A type of toy that shoots or is made of foam or a foam-like material. Originally developed by the Parker Brothers, it started as a 4-inch polyurethane ball
, it was marketed as the "world's first indoor ball." "Throw it indoors; you can't damage lamps or break windows. You can't hurt babies or old people." Eventually, the company switched to Kenner
and then to Hasbro
through the acquisition of the Tonka Corporation. Besides creating NERF balls and blasters, in recent years, NERF has focused on life-like replicas (well, semi-realistic, but you get the point), such as the Vulcan
, a chain gun replica
which shoots automatically
; the Longshot
, a gun modeled after a sniper rifle note
, and the N-Strike Raider CS-35
, which uses a 35-round drum magazine
The brand's association for safe play from normally dangerous things means the brand is the Trope Namer
for the gaming terms Nerf
and Nerf Arm
. The toys are sometimes used in kids' shows as stand-ins for real guns.
On the VH-1
special I Love Toys
, Nerf was ranked the #23 toy out of 100. They've occasionally made special controllers for video games, as well as three games of their own: Nerf N-Strike
(a Wii lightgun shooter game, bundled with the Switch Shot EX-3), Nerf N-Strike Elite
bundled with a slightly updated version of the aforementioned Switch Shot, and Nerf Arena Blast
(an Unreal Tournament
). Nerf guns are also used in the live-action tag game Humans VS Zombies
An improved N-Strike Elite
series of blasters now exists, which feature improved plunger mechanisms and lighter streamlined darts, all in blue. A white, pink, and purple variant line of Nerf Blasters, the Rebelle
series, is also in the works and aimed at drawing in female Nerf fans. Another subline, the Zombie Strike series, has a Zombie Apocalypse
theme and appears to be marketed at the Humans VS Zombies
Recently, Nerf and Super Soaker have finally realised they're under the same brand and joined forces, producing a new range of Super Soakers compatible with Nerf tactical rail accessories. Fun will be had! A toyline of Disc Launchers, the Vortex
line of blasters, have also been released. They're notable for having nearly twice the range of normal darts, though they go slower and can easily curve if the blaster is tilted slightly.
It is sometimes joked that NERF stands for Non-Expanding Recreational Foam
, though company officials have denied this claim.
Check out the Useful Notes
page for more information on some of the blasters.
The various Nerf toys provide examples of the following tropes:
- An Axe to Grind: The N-Force Warlock
- Awesome but Impractical: A lot of the accessories, and some of the cooler guns. But they're toys, dammit.
- BFG - Specific mention goes to the Longstrike CS-6 (one whole inch longer than the Longshot), the Vulcan EBF-25 (biggest full-auto blaster, with 25-round ammo-belt), and the Unity Strike System (the main body of which is advertised as a missile launcher). The Titan rocket launcher (which is part of the Unity Strike System) and Big Bad Bow are also pretty sizeable. Later guns use a "Tactical Rails System", which basically means you can mix and match their parts to create even larger guns. Especially prominent in this category is the aforementioned Titan; In addition to already being huge, the Titan ITSELF can function as a Tactical Rail accessory. This can effectively transform any user into the Nerf version of a Walking Armory.
- The N-Strike Elite Mega Centurion, an anti-materiel rifle blaster released in August 2013, surpasses the Longshot and Longstrike with its massive 150-plus cm body length from stock to barrel, its usage of a new kind of Elite Mega Dart, and its long, long plunger draw.
- BFS: The N-Force Marauder
- Bifurcated Weapon: The Longshot, along with some much older guns, can be split into two smaller guns.
- Played straight and inverted with the Unity Strike System. The complete unit consists of the Titan rocket launcher; the Hornet, a six-shot blaster; and the Scout Blaster, with one standard shot. The inversion comes from the Scout Blaster's design: the attachment to the rocket launcher is done via Tactical Rail, allowing almost any other gun in the N-Strike line to attach to the Titan in its place.
