They shoot a variety of soft Nerf projectiles including:
- Foam cylinders
- Darts with a foam shaft and suction cup head
- Velcro tipped darts
- Foam darts which whistle when fired
- Mini Nerf balls
This is Nerf’s main series of blasters. It launched in 2004 under the name N-Strike. In 2012, the blasters were redesigned and retitled N-Strike Elite.
Released in 2011, Vortex blasters fire soft, foam-covered plastic discs. The discs are green, blue, orange or white glow-in-the-dark. In 2018, the Vortex design was updated with a vibrant, sci-fi color scheme. Vortex discs can travel up to 60 feet.
Latching onto the craze of zombie, well, everything, the Zombie Strike line was introduced in 2013. These blasters have a makeshift, apocalyptic style. They come with Zombie Strike darts but can also use standard N-Strike Elite darts.
The Modulus line has interchangeable parts for practically limitless customization. You can mix and match tactical rails, barrel extensions, detachable shoulder stocks and more. Some blasters in the Modulus line can actually be used as attachments for larger blasters. The line was released in 2015 at the New York City Toy Fair.
These blasters were designed to appeal to girls. They were similar to the N-Strike Elite line but sleeker and with pink, purple and teal colors. Released in 2013, they never gained much popularity, with many girls preferring traditional Nerf blasters. Although not officially canceled, the line fizzled out in 2018 with no plans for new products. They exist only now as collector items.
The Nerf Nitro line isn’t a traditional dart blaster. Instead, Nitro blasters fire foam cars onto stunt ramps and obstacles. Although technically part of the Nerf Blaster family, Nitro is a different type of toy.
The Rival line is one of the largest and most popular. They’re typically large, high-capacity blasters. Instead of Nerf darts, they shoot tiny Nerf balls called High Impact Rounds (although Nerf fans often refer to them as Rival Balls).
The Phantom Corps is a smaller line within the Rival series. Released in 2017, the Phantom Corps blasters have removable colored banners so players can switch teams with ease. Many Phantom Corps blasters resemble the original Nerf Blasters for a cool retro style.
Later this year, Nerf is expected to release Rival Edge blasters. Industry experts expect these blasters to have a bolt-action sniper aesthetic.
The N-Force line is a bit different from the others. They’re foam swords and other melee toys. They fit into a sheath on the N-Strike tactical vest and N-Strike Bandolier kit.
The N-Force line has been discontinued, but a few items are still sought out by collectors. In 2011, Nerf released several N-Force toys based on the first Thor movie – Thor’s Hammer, Thor’s Sword and Odin’s Sword. Another round of toys was released in 2012 for the first Avengers movie.
Are Nerf Toys Safe?
Generally, Nerf toys are safe. They have a fairly simple design with few moving parts and are made from non-toxic plastic. However, there are few safety precautions you’ll want to be aware of.
First, always follow the recommended age guidelines for the specific blaster you want to buy. Nerf has no universal age guidelines. Instead, each gun has an individual recommendation.
Smaller, simpler blasters are recommended for kids eight and older. However, the minimum age is 14 for some of the more complicated blasters like most of the Rivals series and many motorized blasters. They shoot at a higher rate than the hand-powered ones, so the potential for injury is greater.
The Importance of Protecting Your Eyes
While injuries are generally rare, they do occur. Eye injuries are the most common type. Nerf balls and darts are soft, but they can still sting and cause blurred vision. In most cases, the damage is temporary, but you’ll want to be still careful as serious injury is possible.
Avoid direct shots to the face. While accidents happen, players should always aim for the legs and torso. Also, don’t fire too close to another person. A distance of few feet is usually enough to build up some wind resistance to reduce the dart’s power.
Always wear eye protection. It’s especially important for younger kids because they don’t have the hand-eye coordination for accurate aiming. Teens and adults should wear safety goggles, too.
Finding a Safe Environment for Play
Other potential injuries are typically environmental. Nerf games can be played outdoors in large, open areas. Make sure those areas are safe. Never play in the street or around traffic. Also, avoid private property.
Teach kids never to shoot at someone is unaware. Also, never shoot at any animals, even pets. They can be uncharacteristically aggressive if surprised.
Even though Nerf blasters are bright orange, they can still be mistaken for a real gun. Kids should never point a Nerf gun at a stranger. Store blasters in a backpack or bag when carrying them in public.
What are the Benefits of Nerf Guns?
Keeps Kids Physically Active
Nerf guns are great for active play. Kids can run around and get active while shooting at targets or each other. Physical activity is important for health, growth, mental development and more.
The Society of Health and Physical Education recommends the following guidelines for kids between nine and 12:
- Between 60 minutes and several hours of physical activity on most days.
- Activity should be moderate to vigorous.
- Intermittent activity, with breaks between times of exertion, is better than steady activity.
Nerf guns are a safe way for younger kids to learn the basics of gun safety. They’ll have a head start on safe practices if they shoot real guns later in life. Plus, gun safety basics can be a lifesaver if they ever accidentally find a real gun.
Using the Nerf gun, teach younger kids the following:
- Never look down the gun barrel
- Keep fingers away from the trigger until you’re ready to shoot
- Only aim at something you want to shoot
- Never leave a loaded gun unattended
Team games have many developmental benefits. Kids learn how to win and lose gracefully. Plus, team games also require communication to coordinate and win. Team play is an excellent introduction to social skills.
Many kids who don’t like the structured play of organized sports like the relative flexibility found in Nerf games. They’re a great option if your child isn’t particularly interested in football, baseball or soccer.
What are the Best Nerf Gun Games?
Nerf gun games can be played in groups as small as two or as big as the whole neighborhood. You can even find a few games for solo play.
Of course, “run around and shoot each other” is the classic Nerf gun game. While that’s certainly fun, here are some other options if you’re looking for other ways to play:
Buy a few helium balloons for target practice. Set them at different ranges to test your aim. If you attach the strings to weights, they’ll bounce back after getting hit for instant setup.
Nerf Gun Freeze Tag
Play it just like regular freeze tag but with darts. When you’re hit, you have to freeze in place. A fun variation is to have team members unfreeze their teammates with a dart.
The President is the only player with a pistol. Other players on his team are the Secret Service, who must protect the President at all costs from the Assassins. Typically, the goal is to get the President from one place to the other, such as through the house or backyard.
President is a great game if you have a younger player who can’t shoot as well as the older kids. Making a little one President allows them to still play and participate.
Turn out the lights and arm the kids with Nerf guns, flashlights and glowsticks. It’s great for nighttime play, too. Just make sure the play area is free from obstacles as visibility is obviously limited.
Two teams compete in what starts as a traditional battle. But whenever a player is hit, they turn into a zombie. Zombies must walk and can only use a handheld blaster held in their opposite hand. However, they can only be killed by a shot to the head. Two teams continue to fight while more and more zombies enter the playing field.
When shopping for a Nerf gun, consider the appropriate age. Younger kids should have simpler blasters while older kids can handle motorized, high-capacity ones. Also, pay attention to the specific line as not all darts are compatible.
It’s Nerf or Nothing! Nerf’s slogan is surprisingly accurate. There really are no other toys quite like Nerf. They’re fun, safe, and help keep kids active and social.