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The Best Nerf Guns for Every Kind of Kid

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

Buying something with the word “gun” in the name might make lots of parents a bit queasy, but foam projectiles aren’t bullets and toy weapons are just that, toys. Plus, Nerf guns are technically called Nerf blasters, and the best Nerf gun (which, to be clear, isn’t necessarily the most powerful Nerf gun) is a key ingredient in the kind of foam-flying battle that happy childhoods — not after-school specials — are made of.

Speaking of which, it can be really hard to find the right Nerf gun (sorry — blaster). 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 your kid.

If it’s a kid who likes to take their time, a tripod-enabled sniper-style blaster might be a good pick. If they’re drawn to high-energy havoc, a light, quick-firing blaster will do the trick. If they like variety, consider a blaster that can be customized for different firing styles. There may not be one best Nerf blaster, but there are blasters that excel in certain areas, namely distance, speed, modularity, accuracy, and what we’re calling beefiness.

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.

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Speed

At eight rounds per second, this is the fastest-firing electric Nerf gun in the west (or anywhere else for that matter). It holds 50 smaller-than-a-ping-pong-ball Nerf Rival rounds in a quick-load hopper that means even reloading is as fast as can be. Plus, the battery is rechargeable, which will save you a damn fortune on Duracells.

Modularity

This modular blaster comes with a bunch of components — a barrel extension, bipod, three clips, and two scopes — that kids can swap out as they see fit. There are others available separately like a targeting laser and tactical light, making this blaster the center of its own Nerf weapons ecosystem.

Accuracy

Sharpshooters will appreciate the foldable tripod on this blaster that makes it a good fit for belly-on-the-ground firing, which can be done one at a time or automatically. It's also pretty cool looking, with double drums and barrels that fire alternately.

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.

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