Best Nerf Guns You Can Buy in 2017
With so many different Nerf guns and blasters available today, which one should you choose? To make it easier for you, we have compiled a list of 13 of the best Nerf guns that are available in 2017.
While we know that this list is somewhat subjective, we have tried our best to consider all different types of Nerf blasters, their features, performance, modification options, compatibility, and so forth.
Before we go any further, let’s kick off with our top 3 best Nerf blasters:
Brief History of Nerf
Nerf has successfully been producing toy guns and blasters since 1989 when the first Nerf blaster came out: the very popular Blast-a-Ball, a single-fire ball blaster that could fire 1 ballistic ball per 2 seconds. The Blast-a-Ball was part of the Original Nerf Series that also included the even more popular Blast-a-Matic.
If you’re too young to remember these classic Nerf blasters, check out this very old commercial for the Blast-a-Matic:
The first Nerf gun that would fire darts instead of foam balls was the Sharpshooter which was also part of the Original Nerf Series. Released in 1992, the spring-powered Sharpshooter was the only Nerf blaster to use Sharpshooter darts.
Nerf has since tried hard to not only make their blasters more sophisticated but to also optimize the darts for best shooting performance.
Nerf certainly has come a long way and has produced a huge amount of different types of blasters since that first one, some more successful than others.
What we love about Nerf guns is that they keep kids (and adults!) active and engaged with one another. It’s just so much more fun to be running around with Nerf guns (or laser tag guns) than it is to play video games or to be scrolling through your Facebook feed the whole day.
Despite the rise of smartphones and online video games, Nerf doesn’t seem to have lost any ground. In fact, with new models coming out each year, Nerf is here to stick around for a very long time to come.
- RIVAL Nemesis
- Modulus Tri-Strike
- N-Strike Elite HyperFire
- Doomlands Impact Zone Desolator
- N-Strike Elite Strongarm
- N-Strike Mega RotoFury
- Zombie Strike Hammershot
- N-Strike Elite Mega CycloneShock
- RIVAL Apollo XV-700
- Vortex PRAXIS
- N-Strike Elite Triad EX-3
- Zombie Strike FlipFury
- Zombie Strike Doominator
13 Best Nerf Guns Available in 2017
This is our list of the 13 best Nerf guns you can buy right now. Further below we have also included a summary of the different Nerf blaster series that have come out in recent years.
1. Nerf RIVAL Nemesis
Blasters in the RIVAL Series shoot high-impact rounds instead of darts. RIVAL blasters are marketed towards an older audience (ages 14 and up) since they are a bit heavier than conventional Nerf guns and they are also a lot more powerful.
The Nerf RIVAL Nemesis is a revolutionary blaster with excellent performance and unique design and looks. This powerful machine is a fully automatic Nerf blaster that comes with Nemesis Hopper system that can hold up to 100 rounds. Imagine how long you keep shooting without having to reload with a magazine as large as that.
The Nemesis Hopper is an entirely new type of ammunition holder. It works based on gravity, so you can’t hold the blaster upside down. It won’t shoot any rounds if you don’t hold the blaster in a normal position. The Nemesis also requires 6 D-type batteries. Alternatively, Nerf has designed a rechargeable battery pack specifically for the RIVAL blasters. It’s essentially one large battery that you can recharge with a wall charger that comes with it. The Nerf RIVAL rechargeable battery pack is strongly recommended over a set of 6 D-type batteries because it will save you money in the long run.
If you’re looking for outstanding performance and you don’t mind paying a bit more, the RIVAL Nemesis will definitely not disappoint.
2. Nerf Modulus Tri-Strike
Released in the second half of 2016, the Nerf Modulus Tri-Strike is a popular blaster in the N-Strike Modulus series. The theme of the Modulus series is customization with multiple accessories that can be used on all blasters in the same range, such as missile launchers, barrel extensions and shoulder stocks.
The Tri-Strike was named Tri-Strike because you can fire in three different ways with three different types of ammunition: single-fire with Elite Darts and Missile Launcher, multi-fire with Mega Darts and slam-fire with Elite Darts in the attached 10-dart clip. With great looks, ergonomics and performance, the versatile Tri-Strike is excellent value for money as you essentially get three blasters in one. Not to mention the fact that you can customize this blaster even further with other attachments in the Modulus range.