- The Strikefire Dart Tag blaster has an inverted Tactical Rail socket that lets it mount as an Tactical Rail Accessory. Fancy integrating spare 1-shot blasters above- and below-barrel on your bigger blasters?
- The Vendetta sword.
- Bow and Sword, in Accord: Done by carrying the Big Bad Bow, Blazin' Bow, Heartbreaker Bow, Agent Bow, MEGA Thunderbow, Crossfire Bow or the Guardian Crossbow with any of the N-Force sword weapons.
- Briefcase Blaster: The Deploy CS-6, which can be folded down to half of its full size, and sprung open again with the push of a button. Perfect for surprise attacks. And by "Surprise" we mean it's still bright yellow and looks like a folded up Nerf gun.
- Cherry Tapping: The Atom Blaster: fires balls with abysmal range (5 feet, 10 if you're lucky) and velocity - and it's considered one of the most humiliating ways of being eliminated in a Nerf war.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience Several guns come in store-exclusive, extremely-rare variant colors, making it easier to tell apart ownership, or even teams in battle. Also a pastime of customizers.
- Taken to an extreme with the "Clear Series" blasters; it's exactly what you think it is.
- The Sonic Series uses a similar idea to the Clear, but in neon green.
- The Gear Up line is going with orange recolors, while the Vortex series is going with a more militaristic camo-green.
- Walmart, around mid-August 2011, is the exclusive carrier of the Whiteout line.
- The 2012 N-Strike Elite series is in blue with some minor gray/white highlights to accentuate the bright orange trimmings, rather like the regular Longstrike's shell.
- The Rebelle blasters aimed at female Nerf fans are white, pink, and purple.
- Cool Guns: In a manner of speaking. The Vulcan is a belt-fed man-portable machine gun, the Longshot and Longstrike are sniper rifles, the Stampede is a carbine, the Maverick and Spectre are single-action revolvers, the Snapfire is a double-action revolver, the Rayven is a semi-automatic bullpup blaster, the Alpha Trooper, Rampage, and Raider are slam-fire shotguns, the Barrel Break is a sawn-off... yep, they're all cool in their own ways.
- Cool Sword: Nerf also makes swords, although they tend not to be as fancy as the guns. There is probably more than one bayonet rifle mod out there somewhere using these swords.
- Double Weapon: The N-Force Vendetta
- Emergency Weapon: The Secret Strike is a teensy one-shot gun that clips onto your belt, with a secret shot compartment in the handle, a la James Bond.
- And the Nerf Reflex, which is pretty much the brand's Derringer pistol.
- And the built-in detachable one-shot pistol on the nose of the Longshot.
- The 2012 N-Strike Jolt joins the ranks of ultra-compact pistol blasters, being much slimmer than the Reflex, and barely bigger than the Secret Strike. However, the Jolt can shoot an actually respectable distance. The only problem is low accuracy and surprising recoil.
- Everything's Deader with Zombies: Nerf blasters are the weapon of choice in the live-action game Humans vs. Zombies.
- And now there's the Zombie Strike subline, exclusive to Target in the US.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The N-Strike models are all given alphanumeric deignations, the numeric part of which explains how many darts the gun can hold (Firefly REV-8, Recon/Longshot CS-6, Vulcan EBF-25, etc.) and the letters tell you how it holds darts. (CS = Clip System, REV = Revolver, EBF = Electronic Belt Fed).
- Fan Convention: The dealers' room of the role-playing convention GenCon was once the scene of a massive Nerf battle between employees of TSR and several competing game companies.
- Flechette Storm: Many of the air-powered full-auto guns approach this.
- Foreshadowing: The notes on the back of the Zombie Strike SledgeFire's box says "Next Build: for one-handed blasting", cue the Hammershot that does just that.
- Gatling Good: Seriously, a Nerf chain gun.
- Guilty Pleasure: The blasters are so cool, but they're for kids, but they're so cool...
- They say the same about cartoons, but since when have we let that stop us?
