I make no false claims of being a functioning adult despite my 26 years of age. Sure, I pay my taxes, go to work, and cook meals with a stove rather than a microwave, but I'm definitely still a kid when it comes time to relax. With a passion for real guns and shooting, I don't have many options at home to exercise that hobby without putting holes in the wall or spending a night in jail. Luckily, as I've grown over the past few years, so has Nerf.
In my younger days, I had all sorts of Nerf goodies. A blue and yellow bow and arrow set, foam ball launcher, and an endless array of small pistols that fired sticky darts. The last time I touched, or even really looked at a Nerf gun, was probably a decade ago. If I had known what was going on in Toy Land, I wouldn't have spent so much time away.
Nerf guns have grown up. I'll bet they're still a blast for 12 year olds, but for the discerning 20-something, they're in a whole new world of fun. There is a Nerf fully-automatic machine gun (the Vulcan EBF-25) for crying out loud! At around $50 that's an investment, but worthwhile if you're defending your bedroom from the invading roommates and need to lay down a serious wall of fire. Spraying 25 darts around with a squeeze of the trigger sounds pretty awesome, but I'm more of an accuracy guy. I like to take my time, line up the shot and deliver a whistling dart to the face of an unsuspecting target. Nerf probably doesn't condone shooting people in the face and I can't say it feels nice, but I'm a jerk with a foam gun, so watch out.
With all that said, I ventured into the new world of Nerf and selected three of their recent models to toy around with. For any office or apartment war, these guns will be a solid addition to your arsenal.
The CS-35 Raider
This mid-length carbine rifle has been around for a little over a year but has an excellent reputation and it's easy to see why. Equipped with a 35 round drum magazine, the Raider has a ton of fire power. You can shoot one dart with a trigger pull after cocking the weapon, or you can slam fire it by holding the trigger down and working the action. I'm a big fan of slam firing it, as it seems to, for some reason, result in a dart that leaves the barrel with a higher velocity and achieves a greater range.
What's awesome about this (and most) Nerf guns is, like the real life M4 series of rifles, they're modular. You can swap the drum magazine out for a box magazine. You can take the sights off of one gun and slide them onto the other. You can customize your gun the way you want it.
The Raider also has a collapsible stock, which is pretty cool. The build quality is good, though I'm a touch disappointed in the single fire range. It's fine for across the apartment distances, but in an office war, you'd need some more range.
The Deploy CS-6
I didn't know what to expect with this “covert” gun that transforms from the worlds biggest, most useless flashlight into a shotgun like blaster. To be honest, this gun blew me away the most. In it's compact from, the gun works as a flashlight for those patrols into the records room of the office building. With the press of a button, the gun springs into action and unfolds into a powerful little blaster. The action is all mechanical with no batteries needed to transform the gun and it opens very quickly, making it the perfect Personal Defense Weapon in the Nerf world.
Fed by a six round box magazine, this blast surprised me with its unexpected power and accuracy. It shoots better than the larger CS-35 Raider in a smaller package. The blaster is pretty thick throughout and fairly heavy for its size, all lending to its shotgun like appeal. It comes with a sling so you can wear it around, ready for action at any time. An unexpected surprise in a neat little package.
The Longstrike CS-6
This is the new jewel in the Nerf line-up, a three foot long blaster complete with optics, magazine storage, and a removable barrel extension. This is for the sniper in the group, at least at first look. With the barrel attached, the gun is long and comes up with a flip up front sight and detachable optics system that includes a few different sighting options. The Longstrike is a single shot weapon, requiring you to move the bolt rearwards and then forward to chamber one of the six darts in its magazine. This makes it a little slower to file than the other pump guns, but it adds a level of fun and realism.
Where the gun really excels, though, is in the removal of the barrel extension. This creates a gun that is a bad-ass looking blaster in a relatively tight package. The range and power seem to be better with the removal of the extension, as that probably just causes the dart to bounce around a bit while it travels down the barrel. It shoots pretty good with an okay range and decent power, though I think the Deploy might pack a bit more of a punch. But it is, by far, the best looking of the group and the one most people want to play around with.
This generation of Nerf guns is pretty awesome. They shoot well and look even better. The stock of the Longstrike is decorated with a military-esque digital camo scheme in blue. There are different optics and interchangeable parts. All of the guns feature movable guards that let you get access to the chamber to clear out jams. These guns operate as realistically as you can get with a blue foam dart gun.
If there's a part of you that refuses to grow up and another part of you that kind of wants to shoot a foam dart at your girlfriends cat, this new generation of Nerf guns is well worth the investment. If rifles aren't your style, the line of pistols is equally cool – I'd recommend the Maverick. It's a bad-ass revolver with decent range and is a lot of fun. So whether you want to gift one of these to a friend (so that you can play with it) or just show up as the Fun Commando at the office, give your inner 8 year old warrior a cool new weapon in the fight against adulthood.
Check out more of the N-Strike line on Nerf's site.