Nerf dart and ball blasters

I can’t believe we don’t have a nerf blaster topic; this is that topic.

📰 NEWS FLASH 📰 The latest Nerf blasters, using the rivals (ball) ammo may actually be the pinnacle of the genre:

  • rechargeable battery packs (for additional cost, but official), freakin’ FINALLY, no more stupid C and D batteries like some kind of damn animal

  • easy to China clone “small foam golf ball” ammo keeps costs down for reloads

  • the balls are small and aerodynamic enough that you can actually hit stuff with them when aiming at it, unlike the LOL AIMING results from any Nerf dart blaster ever

  • super easy “dump balls in da hoppa” loading versus painstakingly threading foam darts into clips

  • no need to carry clips, just carry bags o’ balls

Check it out

It really is all that!

In the words of the helicopter gunner from Full Metal Jacket, “get some!” Buy some to support Tom, and to shoot your friends and loved ones in the face at an extremely high rate of fire, like they so richly deserve!

Also on accuracy, balls have it all over darts in every possible way

There were some community created slightly heavier, half length darts that did way better, but they take custom clips and mods to even use, so… meh.

I had no idea that waffling the front of the dart (ala Accustrike) improved them so much but those long tails are also not doing darts any favors. Hence the community modded half dart with a tad more weight.


Sounds like it was well known in the nerf community for a long time that suction darts were more accurate, and obviously the only difference is the suction dart head shape, which is counterintuitive to me.

Maybe it is like the dots on the surface of golf balls? I dunno. The rivals ball darts do have the same golf ball style indentations, and I certainly remember the Mythbusters episode on that, which absolutely works!

Curse you and this topic for the money you’re about to cost me. I have the most basic of the original Rivals blasters, the single shot no-battery gun. I got it just out of curiosity about the distance/accuracy/etc.

No way was I going to buy a bunch of D cell batteries, but discovering there’s a recharable battery pack for the big motorized guns now is going to cost me some cash.

Funny side story; I loved electronics to a crazy degree when I was young, and my parents couldn’t keep up with my latest “gotta have it.” One birthday, I was giving an incredibly heavy gift. My mind went racing, and upon tearing it open I was both shocked and infinitely pleased; cases of C, D, 9V, and AA batteries stacked on top of each other. Lasted me a few years. Looking back at their genius move, I also realized they were trying to avoid the aggravation of finding that I’d cannibalized the batteries from any of their stuff.

I have the Apollo XV-700 as well as the Atlas XVI-1200. I love the pump action of the latter, but I hate the fact that it shoots 2 balls at once, quickly depleting the 12 ball magazine. The Apollo is a single shot, but only a 7 ball mag, but can take the 12, so that’s something. Both are pretty hefty, and I can imagine how much heavier the battery operated ones would be. I do like the hopper over the mags though, and I wish they made a manual one with the hopper. Not a big fan of their battery guns - heavy, unwieldy, and the need to hold down an additional safety button in addition to the trigger.

If anyone reading this hasn’t tried Nerf recently, I have tried a ton, probably an embarrassing amount, and I have some recommendations.

Jolt is the classic, very powerful single shot blaster, simple to use, fast to load, shoots great. Not fancy, but it is the essence of nerf dart. This three dart variant is one of my favorites since it optimizes “time to load vs time to pew pew”

Need more rounds? Strongarm is archetypal. Can be loaded directly from the front, no pesky clips, and you can extend the 6-shooter barrel out to the side as well if you want to. Also lots of cool aftermarket mod kids on Amazon for it to make it shoot super hard, if you want.

The Zombie variant is very popular in Nerf circles because it’s more compact and can be used with one hand.

This is completely optional, but the two-shot shotgun is also fun and easy to use, because no clips and front-load. Technically it has a two stage trigger so you can fire one shot if needed.

If you are into clips… meh, you shouldn’t be. Get the Rivals blaster up topic instead.

I just looked at the single shot blaster I inherited in my office and it’s a Jolt. Surprisingly strong at office distances.

I have two boys, 6 and 10, so dart guns are a big thing in our house.

I hate batteries, and I don’t want to drop ~100 per blaster, so the super Rivals are off the table. As a result, we do like several of the clip Nerf blasters, with the non-battery Alpha Trooper being one of the favorites.

I do have several of the ones that Wumpus flagged. In addition to Nerf, I’d like to throw a shout-out to the poor second place, non-Nerf blasters, in particular the more crazy (and less practical Boomco line).