- It's curious to note that, while marketed at children, the guns themselves are clearly designed with adult hand sizes in mind...
- Gun Accessories: Lots of them. Some guns come packed with shoulder stocks, laser dot sights and target reticules, then there's Tactical Rail hardware, quick-flip magazine clamps for faster reloads, ammo bandoliers, Tactical Vests, 35-dart (and 18-dart) drum magazines, and the Vulcan's (as well as the Stampede's) tripod(s). The Barrel Break IX-2 even has a shotgun-type dart rack for holding ammo, and the Stampede also has a mountable ballistic shield. Most coincidentally, real RIS accessories can be mounted on Nerf Tactical Rails with a minimum of blaster modding/sanding down. By far the most impressive is the Recon, which comes with a full set of red-light sights, barrel extension, and stock, much like a SOPMOD kit for actual assault rifles and submachine guns.
- The CS-18 Rayven not only accepts tac-rail accessories and barrel extensions, it even comes with an all-new 18-dart magazine that can "charge up" glow-in-the-dark darts.
- As a case of recursive mod-friendliness, some of the accessories themselves have more tactical rail mounts. Some notable ones include the Longstrike and Recon barrel extensions, the red-light scopes that come with said Recons, and even the two scopes that are part of the Elements EX-6 gift kit. Scope, on top of Scope, on top of Scope.
- The closely-related Super Soaker water blasters of the latest product line possess Tactical Rails, as do the new Vortex disc blasters. The Nitron even has an all-new scope, all the better to take aim with.
- The 2012 N-Strike Elite blasters feature magazines that are translucent on one side, allowing spectators and left-handed users to see the ammo inside. The Elite Retaliator expands on the Recon's SOPMOD kit style with an improved stock, a larger 12-dart extended magazine, and an assault grip attachment for the barrel extension.
- Guns Akimbo: The Barricade is a semi-automatic revolver. You just know that people are going to buy two and use this to the max.
- Strong people have also done this with a pair of Vulcans or Stampedes, the Nerf version of dual-wielding chainguns or assault rifles.
- The new Rayven CS-18 lends itself well to this trope as well, given its electrical flywheel and it's relatively compact, bullpup design.
- The Barricade has been retooled for the Elite series as the Stockade. It shoots further and holds an extra cylinder's worth of darts in the stock. All this does is make it more practical to duel wield.
- The Elite series Stryfe is also semi-auto, but uses clips instead of dedicated revolver chambers like the Barricade and Stockade. Combine two of these with 18 or 36 dart drums, and you'd make even the surliest Ork shed a single tear of pride.
- The REV-6 Maverick, a manual revolver-style blaster with a slide, can be dual-wielded by tying a string between the slides of two Mavericks and pulling them away from each other to re-cock. It can also be done by holding one gun upside-down, placing the slides against each other, and pushing in opposite directions.
- The Rapidstrike is lighter than the Stampede and uses smaller batteries. Combine that with the 18 dart clip each comes with, and you'll give your opponents reason to pause. Or better yet, flee.
- The Hammershot and Sweet Revenge can be primed one-handed, since the hammer is within thumb's reach. Needless to say, they make good candidates for Dual Wielding.
- The Elite Firestrike was designed with this in mind, there's a spur or hook on the butt of the grip next to the battery cover, allowing you to prime the opposite blaster's plunger and loading darts into each blaster while holding onto both is surprisingly easy.
- Gun Twirling: The proportions of the Maverick make this ridiculously easy. Did we mention that this is their biggest seller?
- Hand Cannon: Nerf pistols tend to be huge compared to their real counterparts, due to the size of the darts. In terms of relative scale, the Nerf Elite MEGA series Magnus pistol is a major example, being an exceptionally sizeable pistol chambered for ammunition that an anti-materiel rifle like the Centurion was made to use. Yikes.
- Happy Fun Ball
- IKEA Weaponry: The Recon CS-6 and the Elite Retaliator can be used on their own, but can be quite a sight fully assembled.
