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Nerf guns come in so many different styles with various firing mechanisms that players are pretty spoiled for choice. Some of the most popular options on the market right now are the more intensive blasters with motorized actions and rapid-fire. The more that the guns can do, and the more appealing the design, the better it sells. However, there is also room in a growing arsenal for something a little bit different.
Lever action Nerf guns fit the bill with their more deliberate firing mechanism for more realistic action. Some people prefer this approach as it is almost a stepping stone between fun Nerf dart guns and the more authentic shotguns or BB guns. They are a safe way for kids – big and small – to play with shotguns without the risk of injury.
In this guide, I want to discuss this sub-group of lever-action Nerf guns in more detail. To be honest from the start, you will struggle to find true Nerf guns with lever-action firing mechanisms. There are reasons for this, which I will go into in more detail later. So, this guide is split between a range of Nerf and non-Nerf guns to show you what you can get and what you might find to be a better choice for your child.
To begin with, we have a group of guns that tick all the right boxes. They are popular Nerf guns that are still in production and have that essential lever-action for firing. There are various designs here, all with their own unique selling points, so you can match the right theme to your child’s taste. Hopefully, one of these models will be suitable. After that, I want to talk about some of the alternative Nerf products that relate to these products.
This is where we can compare the pros and cons of hammer-action and pump-action guns and look at the potential for modifying a Nerf gun. Finally, I have a small section on a brand called Buzz Bee. These products are limited in style and availability, but they do have some cool lever-action guns and other shotguns if you can find them.
Choosing the best lever-action Nerf gun for your child.
Let’s start with the products from Nerf itself that have this lever-action mechanism. The idea here is that players use this plastic lever on the side of the gun to prime and load the ammunition. With some guns, this means loading bullets one at a time for a more measured approach to stealth tactics. Others may have dart holders and clips to make things a lot easier. That lever should be easy to use with no risk of it jamming.
It also helps if it is ergonomic enough that kids aren’t going to hurt themselves while using the gun. A badly designed lever-action gun can be a pain to use and sit in the cupboard for months. A well-designed lever-action gun could be a great secondary weapon for large-scale tactical fights.
4 brilliant Nerf lever-action dart guns.
The first lever-action Nerf gun for consideration here is the SlingFire blaster from the Zombie Strike range. The Zombie strike SlingFire Blaster products are very popular because of the designs and the way they tie into fun post-apocalyptic storylines. Players can use this impressive rifle to hold off the enemy with ease. The lever-action works pretty well, with only occasional jams. A bonus feature here is the secondary way of cocking the gun to prep it. Players should be able to flick it one-handed for a cooler look. Older children may be more successful at this than younger children because of the size and weight of the product.
Players should have no trouble setting up 6 darts at once thanks to the large clip. These darts are special Zombie Strike darts that match the color scheme. You may want to get more of these separately or just use normal darts. There is also the option of getting a tactical rail for the gun. This allows for great customization at a later date and should be too difficult to find. Apart from that, you can remove the shoulder stock by removing the screw.
The Scravenger is another model in the Zombie Strike line. Immediately, this one comes across as a more complex option for older users. A lot is going on here that makes this much larger and may be more difficult to wield. The barrel extension increases the length and the recommended age is 8 and up. Personally, I would give this to teenagers.
One of the benefits of choosing this model over the one above is that you get a lot more ammunition. There are two clips that you can swap over as needed. Both have a 12-dart capacity and there are 26 darts in the boxes, which allows for some spares. The gun also comes with a scope for better targetting while setting up the lever-action primer and a tactical light. The light does require batteries that aren’t included in the box.
Next, we move over to a different range and something that is a little more niche. There is a small range of guns that take inspiration from the Roblox game. The idea is that players can imagine themselves in the game and use specially-designed weapons to take out enemies and complete real-life missions. This blaster has a lever-action for easy priming and this rotates a dart drum.
This is a nice change from the dart clip and provides a more interesting design. There is room in the drum for 8 darts and kids should be able to fire them off in pretty quick succession for greater impact. It may take some time to get used to the combination of the lever and trigger but it is worth the practice.
The darts in the box are official Nerf Elite darts, so there should be no problem using similar ammunition from other weapons in your child’s collection. Another great selling point here is that you get access to a special online code. This lets kids get an exclusive virtual item for their Roblox game.
