Among the best memories as a child came in the form of Nerf guns – shooting enemies, pretending to kill off zombies and the list goes on.
The good news is you no longer need to assume you have left your childhood days behind, at least not mentally. Nerf guns are increasing in popularity among adults, and with all the variety, they do come in all sizes – and prices. You may even assume that they are all cheap, but the truth is some in the market are very pricey.
All of this is mainly due to additional features. After all, Nerf guns have grown in complexity over the years. However, if you are looking for a Nerf gun that is under $20 and still worth it in terms of performance, you have come to the right place.
|Nerf gun||Rating||Best for||Dart capacity||Shooting range|
|Elite Strongarm Blaster||4.4||Affordability||Six Elite darts||90 feet|
|Zombie Doublestrike Blaster||4.5||Double powerful shots||Two darts, two zombie strike darts||90 feet|
|N-Strike Jolt blaster||4.5||Its small size and easy portability||Two Elite darts||90 feet|
|Elite X3 blaster||4.4||Long distance shots||Three elite darts||90 feet|
|Zombie strike crosscut blaster||4.4||2-in-1 action||Two darts, fire simultaneously||90 feet|
1. The N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster – our pick
Having fast firing as well as quick drawing abilities, this gun gives you elite performance, all in your hands. If you want speed and quick action, look no further than this gun.
The barrel contains six darts and the Slam fire side gives you total control and allows you to shoot quickly, all giving you an adrenaline-filled experience. Because N-Strike blasters are the ultimate quality, they are the final say in quality Nerf guns. You can even fire darts up to 75 feet with its power.
Every blaster has additional velocity, allowing it to maintain both stability of flight and accuracy of shots. In addition, the barrel is very easy to reload – just open it, load the six darts and flip it to close.
If you want added customization of your Nerf gun, simply use any Tactical Rail accessory – you can get these separately at affordable fees. The package comes with a Nerf gun, the six darts and a manual.
- The gun is easy to reload and use
- Its firing range is very long, making it useful for shooting targets that are farther away
- It has an ergonomic hold, making it easy to handle
- Affordable and good value for the price
- It has a good size for adults to handle
- The accuracy is sometimes not very good
- It has some issues with consistency in firing, especially after some months of use
2. Zombie Doublestrike Blaster – best for powerful shots
If you have thought about blasting zombies – here is your chance. In fact, this does not give you one shot per fire but two. This is because of its compact design – it allows you to load with one hand and shoot with the other, either at the same time or in quick succession.
Whenever you load the blaster and pull the trigger, the double tap that this gun has is automatic because of two darts at the same time.
The blaster has twin barrels, which are vertically stacked. All you need to do is load one zombie dart in each barrel. The gun comes with two darts and a hammer action blaster, and it allows you to draw it quickly in your missions.
The thing we did not like about this gun though was the fact it only came with two darts – when you are out fighting “zombies”, you need all the ammo you can get. Otherwise, the shooting action is good and the accuracy is high.
- Has very good shooting power
- It is very easy to use and load
- The double shooting action is convenient and fun
- Has a good design
- Some users raise complaints on the gun being hard to load for younger children
- The shooting range is not long
- The darts can accidentally fall out when you load the gun
3. The N-Strike Jolt blaster – best for small size
Do not let the size of this Nerf gun discourage you – it packs a punch while giving you an extraordinary performance. You can even hide it inside your pockets easily, and pretend you are one of the action heroes you grew up watching.
This gun does not require so many darts either – its barrel capacity holds two darts. In addition, honestly, you may not need that much since it can shoot farther away. It also allows you to load it quickly and pull your trigger to save the day. In terms of performance, it does not jam either – so it guarantees you smooth operation all the way.
The only thing that we did not like about this gun was its small capacity – this is not a major issue for some, but to others it can be a deal breaker since you have to load the gun all the time.
- It is useful for both adults and children
- You can hide it easily, and therefore surprise others with it
- The handle of the gun is easy to handle and comfortable
- It has good shooting range for its size
- The handle may be too small for some people
- The trigger and handle are hard to pull sometimes
4. Triad Elite EX-3 Blaster (4.4) – best for longer distance shooting
A high-tech gun for an affordable price, it packs a punch with its extra blasting power. Its size may be small, but do not let it fool you.
It comes with smart technology that shows you loaded barrels so that you use it in confidence. Again, the small size happens to be an advantage – it allows you to hide it in your pocket, and draw it quickly to add some surprise. The cocking handle allows you to prepare your shots quickly, while the darts fire up to a length of 90 feet. The package comes with a manual and three elite darts as well.
