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Top 10 Best Nerf Guns

Updated on February 5, 2015
Nerf Stampede machine gun
Nerf Stampede machine gun

NERF for Active Youngsters!

NERF balls have been popular since the ‘70s and ‘80s. Remember the Nerfoop basketball hoop, and the little orange NERF football? Then the ‘90s ushered in a new era for NERF, with the introduction of NERF Gun Blasters: an array of new toy guns that fired soft, safe projectiles.

The question I get asked most is, are NERF guns really safe for kids? The answer seems to be yes, with some caveats. The foam-dart bullets they fire are not dangerous like other projectiles because the ammo is made of a soft, light, spongy material called Non-Expanding Recreational Foam. They are actually rather safe for all but the most delicate kids and fine furniture, though a common accident is kids knocking over lamps while firing at each other indoors, and the modern N-strike shooters fire hard enough to sting slightly.

Tell kids not to aim at a player’s eyes or face. If you are worried about eye injury, NERF offers a variety of cool-looking, combat-tested eye wear, or you can just put on any protective eyeglasses.

Some older players “mod” NERF guns or ammunition by adding components so they shoot faster or further. Smaller kids should not be doing this. There’s no guarantee of the safety of modded guns and ammo.

A Bewildering Variety of “Shooters”

Hasbro releases new shooters every year. The company jealously guards information about new models; in 2012 they sued a blogger who reposted a Chinese advertisement for unreleased models.

Over the last few years, the shooters have come to look and act more and more like real weapons: pistols, rifles, machine guns, bows.

Most shooters use finger-sized darts for ammunitiion. The newer shooters use N-Strike Elite darts, and will accept the older N-Strike darts and whistler darts. Older "streamline darts," suction-cupped "micro darts," and larger “mega darts" do not work in all shooters.

Some shooters fire disks, including Zombie Disks and Vortex Disks. Some fire egg-shaped foam missiles.

Many shooters can be expanded with clips, sights, stocks, and accessories.

Ten Nerf Shooters With Good Value

Nerf shooters range from the classic Maverick six-shooter and little Jolt one-shot to big automatic weapons like the Stampede machine gun. The shooters below seem to have been around long enough to be tested a little and get decent ratings on Amazon and elsewhere.

Note that Amazon does not tend to have the best prices—Walmart, Target, or Toys"R"Us may be better—and prices for shooters that have come out in successive slightly different versions vary greatly.

(click column header to sort results)
Nerf Shooter  
Current Amazon Price (USD)  
Came Out  
Looks Like  
Batteries Needed?  
Ammo Type  
Ammo Included  
Range (feet)  
Amazon Rating  
micro darts
N-Strike Jolt
single-shot pistol
whistler or elite darts
double-barreled pistol
zombie strike or elite darts
semi-automatic pistol
4 AA
elite darts
Spectre (Elite Spectre Rev-5)
long revolver
elite or whistler darts
2-in-1 Demolisher
two barrels plus missile launcher
4 AA
elite darts plus missiles
10 darts, one missle
10 darts, 2 missiles
Mega ThunderBow Blaster
a bow
mega darts
long gun with canister
vortex disks
Rapidstrike CS-18
automatic rifle
4 C
elite darts
36 (including bonus ammo)
probably 50-60
Stampede ECS
fully automatic gun with bipod and blast shield
6 D
streamline darts or elite darts

1. Maverick

A very old nerf six-shooter (from 2005). It comes in many colors including the clear "crystal pistol" used in the video below to shoot suction darts that stick to the wall and fall off.

2. Jolt

A simple, one-piece, single-shot pistol that fits in a pocket, shoots accurately and powerfully, and doesn't cost much at all ($5-7 at various stores).

3. Doublestrike

NERF Zombie Strike Doublestrike Blaster
NERF Zombie Strike Doublestrike Blaster

A simple cheap shooter that can shoot twice in a row, about 45 feet. The green colors go with a zombie war theme.


4. Stryfe

The N-Strike Elite Stryfe Blaster is in fact a machine gun--it's automated thanks to its batteries, allowing you to empty a 6-dart clip into your target, if that's what appeals to you. It has rails for use with "tactical accessories" and can be extended with a stock and barrel. Older kids use it as a basic piece of equipment in multiplayer wars.

5. Spectre

Nerf N-Strike Elite Spectre Rev-5 Stealth Blaster
Nerf N-Strike Elite Spectre Rev-5 Stealth Blaster

This version of the N-Strike Spectre seems to please a lot of Nerf warriors. It only holds 5 shots, but is sturdy and reliable.


6. Elite 2-in-1 Demolisher

The Demolisher fires both elite-type darts and foam missiles. In this video, a girl compares a Demolisher with a modded Stryfe. The droning sounds from these automatic weapons no doubt add to the fun.

7. Elite Mega Thunderbow

The reviewer in the video below concludes that the Thunderbow is a bit lacking in accuracy but has an imposing appearance, can shoot darts in quick succession, and has an effective range of 50 feet.

7. Pyragon

Nerf Vortex Pyragon Blaster
Nerf Vortex Pyragon Blaster

Allows "slam-firing": you can spray your opponent with the 40 foam disks in the canister, at a rate of 3 per second. Some prefer the Vortex disk-shaped ammo because it is more durable (and easier to find in the grass) than the darts.


Two Men in a Pyragon Battle

9. Rapidstrike CS-18

This fully automatic gun, firing 18 darts from a clip, came out in mid-2013. "Coop" in the video below values it for its rapid rate of fire. He says it doesn't shoot any further than other Nerf Elite weapons, but in the Zombie wars he conducts, he finds speed more important than distance.

Often mentioned in this price range is the Longshot (different from the Longstrike), which has been around in many versions for years, and is available at widely varying prices. Coop and other fanatic nerf warriors value it for its ergonomics and for its ability to be modded.

10. Stampede

The Stampede is a machine gun, on a bipod, that shoots rapid fire out of clips holding 8 to 35 bullets. For a while the top-of-the-line Nerf machine gun was the Vulcan, a $500 machine that spit bullets out of a nasty-looking World War II belt; but it jammed a lot. It seems to have been discontinued. The Stampede, according to the boys in the video below, would be a much better gun for the same price: it jams less, and has a longer effective range (30 as opposed to 25 feet).

Nerf N-Strike Stampede ECS (Discontinued by manufacturer)
Nerf N-Strike Stampede ECS (Discontinued by manufacturer)

A fast-firing gun that can be fired from a bipod or picked up and carried around.


Guestbook & Comments - Thanks for visiting our NERF Guns Gift Guide. We sincerely enjoy reading your comments!

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Hi, I had the same exact question as you. I went to check out the aeerdtisemvnt on youtube. Then it hit me. There was this kid in the adert playing a skateboard game using kinect. He scanned his OWN skateboard to use in the game itself. I think Microsoft might release equipment (such as guns) which is compatible with kinect so as to allow you to hold a controller/gun/weapon in your hands. this seems to be a pretty good idea for microsoft to earn some money. I'm still getting kinect. I see potential in it. Knowing Microsoft, anything can happen.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      We have sure had our fill of Nerf Balls at our home through the years and these Top 10 Best Nerf Guns would be great for any kid to own.


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