Nerf Versus The World

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So Who Are Nerf’s Competitors?

Buzz Bee Toys.

buzzbeelogoBuzz Bee Toys is one of Nerf’s oldest competitors. They might even be called Nerf’s arch-nemesis. And like Nintendo and Sony, or Batman and The Joker(1989 film), or Infinity Ward and Respawn Ent., Nerf actually inadvertently created Buzz Bee. In the mid 90’s, Hasbro was devouring other toy makers whole. This included Larami, the original manufacturers of the Super Soaker water guns. Hasbro chewed them up and swallowed them whole. A few years later, Larami cleared Hasbro’s digestive tract and were expulsed out the “back door.” Some of the employees of the now defunct Larami decided to band together and create a company of their own.

Air_zone_logoAir Zone.

Air Zone is the name of a line of foam dart blasters sold, mostly exclusively, at Toys R Us stores. I say mostly because, although it is a Toys R Us exclusive line, you can always find everything online. Air Zone Blasters are repackaged, or re-shelled versions of blasters from a lot of the other smaller companies in the foam dart industry. Air Zone includes products from Lanard Toys, Zuru X-Shot, and others. Note: Apparently, Air Zone is now called “Stats Blast.”

dartzone_logoPrime Time Toys.

Another Hong Kong based toy company. While they’ve been in business since 1990, Prime Time Toys just started manufacturing their own blasters a few short years ago. They came out the gates pretty hard, managing to make the Dart Zone Covert Ops Scorpion Gatling Gun, which was a very solid blaster. Outside of that, though, they don’t really have too much to bring to the table.

nerf or nothing n-strike eliteNerf.

Nerf. Wait, what? Yes, Nerf. Nerf is competing with itself. And not only that, but Nerf may very well be Nerf’s biggest competitor. Every time Nerf releases a new blaster, it is analyzed, deconstructed (quite literally), and compared to every Nerf blaster that ever released before that. Does it look too similar to an older model? Does it not fire as fast or as far as that other Nerf blaster? Does it not look as good as that other model? Why doesn’t it have a flywheel like so-and-so Nerf blaster. At the end of the day, after Nerf has battled all of its other competitors, it still has to beat itself.

boomcologoMattel BOOMCo.

The new kid on the block. Mattel must have been tired of sitting on the sidelines watching Hasbro rake in all of that Nerf money. Mattel is one of the largest toy makers in the world and it was only a matter of time before they jumped into this business, guns blazing. Enter in the BOOMCo line of dart blasters. They come to the market with fresh and original ideas, breathing new life into the industry that threatens to grow stale and stagnant in its old age.

Nerf vs Everybody

nerf nuke


 Drop the Bomb On ‘Em!

Yes, drop the bomb on ’em and completely dominate all of your enemies. Just like Nerf did in the foam dart blaster business.

“When you need to end it, and end it fast, there’s no other choice than the Nerf Nuke!”


 

In the end, Nerf still wins. For now. The problem with some of these other dart blasters is that they lack conviction. With no true innovation, they are merely dark clones or failed copies of blasters from the Nerf legacy. They mimic Nerf blasters without much subtlety or regard for copyright infringement or trademark registration or anything. No tact whatsoever for many of these wannabe “tacticool” blasters. Just out to take advantage of the popularity of the blaster market and make a quick buck. Despicable. On the other hand, some of these companies are trying to do their own thing. However, they just aren’t large enough companies to compete with Nerf as far as build quality and production value is concerned.

Nerf vs Buzz Bee.:

buzzbeegunsmoke

I really used to appreciate Buzz Bee Toys, when I was younger. Much younger. They don’t really appeal to anyone over the age of maybe 12 years old. Their blasters are seemingly geared towards a younger audience, with their cheap plastic construction and their pastel colors. Buzz Bee blasters look like toy guns. I know these are all toy guns here, but they really have that old school toy gun look nailed. Their guns are also a little bit undersized. All of these things are perfect for small children, though, so it’s not a total loss. Now let’s discuss things I like about Buzz Bee. I really like the fact that they aren’t afraid to use shells for a lot of their blasters. A lot of these blasters eject the shells automatically, too. I also like the new Gun Smoke blaster with the gimmicky barrel emitting smoke after firing a shot. Last, I like the fact that they seem to copy Nerf the least out of all the other blaster companies.

Nerf vs Air Zone.:

airzonexcess

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. With that said, Air Zone is the most flattering company in the foam dart blaster business today. I laughed out loud, for real, when I first saw some of these blasters on the shelves. They are, for the most part, cheap knockoffs of Nerf blasters. Air Zone blasters are definitely Nerf inspired. You can see it in a lot of their designs. They definitely try to tweak and alter things and for that they avoid the flatout “knockoff” title that some other companies garner. Most, if not all, foam dart blasters in business today where at some point inspired by Nerf. Air Zone at least tries to put their own spin on it most of the time. If  you look at the Air Zone X-Shot blasters pictured above, you might think they look familiar. Does it look a little like the Nerf FlipFury? Hmm, maybe. Or is it the other way around? Yes, I know the FlipFury came out after these X-Shot blasters. But they are both based on the work done by the Nerf modding community. So they were both inspired by those double and even triple cylinder Maverick and Strongarm mods. Either way, there’s really no reason to consider these blasters over Nerf. These blasters are competing with the original N-Strike line of Nerf blasters as far as range and power are concerned. They just can’t hold up to the MEGA, N-Strike Elite, or Elite XD line of products. I hear they are starting to catch up, though.

