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The Best Nerf Guns and Blasters for Every Kid

There's no one best Nerf gun, but these are the best in specific areas.

In the modern era of school shootings and police violence, any purchase of something with the word “gun” in the name — even if it’s a Nerf gun — would make anyone uneasy, let alone parents. But foam projectiles aren’t bullets (thank go), toy weapons are just toys, and Nerf guns are technically called Nerf blasters. Therefore, the best Nerf gun ever — ahem, the best Nerf blaster ever — is a key ingredient in the kind of foam-flying, relatively nonviolent skirmish that happy childhoods are made of. When it comes to rainy days or multi-generational conflict, few toys can act, paradoxically enough, as a peacemaker.

Over the past 30-odd years, Nerf has expanded one of its most popular categories with a broad selection of products. And that can make finding the right blaster for you and your child a chore. Some hold two darts and are powered by an inch-long spring; others hold dozens and are powered by massive batteries. There are Nerf rifles, Nerf shotguns, manual Nerf blasters, automatic Nerf blasters, and even Nerf blasters made to look like nail guns. There’s no one best Nerf gun. Rather, there’s the best Nerf gun for you and your kid.

If it’s a kid who likes to take their time and employ patience, a tripod-enabled sniper-style blaster might be a good pick. If they’re drawn to high-energy havoc and fog-of-war decision-making, a light, quick-firing option will do the trick. If they like variety, consider one that can be customized for different firing styles, whether that’s ambush or in the role of the hunter. There may not be a single best Nerf blaster, but there are blasters that excel in certain areas, namely distance, speed, modularity, accuracy, and what we’re calling beefiness. There’s also, in our estimation, the best jack-of-all-trades. Here are our favorites for all types of Nerf fans.

Distance

Nerf's Ultra One darts are their longest-flying ever with a range of up to 120 feet thanks to an innovative flight tip, lightweight foam construction, and aerofin technology, a grooved surface that decreases wind resistance. All of this adds up to a Nerf blaster that can hit targets an astonishing 120 feet away, 40 feet more than the N-Strike Elite darts that previously held the crown. That's the main reason to love this blaster, but the 25-dart rotating drum and compact size mean it's not the only one.

Speed

You want a faster shot? Add some power. True, the Mega Motostryke will require you to have a handful of 1.5-volt batteries on hand (it chomps four at a time), but in exchange, this blaster will rip through its 10-dart clip in a hurry. When your child has the need to lay down suppressive fire, this should be the first the choice to do it.

Modularity

'Modularity,' in its most technical sense, refers to a blaster's capability of Frankensteining accoutrements to its body. This blaster includes four rails specifically designed for this, allowing a customization over time or in regards to a planned battle. It also has removable stock and barrel extension. But the definition could also extend to its firing capabilities. With the flick of a top switch, you can go from single-fire to emptying the 10-dart magazine in a hurry.

Accuracy

As part of its AccuStrike line, which was designed with accuracy in mind, this is one of those precise blasters that can reach out and touch the opposing force. It features a removable bipod under the barrel for bracing and a pop-up site for careful targeting. Two clips (six darts in each) and 18 darts allow for tactical reloading in the heat of battle.

Beefiness

There's a reason this hefty blaster, one of the strongest Nerf guns ever made, is recommended for ages 17 and up. It holds 200 dimpled rubber balls, and it can fire up to eight of them per second at a velocity of 100 feet per second, or damn fast. It's also huge, heavy enough to necessitate a shoulder strap and best held at the hip, Rambo-style.

Best All-Around

Take the question out of who shot first with this blaster (because you did). It comes with 16 darts for its eight-dart-capacity magazine. You'll need the backup, since this model fires two darts at a time up to 85 feet. An accessory rail allows you to customize your foam flinger to the mission.

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