How Nerf Guns Work? Types and Their Mechanism

Looking for the science behind nerf guns work, each gun and blaster has its own mechanism. First, you have to decide which nerf gun working principle you looking for. The history of Nerf gun started in 1969 with the invention of the softball, which was designed for indoor sports.

Years later a tube with a suction pump was invented that can throw the softballs. This was the beginning of Nerf guns. Nerf guns are best toys for kids and adults.

How Nerf Gun Works

With each year passing the technology of nerf guns becomes better and better. Nerf guns can throw water, softballs, darts, and even some guns are laser tagged. The hype of nerfing is getting bigger and bigger each day.

Like every other toy, engineering is behind all the creations and inventions, and so is the case with Nerf guns and blasters. Spring-based guns use traditional techniques to fire whereas battery-operated guns use electric power to fire mega darts.

The working mechanism of each gun is different as the size and engineering science behind its components are different. The primary purpose of Nerf guns is to load, aim and shoot ammo. Hasbro is the number 1 company that manufactures the best nerf toy guns.

The important components of any nerf blaster are the plunger, spring, and valves. The plunger creates pressure in the gun barrel until the spring is fully compressed. When the trigger is pressed, it releases the dart in the opposite direction.

The dart follows a trajectory, the distance covered by the dart depends upon the strength of the spring and the size of the barrel.

Types of Nerf Guns

Nerf Softball Shooter

The first nerf guns were actually designed to shoot softballs, the size equal to a ping pong ball. This was a high-selling toy gun, as the parents were also satisfied that these softballs were safer to play indoors.

Its working is very simple, you just place the ball in the tube and pull the lever backward. Press the trigger to shoot the ball, it works like a simple air pump.

Nerf Gun Working

Nerf Dart Blasters

These guns fire nerf darts and are famous among all categories, loved by kids and adults. You have to load the dart in the magazine. Some darts create the sound of a whistle and some darts glow while traveling in the air. These blasters are further divided into two types

Spring Powered Guns/ Manual Blasters

Barrel, piston, and spring are the main building blocks of manual guns. The long part of the gun is called a barrel through which the dart travels and ejects.

The cylindrical tube which creates pressure (just like a vacuum pump) is called a piston. The third part is the spring which throws the dart out.

When you pull the chamber back, it loads the dart from magazine to barrel, and the spring is compressed. When the trigger is pressed, it releases the spring and the air pressure sends the dart in the air. Manual blasters fire only one dart at a time.

Battery Powered guns/ Automatic Nerf Guns

With automatic blasters, you can shoot multiple darts with a single press. These guns are battery-powered and use rotating motors to fire darts at a high speed. Pro players use automatic nerf guns on the battlefield.

Some players have modified their guns in a way that they can fire 40-50 darts in a single go but it drains out their battery power very quickly.

Nerf Water Blaster

These guns are widely used in pool parties and in summer water games. Super Soaker Water Blasters are best examples, which can throw water up to several meters of distance. It is actually a fun game with physical activity involved.

Nerf Laser Guns

Laser guns are mostly used in arcade games where players team up and play laser tag games on a battlefield. Players have to wear laser vests so that every time they got a hit, their vest indicates.

These guns use infrared light to hit the target, and the vest you are wearing counts how many times you got hit by the laser gun. These laser-tagged guns are very advanced but the only drawback is their cost.

Nerf Bow and Arrow

As the name suggests, these are actually not guns but a little more than a traditional weapon. Nerf arrows are fired through the bow and it is like an archery game. This type is not so famous as it is difficult to shoot an arrow and hit the target.


Few nerf darts has a hole in it, they create a whistling sound when travel through the air. When fired through nerf blasters, these darts fly in a trajectory way or in a curve, because they are not real bullets and not as much powerful as real ones are.

The average firing range of mega blasters are between 110- 120 feet per second (FPS). Means they cover a distance of 110 -120 feet in a second. Only big nerf guns can achieve this range.

Generally speaking, nerf guns are safer as compared to other BB guns as the ammo use in these blasters are soft. It is nearly impossible that hitting nerf darts will make you blind. Nerf rounds, if strike with naked body may cause swelling or redness of area.

It is recommended to wear safety glasses while playing nerf games so that chances of getting injured is minimum.

Yes, they can cause damage to screens as few darts are powerful and big. Always play nerf games in outdoor and keep away all the fragile items.

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