3. Nerf N-Strike Elite HyperFire
The 2016 N-Strike Elite Hyperfire is a full auto blaster equipped with a 25 dart drum and an impressive 5 darts per second firing rate. There is no denying that the Hyperfire has all the right looks with a great color scheme, but it’s perhaps not the most ergonomic Nerf blaster ever made. The low grip at the front of the blaster is a bit awkward, although this is somewhat of a personal preference. The other minor issue is that the jam door cannot be fully opened which makes fixing jamming issues a bit harder. And let’s face it, all Nerf blasters will jam at some point.
The biggest draw-card of this blaster is of course the dart drum that can hold 25 Elite Darts that can be fired at 5 darts per second. And luckily the Hyperfire does this really well. Overall this is a perfectly-sized, fun blaster at a very affordable price.
4. Nerf Doomlands Impact Zone Desolator
Released in 2016, the Desolator is a Nerf blaster in the Impact Zone series which is a sub-series of the Doomlands 2169 line. Impact Zone blasters typically have a futuristic design, and so does the Desolator. Its looks alone are enough to earn a spot in this list of best Nerf guns.
The Desolator is a clip system flywheel-powered, semi-automatic gun, which means it’s an electronic blaster that requires batteries to be operated. Simply pull the acceleration trigger to fire up the flywheels and start blasting, no need to prime. The magazine can be easily popped out and holds 10 Impact Zone darts (similar to Elite darts but with different colors). The Desolator is similar to the popular N-Strike Elite Stryfe, but the Desolator is more ergonomic and has a smoother trigger-pull. The transparency in the Desolator is also a pretty cool feature.
5. Nerf N-Strike Elite Strongarm
The Strongarm in the N-Strike Elite range is essentially an improved version of the popular Maverick REV-6 in the N-Strike range. It’s a revolver type Nerf blaster that comes packaged with 6 Elite Darts that can be loaded into a 6-dart barrel that sits at the front of the gun. The Strongarm allows you to shoot in both single-fire and slam-fire mode.
Slam firing is a type of shooting that fires darts more rapidly as opposed to one-by-one firing with the trigger. To activate slam-fire, simply keep the trigger pressed while repeatedly priming the blaster. With a bit of practice you can actually achieve a really high firing rate.
The barrel is very easy to stock: simply push a button and it pops out. Both single fire and slam fire work really well, with slam-fire giving you a better firing range. A drawback with slam-fire though is that you need to sacrifice a bit on accuracy due to the priming movement. Overall, as a revolver, the Strongarm is a very efficient and fun Nerf blaster.
6. Nerf N-Strike Mega RotoFury
The red-colored RotoFury is part of the Nerf Mega sub-series, a range of blasters with an improved firing range using the Mega darts. The RotoFury has an advertised maximum range of 90ft which is very impressive. Just like the Strongarm above, the RotoFury has to ability to slam fire with 10 Mega Darts in the integrated drum. To use slam-fire you need to prime the grip at the front. Be mindful that the RotoFury only works with Mega Darts, not with Elite Darts. Also, the barrel doesn’t pop out, you need to simply rotate it in order to load all the darts.
The RotoFury is one of the better, high-capacity blasters in the Mega sub-series. Housing 10 Mega Darts is pretty decent because the darts are significantly bigger than normal Elite darts. A drawback with the RotoFury is that there’s no option to attach a shoulder stock which some find comfortable to use, especially with slam fire mode.
- Series: N-Strike
- Sub-series: N-Strike Mega
- Year released: 2015
- Ammunition: Mega Darts
- Firing range: 65-90 feet
7. Nerf Zombie Strike Hammershot
Similar to the Strongarm, the Hammershot in the Zombie Strike series is also a revolver type Nerf blaster. The Hammershot comes with 5 Zombie Strike darts but Elite darts can also be used. The major difference with the Strongarm is that the Hammershot does not offer slam-fire. However, what’s good is that firing and priming can be done with just the one hand. The priming handle sits at the back top of the gun so you can use your thumb for that purpose. Using your thumb does require a bit of getting used to though. However, if you prefer, you can also use the thumb of your other hand if that’s more comfortable. We just found that to be a bit counter-intuitive.
The Hammershot is a great single-handed pistol with a cool Zombie themed design, but we have a slight preference for the Strongarm.