- Not to mention the fact that the entire N-Strike line is designed with Tactical Rails, allowing interchanging of parts with most accessories.
- Improbable Weapon User: Most blasters, simply for their sheer size, though the N-Force Battlemaster Mace falls somewhere between Batter Up and Epic Flail.
- Insistent Terminology: Hasbro calls them Nerf Blasters and Clips, not guns and magazines so as to try and distance them from real firearms.
- The Vortex line, however, uses the term "magazine" suddenly. "Blaster" is still used.
- Laser Sight: More like a little red light, but with the right customizing skills and a laser pointer...
- Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: The N-Force Stonewall Shield, as well as the Stampede's mountable ballistic shield.
- Macross Missile Massacre: The Rapid Fire AS-20, as the alphanumeric designation implies, holds 20 rounds at a time. They can all be fired simultaneously.
- Meaningful Name: The Jolt. As far as Nerf goes, it could easily be called a Noisy Cricket.
- Taken Up To Eleven with the Big Shock. It is just like the jolt... except instead of an elite dart, it uses a MEGA dart, like the centurion, and Magnus. In other words, a Mega Jolt.
- More Dakka: Nerf seems to be obsessed with just how much Dakka they can get a plastic gun to shoot. Their current masterpiece in terms of speed? 25 darts in 7 seconds. In terms of capacity? The N-Strike Elite Hail-Fire can hold eight 18-round clips, for a total of 144 darts, at any one time.note
- Unofficially, it can hold 4 of the Raider 35 dart drums. That's 152 darts, or a little more than an extra standard clip.
- The Elite series replaces all the internals of their more popular designs with more powerful, more reliable internals.
- The Elite Rapidstrike electrically-powered carbine ships with an 18-dart magazine and can empty it in seconds with its powerful flywheel and worm-and-wheel dart pusher.
- Nerf: inverted; Hard-core users customize the guns to make them shoot farther and/or look cooler. The most common mods are removals of air restrictors, installations of stronger springs, and barrel upgrades for better range/accuracy.
- There are confirmed cases of modders revamping blasters into automatics powered by paintball CO2 tanks
- N-Strike magazines, drums and even ammo belts are often rebuilt to handle more ammo.
- Electrically-powered blasters, like the Stampede, the Vulcan, the Barricade, the Vortex Nitron, and the new Rayven, are often subject to over-volting by modders for even more dakka. Of course, going overboard will melt the blaster from the intense heat, or, in the case of the Stampede, cause a mechanical malfunction that may make the blaster shoot uncontrollably. note
- There are also other nifty mods, such giving most of the Clip System blasters shotgun-style pump-action, integrating one-shot blasters into the Tactical Rails for mounting as backup firepower, and the barrel extensions that let you turn a one-shot blaster into a 19-dart scattergun.
- A group known as Orange Mod Works has released pre-fabricated modkits for beefing up some of the N-Strike Blasters, easily almost-doubling their power.
- On a more disturbing note, someone successfully weaponized a Rev-6 revolver by turning it into a Taser.
- Further inverted by the N-Strike Elite series, which is claimed to have a stock range of 75 feet.
- Taken Up to Eleven with the N-Strike Elite MEGA series, which currently consists of the Centurion and the Magnus. While their effective ranges are less consistent per-shot, they tend to hit the 70 foot range flat, with a maximum distance of 100 feet.
- Noisy Guns: In particular the Vulcan LMG, which has a repeating bolt that clatters realistically loudly.
- For the manual action blasters, the Vortex Revonix 360 is the loudest. Try emptying it's 30 disc drum magazine via slam-fire without hurting your ears.
- Power Glows: The old Firefly REV-8 revolver had a built-in light that simulated muzzle flashes and lit up fluroscent darts. The Vortex Lumitron and the Rayven CS-18 have mags available that can charge up similar fluroscent ammo.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: The Maverick, which is also a Hand Cannon and their best seller.
