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  • From quietly stalking a foe, waiting for the perfect moment to pull the trigger and deliver

  • the winning shot that will take out the enemy, to expertly dodging and weaving through the

  • battlefield while avoiding enemy fire, to launching a devious sneak attack on an unsuspecting

  • victim - who doesn't love a good Nerf battle?

  • The Nerf gun is a ubiquitous toy beloved by children and adults alike, but how does a

  • Nerf Gun work?

  • Nerf guns - or Nerf Blasters as their creator, the toy company Hasbro, prefers to call them

  • - are an incredibly popular toy that have been around since the early 1990s.

  • The first Nerf guns, introduced in 1991, were the Nerf Blast-a-Ball and the Arrowstorm,

  • a toy revolver that shot Nerf's now famous foam darts.

  • Today, there are more than 21 different lines of Nerf guns and dozens and dozens of different

  • models of guns - and that's not even counting the many discontinued lines from years past!

  • Add in a plethora of accessories, like scopes and sights, dart holders and even cameras,

  • plus crossovers with other popular brands like Marvel, Star Wars, GI Joe, Transformers,

  • Fortnite and Halo, and it's easy to see why Nerf guns remain one of the most popular

  • toys on the market.

  • Most modern Nerf guns shoot the same standard foam darts as the 90s models, and can reach

  • speeds of around 30 miles per hour.

  • But many of the more advanced models have come a long, long way from the days of the

  • Arrowstorm.

  • The Hail Fire comes with 8 magazines that hold 18 darts each, and it can shoot all 144

  • of its darts in just 30 seconds at amazing speeds of 50 miles per hour.

  • The RIVAL series, designed for older kids and grown-up kids at heart, can shoot darts

  • at a staggering 75 miles per hour.

  • Some of the most advanced Nerf guns don't come cheap - the N-Strike series' Vulcan

  • and Longstrike models retail for more than $500 each, and they have a range of more than

  • 35 feet.

  • It's not just the guns themselves that have evolved over time.

  • Nerf darts have come a long way since the 90's, too.

  • While the traditional 3-inch long foam darts are still in use, there are now also the larger

  • Mega darts, and darts with specialized tips, like suction cups or velcro tips.

  • You can get glow-in-the-dark darts, whistler darts that make a noise when fired, or even

  • message darts that come with a special pen and a decoder.

  • And, with the rise of more high-powered models, there are also Elite darts, which are shorter

  • and shoot faster, and High Impact rounds, which are small foam balls.

  • Hasbro produces more than 450,000 darts each year - since the Nerf gun was first released,

  • that's more than 4 billion darts in total!

  • In the last 5 years alone, enough darts have been produced to circle the earth a full 4

  • times.

  • Saying Nerf guns are popular might just be a bit of an understatement.

  • Nerf Guns have survived the test of time and proven to be one of the most enduring and

  • popular toys for the last 3 decades.

  • But these fun, simple toys actually have some powerful engineering behind them, and while

  • the guns themselves have evolved and changed over the years, how they work really hasn't

  • changed all that much.

  • One of the secrets to Nerf's success is the fact that all of the guns work in remarkably

  • similar ways.

  • Almost every one of the dozens of different models of Nerf Guns available on the market

  • today and throughout the toy's history fall into one of 2 categories - a Nerf Gun is generally

  • either a spring-powered gun, or a pump action gun.

  • The now discontinued Nitefinder is a great example of a spring powered Nerf gun.

  • The small hand-held gun used a simple direct plunger mechanism on the back of the barrel

  • to fire a single dart.

  • In a spring-powered Nerf gun, the plunger is pulled back to suck air into the plunger

  • tub.

  • A rubber o-ring on the end of the plunger creates an airtight seal and pressurizes the

  • air in the tube.

  • This converts the potential energy into kinetic energy, which is stored in the gun's spring.

  • When the trigger is pulled, the energy in the spring is released and the plunger shoots

  • forward, giving force to the pressurized air and causing the dart to fire out of the barrel.

  • The higher the pressure in the tube, the farther and faster the dart will travel.

  • In contrast, the RIVAL Twin Shock is a pump action blaster that holds 10 Mega sized darts

  • and fires 2 darts at the same time, with an impressive range of up to 85 feet.

  • The gun is primed by repeatedly pumping the action.

  • When the action is pulled back it fills the pump tube with air, and when pushed forward,

  • the air in the tube is compressed.

  • A valve in the pressure chamber lets the compressed air into the chamber itself, where it's

  • stored until the gun is ready to fire.

  • The trigger is attached to a rod which, when pulled back, releases the air in the pressure

  • chamber, which travels into the barrel and fires the darts.

  • Some guns, like the Nerf Zombie Strike Hammershot, feature a rotating cylinder that automatically

  • loads the next dart into place after a round is fired.

  • After the trigger is pulled and a round is fired, a piston comes out and latches on to

  • the cam bar, which moves forward and rotates the cam, which in turn rotates the cylinder

  • and loads the next dart.

  • For the Nerf enthusiast who understands the basics of the engineering behind how Nerf

  • guns work, there is a whole other world of options available to them.

  • The Nerf gun's simplicity makes it perfect for tinkering, and many die-hard Nerf fans

  • will apply modifications - or mods - to their guns to achieve maximum performance from these

  • seemingly basic toys.

  • Some Nerf gun mods are incredibly simple, and they don't require any special engineering

  • knowledge or skills.

  • Many of the simplest models of Nerf guns have the ability to fire multiple darts one after

  • the other.

  • The N-Strike Elite Triad has 3 barrels, and fires the standard 3 inch darts up to 30 feet.

