A plastic toy gun
guns are now sold by Hasbro
as part of its Nerf weapons
line of toys. There are a variety of weapons that now fall into this class, which is generally defined as "guns that fire foam
darts." There are three basic classes of dart:
- Larami dart
- The classic dart, made of fairly soft foam with a hollow core. The dart tip is a small suction cup that plugs into the the dart. Original Larami dart tips do not have phlanges, causing well-used darts to more frequently lose their tips. Later Larami darts have grown to slightly longer, and the most new darts (as used in the Super Maxx 3000 8-shot weapon have a slightly narrow set of dimensions, making the darts incompatible with earlier weapons. Larami darts are usually a light green with pink tips, although a small number are black with red tips.
- Mega dart
- As its name implies, the Mega dart is larger than the classic Larami dart, and is usually made of a more firm foam. Most Mega darts are yellow foam with a purple tip. The dart tip may plug into the foam or wrap around the outside of the dart. Because of their heavier weight, the Mega dart is capable of flying further with more precision than other darts.
- Micro dart
- These darts are smaller than the other categories of darts, although usually made of firmer foam as well. The darts are usually red with black tips. Micro darts, because of their lighter weight, are not usually as accurate as other darts, but their smaller size makes them ideal for multi-shot weapons.
Mega and Micro dart ammunition also comes in a whistling variety. Whistler darts have a rounded tip, with a small opening at the edge, allowing air to pass through the dart, allowing it to whistle as it flies. Whistler darts have a slightly longer range than standard darts, but are less accurate; the air flow through the dart causes it to spiral at the end of its range. This can actually make the dart more likely to hit against an alert, dodging target, who cannot predict the random tumble.
There are two basic firing methods for a Larami gun.
- Spring loaded
- Spring loaded guns have a cocking mechanism which compresses a spring, which is used to quickly compress air when the trigger is pulled, expelling the dart.
- Compressed air
- Compressed air weapons have an air bladder which the user fills by depressing a plunger. Pulling the trigger releases the compressed air, expelling the dart. Compressed air weapons can be modified to use a CO2 cartridge instead of the air bladder
Larami guns come in several classes:
- Single shot
- Single shot weapons can use springs or compressed air for their firing mechanism. These guns use any of the three types of ammunition, and can get a large boost from a push fire.
- Multi-shot guns generally use micro or Larami darts. Most of the guns have an automatic advancement mechanism, loading the next dart into the chamber either when the gun is fired, or when it is next pumped (there is a four-shot Larami gun which is an exception to this). These guns use compressed air exclusively.
- There are a 10- and 20- shot automatic Larami guns. Both use the micro dart ammunition, and use compressed air exclusively.
Larami guns are most frequently of use in a SIK
style game, although their use must be carefully planned. Larami guns are better than dart guns
in almost every way: rate of fire
, and accuracy
. Their sole disadvantage
is the cost
of the darts (classic Larami darts are no longer available, making them a nonreplenishable commodity
). The impacts in balancing a game with mixed gun types:
- If there is not a practical limit on the amount of ammunition a character has, then higher classes of weapon will dominate a game - a 20-dart volley from a Wildfire which can be fired at will is very unbalancing. Also, given the limited number of dart physreps, the need for frequent dart sweeps will slow down the game.
- Skill amplification
- Some guns tend to amplify player skill, while others damp it. A single shot spring-loaded mega dart gun in far more powerful in the hands of an experienced Patrol player than in the hands of a newbie, while a disc gun doesn't have nearly as much variance.
- Quality vs. Quantity
- Many games will attempt to build teams focusing on different aspects - a small team of skilled players may be balanced against a larger team with less skill. With dart guns in hand, this balancing can work, allowing the larger team to ogg to tip the scales. As weaponry escalates, however, this tends to be harder to balance, especially if the teams have disparate weaponry.
- While a dart gun in the hands of a skilled player fired at point blank range might sting (and occasionally leave a small welt), Larami guns in the same circumstances are more likely to sting. The larger size of the guns also makes them more likely to cause injury if players inadvertently collide.