Master Chief looks up

One of the biggest announcements for "Destiny" players in 2022 wasn’t a new expansion, patch, or balance update, but rather the Gjallarhorn. The exotic rocket launcher is a thing of legend, so players were excited when Bungie revealed it was teaming up with Nerf to produce a life-sized replica of the weapon. This functioning rocket launcher of a blaster is as big as it is expensive — $185 and four feet long — and while it marks the first time audiences can own a real-life Nerf gun based on a "Destiny" firearm, it is hardly the first time Nerf brought digital weaponry to the real world.

Nerf primarily produces its own lines of unique toy blasters, but the company also has a long history of selling licensed replicas, many of which are based on video game firearms. These include replicas of "Fortnite," "Halo," and "Overwatch" weapons. However, as awesome as it sounds to wield Soldier: 76’s pulse rifle, the real deal — even when it fires harmless foam balls — is way too bulky and uncomfortable to hold. The nerfed weapon isn’t even a good Nerf weapon. However, Soldier: 76’s gun is a bad example. If you scour Nerf’s back catalog of licensed weapons, you will find quite a few toy guns that are actually fantastic.

13. Minecraft Stormlander Hammer

hasbro minecraft stormlander blaster hammer

Unless you’re Thor, hammers are only good in melee range. Nerf missed a golden opportunity to replicate Mjolnir‘s ability to shoot lightning by creating a nerf gun in the shape of the hammer, but the company eventually made up for that mistake with a blaster based on a different lightning hammer.

The Stormlander is inspired by a "Minecraft Dungeons" weapon of the same name. Nerf’s take on the mallet is nowhere as big as its digital counterpart, but the result is perfect for child-sized hands. The Nerf Stormlander blaster is a simple weapon that holds three darts and needs to be primed before firing, but users don’t need to move the darts, just pull back the handle to fire each one. The "gun" also stores two extra darts in the pommel.

While the Stormlander blaster is far from accurate, reviews have found that the weapon thrives on its gimmick. Who wouldn’t want to pretend they can shoot lightning out of a hammer by pointing the business end at a target? Plus, the Stormlander’s edges are made out of soft foam, so you can also use the hammer as — a pretend hammer. Sure, the Stormlander isn’t as durable as Nerf’s foam melee weapons, but the Stormlander is one of the company’s few melee/ranged weapon hybrids, which automatically makes it awesome.

12. Fortnite RL Blaster

nerf rl rocket launcher fortnite blaster

In video games, rocket launchers are the end-all and be-all of wanton destruction. Just aim, fire, and watch everything around you explode. With Nerf launchers, rockets are significantly less impressive but no less fun.

The "Fortnite" RL Blaster ("RL" stands for "rocket launcher," naturally) is about as simple as you can get when it comes to foam weaponry. Just load one Nerf rocket into the front end, extend the barrel, aim, pull the front handle back as hard as you can (or push the back handle forward), and watch the projectile fly. Unlike most Nerf guns, the RL’s performance is dependent on the strength of its user, so the stronger the pull, the further the flight.

Since the RL Blaster can only fire by compressing the barrel, it is far from accurate or reliable. However, one cannot deny the sheer intimidation factor that the weapon emanates. Performance may be lacking, but it’s hard to hate the RL because it’s just so fun to use. Plus, the weapon comes in two colors: standard green and Rippley blue.

11. Fortnite Heavy SR Blaster

nerf fortnite heavy sr sniper rifle blaster

In gun-centric games, sniper rifles are long-range powerhouses that are slow but high-damage. Ammo is scarce, but who needs a ton of ammunition when each round one-shots enemies? That logic doesn’t translate to Nerf guns, but the company has still made several fun weapons based on video game rifles.

At over 43 inches long, the "Fortnite" Heavy SR Blaster (SR stands for sniper rifle) is a behemoth. Unlike most other dart guns based on video games, the Heavy SR fires Mega Darts, which are significantly larger than standard Nerf ammo. Plus, the weapon is one of the few on the market that is primed via bolt action, not unlike a real sniper rifle.