The Rapid Madness is a particular fun one, able to shoot 20+ darts in like 5 seconds flat:

The kids also love the hilarious crank-powered Crank Force:

Finally, the Air Warriors Tyrant fires knock-offs of the Nerf mega darts. Damn thing hits hard:

tsk tsk, off brand Nerf. Shame on you sir. shame on you

I also hate battery based blasters, particularly since very few Nerf models support the commonly rechargeable AA, and many rely on the super annoying / heavy / expensive C and D cells. Stryfe and one of the Modulus blasters are rare exceptions.

That is why I was so excited Nerf is getting on the rechargeable pattery pack train with Rivals in 2017 at last!

This stuff is banned In our house now and forever, fucking hate them, and if someone shoots me with it I break their gun :)

Wumpus, I love you man, but good grief for a guy that’s busy changing the world you have an awful lot of spare time on your hands.

Nerf could license some properties and make done replicas of famous sf guns shooting those balls. I’d guess a lot of folks would go for that.

One of their competitors has the Halo license. Nerf started making Star Wars licensed blasters in the last couple years too.

I got the two Nemesis-es (Nemesi?) I ordered, plus the Artemis for testing. The Nemesis is definitely a BIG blaster, that may be the primary downside, size and price. But man the hopper loading, the easy slotting rechargeable battery, the convenient ammo… everything about it is so damn nice. Kinda makes me want to ditch all my dart blasters, to be honest.

Also this thing, a clone Rivals (I guess I owe you an apology @Stepsongrapes) shotgun, the Dart Zone Powerball, seems really solid and has a mini-hopper so you don’t even need the clips…

… but in an amazing twist, they also built it to be compatible with the clips! Target exclusive though, $18:

Then there’s this ludicrous thing. Dare I?

Strong arm one of my favorite Nerf guns ever.

Other than the awesome knock off brand double barreled shotgun that used shells that eject when you reload.

Coop772 gave it an ok review on his YouTube channel. It is a three shot shotgun with nutso doomland proportions.

My Rival Nemesis review:

  • welp, it really does obsolete all other Nerf blasters, forever. Ratio of pew pew to loading is off the charts – and full auto balls a’ flingin is quite something to behold. If, the first time you put your hands on, you don’t fire an entire magazine at full auto with a giant grin plastered across your face… well, I am not sure you and I can be friends any more.

  • I expected it to be large and it exceeded my expectations. Definitely big n’ chunky, not something I would hand to a kid under the age of maybe 7? It’s not super hard to actually use, or unbalanced in weight or anything but it is just plain physically large. Other than price, making this a bit smaller is about the only valid criticism of the Nemesis, the apex predator pinnacle of all Nerf blasters for all time. For all time!

  • You will want ~1000 rounds of ammo to go with this. Trust me. I thought oh, surely 500 rounds plus the 100 stock balls that came with the blaster is surely enough. NOPE BZZZT WRONG. Buy a ton. You’re going to need it. The clone “headshot” brand yellow balls are $19 for 100, other colors are inexplicably $3 more?

  • Accuracy is good and clearly a step way, way above nerf dart (as in, unlike a nerf dart blaster, you will eventually hit what you are shooting at) but it’s not godlike or anything.

  • The balls do tend to bounce around a whole lot more than the darts, mostly when firing, but also loading and generally messing with them, so you’ll tend to lose more. I did have one jam, where two balls try to go into the chute at the same time. Super easy to clear, flip up the rear hopper clip, pull up the hopper, move explosed balls with finger (giggity), slot hopper back in, flip clip down, done. Certainly worlds easier than “and now watch as I destroy this dart” method of nerf dart jam clearing. But the balls are super convenient other than that minor bouncy-bouncy downside.

TL;DR buy the Nemesis, it really is that damn good, unless you are some kind of loser who loses. At Nerf.

Get some.

We got some of the Halo BoomCo stuff and it’s super cool. Never bought any Rivals stuff because of the cost, though. We’ve had pretty much every model of standard Nerf weapon at some point, though. Many used to their destruction. I always enjoyed the discs too.

Man, I loved the Vortex stuff, I regret only ever buying the Vigilon blaster. It wasn’t accurate at all, but somehow it was one of the most satisfying to shoot. I should look around and see if there’s anything else that can still be acquired without spending an arm and a leg on eBay.

The Revonix 360 is still my favorite blaster to go 2 on 1 against my two boys. 30 disc capacity, slam-fire, spring-powered (no battery).