Nerf has a long-standing reputation as a company that produces safe, high-quality kids’ toys that encourage active play without the risk of injury. The Nerf toy gun series is no different. Whether you choose the Nerf N-Strike Maverick, Nerf N-Strike Stamped ECS, or the Nerf N-Strike Raider Rapid Fire CS-35 Dart Blaster, you’re almost guaranteed to get the most bang for your buck. That is why N-Strike gun became immediately the hot toy from the spring 2005 when it first appeared on the market.
- Easy to Use
The Maverick requires virtually no skill or experience to use, and the recommended age group (6 and up) should have no problem learning to operate the gun within seconds just by experimenting with it. The barrel is easy to load since it flips every time you shoot, eliminating the need to reload after every shot. It is also quite accurate, allowing for target-hitting fun without a ton of frustration.
This Nerf gun, though not diminutive by any means, is more compact than some of its monstrous cousins, thus allowing it to be taken from place to place more easily and wielded by younger, less burl y children.
This is by far the most affordable multi-shot Nerf gun on the market and considering its accuracy and range, it’s a great value.
The Maverick is made of durable brightly-colored plastic and has reportedly survived being dropped repeatedly, stepped on, thrown against the wall, not to mention many other acts of violence inflicted by the rowdiest of the young male species.
- Durability of the Bullets—The bullets aren’t nearly as durable as the gun itself, and although they can be replaced, the cost can add up over time. There are also reports that the bullets expand after several uses, making it harder to fit them into the barrel.
- Sprung Spring—The spring can get worn out after multiple uses, and although the gun will still shoot, it won’t be nearly as accurate.
What Others Are Saying
- “The Mainstay of Modern Nerf Guns”
- “Not a Homerun, but Still a Triple”
- “Best Nerf Gun for Your Money”
- “Looks cool but is disappointing”
Although the vast majority of reviews received by the Nerf Maverick were positive ones, the rare poor reviews focused mostly on durability issues and the fact that the chamber wouldn’t load properly. Since these are two of the very things others raved about, I’m inclined to think these unfortunate consumers received defective guns.
Nerf N-Strike Stampede ECS
The fact that in 2011, “Boy Toy of the Year” title was awarded to the Nerf N-Strike Stampede ECS at 11th Annual Toy of the Year Awards means that it is the one of the best toys for boys today and it is associated to the lots of fun.
- Wow Factor
This gun is touted by the manufacturer as “one of the most awesome and exciting N-Strike developments released in over 40 years of Nerf brand history.” And from the looks of it, it appears to be more than capable of living up to this accolade. With a shield to protect the sniper against enemy fire and automatic firing capabilities shooting three darts per second, this thing is about as tough as a five-pound plastic toy gun can get.
Your young assassin can deliver either a single shoot by pulling and releasing the trigger once or hold it down for extreme automatic blasting power, making the gun both versatile and interactive. The gun even includes three magazines which hold 18 darts each, allowing for longer shooting sprees and a bipod for shooting from a prone position.
- Battery Consumption
According to some, this gun is pricey enough without having to shell out additional funds to install and replace the 6 “D” battery compartment on a regular basis.
This gun weighs as much as a bag of sugar and the weight is spread out across a foot and a half of plastic heat, so it could potentially be a bit bulky for an 8-year old who hasn’t yet hit his growth spurt.
Some of the poor reviews of this gun cited a concern for the toy’s realistic look and function. Yes, it is happily neon-colored and only shoots foam darts, but in almost every other respect, it looks and behaves like a real automatic weapon, and some parents feel that’s a little overkill for an 8-year old.
What Others are Saying
- “Really cool”
- “If you’re thinking about buying a NERF gun, this is the one to get”
- “Great gun but big and heavy”
- “Jammed after 2 hours of play”
- “Strange Toy”
Nerf N-Strike Raider Rapid Fire CS-35 Dart Blaster
- Rapid Fire
The drum clip for the Raider Rapid Fire CS-5 Dart Blaster holds a whopping 35 darts which are released by holding down the trigger and sliding the smooth slide handle.
- Ammo Gauge
The clear ammo gauge on the side of the toy weapon allows the user to check his supply and know when to reload.
- Easy to Use and Load
The Raider Rapid Fire CS-35 is lighter than the Nerf N-Strike Stampede ECS and is easier to wield and shoot. The magazine is easy to load and once it’s loaded, can shoot for a long period or very rapidly, whichever your kid prefers.
Although the toy appears to work well the majority of the time, apparently, the slider does jam every now and then which can put a damper on a Nerf battle in progress.
- Durability is questionable.
Despite the vast majority of rave reviews which tout the toy as nothing short of fantastic, there are a few consumers who disagree, stating that the toy is poorly made, and lacks the quality typically associated with NERF.
What Others Are Saying
- “Too much fun!!!”
- “Awesome for any age!”
- “Great Product J”
- “Fun, but jams frequently”
- “Big Christmas Letdown”
- “Don’t waste your money”
The Bottom Line
From the hundreds of reviews of all three of these products, the predominant view is that any one of these is a sure bet for hours, if not years, of fun for your little one. No matter how much you want to spend or the age of your child, you can find the perfect toy gun amongst one of these three Nerf N-Strike products. Although there are a few concerns about the durability and functionality of each product, these negative perceptions are few and far between, and the odds are pretty good that you—and your youngster—will be satisfied with your purchase, no matter which Nerf gun you select.