Since the Heavy SR Blaster is based on a sniper rifle, one might expect it to feature superior dart distance and velocity when compared to other Nerf guns. It does not. If anything, this weapon’s range and speed is actually below average, but the Heavy SR Blaster makes up for that with sheer presence and fun factor. As an added bonus, the Heavy SR Blaster comes with a built-in stand for extra stability — and a kick of personality — and is even compatible with other Nerf dart magazines.

10. Fortnite Flare Blaster

fortnite flare blaster nerf

Nerf Microshots are a popular line of inexpensive pocket pistols that hold one dart. They’re cheap, reliable, and kind of cute. But what happens when you upscale the concept and re-skin it into a video game gun?

The "Fortnite" Flare Blaster is basically a more bombastic Microshot but more bombastic. Instead of firing normal darts, the blaster fires Mega Darts for more punch. Also, the weapon sports a unique gimmick in the form of a break action barrel. Simply pull back the hammer to flip the barrel down, load the dart, flip up the barrel, prime the gun; and you’re ready to fire. You can even whip your wrist up to ready the weapon with extra flair, pun intended.

While the Flare Blaster can only fire one dart at a time before it needs to reload, the weapon launches these plus-sized darts at a decent speed and range. And, the gun’s break action barrel makes it stand out in a crowd, albeit at the cost of slow reloads. However, the Flare Blaster’s biggest claim to fame is its price. This gun is one of the most inexpensive licensed non-Microshot blasters on the market, only beaten by the "Fortnite" HC-E Blaster, but since that weapon doesn’t have a flip-down barrel, it’s automatically less impressive.

9. Halo Bulldog SG Blaster

halo bulldog sg shotgun blaster

Most Nerf guns need to be primed/pumped after every shot, not unlike most shotguns. These similarities might explain why translating video game shotguns into physical form works so well.

The "Halo" Bulldog SG Blaster mimics the CQS48 Bulldog from "Halo Infinite." Like its source material, the dart blaster uses a rotating drum, and pumping the front handle moves the magazine and primes the firing mechanism in one swift motion. Plus, the Bulldog SG Blaster is one of the few licensed toy weapons in existence that can be modified thanks to universal N-Strike rails.

Since the Halo Bulldog SG Blaster is a pump action weapon, it is slow to fire, but reviews have found that the tactile feeling of priming the weapon is satisfying nonetheless. Plus, users can speed things up by pumping faster. Unfortunately, you can’t speed up the reload speed due to the awkward drum clip. This design oversight might sound problematic, but it’s actually on the tolerable end for Nerf guns because the blaster fits 10 darts. Comparatively, Nerf’s Villainator sports a massive 40-dart drum, which provides longer sustained fire but is a nightmare to reload. Oh, and before we forget, each Bulldog SG Blaster comes with a code for a special CQS48 Bulldog in-game weapon skin designed like the Nerf weapon.

8. Fortnite BASR Blaster

nerf fortnite basr bolt-action sniper rifle blaster

The "Fortnite" Heavy SR Blaster is a decent weapon with a lot of presence. The gun even lives up to the "heavy" part of its name with quite a bit of heft and Mega Darts. Ultimately, the weapon is good — but it could be better.

The "Fortnite" BASR Blaster (BASR stands for bolt-action sniper rifle) is functionally similar to the Heavy SR blaster since it is primed with a bolt action, has a clip that holds several darts, and includes a faux scope. However, while the Heavy SR blaster is more form than function, the BASR is both.

The BASR Blaster might not have a flip-out kickstand, but it is much lighter than the Heavy SR, which makes it easier to wield and fire for long stretches. Also, since the BASR fires regular darts instead of Mega ones, the weapon boasts superior range and speed. Another point in the BASR’s corner is its "slam firing" capabilities (shooting the dart as soon as it is loaded into the firing chamber), which increases the weapon’s speed even more. If that wasn’t enough, the BASR also comes in blue and yellow, which is one more variant than the Heavy SR’s single red offering.

