Picture this: you’re out in the neighborhood (or in the office!) fighting for your team in one of the toughest Nerf battles you’ve ever seen and suddenly your main Nerf gun runs out of darts. There are baddies everywhere and the situation is starting to look bleak. As the enemy closes in on your position, what are you to do? Hopefully after you’ve read this buying guide you’ll know what small Nerf sidearm to have ready so you can keep fighting and lead your team to victory!
Small, portable Nerf guns have been a staple of the dart-blasting company for quite a while now. In fact, the very first Nerf missile blaster, the Sharpshooter, was a smaller-sized Nerf gun. While Nerf guns have come a long way since 1992, the ability to hide away a small Nerf gun for surprise attacks or some quick retribution is still in high demand.
So what would be the ideal small Nerf gun for you? We’ve got all the facts on exactly what you should look for when picking out a small Nerf blaster, as well as our picks for the Top Five Best Small Nerf Guns!
Even though this article is covering only small Nerf Blasters, there is still a huge amount of variety to be aware of. From different types of ammo to awesome additional features like laser sights and zombie-slicing saw blades, picking the right blaster for the job can be tough. Luckily for you, we’ve done all the homework!
Quick Look: Our Top Picks
Nerf Blasters and Weight
With the exception of one of the blasters on this list (we’ll tell you more about that one later!) all of our top picks are small enough to fit in a back pocket or tucked into a belt. And c’mon, who doesn’t want to pull a John McClane and surprise the bad guy with a blaster from behind the back at the last minute?
When picking out a Nerf sidearm, it’s important to think about ammo compatibility. After all, nothing is worse than realizing that you’re out of bang in the middle of a firefight. For our list we’ve chosen a number of different blasters that take different ammo styles so that no matter which blasters you choose for your main arsenal, you’ll be able to find a small blaster that will fire the same type of darts.
It's worth mentioning that the Elite series of Nerf blasters have the widest range of compatibility and not only in terms of the number of guns that use the same type of darts. Many of the Elite series of Nerf guns also have what’s called a Tactical Rail. The Tactical Rail can be used to add all kinds of different modifiers to your Nerf guns, ensuring that you won’t ever be in the awkward position of having the same setup as your opponents in a Nerf war.
Nerf Blasters that are Easy for Children to Use
Not all Nerf guns are created equal. Some will be much easier to use for younger Nerf warriors than others, and in our reviews of the Top Five Best Small Nerf Guns (just scroll down!) we point out which ones work and which ones don’t for tiny hands.
Another thing to think about when buying a Nerf blaster for a tiny fighter is whether or not that model needs batteries or might be unnecessarily complicated for the lil’ dude or lil’ gal to handle. Nobody is going to like having to take a time-out to ask Mom or Dad for help, and ditto to making a battery run to the local pharmacy or market in the middle of a war!
Customization and Add-Ons
As mentioned above, some Nerf guns are able to add on different modifiers. Others have incredible built-in features like hand-to-hand abilities for when things get personal and laser sights for the professional looking to make a clean hit. It’s important to choose a Nerf blaster based on the type of battle you think you’re going to fight next––and don’t be afraid to stock up on a few different types so that you can set up a loadout for whatever type of fight might be coming your way!
Without further ado, here are our picks for the best Nerf sidearms available right now:
OK, as far as sheer coolness goes, the Zombie Strike blaster line definitely takes the cake. The bright, neon colors (especially that toxic ooze green!) really make all of the Zombie Strikes stand out, and the DoubleStrike definitely benefits from the color scheme. Add in a blaster body that looks like an old-school Derringer, an awesome hammer-style priming mechanism, and a Walking Dead-esque “custom” handle grip, and you have what amounts to one seriously slick blaster.
- Doublestrike blaster fires 2 darts in a row
- Compact design for one-handed firing
- Comes with 2 Zombie Strike darts
- Includes blaster and 2 Zombie Strike darts
The DoubleStrike is the only blaster on this list that can fire darts consecutively. Just load a dart in each of the chambers and make sure to cock back the hammer before each trigger pull! The DoubleStrike always fires from the top chamber downward.
All of the Zombie Strike darts glow in the dark! Also they’re interchangeable with the Elite darts, so it’s harder to run out of ammo.
Without a plunger-style priming mechanism, this is easily one of the classiest looking Nerf guns around!
The hammer has to travel pretty far for the blaster to be primed to fire, so smaller Nerf warriors may not be able to double-wield this blaster.
The DoubleStrike only comes with two darts. Still, they do glow!
This is our pick as the friendliest blaster for the tiniest of Nerf warriors. The plunger-style primer requires a surprisingly small amount of force to use and since the BigShock uses the extra-large Mega darts, it’s much harder to lose sight of ammo under or behind furniture.
