The True Power of Nerf


Nerf is the only safe and fun way to wage war on your friends, family…and co-workers.

Weapons of mass fun

One of the first toys you probably had growing up was a Nerf football…well, some sort of Nerf ball. They were simple enough in the beginning but before too long you wanted footballs with fins and whistles and all sorts of stuff that would make you throw like John Elway. Nerf balls are great fun and all, but we all know where the real power of Nerf lies – weapons.

Guns to be specific. You’d be hard pressed to find a more fun-yet-safe weapon than a Nerf gun. Over the years the Nerf arsenal has changed quite a bit and currently they find themselves once again going up against some seemingly tough competition, but let’s be honest…nothing beats Nerf. While at the toy store recently I was amazed at the number of ways companies will come up with to allow kids to shoot each other safely.

Lazer Tag

The original Lazer Tag. Looks a lot more fun that it was...and no match for Nerf.

Lasers and spit balls

“Laser tag” has become a somewhat common term these days, but there was a time when the name Lazer Tag meant something cool and different. The original Lazer Tag guns and accessories looked very cool – and frankly, they still do – but for all their futuristic style, the fun to be had was kind of limited. Not only did Lazer Tag guns have some trouble in the daylight, you couldn’t see where you were shooting. There was no way to see your shot, so you had no clue how close you were to hitting your target. Even though your shots were always straight, without anything to go by you couldn’t have any fun dodging bullets either. Despite the awesome commercials, you quickly realized that your dives into the dirt were unnecessary and Lazer Tag quickly lost its magic. However, to this day you still can’t bounce a Nerf dart of a series of mirrors to hit your target.

Nerf won the war against laser tag (and has several times since) but now on the shelves next to all the Nerf equipment are new weapons of war, spit ball guns. I don’t know how else to describe these guns because the ammo they use are little bits of paper. You fill up guns like the Max Force long range rifle with tiny paper bullets and add water, then pull the trigger and out comes a first class spit ball, and one that can supposedly fly 100 feet…not bad for a spit wad. And if spit balls aren’t really your bag, next to that gun was the Xploderz Xstormer gun that appears to work similarly, but instead of paper wads it shoots dissolving pellets. All in all, both of these Nerf alternatives work the same way and try to pawn themselves off as more “dangerous” than Nerf but still safe enough that parents won’t care. However, even though parents might see all these guns as safe, the one thing any savvy parent will notice is the need to constantly purchase ammo, something you don’t have to deal with as often in a Nerf world.

Max Force gun

A spit ball gun. What happened to a simple drinking straw and spit ball?

This isn’t to say you don’t lose Nerf darts and bullets, but if you’re not too careless your Nerf ammo will last a long, long time. A single pack of Nerf darts will last a lot longer than 100 spit ball bullets that can only be used once. I guess you could say this makes the spit ball guns more like real guns, but who wants a real gun? Even as a kid, a Nerf gun was awesome because half the fun of backyard battles was trying to pick up your used bullets without getting shot. Nerf gun dodge ball. Even today, all I want is a gun I can take to the office and use to shoot my co-workers without any harm and limited annoyance, but a spit ball cannon doesn’t quite meet that requirement.

Office warfare

I’ve always had Nerf guns at work along with many other toys and video games. Video games aren’t for everyone and can be a total time suck, but a Nerf gun is instant gratification with little harm and risk. I have yet to find anyone that doesn’t enjoy squeezing off a few rounds of foam darts, regardless if they’re aiming at a stationary target or a person in the cubicle across the way. A lot of people say shooting real guns is very therapeutic and even though I’ve never shot a real gun before, I can tell you that unloading your Nerf gun in the office can be just as rewarding. And if you have a workplace like mine, then the appeal of Nerf spreads quickly and before too long you’re on the verge of all out war.

Nerf guns at work

Nerf war, the perfect stress reliever for the workplace.

I took my Nerf Maverick to work and within a couple of weeks everyone else had guns too. I guess they were tired of not being able to defend themselves. With half the department armed and ready for a showdown at any minute, it made the work day a lot more enjoyable. Nerf guns are also easier to hide from the boss, so if you need to stash them in a hurry, you can. Of course, you can’t have epic battles all day long, so we would set up other toys and action figures as stationary targets to practice our accuracy, but as anyone who has ever spent time with a Nerf gun knows, they are not known for their accuracy or consistency. Even the fancier guns that require batteries and have motorized shooting aren’t all that great. So the trade-off with Nerf seems to be safety in exchange for power and accuracy, a sacrifice I’m willing to make in the name of fun.

Another great thing about Nerf guns are their variety. My weapon of choice at work is the Maverick, which is pretty tame to say the least, but if you have the means and motivation you can get a Nerf gun that is almost as intimidating as the real thing. Guns like the Nerf Vulcan cannon come with a tripod and claims of being able to shoot three rounds per second. Imagine pulling that bad boy out at work! The range of options in Nerf world let you be anyone from James Bond to Rambo. It’s safe to say there’s a Nerf gun that fits your style and your budget (and your job title).

Nerf guns at work

Definitely quitting time.

Not your normal Nerf

Nerf guns are plenty of fun as-is for most people but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your Nerf weapons do more if you have the time, tools and creativity. You’ll find that the world of Nerf gun modding is pretty big and pretty fantastic. Some mods are purely cosmetic, often turning Nerf guns into favorite movie weapons. Other mods are designed to turn your previously safe Nerf into instruments of real power and destruction…of course, you probably don’t want to take your jacked up Nerf shotgun into the office, but this niche of Nerf is worth admiring.

Nerf will never die

If the last Nerf toy you had was a football, it might be time to give the name another look and see what it can offer. You might consider Nerf guns to be a little juvenile…and they are…but don’t underestimate Nerf’s ability to put some fun into your otherwise boring work day. Nerf has been giving kids of all ages safe fun for more than 40 years and if their current selection of weaponry is any clue, they don’t show any signs of changing that formula anytime soon. You just can’t stop Nerf!


About Author

Brian is a staff writer at TMA. He races Hot Wheels at while watching cartoons with his kid. You can follow @morningtoast on Twitter.

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