7. Overwatch D.Va Rival Blaster

overwatch d.va b.va rival blaster

The "Overwatch" line of Nerf blasters are almost all part of the Rival Blasters line, which fire foam balls instead of darts. While most of these weapons capture the stylized appearances of their digital origins, they come at the cost of being designed for video game characters with similarly stylized proportions, rather than real people. There is one exception, though.

The "Overwatch" D.Va Rival Blaster is a faithful recreation of D.Va’s backup weapon, right down to the pink charm attached to the grip. Since the gun fires foam balls instead of darts, users can load three rounds by pulling back on the priming handle. In order to fire, all one needs to do is move the priming handle back into position and pull the trigger. Simple and easy, but has to be done after every shot.

Not only is the Overwatch D.Va Rival Blaster the most ergonomic "Overwatch" gun out there, it is also just overall ergonomic. The weapon is comfortable to hold and fires pretty quickly. Plus, the gun even features faux recoil, which goes the extra mile to remain faithful to the source material. Unlike most "Overwatch" Nerf guns, the D.Va Rival Blaster comes in two flavors: vanilla pink and B.Va yellow. The B.Va version even includes a special sleeve that sports D.Va’s catchphrase, "Nerf this!" Turns out this war cry was less of a challenge and more of a request.

6. Fortnite SP Blaster

fortnite sp silenced pistol blaster nerf

The "Fortnite" SP Blaster ("SP" stands for "suppressed pistol") looks like a comically oversized silenced pistol, just like its source material. While the weapon needs to be primed after every shot via a sliding grip, it also features an internal clip. Users can’t extend the gun’s capacity, but they also don’t have to worry about shoving a dart down the SP’s lengthy barrel after each shot, either. Then again, they don’t have to worry about the barrel if they don’t want to.

Unlike other "Fortnite" blasters, the SP is somewhat customizable. The "silencer," which doesn’t affect performance, is removable and compatible with other N-Strike attachments. This design choice lets users shove the attachment on to other N-Strike blasters and vice versa, albeit at the cost of visual cohesion. Regardless of how someone mods their SP Blaster, though, the weapon is decently sized and launches darts at above-average speeds, which makes it surprisingly reliable in a dart war. Like other Nerf weapons based on "Fortnite," the SP blaster comes in yellow and blue.

5. Fortnite SMG-Zesty Blaster

fortnite smg zesty sub-machine gun blaster nerf

In video games, sub-machine guns (SMGs) are an excellent close-range combat choice that excel at spray-and-pray tactics and can clear out a room, albeit at a hefty ammunition cost. Nerf guns don’t come anywhere close to that kind of performance, but they don’t have to.

The "Fortnite" SMG-Zesty Blaster looks an awful lot like a lime-green SMG from "Fortnite," complete with "shoulder" stock and silencer. The toy gun comes with a 10-round clip and needs to be primed after every shot. All standard stuff, really, but that is only the start of the toy’s features.

Holding the SMG-Zesty Blaster is quite comfortable, even with the shoulder stock that doesn’t quite reach the shoulder. Although, one of the dart gun’s best traits is its flexibility. While the gun doesn’t really work with other Nerf accessories, users can remove the stock and barrel to customize the weight and appearance. Regardless of looks, the weapon always fires at reliable speeds that are slightly below average — but that’s nothing a bit of slam-firing can’t fix.

4. Fortnite SMG Blaster

fortnite smg sub-machine gun nerf blaster

Quite confusingly, Nerf has released more than one style of SMG Blaster, both around the same price point. However, despite the similar names and costs, one comes out on top as the superior dart gun.

The "Fortnite" SMG Blaster is a completely different beast from the SMG-Zesty. The SMG Blaster is smaller and only holds six shots to a clip. However, the SMG sets itself apart with its firing mechanism. Instead of a priming pump, the gun utilizes a flywheel that makes it more semi-automatic than its lime-green counterpart, which is quite frankly more in-line with how SMGs act in "Fortnite."