- Series: Zombie Strike
- Year released: 2013
- Ammunition: Zombie Strike Darts
- Firing range: 50-70 feet
8. Nerf N-Strike Elite Mega CycloneShock
Released in 2015 as part of the N-Strike Mega sub-series, the CycloneShock is a Nerf revolver-style blaster with a 6-dart barrel. The CycloneShock is very similar to the Strongarm, so why include both in this list of best Nerf guns, you may wonder. We simply have a soft spot for revolver type blasters because of their compact size, and the CycloneShock and Hammershot are two of the best Nerf revolver blasters ever made.
The CycloneShock is a Mega Series blasters so you can only use Mega darts, not Elite darts. But that also gives you a better firing range as compared to the Hammershot. Firing and priming, both single- and slam-fire, work pretty much the same as with the Hammershot. Overall, the Mega CycloneShock is a very cool, robust and ergonomic blaster that should be part of your Nerf collection.
9. Nerf RIVAL Apollo XV-700
Just like the Nemesis at number one, the Nerf RIVAL Apollo also shoots foam balls. We wanted to include another RIVAL blaster because we do love the incredible performance and clever design.
The Apollo XV-700 comes packaged with a seven-round magazine and seven high-impact rounds. The magazine lives in the blaster’s handle and can be easily popped out to re-load with rounds. Pull the trigger to fire a round and pull back the priming handle located on top of the blaster to prime. A drawback is that the priming handle is a bit too sturdy and you actually need to use a bit of force to move it back and forth. And while doing that, your other hand needs to keep the blaster in a stable position. Other than that, the XV-700 is a great blaster with an impressive firing velocity and range.
10. Nerf Vortex PRAXIS
Released in 2011 under the Nerf Vortex Series, the Praxis is a Nerf blaster that comes packaged with a shoulder stock, a 10-disc magazine and 10 XLR discs. Wait, discs? First you come up with a blaster that fires foam balls like they did back in the day and now you’re including a blaster that fires discs? The Vortex Series was introduced in 2011 with blasters that had improved performance and more “Nerf power”. All blasters fire these discs which creates a really good range but with a less impressive velocity due to the discs rotating when in the air.
The Praxis is a long rifle blaster with an underhand pump-action loading system. The magazine holds 10 discs and can be easily released by pressing a button. To shoot, pull the priming slide back, then push it forward and use the trigger to fire a disc. The shoulder stock at the back of the gun really improves the overall ergonomic feel of the blaster. It must be said though that the stock is actually a bit wobbly, believe it or not.
11. Nerf N-Strike Elite Triad EX-3
One of the most basic Nerf blasters in our list of best Nerf guns is the N-Strike Elite Triad EX-3. But don’t be fooled, this small pistol may look basic, it’s actually quite a smart and powerful gun.
The barrel in the Triad EX-3 holds three Elite darts but it doesn’t actually rotate. It will simply fire clock-wise starting with the dart at the bottom. If the barrel is loaded with less than three darts, the gun is smart enough to simply ignore the empty part, so you won’t be shooting blanks. The Triad EX-3 is a smart-looking, high power Nerf pistol that you should definitely consider adding to your collection of Nerf guns.
Watch this video to learn more about the science behind this smart Nerf pistol:
12. Nerf Zombie Strike FlipFury
Another revolver! Sorry, we just couldn’t resist, because the FlipFury is a special blaster that we really wanted to include in our list of favorite Nerf guns.
The FlipFury is a Zombie Strike blaster and, as you can see, it actually has two 6-dart barrels instead of just one like the N-Strike Elite Strongarm. Other than that, operating the FlipFury is very similar, with both single-fire and slam-fire options. The FlipFury can only fire darts from the top barrel, and once that one is empty, simply flip the barrels by pulling the trigger and you can start shooting with the other barrel. So why would you get this one instead of the Strongarm? The main reason would be that the FlipFury allows you to fire 12 darts. The drawback is it’s a bit bigger and heavier than the Strongarm.
13. Nerf Zombie Strike Doominator
Did we save the best for last? Released in 2015, the Nerf Zombie Strike Doominator features no less than four 6-dart barrels and comes packaged with 24 Zombie Strike darts. You can choose between single-fire and slam-fire.
Just like the FlipFury above, the barrels in the Doominator can be easily flipped so you can essentially fire 24 darts in one session. The thing though is that because this blaster has four barrels, it makes the whole flipping mechanism more complicated, and as such it feels less robust. The other drawback with this blaster is the stock at the back which doesn’t seem to serve much purpose and is kind of redundant. It’s just a bit too small and sits too close to your hand.
