Nerf gun supporters establish some potential benefits of playing with toy guns. According to them, nerf gun games enable kids to leave their couches, get away from the TV or PlayStation and indulge in physical activity.
Health experts advise 2 hours daily of physical activities for kids to keep them healthy. This much time is not possible in school; however, nerf games at home can help. Nerf games create a sense of competition as kids practice and compete to gain something.
Competition leads to stress and kids learn how to address stress in a gaming environment. Kids also learn to improve their concentration in target-based games.
In case of nerf guns, it is an advantage that most of the nerf guns supports modifications to give them a new look and revive the kids’ interest in them.
Some modifications are external to the guns – i.e. related to the color and darts, while some are internal modifications – e.g. removing air restrictors, spring changing etc. To carry out modifications, you need to have inside knowledge of nerf guns and the internal design of the gun.
There are four possibilities regarding internal design of a nerf gun –
Spring-loaded: A spring-loaded nerf gun is driven by a spring and the power of the gun is proportional to the size of the spring
Pump-driven: Such guns have an air chamber instead of a spring. The pump stores the air in an air tank or chamber and the trigger releases that air, causing firing.
Flywheels: Such guns have two spinning flywheels on their motor and the trigger moves the dart into the flywheel.
Blowgun: Such guns consist of a small tube to fire light projectiles.
These components inside each gun plays a role in firing a dart –
- The plunger
- The plunger tube
- The catch mechanism
- The barrel
- The spring
- The dart
Inside a Gun: How is a Dart Fired?
The gun consists of two tubes; one tube is hollow while the other tube is capped/covered at one end and holds the hollow tube. On the capped end of the tube, a spring is attached. The spring gives energy or power to the dart and the bigger the spring the more powerful the gun is.
When the gun is cocked, the capped tube is pulled backward and creates a gap between the end of the hollow tube and the capped end of the capped tube. When the capped end is pulled back, it compresses the spring too.
When the trigger is pulled, the backwards pull on the capped end of the tube is released and decompresses the spring and pushes the air in between the gap created between the capped and hollow tube, with pressure exertion on the dart, forcing it to move forward out of the gun.
In terms of the components names listed above, the internal firing mechanism is as follows: the plunger is pulled back to catch on the catch mechanism. This action creates a space in the plunger tube.
On pulling the trigger, the catch is released, causing air compression inside the plunger tube. This pressurized air creates a force at the back of dart. This pressurized air pushed the dart out of the barrel with great force.
This is how the direct plunger in the Nite Finder gun, for example, works.
Another important component of a gun are air restrictors, which are present inside the barrels from where darts are launched. Air restrictors restrict the airflow that reaches the dart and are responsible in imparting speed to the dart. These air restrictors also serve as cushions for the plunger, reducing its chance of breaking.
In case of no air restrictors, there is no air buffering mechanism that could cushion the plunger to hold bolt impact.
This may cause wear and tear on the plunger during firing. If there is repeated firing, there is also a repeated impact of the bolt, which may cause a hole at the back of the gun. So there should be padding to cushion the bolt impact.
In an ideal situation, the air is not allowed to escape behind the plunger or dart to create maximum pressure on the dart.
This pressure builds speed for the dart, and the dart’s barrel seal is never perfect to let air escape a bit. This leads to low air pressure and a lower range for the blaster.
In an longshot nerf toy, there are following internal parts:
- Jam door
- Bolt sled
- Plunger chamber
- Prime indicator
- Indicator arm
- Trigger lock
The dart is forced into the bolt by a dart-tooth and the forward-moving bolt sled retracts it. When the plunger is primed, the bolt sled and bolt are moved into the forward position by the bolt-lock. The bolt is pulled back upon firing the plunger.
When the bolt sled is not in the forward position, the trigger lock prevents the trigger from being pulled and the clip-tooth cannot be manually disengaged.
Manufacturers design toy blasters in a way that lets some air to escape to slow down the speed of the dart.
Most nerf guns are manufactured in a way that supports modifications. Therefore, some users dissect the gun and replace those parts to have an ideal situation of not allowing air to escape.
This changes lead to guns with high-speed blasting and an improved range. Such modifications are not allowed for kids to avoid serious repercussions.