Since the very first air-powered NERF gun was introduced in 1989, NERF weaponry has developed and innovated bewilderingly. These fully automatic NERF guns are some of the fastest, most powerful designs ever created, and great fun for older kids and teens. (If you need help figuring out which gun is which, the Nerf Wiki is a helpful resource.)

Our Top Picks

NERF Rival Nemesis MXVII-10K

Best Overall

NERF Rival Nemesis MXVII

Nerf Rival Prometheus MXVIII

Upgrade Choice

Nerf Rival Prometheus MXVIII

Nerf-N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster

Best Budget Buy

Nerf-N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster

How to Pick the Best Fully Automatic NERF Gun

1. Recommended Age

Some of these guns can be heavy and tough to operate for younger kids, so always check to see if your kid is ready for the gun he or she wants. NERF guns are pretty safe toys. However, some form of eye protection during gun battles can be a good idea, especially if someone is using one of the more powerful weapons. This NERF fan site has excellent common-sense tips on NERF gun safety.

2. Ammunition capacity

Important in determining how long the gun can fire before you’re grabbing for reloads. Not to mention how much of a pain cleanup is going to be after the gunfight.

3. Type of ammunition

NERF guns pack several different types of ammunition, from rubber-tipped darts to heavy missiles to the mini foam balls of the Rival line. Knowing what load your gun takes can help you figure out whether it’s interchangeable with the guns you already have, and how much it will cost to replace the ammo that disappears down the back of the sofa.

4. Battery requirements

Forget pumping or cranking, fully automatic NERF guns are battery driven. Sometimes that means lots of batteries. Check here to see how much of a dent these guns will put in your household battery reserves. If you plan to use these guns a lot, rechargeable batteries or a NERF rechargeable pack can easily pay for themselves.

5. Rate of fire

Calling these guns fully automatic isn’t an exaggeration; some of them can launch missiles at remarkable speed. The rate of fire will determine how much power you can rain down on your enemies, and also how long you can fire the gun before it runs dry. Note that the rate of fire will decline if your batteries are running down.

6. Range

How far do these guns shoot? Unless you live in a mega-mansion, these guns can probably shoot as far as you want indoors, but if you take your battles outdoors, range may become a factor. Note that most of NERF’s range figures are for single shots. Range can drop off sharply if you’re using rapid fire.

The Winners

#1

NERF Rival Nemesis MXVII

Best Overall

The Rival Nemesis MXVII is NERF’s “grown-up” weapons, an intermediate step between NERF guns and paintball. The Rival ball ammunition is designed to fly farther and faster than regular NERF darts, and be easier to reload as well. The Nemesis is fast, accurate, powerful, and — inevitably — expensive. But it will make your NERF-fighter teen very, very happy. This is the weapon of choice for many serious NERF heads, and it’s definitely our Editor’s Choice.

  • You'll love: A great all-around NERF gun whether you're shooting strategically or just blasting away.
  • Watch for: Eye protection is mandatory. It hurts to get shot with this thing, so no shooting little kids.

Age range: 14+
Ammunition capacity: 100-ball hopper
Type of ammunition: Rival balls
Battery requirements: 6 D batteries
Rate of fire: 4 balls/second
Range: 80-100 feet (25-30 meters)

#2

Nerf Rival Prometheus MXVIII

Upgrade Choice

This is the heavy-duty version of the Nemesis, for when you absolutely must bury the enemy in a pile of Rival balls. The Nerf Rival Prometheus MXVIII holds more ammo, fires faster, and hits harder — there’s nothing in the NERF line that compares to the Prometheus (yet). It’s ridiculously expensive, although it does come with a battery pack, so no battery costs. But if price is no object and your teen wants to absolutely rule the NERF battlefield, this is the gun for you, and it may well be the best fully automatic NERF gun. Because of this, it’s also our Upgrade Choice.

  • You'll love: The ultimate in NERF firepower.
  • Watch for: As with the Nemesis, protect those eyes!

Age range: 14+
Ammunition capacity: 200-ball hopper
Type of ammunition: Rival balls
Battery requirements: Rechargeable battery pack (included)
Rate of fire: 8 balls/second
Range: 80-100 feet (25-30 meters)

#3

Nerf-N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster

Best Budget Buy

After all those chunky, heavy rifles, how about something different? The Light Command looks sleek and awesome, with light-up panels that give it a high-tech look (and eat batteries, but looks come at a cost). While it obviously doesn’t have the power of the Mega Mastodon, the Light Command can still fill the air with darts with pleasing speed. And best of all, it’s dirt cheap compared to some of the fancier blasters on this list. The combination of looks, power, and price make the Nerf-N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster our Best Budget Buy.

  • You'll love: Looks and feels awesome.
  • Watch for: Not as powerful as more serious guns.

Age range: 8+
Ammunition capacity: 20-dart belt
Type of ammunition: Elite Darts
Battery requirements: 6 AA batteries for motor and 2 AAA batteries for lights (AAA batteries included)
Rate of fire: 1 dart/second
Range: 80 feet (24 meters)

#4

Nerf N-Strike Hyperfire Toy

The N-Strike Hyperfire Toy was once NERF’s fastest firing dart thrower. Even though it’s been passed by newer designs, it’s still crazy fast. At full charge, you can empty 25 darts onto a target in about five seconds. That said, the drums are a pain to reload, and have a tendency to jam if the darts are in less than perfect shape. But if you’re willing to carry extra drums, or get a larger ammunition clip, this can make you the terror of the battlefield.