Plunger on handle is easy enough to prime that even young Nerf fighters will have no trouble getting into the action!
Storage for spare dart on top of blaster.
Extra-large darts are extra easy to find!
As the BigShock uses the Mega dart line, it can only borrow ammo from other Mega blasters.
We’ve already gone over how cool the Zombie Strike line of blasters look, but even in such killer company, the CrossCut finds a way to stand out! Seriously, if there were a zombie apocalypse anytime soon, we would want to have a CrossCut (or two!) for handling business.
The CrossCut has a saw blade! And really, it’s as cool as it sounds. This blaster has two different triggers: one fires the glow-in-the-dark Zombie Strike Darts, and the other spins the front-mounted foam saw blade.
Every time we use the CrossCut we feel like we’re in a live-action version of Gears of War!
The Zombie Strike’s glow-in-the-dark darts make nighttime Nerf wars more feasible, and lost darts less likely.
The CrossCut is big enough that it only just made it onto the list of Best Small Nerf Blasters. It’s a little harder to carry around as a sidearm than the others on this list.
The dual-trigger action can be a little confusing for Nerf newbies.
The FireStrike is a weirdly named blaster. It has nothing to do with fire, but what it does do is absolutely amazing. Under the barrel of this uncannily accurate and ultra long range (up to 75 ft!) blaster is a laser sight. Anyone who has ever played Call of Duty, Battlefield, Counter Strike, or [pick your favorite FPS] can tell you just how useful such a feature can be. Not to mention the fear factor involved in suddenly seeing a red dot blossoming on your teammates forehead seconds before they’re taken down!
- Precision light beam works on targets up to 15 feet away.
- 3 elite darts work with any n-strike elite blaster (each sold separately).
- Use the tactical rails to customize with any tactical rail accessory (each sold separately).
- Up to a 75-foot range.
- Firestrike blaster, 3 elite darts and instructions.
LASER SIGHT. Need we say more?
Okay, just in case we do need to say more, the FireStrike’s laser will pinpoint a target up to 15 ft away.
The FireStrike has Tactical Rails on top, so you can add any Tactical Rail accessories that you want!
This blaster uses the N-Strike Elite dart ammo, so you can load it up with darts from any other Elite blaster in the elite line.
Comes with three darts and has storage for two extra under the barrel.
The FireStrike’s laser sight needs two AAA batteries to function. While that’s not necessarily a deal breaker, it deserves a mention in the con column since it’s the only blaster on this list that needs batteries at all.
The laser sight doesn’t shine anywhere near the full range that this blaster can fire. What’s up with that?
This gun is another amazing addition to the Elite line of Blasters! The BowStrike is the perfect combination of old-school cool style, high tech ultra accurate action, and stealthy hide-away design. Hands down, the BowStrike blaster is the easiest to conceal, making it perfect for desk drawers and covert attacks. And, when the bow arms pop open and the sight pops up, everyone around knows that you mean business!
Just look at this thing! It folds up small enough to look like a futuristic Bond gun designed by Q for the latest mission, and when it all springs open your enemy is guaranteed to be in for a nasty shock!
Once again, this is yet another blaster that can utilize the ubiquitous Elite darts - plus it can easily fit the Zombie Strike glow darts as well.
No dart storage on the gun whatsoever. Then again, the design is cool enough to *almost* make up for that.
It’s not as easy to fold back up as it is to pop everything out.
Our Top Pick
While it’s hard to pick a favorite from this envy inspiring lineup of blasters, the Nerf N-Strike Elite FireStrike Blaster wins out as our favorite small Nerf gun. At around $10, there’s just no arguing with this blaster’s bang for its buck (pun definitely intended). We’ll admit it: we’re still a little bugged by the need for AAA batteries, but the ultra-long range and laser sight (!!!) more than make up for the inconvenience, not to mention how easy it is to share darts between it and our other blasters. Besides, we have to put that mondo pack of batteries we bought to use sometime, amirite?
While not quite the war-winning masterpiece it needs to be to be our top pick, the Nerf Zombie Strike DoubleStrike Blaster definitely deserves a shout-out for it’s awesome design and rapid-fire action. If we had to pick the Nerf gun that we would most want to be seen with, this would definitely be it.
Whichever blaster you end up picking from this list, you’re not going to go wrong. These are all top-of-the-line models available right now, so just remember to choose based on who’s blasting and where, and what role you want to play in taking your enemies down. Do you want to pick off valuable targets from afar? Or is up close and personal more your style? Regardless of your choice, just remember: darts are life!