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Best Nerf Gun Competitors and Alternatives in 2022

Best Nerf Gun Competitors
Updated on 09/24/22
By Ryan

You know what they say, competition breeds innovation, and in the world of dart-rocketing blasters—the competition is fire!

Believe it or not, many of Nerf’s competitors actually build solid blasters—many of which outperform Nerf.

Nerf tends to cater to children and, for the past few years, has been neglecting hobbyists who want better-performing blasters for nerf battles and games. With the exception of several series (such as Rival), the performance and build quality of most Nerf guns have been rather dull.

Below we’re going to dive into the best Nerf competitors and alternatives on the market! We’ll also cover some discontinued brands that you can still find floating around online.

1. Dart Zone

First up is one of the biggest competitors to Nerf, Dart Zone! While Nerf has been neglecting hobbyists and dropping the ball on performance-based dart blasters these last few years, Dart Zone saw the opportunity and struck hard and fast!

Dart Zone was founded in 2010 by Prime Time Toys and has more than 40 blasters and three series:

  • BallistixOps: A competing series to Nerf Rival and shoots similar ball-type ammo.
  • Dart Zone Pro: Blasters designed to give you a performance advantage in nerf battles.
  • Dart Zone Max: Similar performance to the Pro series blasters, but released in other countries such as Canada and Europe.

You’ll find Dart Zone blasters typically on Amazon or Target; some blasters are specifically a target exclusive. Dart Zone has also re-released some of its blasters under different competing brands, such as Walmart’s Adventure Force.

Dart Zone vs. Nerf

Dart Zone produces objectively better blasters, in both performance and build quality. That’s not to say they don’t have a few lemons in their lineup, but generally, their blasters outperform Nerf.

The average Nerf dart blaster fires at about 70 FPS, while Nerf’s Rival series can reach up to 120 FPS. However, many of Dart Zones dart-type blasters can reach up to an insane 140 FPS! In fact, one of Dart Zone’s blasters made our list of the most powerful blasters.

Dart Zone also provides higher quality and better performing darts—specifically their Sureshot waffle-head dart. These darts significantly outperform Nerf’s Elite darts.

Recommended Dart Zone Blaster

dart zone pro mk3

Dart Zone Pro Series MK-3

One of the best Dart Zone blasters is the Pro Series MK-3. This incredible battery-powered blaster has a 15 dart capacity and can rocket rounds at an insane 140 feet per second. That’s nearly twice as fast as most Nerf-brand dart blasters!

It has a toggle switch that allows you to switch between full auto and semi-auto and can shoot both full-length and half-length darts.

The MK-3 is compatible with Nerf N-Strike magazines, so you can throw a 30-round drum on this bad boy, which is guaranteed to send your enemies running back to their mommies.

Typically the cheapest place to get the Dart Zone MK-3 is Amazon.

2. Adventure Force

Another big competitor to Nerf is Adventure Force. Founded in 2016 by Prime Time Toys (same founder as Dart Zone), Zuru, and Buzz Bees, Adventure Force is a Walmart exclusive with over 50 products in its lineup.

However, many of Adventure Force’s products are Dart Zone re-releases, so at the moment, they don’t provide many original blasters—yet.

That being said, because they are rebranded Dart Zone blasters, they carry the same great performance and build quality—but with a different theme!

Nerf vs. Adventure Force

Because most Adventure Zone blasters a simply rebranded Dart Zone blasters, they carry the same bump in performance and build quality compared to Nerf.

While perfectly safe for children, Adventure Zone blasters are more targeted at true hobbyists looking for a little more power behind their darts.

Most Nerf brand blasters can shoot darts at about 70fps, while some Adventure Zone blasters can reach double that at 140ps.

Recommended Adventure Force Blasters

Adventure Force V-Twin Dart Blaster

Adventure Force V-Twin Motorized Dart Blaster

If you want something unique that is guaranteed to put a grin on your face, look no further than the Adventure Force V-Twin Dart Blaster! This blaster also made our list of the best full-auto blasters!