4) NERF Elite 2.0 Flipshots Flip-32 Blaster with 32 Dart Barrels That Flip to Double Your Firepower, 32- Dart Capacity, 32 Elite Darts
Finally, we have a lever-action Nerf gun that is something completely different. The unique selling point here is the way that you can flip the barrels. There are massive dart barrels on this gun and enemies are present with 16 darts facing their way. The shock tactic is that when these 16 barrels are empty, players flip them over to reveal 16 more on the reverse. It is excessive and laughable, but that might be the point.
The rotating barrel is controlled by a combination of the lever-action primer and a special mechanism on the trigger. If players pull it halfway you release one dart. But, if they pull it all the way back, they release two darts at once.
Thankfully, this set does come with 32 darts so you don’t have to worry about the barrels being empty. They are also official Nerf Elite darts, so players can have some from their collection as spares. This model is over the-top and focuses on one feature, but it shows that lever-action Nerf guns don’t have to be simple rifles.
Options are limited for true Nerf lever-action dart guns.
There are very few options out there when it comes to buying the best lever action Nerf guns. Some of the products above are great and have some fun additional features aside from this method of firing. But, options are limited. I noticed that when I went searching for top designs online I ended up with one of four results. Either I,
a) ended up with one of the products from the selection above
b) ended up on blogs or forums with people talking about rare items that aren’t that accessible
c) ended up with lever action guns not affiliated with Nerf
d) ended up with people making their own customized Nerf guns.
So, let’s discuss why that is the case and what alternative products and solutions you could go for
Why are lever-action nerf guns so uncommon?
This shows a big divide in opinion when it comes to these products. Some people love the lever-action approach for Nerf guns because there is that authenticity with real shotguns. The process makes uses take their time to wait, aim, and fire for a deadly shot. This is great for those that want to improve their marksmanship or take on a different type of role-playing game with dart guns.
But, it isn’t for everyone. The mechanism is far too slow and deliberate for younger players that want a fast-paced game with their friends. There is also the risk that the flimsy plastic lever will snap off, rendering the toy useless.
This is partly why there are so many more options available in pump-action shotguns and mechanized blasters. Kids that like the idea of using a shotgun, but want something more user-friendly will love the motion and sound of the pump actions and find that this is the better choice for exciting gameplay. Then there is the fact that many kids will simply find single-shot tactical shotguns boring once they have tried a rapid-fire blaster with lots of rounds.
Adapting a Nerf dart gun into a lever-action Nerf rifle.
Part of the confusion when it comes to searching for the best lever-action Nerf guns is that some of the products you see online aren’t official designs. For example, there are lots of pictures online of the popular Nerf Rival Blaster with a lever-action firing mechanism. But, if you go on a site like Amazon, it isn’t there. There are also people talking about Nerf guns that are replicas of famous rifles, such as the Winchester.
These look great and sound like a lot of fun for the right user. But, you will struggle to find these in official Nerf lines. The lever-action Nerf Rival is still an interesting idea for older players that like the idea of creating their own modifications. You can go online and find guides and plans for adding a new mechanism to the Nerf Rival and follow the steps.
Why the Nerf Rival?
The Nerf Rival is a great choice because it is an efficient pump-action model with the structure to hold this sort of modification on the side. Some of the more complex products aren’t going to make the changes quite so well. The new black fixture with the big lever looks great on this streamlined black and red gun.
The Nerf Rival Takedown XX-800 is a great multi-purpose Nerf gun that works in a lot of situations. The mechanism is pump-action for a quicker action, where you pump the priming handle to make use of the strong spring-loaded blaster. This should launch darts at a distance of around 90feet, which is great for safe indoor. Adding the lever-action modification gives players more freedom on how they use the gun. The blaster has an 8-round capacity so you can set up multiple darts at once and the trigger is pretty easy to use. The lock on the trigger is a nice touch to stop this from firing by mistake.
Choosing similar Nerf dart guns with alternative firing mechanisms.
If you can’t find a lever-action Nerf gun that you love and don’t like the idea of recreating that modified lever-action Nerf Rival, you will need to look at some of the alternative firing mechanisms for shotguns and rifles. There are far more products out there that use hammer-action or pump-action methods because they are so much more efficient.