The Doominator is certainly not the cheapest product in this list of best Nerf guns, but it’s definitely one of the coolest despite its flaws.
Overview of the Different Nerf Series
Since 1989, Nerf has released a lot of different types of blasters. All of these blasters have been part of a broader range with their own specific characteristics. Let’s go through some of the more important Nerf gun series that have come out in recent years.
Released in 2003, the N-Strike series has become one of the most popular Nerf blaster series ever. The N-Strike series was quite revolutionary in the sense that the blasters became more real-life looking, but more so because of the attachable accessories that were available. These accessories allow Nerf players to easily modify or upgrade their blasters.
Nerf N-Strike Elite
The N-Strike Elite series is the direct successor to N-Strike series and offers improved functionality and more features. Released in 2012, N-Strike Elite blasters feature a direct plunger firing system as opposed to a reverse plunger firing system in the N-Strike blasters. This improves firing range significantly. The Elite series also uses new darts, Elite darts, that have an improved and lighter design. A lot of the blasters in the N-Strike range have simply been upgraded to N-Strike Elite blasters with more overall robustness.
A popular sub-series of both N-Strike and N-Strike Elite is the N-Strike Mega Series with superior firing range using the larger Mega darts. Better range doesn’t mean better accuracy though. Realistically, all Nerf guns don’t offer the best accuracy as soon as the range goes over 20ft.
The Vortex range was on the market for a relatively short period of time, from 2011 until 2013. Blasters in the Vortex range uses XLR discs as ammunition instead of darts and were promoted as blasters with improved performance and “unparalleled” Nerf power. The range of these guns is generally very good, but because the discs rotate when fired, their flight speed decreases quickly making it easier to dodge them. The Vortex series wasn’t the most successful range in Nerf history which is probably why these blasters weren’t on the market for too long.
Marketed towards girls, the Rebelle series was introduced in 2013 and is still being sold today. The dart blasters and Super Soakers in this range stand out with a more feminine design and a catchy color scheme. With more than 20 products available, the Rebelle series has been reasonably successful so far.
Nerf Zombie Strike
Inspired by the popular Humans vs. Zombies games, Zombie Strike is more a theme rather than a distinct series of unique blasters. Most of the Zombie Strike blasters are actually blasters from a different range but sold with a Zombie Strike coating. The Zombie Strike series was first released in 2013 and still available on the market today.
Nerf Doomlands 2169
Themed after a post-apocalyptic future (the year 2169), Nerf Doomlands 2169 blasters have quite a unique styling and color scheme. What’s cool about these guns is that they’re partly see-through so you can actually see how the firing mechanism works. The Nerf Doomlands series was released in 2015.
Nerf N-Strike Modulus
First released in 2015, the N-Strike Modulus series offers blasters that can be easily customized with multiple accessories, such as tactical rail accessories, detachable shoulder stocks and barrel extensions. All Modulus blasters come packaged with several accessories that can be interchanged with other blasters in the same range. The Modulus series has proven to be a popular range of Nerf blasters with several new models lined up to be released in 2017.
Two years in the making, the Nerf Accustrike range of blasters and darts was released in 2017 as a sub-series of N-Strike Elite and Rebelle. As the name suggests, Accustrike is aimed at better accuracy. The Accustrike darts have a revolutionary design compared to their predecessors (Elite darts) with a better weight distribution and spin effect when fired.
Nerf N-Strike RIVAL
Designed for the more “professional” Nerfer (ages 14 and up), blasters in the RIVAL series are designed as high-performance Nerf ball blasters. The guns are so powerful that they can’t be distributed to Australia because they don’t pass the toy safety standards, go figure! The RIVAL blasters are very recognizable with an attractive red/black or a blue/black color scheme. Check out this video to see how cool these blasters are:
Children and Nerf Guns
It’s often been debated whether children should or should not be playing with toy guns. Some believe that playing with toy guns at a young age could make children more aggressive when they grow older. In addition, some believe that by playing with toy guns, children believe that using guns is normal.
We personally believe that playing with Nerf guns or laser tag guns is as innocent as can be. They are obviously toys and do not at all look like real guns. Also, the aim with Nerf battles or Laser tag battles is not to “shoot” or to “kill” each other. Especially compared to certain video games, Nerf battles are very innocent, whereas modern online video games can be extremely realistic and sometime hugely violent.
Would you rather see your child playing these types of video games or playing with Nerf blasters?