Within the Nerf universe, you’ll find plenty of great blasters. The designers at Hasbro have given us classic shooters, drones, crossbows, and high-tech laser toys, all of which make for hours of dart, arrow, or virtual ammo-firing fun. But for our money, the best Nerf weapons are the serious ones, the toys that give you a visceral thrill when you hold and fire them, the ones that make you feel like you could walk onto a National Blaster League field and dominate immediately. They’re also good for dads who want to hold their own when they’re facing a barrage of soft dart attacks from all corners.
There are Nerf blasters and then there are heavy duty Nerf blasters, and these are our favorites.
This tripod-equipped blaster has two alternating barrels and fully motorized blasting.
Pros: This blaster comes with two drums that hold 25 darts each. The trigger can be used to fire fully automatically (if held down) or one-by-one (if only pulled halfway).
Cons: This blaster really shines in belly-on-the-ground firing situations; it’s not the best for the running around chaos that most Nerf battles seem to include.
A Nerf blaster that looks like a nail gun is weird, but fits well with this Zombie-inspired line. You have to use whatever you have around to defeat zombies, after all.
Pros: It’s not motorized, but you can still fire the eight darts in this top-loading blaster without priming in between.
Cons: The indexing clip is exposed, so the people you’re firing at can tell when you’re low (or out) of ammo.
This customizable blaster does it all. It has a barrel extension, bipod, and scope so it adapts to any kind of firing situation your kid (or you) might encounter.
Pros: This blaster comes with three clips; the two you’re not actively using conveniently stow in the shoulder stock. It has a bolt-action firing mechanism, and we’ve always liked the little kick that comes with those.
Cons: Each clip only holds six darts, which means lots of loading and unloading that might slow you down during battle.
This Nerf blaster is meant for a total Overwatch fan, but it's a quality blaster even for kids who aren't into the game.
Pros: You get two Reaper blasters, plus a replica Reaper face mask. Each of these two breech-load blasters holds eight rounds and fires them at a velocity of 90 feet per second.
Cons: The face mask is utterly terrifying, maybe too terrifying for some.
Fortnite fans, rejoice. This motorized blaster is inspired by the one used in Fortnite.
Pros: The Fortnite motorized blaster comes with a 10-dart clip and 20 Fortnite Elite darts, enough to fully load the clip and give you 10 backup darts for reloading. The blaster also includes two flip-up sights and an acceleration button to power up the motor.
Cons: The color is not for everyone, and we’re not quite sure how useful the flip-up sights are.
The Nerf Rival Hypnos has a folding stock and two magazines, so you can customize it for action and keep a back-up magazine ready for reloading as needed.
Pros: This beast of a Nerf blaster has a 12-round capacity and includes two 12-round magazines and 24 high-impact rounds. You move the pump handle backward and forward, and pull the trigger to unleash one round at a whopping velocity of 100 feet per second. Boom.
Cons: Most of the other Nerf Rival blasters come with motorized blasters, so you might be overmatched if you go into a match wtih this kind of weapon.
This blaster features clear housing that illuminates when you press the light activator.
Pros: You can customize the Nerf shadow ICS blaster with the included illuminator barrel, which lights up when the blaster is illuminated. The blaster has an internal clip system that can hold up to six darts. Best of all, this blaster is part of the Ghost Ops series of blasters and upgrades, which means that more than 1000 combinations are possible.
Cons: Only comes with six darts, which is a shame considering how ocol this thing looks.
Overwhelming is the only word to describe this beast of a blaster, which is basically the supercar of soft-dart shooters, an exercise in why the hell not?
Pros: This insane Nerf blaster holds 200 rounds (dimpled rubber balls) and can fire up to eight per second at a velocity of 100 feet per second. The whirring sound this nearly three foot-long toy makes when you flip on the motor will inspire fear in the hearts of your enemies as they learn that the barrage from one of the best toys of 2018 is about to rain down upon them.
Cons: A blaster this mighty means a blaster that’s pretty bulky. It’s easiest to shoot when you’re wearing it around your neck using the included strap, so it isn’t great for running around untethered.
This drum-fed blaster holds a ton of darts at once, and it can fire them up to 90 feet away.
Pros: Batteries, schmatteries. This blaster has slam-fire action — simply slide the front handle back and forward and you’re ready to fire. It also holds 25 darts, so you can get into a pretty long engagement before having to reload.
Cons: You can hold down the trigger to fire a continuous stream of darts, but it’s hard to keep your aim steady while pumping the mechanism back and forth.
At 40 inches, the Thunderhawk is the longest Nerf blaster you can buy.
Pros: This Nerf blaster comes with a folding bipod that attaches to the tactical rail on the underside of the barrel. That bipod lets you stabilize the blaster and fire accurate long-distance shots. Mega Whistler Darts scream as they fly up to 100 feet, powered only by bolt action priming, a battery-less mechanism that’s a lot easier on your arms than the pump action found in many other toy blasters.
Cons: This thing is 40 inches long, so it’s not great for stealth or close-quarters combat. There are also only six included darts, so you’re going to want to make an additional investment in extras.
Nerf's Modulus line features enough blasters and accessories to assemble 1,000 different combinations.
Pros: Nerf gurus know that the Modulus line has a lot of potential weapons, and a lot of the fun of this line is configuring the right weapon for whatever kind of battle you’re planning on having. The Longstrike blaster comes with a barrel extension, bipod, three six-dart clips, and a scope, all of which you can attach and detach on the fly.
Cons: You can get battery-powered blaster for less than this blaster, and we’re betting lots of kids would rather be saved from manually pumping up their weapons than have the ability to configure them in different ways.
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