  • Even when all 3 barrels are loaded with a dart, only a single barrel will fire each

  • time the trigger is pulled, with a half-second delay between shots.

  • The barrels of these multi-shot guns are a maze of different air pathways, and the pressurized

  • air is directed into one barrel at a time through a process that Nerf engineers describe

  • as a “cascading blast of compressed air”.

  • After a dart is fired, a valve locks out that airway, directing the pressurized air to travel

  • into another chamber, where it fires off a successive round.

  • With a little knowledge about how these compressed air mechanics work in the gun, a smart Nerf

  • enthusiast can perform a simple hack to get their gun to fire multiple shots at once.

  • By loading the darts only part way into the barrel, the valves will remain half open,

  • allowing the compressed air to seep into all 3 chambers at once.

  • When the trigger is pulled, all 3 darts will fire simultaneously, but because the compressed

  • air is split between 3 payloads, the darts will not fire as far or as fast as they normally

  • would.

  • For those who like to tinker and experiment, they can take these simple hacks even further.

  • Entire online communities exist that are dedicated to modifying Nerf guns, and some of the most

  • popular mods involve increasing the range and power of a gun, modifying the gun to shoot

  • multiple darts for a buckshot effect, or even combining multiple guns into a single monster

  • gun.

  • With some simple household materials, like sandpaper, a glue gun, some plumber's goop,

  • a dremel drill, a hacksaw and some pipe cutters, these savvy Nerf enthusiasts can modify or

  • replace barrels, remove the gun's internal air limiters, replace springs or improve seals

  • to give their gun an extra edge.

  • Making homemade darts, called Sefans, is also popular among the mod crowd - these darts

  • typically don't have the rubber tip found on official Nerf darts, which allows them

  • to be back-loaded into the barrel as opposed to front-loaded as the guns are originally

  • designed.

  • This allows the bullet to travel the entire length of the barrel, where it receives optimum

  • pressure, giving Stefans a much better range than store bought darts.

  • With such a huge range of guns and accessories, not to mention all of the modifications that

  • can be made to them, it comes as no surprise that there is an equally huge range of games

  • that can be played with Nerf guns.

  • While sneaking up on unsuspecting friends or annoying siblings may be plenty of fun,

  • many Nerf lovers have gotten even more creative with their Nerf games.

  • There are the classics, like Nerf Hide and Seek, Freeze Tag or Capture the Flag.

  • There are countless ways to test a gun's - and a shooter's - precision with target-based

  • games, like tin can or paper plate target shooting, or, for an extra challenge, a game

  • of attempting to shoot a ping pong ball off of the top of a pop bottle without knocking

  • the bottle over.

  • Some smart parents have even found ways to incorporate Nerf guns into fun and education

  • games, like spelling games and math challenges.

  • Of course, one of the most popular Nerf games out there is the Nerf Battle Royale, where

  • teams of players attempt to win total dominance by taking out an entire enemy team.

  • Creative Nerf battlers have been known to construct impressive battlefields complete

  • with cardboard barricades and camouflage gear.

  • In recent years, as the generation of kids who grew up with the original Nerf guns have

  • gotten older, Hasbro has smartly realized that it's not just kids who love Nerf guns.

  • With the release of the RIVAL series made for teens and adults, Nerf battles have become

  • nearly as popular as paintball among older Nerf enthusiasts, and the RIVAL series has

  • become one of the most popular series for custom modifications.

  • Knowing all about how Nerf guns work - and the ways in which Nerf enthusiasts can hack

  • these simple toys to give themselves an edge in their Nerf battles - it all begs the question:

  • are Nerf guns actually safe?

  • Hasbro says that they are - although they prefer to call them Nerf Blasters instead

  • of Nerf Guns, a term that is less scary for kids, and more acceptable to their parents.

  • Hasbro insists that each model of Nerf gun is rigorously tested for safety before it's

  • released - in fact, Hasbro has a state of the art testing facility at their headquarters

  • where employees can test out the latest Nerf guns in a range of real-life scenarios, from

  • the outdoors to basements to even dorm rooms.

  • And, since the darts are made of foam and the guns are not especially powerful, the

  • risk of serious injury is pretty low.

  • Though not without their risks - for example, ahead of the 2017 Christmas season, UK eye

  • doctors issued a warning to the public about the danger of irreversal eye damage from Nerf

  • darts and balls - but even still, Nerf guns are certainly a much safer option than other

  • popular gun-based games, like paintball or airsoft.

  • It just might not be a bad idea to wear eye protection, especially when playing with some

  • of the more high-powered models or using DIY modified blasters.

  • Nerf guns have been around for 3 decades, and they probably aren't going away any

  • time soon.

  • It may seem like there are cool new Nerf guns and exciting new options every time you look,

  • but the engineering principles behind how a Nerf gun works have stood the test of time,

  • and have changed very little since the Nerf gun was first introduced.

  • The next time you're facing a heated Nerf battle, you'll not only know how a Nerf

  • gun works, but you'll also know how to give yourself an edge with Nerf hacks and custom

  • gun mods, and you'll dominate the Nerf battlefield.

  • Your enemies won't stand a chance against you, now that you know exactly how a Nerf

  • gun works!

  • If you thought this video was fun, you'll want to be sure and check out our other videos,

  • like this other classic toy-related one calledHow Lego Reinvented Itself”, or, maybe

  • this other video is for you.

  • As always, thanks for watching, and don't forget to like, share and subscribe!

  • See you next time!

From quietly stalking a foe, waiting for the perfect moment to pull the trigger and deliver

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How Does a Nerf Gun Actually Work?

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    Summer posted on 2021/04/06
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