History of Nerf Guns

History Of Nerf Guns

The most famous word, “NERF,” stands for Non-Expanding Recreational Foam. It’s a well-established children’s toy brand all over the world. The colorful history of Nerf guns is quite fascinating due to many reasons. 

Owing to the colorful plastic and foamy fun, it’s a favorite brand of many generations who left us behind. Sometimes, it might be an astonishing thing for you to imagine how the first Nerf gun was ever made! But, you might not be much familiar with the company’s history of Nerf.

Here I’m going to highlight a brief Nerf history. Let’s start with the nitty-gritty of Nerf.

Brand History Of Nerf Gun

Before going into the history of the Nerf brand, let me clarify one thing with you. It was not starting from a gun. In fact, the start of a Nerf gun was in the form of ammo or a ball. 

Interestingly, the debut of this iconic toy brand was from Reyn Guyer. This extraordinary man was also the inventor of a brand new game, “Twister” He approached the Parker Brothers and shared an idea of a safe indoor football game with foam balls. 

The Nerf brand was formed in 1969 by Parker Brothers. It was a famous toy and game manufacturing company working in America since 1883. More than 1800 games were published under the supervision of the Parker Brothers. Moreover, Parker Brothers were most famous for giving us classic games like Monopoly, Clue, Trivial Pursuit, and Bop.

After reviewing Reyn Guyer’s products, Parker Brothers were not much interested in the actual game. But they liked the idea of foam balls because it was safe to play with children even inside the home. Hence, finally, there was the outset of Nerf in the form of a 4-inch and 100 mm polyurethane foam ball.  

Quick Overview

Name Of ProductNerf Gun
Current OwnerHasbro
Previous OwnerParker Brothers
Invented As Nerf Foam balls1969
Officially Invented as Nerf Gun1989
Product TypeToy gun or Weapon
Delivery of ToyWorldwide
AwardsWon 3 awards in 2011 and  2014
Current Tagline“It’s Nerf or Nothin’!”
Website namewww.nerf.com

Nerf As A World’s First Official Indoor Ball

In 1970, Nerf ball was named “the world’s first official indoor ball.” The company used an adorable slogan for their brand “Throw it indoors; you can’t damage lamps or break windows. You can’t hurt babies or old people.”  

Nerf As A World's First Official Indoor ball

The balls were very soft and showed zero damage while indoor play. Its soft nature was loved by parents and children and proved a big source of fulfilling the needs of everyone. Therefore, it was a huge turning point in the toy industry because more than four billion Nerf balls were sold at the end of the year. 

After this massive success in the Nerf ball, the company released a larger version in the form of the “super Nerf ball.” In 1972 they gave a fascinating product set called Nerfoop. For Nerfoop, you can imagine it as a pseudo basketball, which people can easily play in their own homes. 

Parkers Brothers expanded the original Nerf balls into different versions, like Nerf Table Hockey, Nerf football, Nerf Pool, and Nerf Ping Pong. But the second most famous product among these was the Nerf football product. 

The Invention of Super Soaker

The invention of the Super Soaker in 1989 was a big step in the water blasters industry. Aerospace engineer Lonnie Johnson invented this Power Drencher called initially “Super Soaker. ” 

The primary purpose of this gun was to soak another person in a game of water fight. Almost two million of these toy blasters were sold in a single year. 

Invention Of Missile Blasters

Nerf relaunched missile blasters, Sonic Stinger Bow, and the Big Bad Bow. Unfortunately, there was a big flop in this industry due to the negative review from the people about missile blasters. 

What Was the First Nerf Gun Released?

The first official Nerf blaster was released in 1989 after 20 years of nerf balls, called “Blast-a-Ball.” This plastic toy came to the limelight, and it allows two people to play together at a time. 

It was completely different from the current Nerf blaster. Because it was just like a plastic tube containing balls inside with a handle at one end, Its simple design allows for the first time to shoot balls. 

Moreover, With the use of this gun, children could shoot 1.5 mm diameter Nerf balls up to 20 feet. Shooting one another with the soft balls was really entertaining! 

Surprisingly, after the success of Blast-a-Ball in the market, the more upgraded version was introduced one year later called “Blast-a-Matic.” It was more powerful than blast-a-ball based on short loading time and more range for the shooting target. 

Both these products were very successful in the market. These were constantly sold among 4- 5 years of children since 1993. It was the beginning of Nerf guns. 

Nerf Brand & Hasbro

 The famous slogan “It’s Nerf or Nothin’!” is the primary slogan of the Nerf industry, which was introduced in the 1990s. The company continued to release the Nerf line until it merged with Kenner Products. 

Kinner Products was also considered a big toy company that produced many Nerf products until purchased by Hasbro. After handing over the company to Hasbro, there was a revolution in the toy industry. In 1991, Hasbro introduced its Bow’ n’ Arrow blaster product, which was also a huge success in the toy market. It was the first gun that shot arrows. 

