It’s Nerf modding or nothin’

Watch your eyeballs and proceed only under close adult supervision.

#1. An assembled view of the Nerf Maverick REV-6.
#2. An inside view of the Nerf Maverick REV-6 after removing the outer shell. 
#3. All firing mechanisms of the Nerf Maverick REV-6 displayed with cocking mechanism on the far left and the magazine on the far right.
#4. An isolated view of the magazine separated into the dart housing and air restrictors.

Lisa Persson

#1. An assembled view of the Nerf Maverick REV-6. #2. An inside view of the Nerf Maverick REV-6 after removing the outer shell. #3. All firing mechanisms of the Nerf Maverick REV-6 displayed with cocking mechanism on the far left and the magazine on the far right. #4. An isolated view of the magazine separated into the dart housing and air restrictors.

Spencer Doar

When Nerf hit the scene as the first “indoor ball” in 1969, it was a far cry from the arsenal of childhood weaponry we know today.

Nerf was just a foam ball that (supposedly) wouldn’t break things indoors. That all changed with their breakthrough bow and arrow in 1991 — such a simple, classic, functional piece of toy-dom whose spawn would start spring-loaded wars for more than two decades. Since then, Nerf has spat out an ever-changing variety of guns, bows and blasters in an assortment of bright colors and configurations. And with each new variation, fans have found ways to unlock the toys’ potential.

For the child-at-heart, there are a glut of ways to modify Nerf’s offerings through augmenting and adapting varying parts.

Nerf blasters are divisible into three general categories. There are the single action blasters which comprise the majority of Nerf’s arsenal. Similar to revolvers in the old West, these toys require the user to pull, pump or cock a mechanism that primes the spring that gives a single dart its power.

A few blasters use compressed air — think Nerf’s cousin, the Super Soaker. You pump and pump, and the pressure from the compressed air is good for a number of (increasingly less powerful) shots.

Last, the old Vulcan and current Stampede models use the hefty power of six D batteries to offer fully automatic streams of fire. These blasters occupy the upper echelons of Nerf pricing. Even those can be modified to increase the rate of fire, but these modifications involve playing with voltage and a slightly different skill set.  

It’s worth mentioning that Nerf guns are designed for safe children’s play and many modifications undo some of those safeguards.

These days, all blasters come with a warning against this type of thing. The mod discussed below isn’t going to turn your blaster into a full-on weapon — not even close — but make sure you play it safe. You know, like a grown-up.

The classic mod of the defunct Nerf Maverick embodies a lot of common modification elements in a tiny, affordable package. It’s a great starting point for any adult looking to trick out some blasters.

Don’t worry; though it is discontinued, the Maverick is still available at some stores and online starting at around $15. The Maverick was a Nerf workhorse since its debut in 2005 — it’s like the Toyota Camry of foam dart guns.  

 

The nitty-gritty

You’re going to need a small set of flat and Phillips head screwdrivers, a pocket knife and pliers.

First, take all the tiny screws out the blaster’s frame and cocking mechanism — the plastic slide that you pull to arm the blaster. Be sure to keep an eye on ALL of the small parts. (Though a true joy of Nerf modding can be working around the things you screw up.)

Pry the blaster’s plastic frame apart. One will have all the internal mechanisms attached.

Take the main Maverick spring and stretch it just a bit, then put it back. That’ll add a wee bit more juice to the shot.

Then, focus on the revolving six-dart barrel. Pull it from the main frame of the gun, and pry out the central metal piece on which the barrel spins. Now, you can unscrew both sides of the barrel and separate it into its two parts.

You’ll be confronted by six spokes on which the darts rest. Underneath the spokes are plastic air restrictors and tiny springs. Throw them away. Now, cut out the spoke on which the darts rest and simply replace the tiny plastic disc. Boom. The blaster will now fire faster and foam darts will fly farther. Reassemble the barrel.

The sweet thing about Nerf guns is that there are a lot of superficial, slightly helpful mods that are just cool. The Maverick is no exception.

When you take the barrel from the frame you will probably notice tiny plastic nibs on the barrel’s receiver plates, which fit into a track and keep the barrel from coming out fully. Cut those off and reloading will be easier because the barrel will swing all of the way out. That’s a full-barrel drop mod.

Put that baby back together, and you’re good to go.

 

The moral of the story

 After some practice disassembling Nerf’s simpler blasters, larger undertakings, like PVC pipe sniper barrels, new spring adaptations and upping ammo capacity, will seem less daunting and give you even cooler results than your sweet new Maverick.

Plus, with so many old models floating around for cheap at garage sales and the like, the only limit to your Nerf Frankenstein monster is your imagination.   

That ever-changing terrain of Hasbro’s Nerf line is part of its allure. There’s already so much history, so many models, so many changes and so much more to come — the opportunities to individualize are unending. Plus, ambushing a roommate never gets old.