Nerf vs Prime Time.

SCORPION-BLASTER-GUN-image

Prime Time is relatively new to the foam dart blaster game. A lot of their first blasters were nothing to write home about, with a whole stable of Nerf clones “inspired” blasters. but then they hit one out the park. The Dart Zone Covert Ops Scorpion Gatling Gun has a good rate of fire and a great range, comparable to the best of N-Strike Elite blasters. It’s an automatic, electric powered blaster. And it’s pretty solid. It is a bit too small for older “kids,” though. Besides that, they too manufacture Nerf cloned blasters. It’s easy to see which Nerf guns “inspired” certain of these Prime Time blasters. Just look at the Nerf Vulcan and then at this blaster. Then look at the Dart Zone Airhawk Compound Bow and then at the Nerf Big Bad Bow. Inspiration.

Nerf vs Nerf?

nerfrapidstrike

Like any company, Nerf is going to be judged by it’s prior work in the industry. Each new blaster will be compared to the blasters of yesterday. We know that. But so how do you win? You continue to innovate and keep moving forward. You learn to adapt and roll with the punches. You bring out new products that are superior to your old products. Simple. Does Nerf do this? I think they do, yes. Look at the Nerf Rapidstrike for instance. It is an amazing feat of engineering that improves on the design of similar blasters that have come before it. Looking towards the future, some of the new blasters on the horizon right now seem downright amazing.

Nerf vs BoomCo!

boomcoblaster

Okay, things just got real. This is where it starts to get interesting. Mattel really took their gloves off for this one. The BOOMCo line of dart blasters is the first original line of blasters to release in quite some time. They have new darts, new ideas for blasters, unique designs, and more. The darts, which they call Smart Stick Darts, are designed with a sticky tip that stick to their Smart Stick Targets. The Targets have adhesive backs and can be applied to anywhere. Your shirt, your tactical vest, a shield, anywhere. Some of their blasters even have built in Smart Stick shields. Some of their blasters even use clips and have tactical rails. Did I mention BOOMCo has tactical gear? With protective glasses and bandolier belts. They are bringing the fight right to Nerf’s front door. Knock, knock, Nerf!

Global Foam Domination.

Well there you have it. Nerf’s competitors. There are many companies in the mix, producing their own spin on foam dart blasters. Most of them are no threat, unfortunately. Then there is Mattel. Mattel BOOMCo blasters are fresh and exciting for the industry. And we as consumers should enjoy the ensuing battle between Mattel and Hasbro. Competition just makes both sides better. However, Nerf pretty much still dominates the industry, though. Let’s go over a few reasons why Nerf is the undisputed champion of foam. They make blasters that can be used by everyone. No matter your age, young or old, you can still pick up a Nerf gun and have a blast. In general, the size of their blasters are the perfect size for a range of different types of hands. The comfortability of Nerf guns are supreme. Nerf also makes their blasters mimic actual guns, in form and function, while painting and molding them in a way that makes it clear they are just toys. I love this tacticool form of foam weaponry. I love being able to cock a slide back, or slide the bolt back, or use break or lever action to prime my blaster. I love loading up orange magazines full of foam darts. And now, more than ever, Nerf is opening up more and trying new things. They’re listening to the fans. Listening to your customers is imperative for a successful company to maintain dominance in any given field. Nerf is coming out with new and exciting designs, itself. With the Zombie Strike FlipFury, which takes its design cues from the underground modding community. Then there’s Doominator and the RotoFury. Two large and powerfully intimidating blasters. Last, but most definitely not least, we have the Nerf Modulus. I am extremely excited for this blaster. The Nerf Modulus promises to be the most modular and versatile blaster in years. It’ll arrive on shelves later this year next to a whole host of new attachments and accessories sets and kits, to boot.

nerf tactical nuke

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Blee
Executive Web Development Manager at Nerf Gun Attachments
Live and Breathe NERF! I started this site after I became a dad - to learn about all of the new blasters and review and catalogue them - because I wanted to share one of my favorite childhood pastimes with my son -- and now, I fell back in love with the hobby! It's Nerf or Nothing!

2 thoughts on “Nerf Versus The World

  1. The Xcess was actually a year or so before the Flipfury. Additionally, that “Nerf Nuke” photo was a faked product from thinkgeek- just in case you were not aware. Lastly, you haven’t compared modded products or DIYed blasters in this- although they might not be on everyone’s mind for a lot of people those are the main weapons they use.

    1. Thanks for commenting!

      Yes, I know the X-Cess was out for quite some time. What I should have said was the X-Cess beat Nerf to the punch, but both blasters were inspired by the work of the modding community with their double and even triple cylinder Nerf Mavericks and Strongarms. And Shhh! about the Nuke. Haha. I’ll save mods and homebrew blasters for another article, though. Thanks for the feedback.

      Take care! Hope to see you on the site again soon.

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