Toy guns have been around before the actual guns or we can say that toy guns inspire actual guns, the modern form is Nerf gun. The history of Nerf is very amazing. The Nerf game evolved from softball to Nerf darts to water blasters that range up to 100 feet.
The journey of Nerf was started back in 1969 as a soft football by Reyn Guyer who was a game enthusiast. He later discussed the idea with American toy manufacturer Parker Brothers, they didn’t like the game plan but were rather interested in softball.
The brand had been a favorite for many generations from kids to grandparents and it has a very colorful history as the nerf blaster guns are.
Parker Brothers came up with the idea of a toy gun that can fire the softball like a bullet or ammo. Long before kids took sticks and pointed them to someone and made a sound of Phew Phew (sound of firing or shooting, that was pretty fun hunh…)
NERF started as the world’s First Indoor Ball
Guyer invented a 4-inch polyurethane foam ball that was suitable to use indoors as it was soft and would not harm anyone or break anything. NERF is an acronym for Non-Expanding Recreational Foam.
Parker Brothers decided to market the ball as “Nerf ball”, the world’s first indoor ball which is safe for kids as well as elder ones. They decided to create a type of gun that could shoot the Nerf ball.
Nerf softball was a great hit in the toy industry as it is safe for indoor playing and caused zero damage to humans or any other fragile item (Parents were more thankful). Foam-based weaponry got the attention of everybody.
First Nerf Gun, Blast-a-Ball
In the beginning, the gun was just like a suction pump, the softball was inserted into the 2.5 feet hollow pipe, it was reloaded when the handle was pulled, and shot the ball when the handle was pressed, which shoots a single ball at a time up to several meters.
The gun gained popularity and the company launched a new product named as Blast-o-Matic which has more target range and can hit an object up to 40 feet.
The company got a sale for hundreds of million dollars in a few years. The Nerf blaster business started an exponential growth in the 90s.
The idea of Nerf ball was further extended to different variants like Nerf basketball hoop and Nerf baseball, which could not grab the attention of customers. Kids and parents were more interested in Nerf gun series.
Nerf guns got fame in 1990 but got a hard hit after the launching of video games like Nintendo and other TV games. After the introduction of a variety of blasters to the Nerf family, the demand again increased and people started loving it as an adventurous indoor and outdoor playing activity.
Hasbro bought the company from Tonka in 1991 for almost $ 516 million. Hasbro was a giant company and bought many other toy companies, some of them are growing and some of them were falling.
This company was like a big whale that ate small companies and just wanted to be the only toy industry.
Who Owns Nerf?
Hasbro owns the nerf industry. From pistols to guns and blasters, all the products are owned by Nerf Hasbro.
How long has Nerf been around?
Nerf idea was stated in 1969, from a soft foam ball. It’s been more than 5 decades, the popularity of Nerf products is increasing by each passing year.
NERF Gun Expansion
The Nerf industry started expanding under Hasbro as they started launching a series of guns and blasters including dart blasters and Nerf bullets. They hire multiple designers, engineers, and toy inventors and captured the whole Nerf industry.
They started TV and print advertisements to create awareness about their amazing products and they were pretty much successful in that campaigns. The company created a very catchy slogan “It’s Nerf or Nothin”.
They have produced very interesting TV commercials in which both kids and adults were playing with Nerf guns, which introduced the idea for Nerf battlefields and arenas. Shooting your friends with soft balls is entertaining and full of fun.
Arrow and Missile Blasters
Nerf arrows were introduced in the same year as Nerf Blast-a-ball, which also gained too much popularity. Different versions of Bow and arrow were released each year till now, as the sale was increased.
On the other hand, Nerf missile blasters were a failed project, that’s why the company has discontinued its production. All big companies have both successful and failed products (it’s a part of the business).
Nerf Super Soaker
Lonnie Johnson, a very creative and genius guy designed a Nerf product that could shoot water at almost 40 feet of distance. This gun was categorized as a water sport, which you can play at pool parties. You can put liquid colors to have a colorful water battle and could have more fun.
Johnson had worked in the US Air Force as an engineer, later he joined NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He was working on one of his inventions and accidentally his device started leaking and it threw the water with great pressure.
The idea of Super Soaker came after this incident. He sold the squirting gun designed to Larami Toys. In 1995, Hasbro also took this company and alter the design of the Super Soaker Nerf blaster.
Cutting the story short, the Nerf industry is growing bigger and bigger with each day passing. The velocity, precision, and range of Nerf guns are way better than of past guns. The company is taking major steps for its enhancements, research, and development.
As of now, Nerf has become a very big brand in terms of adventure and fun activities. It has made hundreds of millions of revenue and has launched a series of Nerf blasters from mid-range to high-range.
N-Strike Elite, Mega, and Rival Nerf series are selling like hotcakes. They have also become partnered with big brands like Fortnite and Deadpool and created several gun series with their names.
Nerf Mod Market
This fulfills their need whether they are playing indoors or outdoor. They just have to change barrels and are good to go fighting.
I am a Nerf gun fan, researcher and modder. I post reviews about Nerf blasters and also share tips to solve issues with your toy guns.