A Nerf dart blaster (often called a Nerf gun) is a type of toy gun manufactured by Hasbro under the Nerf brand. Nerf guns fire small foam projectiles using pressurized air. Most Nerf guns fire small darts with rubber suction-cup tips. Others fire slightly larger "ballistic balls" or finned arrows or rockets". Some other companies, notable Lanard and BuzzBee, make their own Nerf-like guns which are usually counted alongside their Hasbro-made counterparts.
There are two main types of Nerf guns: spring- and pump-powered. Spring-powered Nerf guns use a manually cocked spring to rapidly compress air in a plunger tube. Pump-powered guns have integrated manual pumps that pressurize an air tank. Both direct the resultant high-pressure air stream into a barrel where it propels the projectile. Spring-powered guns can usually be fired more quickly, but are loud and have more limited range. Pump guns take more time to prime, but usually get more distance or use larger projectiles (or both, in some cases). Still other Nerf guns are powered entirely manually, but they have been largely supplanted by the superior spring- and pump-powered guns.
There are several broad practical categories of Nerf guns. "Springers" are spring-powered guns that usually have short ranges but great rates of fire. "Pumps" are pump-powered guns with slow rates of fire but usually longer ranges. "Automatics" are guns, whether spring- or pump-powered, that have an extremely high rate of fire at the expense of range, accuracy, and/or preparatory pumping time. The following list is far from complete but includes all currently produced Nerf guns as well as a few of the better-known or more significant older ones.
- Nerf Crossbow
- A collector's item nowadays. Known for impressive ranges and simple workings.
- Nerf Manta Ray
- Two weak guns integrated into a shield. Sought after for the latter use.
- Nerf Bow and Arrow
- A very old gun notable for its spring-powered pull-and-release action.
- A well-loved and effective pistol that was the first to use a "racking slide" cocking motion.
- Nite Finder
- Matches the venerable Lock'n'Load for power. Includes a focused light beam simulating a laser dot.
- Nerf Maverick
- A six-barreled revolver design.
- Nerf Firefly
- A P90-styled gun with eight revolving barrels. Darts glow in the dark; the Firefly "charges" them with a flash of light.
- Nerf Longshot
- Designed to look like a sniper rifle. Part of its three-foot length is a detachable sidearm. The only legitimate bolt-action magazine-fed Nerf gun. Also features a scope-like sight
- Tech Target Gun
- The Tech Target set includes an electronic target and a pistol comparable to the Nite Finder.
- N-Strike Scout
- A less-than-superb pistol. Part of the Unity Power System or sometimes included with a Tech Target set.
- Big Bad Bow
- A newer bow that works like most modern Nerf guns, but with cosmetic "bow" pieces.
- Nerf Crossfire
- A generic sidearm for the Dart Tag line. Can clip onto some guns' sight mounts.
- Dart Tag Gun
- No real official name. Has a ten revolving barrels similar to a Firefly's. Designed after an SMG.
- Airtech 2000 (AT2K)
- A poor gun that can be modified into a very good one. Has four manually rotated barrels.
- Super-Maxx 5000 (SM5K)
- A gun so powerful that it is often banned from Nerf wars for safety reasons.
- Nerf Perceptor
- A unique but useless gun that attached to the user's head. Included targeting monocle, which was also useless.
- N-Strike Titan
- An enormous rocket launcher. Holder of the Nerf distance record with modified Titans consistently shooting custom darts over 200 feet. Also often banned for safety reasons. Part of the Unity Power System.
- Secret Shot Pocket Blaster
- A palm-sized gun that can be easily concealed.
- Lanard Blast Bazooka, BuzzBee Big Blast
- Two almost-identical non-Hasbro guns. Fire small missiles; considered to be "mini-Titans".
- Nerf Chainblazer
- A very old gun that fired via a crank. It was the first to use the ammo chain, which is now obsolete.
- Nerf Wildfire
- A fearsome weapon that shoots twenty darts from revolving barrels in about two seconds. Equally fearsome pumping, reloading, and dart-finding times.
- Nerf Power Clip
- Fires darts rapidly from an eight-shot clip. Multiple clips can be swapped.
- Rapid Fire 20 (RF20)
- The karmic descendent of the Wildfire. Very similar but with better speed and range and a slower-firing "single-shot" mode.
- The karmic descendent of the Power Clip. Improved range and reliability plus two ten-round clips.
- Six barrels. Has a semiautomatic mode and a "blast button" that fires all darts.
- Spiderman vs. Venom Dart Tag Set
- The only movie tie-in gun that doesn't suck. Fits under the user's wrist and can fire up to three darts in rapid succession.
- Mega darts
- Relatively large darts that have been mostly supplanted by micros but are more accurate.
- Micro darts
- Smaller darts that have mostly replaces megas due to their superior range.
- Sonic darts
- Micro darts with hollow whistling tips replacing the suction cups.
- Dart Tag darts
- Micro darts with velcro tips to stick to clothing or Nerf Dart Tag vests or shields. Best range.
- Much larger than normal darts and finned. Can be exceptionally accurate but are limited to short ranges.
- Massive rockets fired by the Titan. Can damage fragile objects; definitely for outdoor use.
Many Nerfers modify their guns for better performance. Common modifications include removal of the built-in air restrictors, installation of more powerful springs, replacement of barrels with superior materials, plugging of overpressure valves, and integrations between multiple guns. The guns are vastly improved by these changes, at the obvious expense of safety (some modified guns can draw blood).
Many Nerfers also use custom-made darts, which are both cheaper and better-performing. The most common type is the Stefan dart, which consists of a short length of foam backer rod with a hole in the front filled with a small weight (like a BB) and covered in hot glue.