Kids can fire off shots in quick succession without worrying about the awkward lever. So, if your child is really into the themes above, like the Zombie Strike and Roblox products, see what you can get in shotguns and rifles that have a similar design and some of the same features Hammer-action Nerf guns.
The first option is to go for something with a hammer action. This is where you have a little hammer mechanism at the back of the barrel for a more effective approach. It should have the right shape and position for kids to flick or Swing lever it back with their thumb. It isn’t as much physical effort as the lever on the side and isn’t going to get in the way and make the gun uncomfortable to use.
These hammer-action guns are also great when designing guns that are more authentic shotguns. They aren’t going to detract from the shape or style of the toy.
The lever-action Roblox gun above is a great example of what you can achieve with that manual mechanism. However, there is an alternative option in the same range with the more user-friendly hammer-action firing system. This could be a better choice in some situations or a good secondary weapon when the lever-action model isn’t quite up to the job. There is a similar aesthetic here and some of the same great features. You get two blasters in the pack, which is ideal for siblings, and there are 10 Nerf Elite darts – 5 per gun. The small kid-friendly blasters are easy to fire and you also get another code for virtual Roblox items. Fans of the game will love adding this to their collection.
Pump Action Nerf Guns
Then there are the pump-action models for a different way of loading the gun. Pump-action toys are great because this relates to modern-day pump-action shotguns and it is a feature that players expect to see. A lot of this comes down to who players are trying to mimic when they play with their dart guns. A lot of modern references from video games and movies will include these pump-action models whereas lever-action guns have more nostalgia for older generations.
The pump-action should also be really easy to use while creating more of a dramatic effect during gameplay. The design also blends in nicely with the rest of the weapon so the eye is drawn to more important design features.
Speaking of Nerf guns related to video games, there is a lot of love for Fornite-related Nerf toys. The range is massive with different blasters, guns, pistols, and more with various features. But, none have that old-fashioned lever-action system. This shotgun is a pump-action model with a smoother mechanism for priming the blaster with ease. You can only load one dart at a time, so this is still a better choice for those that like tactical maneuvers. The dark blue gun also comes with four Nerf Mega darts to get you started. It is one of the more simplistic Fortnite designs but an effective weapon.
Buzz Bee lever-action dart guns.
Another alternative option here is to look for a lever-action gun from a different brand. I appreciate it if you don’t want to try someone like Buzz Bee because your child is after a real Nerf gun. That is understandable if they already have a large collection or all their friends use Nerf guns. But, brands like this can have some hidden gems for sale. There are two products that I want to talk about here.
The first is a lever-action dart gun that isn’t that dissimilar to the Nerf models. The only issue here is that it is discontinued so you need to go through second-hand retailers. The second is another shotgun that is sure to appeal to teenagers that want something different and more authentic than the over-the-top Nerf products.
This gun is a great example of what other brands can achieve with great mechanisms and ammo – and why dart guns don’t have to be Nerf. It is worthwhile searching for this for sale somewhere because of the great design and lever-action mechanics. The rifle has a clip with room for 8 long-range darts that can reach 72 feet. It is also compatible with Nerf Clips if you want to add the Elite Darts instead. It seems to be a response to the SlingFire as the design and firing action are very similar.
The alternative option, which is more widely available and also good quality, is this authentic shotgun designed to replicate the model used in The Walking Dead. Teenagers that are big fans of the show and want some realism in their role-playing games will love the design here. It is a great addition to a Nerf game, even though it isn’t a Nerf product, because you have that idea of zombie hunting and tactical warfare.
It will pair nicely with the Zombie Strike range for a different effect. The fun selling point here is the ability to fire two darts simultaneously from the double barrels, which will look pretty cool. It comes with 6 foam darts and four shells to get kids started. The 35-foot range isn’t amazing, but the effect makes up for it.
Finding the best lever-action Nerf gun for your child.
My recommendation here is to go for one of the authentic Nerf products if your kids are keen on having a lever-action gun in their collection. But, be prepared to choose between a small selection. It is unlikely that the range will expand when the pump-action and hammer-action models are so much more efficient. Discuss the pros and cons of lever-action guns with your child and offer the possibility of a pump-action or hammer action alternative in the same range. Compare the specifications and designs to see which will be the most effective gun and which they are going to want to use long-term.