The fully auto Nerf machine guns get most of the press, but the semi-auto blaster gives you much more control over how quickly you fire your precious ammo. So if you are in a NERF war that is not based around a camp and ammo is scarce, these are probably your best bet.
They have also been around longer than their full auto brethren, so the mod kits on the popular models are far more plentiful.
But which should you choose? We pick our top picks below
NERF Rival Hera
NERF N-Strike Elite Modulus
NERF N-Strike Elite Stockade
NERF N-Strike Elite Demolisher 2 in 1
Our Picks of the Best Semi-Automatic NERF Guns
In the list I have included the obvious Stryfe, which is an excellent workhorse, and you will probably find people saying that every single one of these is a Styfe re-skin as…well the Stryfe got it right and hence why the mechanicals are pretty similar.
This does not mean the only choice is a Stryfe as out of the box it is a solid, basic blaster. This means it makes a great blaster to mod, but if you do not want to do that, others offer many add-ons that might make it just what you are looking for.
Having said that, there are many other scenarios that mean a different selection is needed. If you are a fan of the Rival range (and why wouldn’t you be?) then the Hera is a fantastic blaster – functionally even better than the Stryfe!
The other blasters all use standard Nerf darts with different pieces of additional functionality, which makes them all interesting and cool blasters…!
N-Strike Elite Stryfe
The N-Strike Elite Stryfe has been around for many moons now. It forms the basis of so many other blasters, both stock and modified and there is a reason – because it is a great blaster!
These days it comes with 6 round mags, but junk these in favor of larger capacity ones, add a stock and you have a semi-auto primary that will do pretty much what you want of a semi-auto blaster.
Four AA batteries mean that even if you do not change it to some kind of rechargeable power, it is still not expensive to run and semi-auto will keep your ammo bill to a minimum too.
There is not a lot more to add, the remaining options are for those people that want something that you cannot get with a stock Stryfe
The go-to semi-auto blaster.
You can read our full review of the Elite XD Stryfe here
Nerf Rival Hera
The Hera is a member of the NERF rival line, which fires small, balls of foam rather than darts. These are aimed at the 14+ age group so fire a bit harder and more accurately than their Elite cousins.
This blaster is easily the best semi-auto in the Rival line, fixing the problems of the Zeus. I am a big fan of the Rival range as I like the power and the accuracy, and as an adult (is size at least!) fits me well.
, In addition, it can use the Rival battery pack, which makes it fire better and saves you a fortune in batteries over the lifetime (plus they can be used across several of the Rival range, so a very recommended add-on!)
The Hera, unlike the Zeus, uses standard Rival magazines, so you can choose anything from 6 to 15 rounds, although it can get in the way as it sticks out a fair amount.
So overall this is a great blaster and it would be my top pick for the semi-autos from a functionality point of view, expect that it is hard to get hold of and the Stryfe is much better for younger kids and has many more options to mod
Nerf Doomlands Desolator
The Nerf Doomlands Desolator is the epitome of a Stryfe reskin – it even has the battery tray in the same place. However, they have added a stock (so you do not have to!) and they have upgraded the trigger action noticeably.
The Doomlands styling does make the grips a bit small and this means that people with larger hands will probably struggle with holding it comfortably. For everyone else, this reworking of the Stryfe could be ideal, especially if you like the newer styling.
Recommended if you like the idea of a Stryfe with a stock and a better trigger action.
An excellent reskin of the Stryfe, as long as you have relatively small hands (ie you are not an adult like me!)
NERF N-Strike Elite Modulus
NERF N-Strike Elite Modulus is the epitome of a Stryfe reskin. I mentioned that the Stryfe can be customized but you can change this one so many different ways straight from the box!
So if you like what NERF have done with the styling options here, this could be the perfect way to get what you want without having to visit third parties for mod kits
A great bit of kit if you wanta ton of options stright from the box
Nerf Elite Stockade
The Nerf Elite Stockade is slightly different in that it runs a revolver style cylinder rather than a magazine. This means that you can be reloading from the front and still able to defend yourself. This is something that is a big benefit in tighter NERF war areas or where you have to do a lot of scavenging for ammo.
I like this blaster and have used it without a stock as a secondary. Added to this is one of the best of the NERF stocks – it is well shaped, sturdy and lets you store 10 darts.
All in all the Stockade is a really good semi-auto blaster with good amounts of ammo on tap. While reloading a magazine is always going to be faster for a complete reload, the ability to quickly scavenge in tight spots is a real bonus.
Good ammo store, front loading and with an excellent stock makes the Stockade a good potential choice
Nerf Elite 2-in-1 Demolisher
The Nerf Elite 2-in-1 Demolisher is another take on the Stryfe mechanicals, but this time, as well as adding a pretty good stock it also comes with a missile-firing attachment!
The missile is a nice touch, as it gives you something you can fire when you are reloading. It is especially good in games where you get different points for different ammo – some give double points for larger ammo like this or the MEGA, so this makes it an excellent choice for those games!
The front looks bulky but in reality, it is pretty comfortable and I also like the stock more than the Desolator’s, so I like it.
You get a semi-auto with a single shot back-up and a nice stock – not a bad combo!
Semi automatic blasters are a great choice, providing a great compromise between the awesome fire rates of the latest NERF machine guns and the ammo conservation of spring-powered blasters.
All of the blasters I have listed above are great, however, the Stryfe has always had a special place and I thoroughly recommend it as a great place to start if you just want a semi-auto blaster.
However if you are slightly older, then the Rival Hera is the best performer here, so get it if you can find a sensible price.
The others all add little twists on the Stryfe theme. Of these, the Stockade has a front-loading barrel, which can be great in games where you have to scramble around for ammo as it is much easier and faster to load than a mag.
The Demolisher gives you a stock and the ability to fire a hand-pumped missile, great in games where you get different points for different ammo!
Finally we have the Doomlands Desolator, essentially a Stryfe with a stock and Doomland looks, which is no bad thing and I have found this selling very cheaply before, so it can make a great buy.