Like so many toys that defined our childhoods, Nerf was a happy accident. It began when Twister inventor Reyn Guyer was working on a caveman game with spongy rocks. One of his team members began bouncing one of the foam “rocks” and they realized there was fun to be had by turning them into safe, indoor balls. Parker Brothers jumped at the idea and told Guyer to make a whole line of foam toys. That was the summer of love, 1969. Almost 50 years later, Nerf not only still makes balls, but has become the premier name in soft, safe warfare.
As time has gone on, the Nerf line of soft-core weaponry has become their pride and joy. More than just a child’s toy these days, some of the most creative offices of enormous companies have weekly (or daily) fights with Nerf guns, bows, and spongy artillery. Sporting everything from rapid-fire miniguns to long-distance sniper rifles, anyone who refuses to grow all the way up will have a soft spot in their heart for Nerf’s hardware. To celebrate this perpetual childhood, we’ve found the 15 best Nerf guns for the kid at heart.
N-Strike Elite Demolisher
Double Trouble: With a 10 round banana clip along with under-barrel missile launcher, the Demolisher gives you two ways to fight off your foes. Use it as your primary weapon with the rifle stock or dump the extra accessories and keep it on hand as an oversized sidearm.
N-Strike Mega Series RotoFury Blaster
Pump Action: Utilizing a 10-round drum you’ll be able to take on numerous adversaries in rapid succession with the pump and fire mechanism. Loaded with whistler darts, even when you miss, the sound of your incoming ordnance will force opponents to duck and cover.
N-Strike Elite Mega CycloneShock Blaster
Six Gun: Engineered to give you maximum accuracy at longer distances without adding extra weight or heft, you’ll want this revolver-style gat on your hip for those high noon showdowns. You’ll probably need two, since reloading is a hassle, making it easier to empty the cylinder and drop it.
N-Strike Stampede ECS
Artful Artillery: Starting off with a removable shield ideal for switching from offense to defense, the real story of the Stampede is the quick reload and 18 round clip. Admittedly, the 30-foot range and 5 pound heft makes it better for close-range engagements, it’s best kept on hand for base defense.
N-Strike Modulus ECS-10
Build-A-Blaster: The ECS-10 can be put together in more than 30 different ways, allowing you to turn it from an oversized pistol to a full, long-range rifle complete with scope. With a drop grip, a dual rail barrel, a removable stock, motorized firing mechanism, and automated clips that hold up to 10 shots, it’s capable of fitting anyone’s assault style.
Rival Zeus MXV-1200 Blaster
Quick Shot: Capable of kicking out the literal rounds at up to 70 miles an hour, this is a serious weapon meant for handling serious family business. Complete with trigger lock to avoid accidents, a door for clearing out jams from the amped-up firing power, and a 12 round mag of special high-impact rounds, keep this on hand for the big battles.
N-Strike Elite Rhino-Fire Blaster
Drum Kit: With a pair of 25-round drums attached to a double-barrelled mechanical firing mechanism, you can set it on its included tripod for defending an installation or pack it with you for laying waste to your enemies. It’s not overkill, it’s just enough kill.
N-Strike Mega Centurion
One Shot, One Kill: Better when used propped up on it’s detachable bipod, it’s a little long for running and gunning, but get a spotter for ranged combat and you’ll see pinpoint accuracy at up to 100 feet. The Centurion outdistances most Nerf weapons so you can take your enemy down long before you see the whites of their eyes.
Vortex Pyragon Blaster
Mobile Marauder: Meant for getting up close and personal, the large drum on the bottom holds as many as 40 foam disks while the slam fire option lets you hold down the trigger and throw down OK corral style. You can even attach a few accessories to make it even more deadly, though it’s doubtful you’ll need the help.
Mega Thunder Bow Blaster
Robin Hood Reimagined: It’s a bow, but it’s also a repeater. With 5 darts loaded into the end, the Thunder Bow can fire as fast as you can pull the string. It shoots up to 100 feet, putting a lot of power into the design. Completely quiet, it’s surprisingly stealthy with the broad front capable of doubling as a shield.
Combat Creatures TerraDrone
Henchbot: Remote controlled with a head that can swivel 360 degrees and a 12 dart payload, there’s no reason to leave cover when you have the TerraDrone to do your fighting for you. Mount an action camera on it and you’re ready for YouTube stardom terrorizing your cat.
N-Strike Vulcan EBF-25 Dart Blaster
In The Pillbox: Capable of throwing out three darts per second thanks to its battery-powered body, this mounted vulcan cannon is the last word in defending the beachhead. Chain-fed for quick firing, you can also switch it to single shot mode for more precision during mobile engagements.
Zombie Strike FlipFury Blaster
New Sheriff in Town: The only thing better than a great revolver is a second great revolver. With dual cylinders for quick rotation during combat, the FlipFury is 12 darts, no waiting. Not as bulky as you might think, only a speed loader could improve on this design.
N-Strike Elite Jolt Blaster
Pocket Rocket: The Nerf equivalent of a Derringer, this is your hidden last resort pistol for finishing off an adversary when you’re back is against the wall, or taking yourself out to avoid capture. Stick it in the small of your back or tuck it away beneath your derby cap, it’s the gentleman’s final solution.
Go Akimbo: The Lawbringer is a lightweight survival tool for exterior combat. Able to hold 12 darts in the chamber with another full load in the stock, it operates with one-handed prime and fire so you can carry a second one in your off hand for those times when the only answer is diving through the door sideways, firing like a Grammaton Cleric.