  • You'll love: Sheer firepower!
  • Watch for: Heavy, and probably too clumsy for smaller kids -- the double-trigger setup is not suited to small hands.

Age range: 8+
Ammunition capacity: 25-dart drum
Type of ammunition: Elite Darts
Battery requirements: 4 D batteries
Rate of fire: 5 darts/second
Range: 90 feet (27 meters)

#5

Nerf N-Strike Mega Mastodon

Yes, it is stupidly big, to the point where a shoulder strap (included) or tripod (not included) is going to be necessary. But if you want to be the kid equivalent of Carl Weathers with the minigun in Predator, the  Nerf N-Strike Mega Mega Mastodon is for you. NERF’s Mega line emphasizes size and heavy firepower, and this is no exception. The internal motors are a bit slow to spin up, but once they’re at full speed and firing, the Mastodon will make an impression on the entire battlefield.

  • You'll love: Looks, feels, and sounds massively intimidating.
  • Watch for: Did we say this was heavy yet? Eight pounds without batteries, and it has noticeable recoil when it fires. Not for small kids.

Age range: 8+
Ammunition capacity: 24 darts
Type of ammunition: Mega Darts
Battery requirements: 6 D batteries
Rate of fire: 4 darts/second
Range: 100 feet (30 meters)

#6

Nerf Rival Khaos MXVI 4000 Blaster

The Nerf Rival Khaos MXVI 4000 Blaster is an older model in the Rival range. Although some NERF fans think it’s been bypassed by the Nemesis and newer designs, the Khaos is a great alternative if your teen wants a Rival gun but you don’t want to break the bank. While it has smaller ammo capacity than the Nemesis or Prometheus, the Khaos still features the speed, accuracy, and hitting power that sets the Rival range apart from more toy-ish NERF guns. While bulkier than the Nemesis, it’s still easy to handle, and looks impressive.

  • You'll love: Rival performance at a great price.
  • Watch for: Reloading the magazine can be annoyingly fiddly.

Age range: 14+
Ammunition capacity: 40-ball magazine
Type of ammunition: Rival balls
Battery requirements: 6 D batteries
Rate of fire: 4 rounds/second
Range: 80-100 feet (25-30 meters)

#7

Nerf-N-Strike Motorized Speed Load

You may have noticed that a lot of NERF guns, particularly the dart throwers, suffer from clumsy reloading. The Nerf-N-Strike Motorized Speed Load claim to fame is that it does away with all those hassles. You simply feed darts into a hole in the back of the gun — even while firing! — and it will automatically slot them into the ammo drum for you. It’s not as powerful as some of the other guns on this list, but the easy reloading can be an advantage in long fights. It can also benefit kids who are impatient or have coordination issues that make reloading other NERF guns difficult

  • You'll love: Full auto power without having to stop to reload every 30 seconds.
  • Watch for: Jamming can be a problem with damaged darts and/or weak batteries.

Age range: 8+
Ammunition capacity: 30-dart drum
Type of ammunition: Elite darts
Battery requirements: 6 D batteries
Rate of fire: 2-3 darts/second
Range: 60 feet (18 meters)

#8

Nerf-N-Strike-Hail-Fire

Another solution to the problem of reloading NERF guns is to carry a lot of ammo. The Nerf-N-Strike Hail Fire takes this to an extreme: it can hold up to eight ammo clips, which can in turn hold up to 18 darts each. Note, however, that it only comes with four 6-dart clips and 24 darts; if you want to get full capacity, you’ll have to shell out for expansion packs as well. We’re cheating a bit: the Hail-Fire is only a semiautomatic, as opposed to fully automatic. But its ridiculous capacity can give it an advantage over full auto guns when their users are stuck reloading.

  • You'll love: A big imposing gun that can outlast most other NERF weaponry.
  • Watch for: Add-on costs for more clips and more darts.

Age range: 8+
Ammunition capacity: Up to 144 darts (but only comes with 24)
Type of ammunition: Elite Darts
Battery requirements: 4 AA batteries
Rate of fire: Depends on how fast your trigger finger is.

Quick Decision

NERF Rival Nemesis MXVIINice – Best Overall
A good intro to the Rival line for older kids and a great general-purpose weapon.

Nerf Rival Prometheus MXVIII – Upgrade Choice
Having one of these will make your kid the NERF gun battle champion.

Nerf-N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster – Best Budget Buy
A solidly performing gun that’s less than half the cost of some of the weapons on this list.

best-kites

BEST KIDS’ KITES

Kids love learning to get their kite in the air and watching it soar,so we give you the complete guide to kid’s kite  for your easy pick.

Gary B.

Gary B.

Gary is a father of two, self-identified RC fanboy, and part-time guitar plucker. When he's not racing his collection of remote-controlled vehicles or strumming away, we bend his arm and get him to write with precision and expertise on a range of mechanical and electrical toys.

Scroll to Top