We use cookies to allow us and selected partners to improve your experience and our advertising. By continuing to browse you consent to our use of cookies. You can understand more and change your cookies preferences here.

Baby & child.

When you click on a retailer link on our site, we may earn affiliate commission to help fund our not-for-profit mission.Find out more.

Nerf gun or X Shot: What's the best?

We tested Nerf guns and X Shot toy guns to see how they compare for range, accuracy and more. Find out which toy blasters came out on top
Joel Bates
Child playing with a Nerf Gun

Nerf guns and toy guns from X Shot have been a major source of fun for kids (and adults, including one or two at Which?) for years. We couldn't resist putting them to the test to finally put the debate to bed over which toy guns are best.

Nothing quite beats the thrill of running around the garden and firing little foam darts at your friends and family, so we tested bestselling blasters from Nerf and X Shot to see which has the edge for range, accuracy, power, and more.

As well as testing them on those key specs, in June 2022 we armed a bunch of kids and adults with the toys and set them loose in the garden to see which they found the most fun to play with.

Read on for our full test results, and key info on safety tips and equipment you can use to ensure you play with Nerf guns and X Shot toy guns safely.

Prices and availability last checked: 2 August 2022.


Choose well, buy better and save money using our expert tips Get our Weekly Scoop newsletter – it's free


The best toy guns

Our tests found big differences in how far the toy guns could fire, how prone they were to jamming, how easy they were to reload, and how fun kids and adults found them to play with.

Nerf Elite 2.0 Shockwave RD-15

Cheapest price: £22.99 at Very, AmazonSmyths Toys, also available at Argos, Robert Dyas

Size and weight: 30.4 x 67.3 x 7.9cm (HxWxD), 898g

Capacity: 15 shots

Tested range: 19.3m

Recommended age: 8+

Pros: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

Cons: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

Our verdict: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

Nerf Elite 2.0 Commander RD-6

Cheapest price: £8.99 at Amazon, also available at Smyths Toys, Very

Size and weight: 24.1 x 36.2 x 6.7cm (HxWxD), 550g

Capacity: Six shots

Tested range: 30.4m

Recommended age: 8+

Pros: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

Cons: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

Our verdict: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

Nerf Fortnite BASR-L Blaster

Cheapest price: £20 at Argos, also available at Amazon, Smyths Toys (out of stock).

Size and weight: 26 x 76.2 x 6.7cm (HxWxD), 1,400g

Capacity: Six shots

Tested range: 26.3m

Recommended age: 8+

Pros: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

Cons: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

Our verdict: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

NERF Fortnite RL Rocket Launcher

Cheapest price: £29.99 at Amazon, Smyths Toys, also available at The Toy Shop, Very

Size and weight: 27.9 x 55.9 x 7.9cm (HxWxD), 1,200g

Capacity: One shot

Tested range: 24.8m

Recommended age: 8+

Pros: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

Cons: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

Our verdict: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

Nerf Minecraft Stormlander

Cheapest price: £19.99 at Amazon, Smyths Toys, also available at Robert Dyas, The Toy Shop

Size and weight: 22.9 x 35.6 x 8.1cm (HxWxD), 640g

Capacity: Three shots

Tested range: 28.1m

Recommended age: 8+

Pros: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

Cons: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

Our verdict: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

Nerf Ultra One Motorised Blaster

Cheapest price: £39.99 at Amazon, Smyths Toys (out of stock), also available at Hamleys, The Toy Shop, Very

Size and weight: 33 x 61 x 8.1cm (HxWxD), 490g

Capacity: 27 shots

Tested range: 38.7m

Recommended age: 8+

Pros: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

Cons: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

Our verdict: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

X Shot Dino Attack Claw Hunter

Cheapest price: £7.95 at Amazon, also available at Argos (out of stock)

Size and weight: 18 x 50 x 18cm (HxWxD), 702g

Capacity: Two shots

Tested range: 25.3m

Recommended age: 8+

Pros: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

Cons: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

Our verdict: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

X Shot Excel Crusher By Zuru

Cheapest price: £24.99 at Smyths Toys (out of stock), also available at Amazon, The Toy Shop

Size and weight: 40.6 x 29.8 x 6.6cm (HxWxD), 1,670g

Capacity: 35 shots

Tested range: 24.5m

Recommended age: 8+

Pros: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

Cons: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

Our verdict: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

X Shot Excel Royale Edition Hawk Eye

Cheapest price: £12.80 at Amazon, The Toy Shop, also available at Smyths Toys

Size and weight: 24 x 60 x 6cm (HxWxD), 630g

Capacity: One shot

Tested range: 25.5m

Recommended age: 8+

Pros: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

Cons: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

Our verdict: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

X Shot Excel Turbo Advance

Cheapest price: £19.99 at Hamleys, also available at Amazon, Smyths Toys (out of stock)

Size and weight: 40 x 80 x 8cm (HxWxD), 2,190g

Capacity: 40 shots

Tested range: 26.6m

Recommended age: 8+

Pros: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

Cons: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

Our verdict: Log in now or join Which? to instantly reveal.

How we tested toy guns

To find the best toy blasters, we bought the bestsellers from leading brands Nerf and X Shot and put them through a string of tough tests to see which ones will give you the edge in your garden battles.

We bought every toy we tested and we don't take gifts so you can be confident that our reviews are neutral and free from bias.

Range and rapid-fire

We measured the range of each Nerf and X Shot by firing several full magazines of foam darts and recording the furthest distance they travelled using a measuring wheel. We also judged how easily you could fire several shots in quick succession, and noted how much the toys jammed when firing.

Power and accuracy

We put up a target and used each toy gun to fire several rounds of foam darts, judging them on how firmly the darts hit the target, and how easily we were able to hit the same spot consistently.

Ease of use

Nobody wants to spend more time fiddling around with their toy gun than playing with it, so we assessed how straightforward each toy was to handle, fire, and reload, and we considered how convenient its capacity was.

Fun factor

Ultimately the most important thing for a toy gun is that it should be fun to play with. After letting our adult and child testers run wild with each of the Nerf and X Shot toy guns, we asked them which were their favourites and which ones they'd want to buy given the choice, irrespective of price.

Check out our water guns reviews.

How to play with Nerf guns safely

  • Wear protective gear – getting hit by foam darts is unlikely to be harmful, except if you get hit in your eyes. We recommend investing in some protective eyewear to rule out any chance of that happening. Nerf sells Elite Safety Goggles (£7.99) if you're keen to wear the official merch, but any pair of goggles will do.
  • Don't aim for the head  even if you're wearing protection over your eyes, it can still be quite uncomfortable to get hit by a foam dart around sensitive spots such as your ears or mouth, and your opponents won't thank you for it. Aiming for the torso is the best way to avoid spoiling play, and gives you the best chance of landing a hit.
  • Don't shoot at point blank range – foam darts are soft, but if you get hit by them at very close range they might sting a little. The darts won't have any chance to slow down in the air, so at that range they'll be hitting you as hard as they can. 
  • Be mindful of your surroundings – in the chaos of a Nerf vs X Shot battle, it's all too easy to lose sight of trip hazards and other dangers. Be mindful of what's around you during play, and take care to remove as many hazards as possible before you start.

Keen to see our verdicts on more toys? See our remote control cars reviews and trampolines reviews