Nerf Blaster

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Nerf Blasters
Nerf N-Strike Vulcan.jpeg
A Nerf N-Strike Vulcan EBF-25
TypeToy dart gun
Inventor(s)Nerf
CompanyHasbro
CountryUnited States
Availability1992–present
Slogan"It's Nerf or Nothin'!"
"Accept No Substitutes"
Official website
A Nerf N-Strike Longshot CS-6

A Nerf Blaster is a toy gun made by Hasbro that fires foam darts, discs, or foam balls. The term "Nerf gun" is often used to describe the toy;[1] however, it is often used as a blanket term for any foam dart blaster, regardless of whether or not it has the Nerf brand name. Nerf blasters are manufactured in multiple forms; the first Nerf blasters emerged in the late 1980s with the release of the Nerf Blast-a-Ball[2] and Arrowstorm. Today, Hasbro has produced over twenty unique lines of Nerf-brand blasters, which each line centered around a particular theme or type of ammunition. Moreover, Hasbro has also produced Nerf blasters based around specific franchises, including Marvel Comics, Star Wars, G.I. Joe, Fortnite, Transformers, Overwatch, Halo Infinite, and Roblox. Nerf blasters are available in several international marketplaces, although some blasters have their names changed or are not sold in certain countries due to laws surrounding toy safety franchises.

Most Nerf brand and similar blasters are packaged with a set of the ammunition it fires, and ammunition refills are also sold separately in greater quantities or bought online. Some blasters can also be customized with special-made attachments, which are either included with the blaster or sold separately. Many non-Nerf brand blasters are also cross-compatible with Nerf brand darts and magazines, in order to take advantage of the name-brand’s existing ecosystem.

Nerf blasters have been acclaimed for their popularity, particularly among boys and young adults. Additionally, a community has grown around Nerf blasters, as competitive and casual “Nerf wars” are commonly held among enthusiasts in various forms, similar to Airsoft and paintball. A significant modding community has also formed among enthusiasts, who aim to improve the performance and accuracy of existing blasters through upgraded parts and different ammo types.

Modern Product Lines[edit]

Engineering design of a Nerf Triad EX-3 blaster

This list consists solely of Nerf brand blasters released since 2003.

N-Strike[edit]

A man firing an N-Strike Stampede ECS

First introduced in 2003, N-Strike blasters established many trends seen in modern dart blasters. These darts have a body made of a colored foam, with a rubberized plastic tip to improve range and accuracy. Additionally, some N-Strike blasters such as the Recon CS-6 were also characterized by the ability to customize them with attachments, a common sight among today’s blasters. Some magazine-fed N-Strike blasters required a different type of ammunition than non-magazine fed ones, however the ammo type was updated and homogenized between all blaster types with the successor line N-Strike Elite.

In 2010, the Stampede ECS - a bi-pod-mounted, battery-powered blaster which is loaded with dart magazines[3] - was awarded "Boy Toy of the Year" at the 11th Annual Toy of the Year Awards, which is held at the American International Toy Fair in New York City.[4] Popular Mechanics praised it as "the best overall Nerf gun ever", being easy to use and less prone to jamming than earlier battery-powered Nerf models.[3]

N-Strike Elite[edit]

On August 1, 2012, the N-Strike series was succeeded by N-Strike Elite, which improved on the internal mechanisms for better firing distances and a faster rate of fire. Firing distances for N-Strike Elite Blasters are advertised as up to 75 feet (23 m) for U.S. models, while international models (identifiable by their grey triggers) have a maximum firing distance of 15 metres (49 ft). The average Nerf blaster fires darts at around 70 ft/s (21 m/s).[5]

N-Strike Mega[edit]

N-Strike Mega, formally N-Strike Mega Series, is a line of blasters which fire red-colored ammunition larger than most darts in both size and diameter. Nerf advertises Mega blasters as firing at "mega" ranges of up to 100 feet (30 m). In addition, they are also designed to whistle through the air when fired. Mega was originally marketed as a sub-series of N-Strike and N-Strike Elite, but became its own series in 2016.