This Gatling gun styled blaster shoots about five darts per second at about 90 fps and has a 30 dart chain that is removable.

You can also buy additional chains and connect them to create MEGA-CHAIN and have as much ammo as you’re willing to carry around!

Because Adventure Force is a Walmart exclusive, you can only find the V-Twin Dart Blaster on their store here.

3. X Shot

X Shot is a smaller product line founded in 2011 by Zuru (a New Zealand toy company) and had dozens of unique blasters within eight series.

The brand has undergone several color scheme changes throughout the years as new series become dominant. Their current scheme is navy blue, orange, teal, and white.

Nerf vs. X Shot

Really the only difference between Nerf and X Shot blasters is the brand name. X Shot offers a ton of unique blasters, but beyond that, there really isn’t anything special that sets them apart. They don’t have better performance, and while their build quality is better, it’s nothing to write home about.

Not to mention most of their product line is discontinued. But they still release a new gun every so often.

This being said, X Shot is still a wonderful alternative, and if you like the looks of their blasters, they are a solid investment.

Recommended X Shot Blasters

xshot excel turbo advance

XShot Excel Turbo Advance

By far, one of the best X-Shot blasters is the Turbo Advance. This beast has a 40-round drum that makes it one of the highest-capacity dart blasters on the market! It also comes with 96 darts, so clean-up time can wait.

The Turbo Advance can shoot two darts per second at about 90fps. It’s primed using a front-based slide action, which rotates the drum for each shot.

You can find the X-Shot Turbo Advance on Amazon here.

3D Printed and DYI Blasters

capitan slug caliburn

With the rise of 3D printing technology, making your own nerf gun at home is easier than ever.

You can find a ton of designs online for free that you can print and build at home. You can even modify many of the designs to put a more personal touch on your blaster.

In addition to printing blasters, you can also print attachments and components to mod popular Nerf guns.

And if you don’t have a 3d printer, you can purchase printed and pre-assembled versions of these guns online—Etsy is a great place to look!

One of the most popular 3D printed blasters at the moment is the Captian Slug Caliburn (above image), which can rocket darts up to 210 FPS. That’s nearly three times faster than typical dart-type Nerf blasters.

Other Offbrand Blasters

In addition to the main Nerf Competitors above, there are also dozens of smaller toy brands that make a few blasters. You’ll typically find these one-off blasters scattered throughout Amazon. You can go here to see what’s currently being offered.

One of my favorite off-brand blasters is the Winchester 1887 Lever Action Shotgun. This blaster made it high on our list of the best lever-action blasters.

The Winchester blaster is very unique and requires you to load your darts into actual shells that are flung from the gun after each shot (like a real lever-action gun).

And that’s just the beginning. There are so many incredibly unique blasters out there from companies who one day just decided to make and sell a single blaster.

Recently Discontinued Nerf Competitors

Over the years, we’ve seen countless brands rise and fall. Among the fallen are some pretty cool brands with many unique blasters.

Many of these blasters can still be found in stock online or on eBay (brand new).

BOOMco.

BOOMco. was founded in 2014 by Mattel Inc (the same company that founded Barbie and Hot Wheels), however, the brand was sadly discontinued in 2017

They had 34 products prior to being discontinued, many of which you can still find floating around online.

BOOMco blasters come with their infamous smart stick darts (designed to stick to BOOMco products), and most are red, white, and blue-themed.

Search for BOOMco blasters and products here.

Wrapping it Up

The innovation in the world of blasters is only getting started. Funny enough, most of that innovation is actually coming from Nerf competitors.

Above we covered the big players pushing the envelope of foam-flinging weapons, and this list will likely double in the coming years.

However, with the rise of 3D printing and the growing popularity of DIY homemade nerf guns, blaster companies are going to have to step up their game to compete.

We’re already beginning to see 3D printed blasters significantly outperform manufactured products. We can only hope this leads to further innovation and the spicy new products that follow.

Happy Nerfing!