- Also the Spectre REV-5, which holds one dart less then the Maverick but is more reliable and powerful. And it also has a silencer as well as a foldable stock.
- The Barricade REV-10 is a semi-automatic 10-shooter. It produces an amazing Ominous Hummmm while switched on.
- Now the Stockade, which uses faster and quieter flywheels and adds a stock that can hold 10 extra darts.
- There is also the classic Dart Tag Furyfire Blaster, a pump-action 10-shooter.
- The 2012 Dart Tag Swarmfire, Speedfire, and Snapfire 8 are revolvers of a sort. Swarmfire holds 20 darts, Speedswarm 10, and while these larger revolvers are motorized, the Snapfire 8 is a variable-pressure double-action with a dial at the base of the handle to adjust the tension of the plunger.
- The Strongarm, being the successor to the Maverick, takes the revolver design of its predecessor and adds increased range and slam-fire capability.
- The Firefly REV-8, which is an 8-dart bullpup style revolver with glowing darts. It basically uses a camera strobe to flash-charge the darts, too.
- The Hammershot and Sweet Revenge are twin 5 dart revolvers that use the same basic design, being able to use a hammer to prime the blaster one-handed and even fan them like real single-action revolvers, but offer different aesthetics in the Zombie Strike and Rebelle lines, respectively.
- The upcoming Cycloneshock takes the Maverick's design and makes it even BIGGER. It fires the Centurion and Magnus' MEGA darts!
- Rule of Cool: making guns safe for kids to play with!
- Slow dart projectile speeds allows for Nerf players to actually dodge bullets.
- N-Strike blasters tend towards impressively realistic mechanisms and mods, just like actual firearms, while Vortex disc blasters adopt a more fancy sci-fi feel with their orange-red muzzles, oblong barrels, and green bodies, and the 2011/2012 Dart tag series has more of a curved, rounded, bulky raygun motif.
- Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: Although two N-Strike blasters are modeled after sniper rifles, their range is the same as any other blaster. Averted by most modified Longshots. One of the simplest mods is to put a heavy-duty spring around the plunger, which drastically increases range and velocity.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: The Raider's "slam-fire" pump lets you put a lot of darts out there really fast. Your accuracy drops to nil, but who needs that when you can fill an area with darts? The N-Strike Elite Rampage takes after the Raider despite having ten less darts and lacking the stock of it's predecessor but features the higher ranges with it's direct plunger.
- The Barrel Break IX-2 fires, as the numerical designation suggests, two shots at once and resembles a Sawed-Off Shotgun. It also comes with a dart-holding accessory, like real shotguns.
- The Alpha Trooper CS-18 also features the slam-fire of its Raider predecessor, and is lighter, slimmer, and more reliable, striking the balance between firepower and size with its 18-dart drum magazine.
- The Quick 16 blaster from the latest Dart Tag series has an integrated banana magazine and is designed to permit on-the-fly reloading. Oh, and like the Raider and Alpha Trooper, it has slam-fire.
- While the Vortex Praxis lacks slam-fire in its pump-action mechanism, it packs the range and accuracy to make up for it, as well as an impressive 10-disc magazine. Its successor, the Vortex Pyragon, has a massive 40-disc drum magazine and slam-fire.
- The Rough Cut 2x4 takes a leaf from the Barrel Break's book, firing two rounds at once and looking like a Sawed-Off Shotgun.
- The Zombie Strike line's Sledgefire uses special shells that hold three darts each and fires them in a spread. While it only comes with three of them, the shells can be reloaded from the shoulder stock pretty easily.
- Shur Fine Guns: Once in a while, unlucky people buy Nerf blasters with factory defects that make them jam easily. The Maverick in particular suffers from a reputation of being easily-jammed due to occasional bad production runs resulting in poor-tolerance blasters only good for spare parts for repairing functional Mavericks.