Elite XD[edit]

Some Nerf N-Strike Elite and N-Strike Mega blasters were originally advertised with improved XD ranges of 85 to 90 feet (26 to 27 m) for US models and 72 feet (22 m) for international models. However, Hasbro later adjusted their marketing campaign for these blasters to no longer claim performance improvements after consumers found them to be negligible. Many XD blasters were simply their N-Strike Elite and N-Strike Mega counterparts re-shelled in different color plastic.

Gear Up[edit]

Gear Up was a limited edition line of certain N-Strike blasters painted orange and black instead of their usual blue color. They were produced as a promotion for Hasbro’s then-upcoming Nerf Vortex blaster line, and blasters included a sample of the new Vortex ammo. Due to their brief production period, Gear Up blasters have been highly collectible, and the range includes re-skins of the Raider CS-35, Maverick REV-6, Barricade RV-10, and Recon CS-6.

N-Strike Modulus[edit]

N-Strike Modulus (formally Nerf Modulus Series) is a sub-line of the N-Strike Elite series with an emphasis on user-customization through attachments and accessories. Many Modulus blasters came packaged with a variety of new and unique attachments; for instance, the Nerf Tri-Strike came included with attachments for launching Mega darts and foam missiles in addition to the standard N-Strike Elite darts. These blasters are typically white and grey, with additional accent colors such as green and blue.

AccuStrike Series[edit]

The AccuStrike Series is a category of Nerf blaster released in spring 2017. Some AccuStrike blasters are unique to the line, while others are re-skins of blasters from other lines. They include and are intended to fire an updated dart of the same name which are designed to improve accuracy. However, AccuStrike darts and blasters are cross-compatible with those of the N-Strike Elite line.

Zombie Strike[edit]

The Zombie Strike series was introduced in 2013[6] and contains blasters similar in performance to that of the N-Strike Elite line; some of which are simple re-skins. Zombie Strike blasters are themed as weapons made from a toolshed, and are often green and orange in color. The Zombie Strike line also has several variants, such as:

  • Z.E.D Squad, simple recolors of existing blasters
  • Power Shock, a sub-series which features blasters with built-in lights and sounds, themed around the human survivors discovering a way to power their blasters
  • Survival System, which focuses on optional attachments, similar to the Modulus line

Rebelle[edit]

Nerf Rebelle is a line introduced in fall 2013 aimed at the female demographic. As such, Rebelle blasters incorporate feminine designs and pastel colors. This line was discontinued as of 2020.[7]

Vortex[edit]

The Nerf Vortex line, launched in 2011, uses “XLR” (“Xtra Long Range”) foam discs as opposed to darts.[8] They came in three different colors, green, white or glow-in-the-dark. These discs are capable of traveling at greater distances than darts fired from original N-Strike blasters (up to 65 feet (20 m)[9]) and can also ricochet off walls.[10][11]

Hasbro relaunched the line as Vortex VTX in fall 2018.[12]

Nitro[edit]

Nerf Nitro is a brand of blasters that fire foam cars instead of darts. Each Nitro set includes accessories such as obstacles to hit and ramps to launch the cars in the air.[13]

Alpha Strike[edit]

Introduced in August 2019, Nerf Alpha Strike is a blaster line priced much lower with and built more cheaply compared to other Nerf lines. Designed as a budget series, it was introduced to compete with blasters from competing brands, which often sell for lower prices than their Nerf brand counterparts.[14]

Ultra[edit]

Released in September 2019, Nerf Ultra (branded as ULTRA) blasters fire an updated, proprietary dart design that is marketed as firing upwards of 120 feet (37 m),[15] the farthest advertised distance of any Nerf brand blaster to date. Ultra darts are constructed from a lightweight foam that is notably different than traditional darts in that they are made with closed-cell foam rather than open-cell. This construction allows for fins to be molded into the rear of the darts. Ultra darts are between N-Strike Elite and Mega darts in diameter, but shorter than both in length. Ultra darts and blasters are not cross-compatible with ammo from other Nerf lines, a decision made in response to the growing number of third-party darts available for N-Strike Elite blasters at a much lower cost than Nerf-brand darts.[16]

Many Ultra blasters are black and white in color, with “ULTRA” emblazoned on the side in gold text. The first blaster in the Ultra line was the Nerf Ultra One, and has since seen blasters with various different loading and feeding mechanisms, similar to other Nerf lines.