The firing power is very strong though, so if you are using it, it is best to use it for longer distance shots to reduce the risk of injury. The complaint that we have with this gun is its springs can sometimes eject darts unexpectedly and cause hassles when you are in the middle of reloading.
- The gun shoots very well, has good firing power
- The accuracy levels are very high
- The launcher tends to be difficult to use
- Firing can sometimes be challenging due to the small size
5. Zombie strike crosscut blaster (4.4) – best for 2-in-1 action
If you love zombie action and the chance to save your home from them, then look no further than this gun. Among its features is a2-in-1 action through its crosscut blaster. Simply aim with the blaster and fire the zombie foam darts, or you can turn the foam saw blade into a dead-free zone. Either way, you still win the fight.
This gun launches one dart at a time and the barrel capacity is two barrels. The blaster itself comes with four foam darts, and has a second defence tool that wards off zombies through its saw blade that spins. What we did not like about it was the saw itself – it sometimes lets you down in its mechanism and ends up being more ornamental than functional. Otherwise, it is a good investment to have.
- Easy to use
- The components are soft, so they do not risk injury to you
- The barrel capacity is small, so you need to keep on reloading the gun
- Sometimes both darts shoot at the same time
What are some aspects to look for in a Nerf Gun?
You may want the best Nerf gun today, but your budget does not allow you to purchase an expensive one. With this guide however, you need to ask some questions in order to get the best – there are Nerf guns under $20 that are still very good for the job.
- Ammunition capacity
Most Nerf guns will not be very generous with the number of darts in initial packs, so you should factor in extra ammo packs. There are five types you can choose, such as the standard darts, mega darts, missiles, and even foam balls (these are less available).
You can choose many accessories, particularly those from third-party suppliers. Useful additions however, include magazines with higher capacities (clips). There are also bi-pods, grips and sights, all to help you in your missions.
The only thing you need to ensure is that your blaster matches well with these accessories, or else you could be wasting your money. For example, the Modulus Tri-Strike is not good for bi-pods or flip-down grip guns because of its upper accessory rail.
This is among the most important factors you need to consider when purchasing a Nerf gun. You may think that longer ranges are good, but this is not always the case. For instance, if most of your battles are indoors, you do not need a long-distance weapon.
- Do you want a motorized gun?
This is because manual guns tend to be slower than motorized guns, and they do not require batteries. Motorized guns also run out of ammunition quickly, but the advantage is they reload faster.
Ammunition types in Nerf guns
The wide range of weapons that Nerf produces requires different forms of ammunition. Some of the guns support various types, while others only use one type.
Started in 1992, the initial dart was the Sharpshooter, then later upgraded to the Mega dart. These proved more popular among users compared to Ballistic balls, so the company decided to continue with their production. Here is a short breakdown of the dart types.
- Collectibles – examples include star shots. Widely available
- Elites – includes Mega darts. Widely available
- Suction – these mostly work well with regular Nerf guns. They include the N-strike elite. Available, though the company stopped producing some models.
- Sonic models – includes micro darts. Some are available, though the company stopped producing some models.
- Specialty – This ammo is best for certain guns. They include missiles and arrows. They are also widely available, though the company has discontinued some of them.
Types of Nerf guns
- The Nerf rifle – larger than the Nerf pistol, it needs the use of two hands. It comes with increased size of the magazine, as well as larger shooting ranges. They also happen to cost more than pistol guns, particularly if it has additional features like lights.
- The Nerf pistol – a one-handed weapon that launches single darts. They are popular among many users because of their affordability, easy customization, ammo support and user-friendliness.
- Nerf shotgun – these enhance the fun because of high discharge rates. That means they fire more than one dart at a single time, and these are gaining popularity among adults in competitions.
- Novelty guns – Nerf also produces guns with unique features, such as rapid-fire machine guns, bows that launch large darts, and so on. They are also popular among players because of their unique style, and they are increasingly useful in competitive leagues.
Are there any additional accessories?
Most of the time, purchasing the gun is not enough, and you will need added equipment to enhance your experience. You have two choices for purchase:
- The standard quality Nerf products, which include e-shoulder straps and barrel extensions
- Third-party options or aftermarket
Third-party options are more common because of their easier availability and affordability. These items can include:
- Gun Magazines and drums
- Waist bags
- Tactical vests
Nerf guns are the best for both indoor and outdoor activities, and they awaken the inner child in you. That said the winner for the best Nerf gun under $20 is the Elite Strongarm blaster. We liked its slam fire slide as well as the rotating barrel that allows for quick loads. With its rapid-fire technology, it allows you to fire six darts without stopping, and gives you an adrenaline rush you may not expect in the first place. The only thing is that you avoid modifying the darts and the blaster, and it guarantees you worthwhile service.