Usually, Nerfs categorize each gun series with different names. The first series of Nerf blasters called “Original Nerf” was changed into “Nerf Action” in 1994.

Nerf continues to expand its product line from existing to releasing an astonishing new one. The most notable variations were the release of Nerf dart and Nerf sharpshooters in 1992. The sharpshooters were the first ones that used darts instead of foam balls. 

As the legendary sharpshooter replaced the foam balls with darts, it grabbed a lot of attention in the toy market. The replacement of foam balls with darts was a successful turning point. 

Use of Laser Tags in the Blasters

 The invention of other impressive Nerf accessories, and heart-attracting video games were also aligned in this era. With the fame of balls and darts, NERFs decided to take a bigger step by introducing laser tags. The high reliability of products makes this brand more popular among the customers. 

NERF “Mod Market”

While encoding the history of NERF, it will be unjust to forget the name of Brian Jablonski. In 2002, he was hired as Nerf product designer. A few years later, the expectations of Nerfs customers were enhanced with the Nerfs brand. They want more boost in terms of blasters range and darts capacity. 

It was a big and stressful challenge for Brian Jablonski to design a blaster with fired darts to 75 feet and increased capacity from 35 to 50. There was a significant change in the Nerf mod market because Hasbro had to maintain its safety regulation with customers’ increasing demand strictly. 

Invention Of the New NERF N-Strike Elite

A few years later, Brian Jablonski finally managed to bring a better Nerf series by releasing N-Strike elite. The astonishing feature of these blasters was that they could fire up to 75 feet quickly. With its pretty rustic design, the darts’ capacity also meets the wild expectations of the Nerfs fans. 

Released of First Nerf Product Aimed at Girls

In 2013, Nerf released its mind-blowing first line of products called “Rebelle,” which was exclusively made for girls. The beautiful design was associated with the female colors like pink, purple, and somewhat teal. Sadly speaking, due to the lack of sales for this product, this Nerf line unofficially disconnected in 2018. 

Other Nerf Series

In 2015 Hasbro released a rival series. The first products of this rival series were the Rival Apollo XV-700 and the Rival Zeus MXV-1200. With the invention of “High Impact Rounds,” little foam balls have higher velocity than foam darts. This product was suitable for 14 or above age. 

In 2017 N-Strike elite continued to improve with the Accustrike line. It was an upgraded version concerning more accuracy and performance of darts. 

 In 2019 Nerf launched a series of Fortnite blasters, which provides a fantastic experience for game lovers. After a year, 2021, Nerf hyper, with an innovative design and extra speed, was introduced. Nowadays, its popularity is pretty insane among children. 

Best Award Winning Brand

Due to presenting tremendous and unique designs to their customers, Nerf has won three best awards. The first two awards were won from the American International Toy Fair in 2011. It is annually held in New York City.  

The “Outdoor Toy of the Year” award was given to the Nerf Super Soaker Shot Blast. The second award, “Boy Toy of the Year,” was given to the Nerf N-Strike Stampede. 

The Nerf won the third award from the UK Toy Fair in 2014. This award was given to the Nerf Zombie Strike Crossfire Bow blaster. The name of this award was “Best Action Toy.” 

 Nerfs brand is still doing hard work to meet the wildest expectations of their fans! They continuously dominate its competitors improving and upgrading the models of its blasters. 

Nerf And Its Future

Now, Nerf has become a more powerful brand than ever. It’s prevalent among children by providing elite, mega, and rival series. The Fortnite and Deadpool series of this brand were also crazy popular. 

Furthermore, Hasbro (current owner of the nerf brand) is getting annual revenue from this brand of approximately $400. It’s a spectacular victory in the toy market. Every year nerf brands come up with bigger moves like Zombie Strike that have a typical blaster look. 

They are continuously growing their brand with respect to the functionality of maximizing speed and creating eye-catching designs. After studying the history of Nerf, it isn’t hard to say that the future of this brand is bigger and brighter in terms of all aspects. 


The word Nerf is a slang term, and the balls have been given the name NERF(Non-Expanding Recreational Foam) due to the similarities of their material with off-roading equipment.

Inventor of Nerf balls, Reyn Guyer, explains on his website that he had not given this name Nerf. Infect he did not know about the word “NERF” until it was released in the toy market by the Parker brothers. 

Summing Up the History of Nerf

The Nerf iconic brand is currently owned by Hasbro. Parker Brothers originally founded it in 1869. The life of Nerf started in the form of foam-based Nerf balls. The inventor of the Nerf ball was Reyn Guye. So, usually, Nerfs contain toys with foam- balls, which are safe to play with even indoors. The darts blasters are the most popular toys of Nerf.  

You can explore more about the history of Nerf guns from Wikipedia.

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