RIVAL[edit]

Released in 2015, Nerf RIVAL blasters are targeted towards teenagers and young adults. They fire high-impact spherical foam balls (often called “Rival rounds”) instead of darts. Many RIVAL blasters are painted or include accessories meant to distinguish between blue and red teams for competitive play; most RIVAL blasters are available in both colors. The first RIVAL blasters introduced were the Apollo XV-700 and the Zeus MXV-1200. The RIVAL line is not available in Australia due to toy regulations. As of 2021, the latest blaster in the RIVAL line is the Helix XXI-2000, designed curve shots in multiple directions.[17]

Sub-series of RIVAL include:

  • RIVAL Camo: Blasters re-skinned with a camouflage color scheme; introduced in 2018
  • RIVAL Edge: Blasters are green in color (instead of the usual blue, white, or red), released in 2019. The Edge series places emphasis on accuracy and precision. All blasters exclusive to this sub-series are modeled after sniper rifles and feature long barrels.
  • RIVAL Phantom Corps: Released in 2017, Phantom Corps blasters are white in color.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pinkerton, Lindsey (2009-04-03). "The Top 10 Nerf Guns of All Time". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  2. ^ Nerf Blast-a-Ball
  3. ^ a b Porges, Seth (2010-08-11). "Nerf Stampede Hands-On Review". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved 2013-05-25.
  4. ^ Per-Lee, Myra. "The 11 Best Toys of 2011". InventorSpot. Retrieved 2011-02-15.
  5. ^ "Nerf N-Strike Elite". Hasbro. 2012-02-10. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
  6. ^ Bricken, Rob (2013-07-11). "Prepare for a Nerf apocalypse with the new Zombie Strike line!". Io9. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
  7. ^ Greenwald, Will (2013-06-28). "Nerf Tips iPhone Scope, Rebelle Line For Girls, Lots More Guns". PC Magazine. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
  8. ^ "Nerf Guns: Vortex Series". TheHotToys. TheHotToys.com. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  9. ^ Phillips, Jon (2011-09-14). "Nerf Vortex Review". Maximum PC. Retrieved 2011-10-07.
  10. ^ Biddle, Sam (2011-09-22). "Nerf Vortex Lightning Review: Shoots Hard, Shoots Far, Shoots Very Painfully". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2011-10-07.
  11. ^ "Nerf News – Official VORTEX VTX Press Release!". BlasterHub. 2018-05-02. Retrieved 2018-05-20.
  12. ^ Robertson, Andy (2017-01-27). "'Nerf Nitro' Shoots Cars Not Darts". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-08-10.
  13. ^ Guynes, Jared (July 2, 2019). "Global Reveal - Nerf Alphastrike 2019 - All Blasters tested & variations shown!". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  14. ^ "Nerf Ultra One Blaster". Hasbro. Archived from the original on 2019-10-03. Retrieved 2019-10-03.https://nerf.hasbro.com/en-us/ultra
  15. ^ "Parents, Beware: Nerf's Newest Blasters Won't Fire Knockoff Darts". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 2019-10-03. Retrieved 2019-10-03.https://www.wsj.com/articles/parents-beware-nerfs-newest-blasters-wont-fire-knockoff-darts-11569240001
  16. ^ "Nerf's new blasters curve their shots a la Angelina Jolie in Wanted". 25 January 2021.

External links[edit]