While the SMG requires batteries to power the flywheel, the sacrifice is well worth it. Not only does the SMG fire faster and further than the SMG-Zesty, but unlike other licensed guns, its performance is actually comparable to one of Nerf’s proprietary guns, the Stryfe. Sure, the SMG is chunkier and can’t be modified, but it is capable of keeping up with the big boy Nerf guns. Plus, the SMG comes in purple and yellow, which is more varied than the plain-jane green of the SMG-Zesty.

3. Fortnite AR Blaster

fortnite nerf ar assault rifle blaster

In video games, assault rifles are often reliable damage dealers at any range with ammo and accuracy to spare, and Nerf has produced quite a few proprietary toy rifles of reliable quality. The "Fortnite" AR Blaster (AR is short for assault rifle) is yet another battery-powered flywheel gun. The weapon is lightweight and holds 10 darts at once. Thanks to the flywheel, the AR Blaster is semi-automatic, so while the gun can’t be slam-fired, its default firing speed is already pretty fast.

The "Fortnite" AR Blaster checks all the boxes of a quality Nerf gun. Darts tend to fire reliably, if a tad slow, and the weapon doesn’t weigh as much as it looks, which makes it fun to handle. The only problem with the AR Blaster is its clip size. Sure, 10 rounds seems generous, but the magazine is comically oversized (to stay true to the source material’s cartoonish proportions) and looks like it could fit way more. Still, that’s more of a design quirk than an actual issue. On the bright side, this weapon comes in more colors than basically any other licensed Nerf gun out there, including plain yellow and purple, as well as the Durr Burger, Goosebumps, and Rippley wraps.

2. Fortnite TS Blaster

fortnite ts nerf tactical shotgun blaster

Most licensed Nerf blasters rely on the gimmick of being physical, kid-friendly versions of virtual firearms. Normally, that is enough to sell audiences, even though standard, proprietary Nerf weapons usually are cheaper and perform better. However, that is not always the case.

The "Fortnite" TS Blaster ("TS" stands for "tactical shotgun") is a pump-action weapon that holds four Mega Darts in an internal magazine, plus four spare rounds in the stock. Loading is as easy as feeding the darts into the front chamber while the priming handle is shoved back, and then slamming the pump forward. Users need to prime the weapon after each shot, just like a real shotgun.

To sum up the "Fortnite" TS Blaster, the weapon is satisfying. The blaster fits Nerf enthusiasts of all ages, and the pump action is smooth. While priming the TS Blaster after each shot is somewhat slow (as per shotgun tradition), the weapon supports slam firing, which significantly speeds up fire rate. But most surprising of all, even though the "Fortnite" TS Blaster is a stocky weapon that launches bulky Mega Darts, the toy fires faster and further than one might expect, surpassing most licensed Nerf weapons and even quite a few proprietary Nerf guns. Also, the "Fortnite" TS Blaster comes in red and blue.

1. Halo MA40 Blaster

halo ma40 nerf blaster

When you think of Nerf blasters, your mind probably jumps immediately to toy guns that weaponize compressed air to launch foam darts. And yet some of the best Nerf weapons based on video game guns have actually utilized flywheels to propel their harmless projectiles. That unexpected pattern continues all the to the top of the licensed gun food chain.

The "Halo" MA40 Blaster is essentially the "Fortnite" TS Blaster, but recycled for a "Halo" audience. The dart clip might sit at the back of the weapon instead of the front, but it still holds 10 rounds and fires them semi-automatically via a battery-powered flywheel. However, that is where similarities end.

While the "Halo" MA40 Blaster is more expensive than the "Fortnite" TS Blaster, that higher price buys so much more. The MA40 shoots darts further and faster, and it is also more comfortable to handle. Plus, the MA40 Blaster is compatible with most extended Nerf magazines, and the rail lets users customize its attachments — something you rarely see in licensed dart guns. Like the Bulldog, the "Halo" MA40 Blaster only comes in one color and includes a code that unlocks a special weapon skin in "Halo Infinite."

Price aside, the "Halo" MA40 Blaster is the perfect video game-inspired Nerf gun. Fans have even taken to modding it for extra screen accuracy; it’s just that fun to use.