- Sniper Pistol: Inverted; the sniper rifle-esque Longshot and Longstrike shoot no farther than any other gun. Played straight with the Nite Finder, a single-shot pistol with among the best ranges for any N-Strike blaster.
- The Vortex Proton and Vigilon pistols also play this trope straight, with excellent range on their disc ammo that easily outperforms most unmodified dart blasters.
- The N-Strike Jolt EX-1 ultra-compact pistol is capable of matching the Nitefinder in performance, easily making it the most powerful and long-ranged ultra-compact pistol blaster.
- The Elite Triad EX-3 is a variation on the same design, with three darts claimed to fire up to 75 feet.
- The Elite MEGA Magnus uses the larger MEGA darts, and can match the Centurion rifle in ranges from 70 to 100 feet.
- Sniper Rifle: the aforementioned Longstrike and the Longshot. The 2013 Elite Mega Centurion takes the concept further and is effectively an anti-materiel rifle.
- Spiritual Successor: Many of the N-Strike Elite blasters are redone editions of previous N-Strike blasters with the Elite colors, redesigned shape, different attachments and the improved stock ranges of the line.
- The Retaliator to the Recon.
- The Rampage to the Raider.
- The Firestrike to the Nitefinder.
- The Strongarm to the Maverick.
- The Stockade to the Barricade.
- The Rapidstrike to the Stampede
- The Mega Centurion to the Longshot or Longstrike.
- Steampunk: A popular theme among customizers, especially with the Maverick.
- Secondary Fire: Many blasters tend to have two ways to fire certain blasters and many modders integrate blasters to act as a secondary fire.
- The Demolisher has it's under barrel missile launcher.
- The Hornet AS-6 can fire it's six darts sequentially or a button on the side fires all of them at the same time, same for the Rapid Fire AS-20 that can fire it's darts automatically in sequence or all 20 via a similar button.
- The Barrel Break IX-2 or Rough Cut 2x4 can fire both darts at the same time or pull the trigger halfway to fire one at a time.
- The Emergency Weapon of the Longshot CS-6 can be used as a separate shot between the shots of the main blaster or to act as a double shot.
- The Unity Strike System takes this to the extreme by attaching the Scout IX-3 and Hornet AS-6 to the Titan AS-V.1, allowing you to fire the Hornet's six darts, the Scout's one dart and then the Titan's rocket.
- Sugar Apocalypse: People have made deadly serious war videos using happy, bright-colored toy guns.
- Trigger Happy: Half the fun is being able to shoot others in the groin without worry of much pain.
- For the not-so-truly-daring, any of the revolvers (both manual and electric flywheel) can be used for a non-deadly game of Russian Roulette.
- To play this further. You could do this with the Vulcan's ammo belt or the Hail-Fire's clip carousel.
- Unbreakable/Breakable Weapons: The Nerf foam itself is incredibly tough to break. The mechanism used to shoot? Incredibly easy.
- Taken to extremes with some comedians. Jerry Seinfeld once said that cars should be made of Nerf foam to avoid collision injuries, and Robot Chicken once featured a joke about "Nerf doors and stairs", for a husband and wife, the latter of which came into the office looking rather beaten.
- The Centurion seems to suffer faults of frequent jamming and even breaking due to it's complex internals and the MEGA darts that are loaded can be damaged when these jams occur. This seems to stem from the fact that the breech is pushed forward when the plunger bolt is pulled all the way back, meaning improperly aligned darts (or worse, darts damaged by these jams) can jam when you pull the bolt back.
- On the other hand, the Recon has gained a reputation for being nigh-indestructible when stock. There exist reports of it being dropped from moving cars without sustaining damage. However, when modded, well...
- N-Force weapons do have their paint wear down and foam chip off from use (usually by swinging and hitting things). At the worst, striking something too hard can cause the plastic shaft in most swords to break.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: Rather than the classic darts, the Vortex series loads and fires XLR Discs. (That's eXtra Long Range, not extra large rounds.)
- Weaksauce Weakness: Vortex discs fly very poorly when wet.