Nerf Gun Modifications Can Be Dangerous

Send Your Tips To Pam Zekman

CHICAGO (CBS) – Nerf guns are one of the most popular toys on the market. But on Internet sites, enthusiasts are modifying their weapons to make them shoot farther and more forcefully. As CBS 2 Investigator Pam Zekman reports, they could be dangerous.

On one YouTube video, for example, a consumer shows how to make one of the battery-operated Nerfs more powerful.

“We’re going to be messing with the voltage now,” he says.

He switches the batteries and demonstrates how it works.

There are detailed instructions of all kinds available on various websites.

That’s how 12-year-old Kenny Oostman learned how to modify his Nerfs. He showed us how he removes air restrictors, adds a spring, and hot glues metal washers with pads over them to his foam darts.

“To make it weighted so it goes farther, and the felt tip is to make it so it doesn’t hurt as much,” Kenny said.

With the changes, the darts fly three times farther, about 75 feet.

“He’s really exploring the principles of physics, as well as being creative and inventive, and I think that that’s good,” said Kimm Oostman, Kenny’s mother.

Many kids of all ages bring their modified toys to participate in Nerf wars. These organized events are well-regulated. Safety equipment is required, and there are restrictions on some modifications.

Modifications like the ones we found shown in various YouTube videos are not allowed at a Nerf war we attended. On those videos, you see kids shoving push pins and sewing needles inside darts so the pointed ends stick out.

“Really painful,” comments one kid.

So are thumbtacks glued to the dart tips of another Nerf model that the user shoots into someone’s arm.

None of those types of modifications are allowed at the Nerf war we attended that was organized by Brian Vasquiz. He knows from experience how dangerous they can be. Years ago, Vasquiz says he was knocked out by a modified dart that hit him on the side of his head.

“It was covered with hot glue and a slingshot weight inside the foam,” said Vasquiz.

Users have reported “getting shot in the eye,” and one said, “almost blinded.”

To avoid injury, Nerf’s manufacturer warns on the packaging and the toys not to modify the darts or the guns.

But users are ignoring the warning. We showed some of the YouTube videos to Nancy Cowles, Executive Director of Kids in Danger, a children product safety advocate.

“Just knowing that the possibility is out there will help parents pay more attention to the product, and to make sure that it’s being used in the correct way,” Cowles said.

Another incorrect use: painting any toys black so they could be mistaken for real guns, as shown by a young boy in another YouTube video.

“Even with that little, tiny orange tip,” said Cowles commenting on the painted toy in the video, “the additional danger that this child is going to face is if a cop on a dark night sees him with that gun.”

As for the Oostman household, none of the dangerous modifications we found — such as adding pins, tacks or needles to the foam darts — are allowed. But what about the modifications that are allowed?

Kimm Oostman said, “I can understand that companies for legal reasons and they’re afraid of lawsuits, need to put all kinds of warnings on their products.”

But she added: “I also think that Nerf would be happy to hear that there are people out there who love their toys and want to practice making them perform even better.”

Not really. In a written statement, a spokesman for Hasbro, the company that makes Nerf guns, says: “Safety is of utmost concern to the company.”

The company said, “Consumers should only use the foam darts designed for specific Nerf blasters and never modify the darts or the blasters.”

The company also says it believes “the overwhelming majority of consumers using Nerf products do so without modifying them to suit their own specifications.”

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  • Colin

    Congratulations, CBS Chicago. You have showed your complete lack of dedication to journalistic integrity by pretending a mother who does not understand or represent the Nerf Modification community can sufficiently provide a “balanced” argument. This is nonsense, even slander, and you are perfectly aware of it. Face the facts: as long as the concept of a “product” has existed, there have been people who tinker and improve them, and “liability” can do nothing to stop that. There is no danger here; none whatsoever. People who modify Nerf guns do so at their own risk, and are perfectly aware of that. You are shamelessly attempting to raise your ratings by causing a false uproar amongst parents who neither understand the situation nor will act rationally in the face of what they wrongfully perceive to be danger to their children. Act like a force for good for once, like you’re supposed to be. You should be ashamed.

    • R

      You are an idiot. No danger whatsoever? Just because modders are aware of what they are getting into that doesn’t mean the parent of a kid that is going to a “nerf” war knows hard bits of metal are flying at their kid and all that is separating him from a concussion is a thin piece of felt from a hardened projectile going 125 fps. And did you not read the quote from the mom in the piece? She thought it was great! So put your thesaurus and foil hat away Cigarette Smoking Man.

      • Ross

        Find me a Nerf gun that can shoot 125 feet per second, and find me a person who might be injured by a steel washer at that speed (which has less kinetic energy than dropping a baseball one foot- want to see the math?), and you might have a case.

      • Colin Miller

        wow you guys are retarted. these plastic toys throw bits of foam about 40 feet. thats not gonna kille your stupid little kid okay? plus anything that goes wrong when kids “mod” their “guns” is their own dam fault!!! if you arent comfortable with that as a parent then DONT BUY YOUR KID A DAM NERF GUN!!!!! and i have to agree with the other colin, this is a really sad way to raise ratings when the news company couldnt come up with any half-decent story.

      • nathan

        amen to that

    • Magic

      Colin, if this was a forum i would say
      I agree. A nerf gun is alot slower than airsoft, and airsoft is flying plastic. Get shot in the head from point blank it stings for a minute. Parents please don’t listen to this garbage!

  • giddy

    sweet I was unaware you could do this. Thanks CBS chicago for letting me know this was even possible. hey while you’re at it I’m looking to get really drunk and caffeinated all for really cheap, got any advice?

  • Mark Greenberg

    One thousand kids with nerf guns had no idea they could put needles or thumb tacks in their nerf bullets before they watched TV yesterday. Will CBS Chicago pay for the hospital bills these children cause? Who are the irresponsible people here, really?

  • R

    Stil metal bits, only they are flat or circular.

  • Lance

    yes I agree,my two sons and I are moders,and these nerf guns are the best we currently own 22 of them all different and all different colors. Check out all of our youtube videos next week.

    • lance

      there getting all over nerf what about airsoft or paintball i am not against them but they are more dangerous lol

  • Tim

    Would the author of this piece like to see nerf gun modification outlawed? Is it worth stifling a budding engineer for the sake of a few bruises?

  • John Stoner

    Where’s the expose about high school football injuries? Or kids being hit by cars? Cars are the leading cause of death for Americans age 3-34. 40,000 Americans a year.

    But people are used to that, so it’s harder to scare them with it. How much work do these people do to find things to scare people with? I mean, modified Nerf guns? Should the CDC track related injuries? How big is the problem?

    I needed to be reminded of why I got rid of my TV. Thanks. Local news is such trash.

  • MrGrinch

    pretty sweet! wish i was that smart when i was a kid… we just threw rocks at each other

  • Ross

    From shoulder height of, say, five feet, a free-falling object will hit the ground in about 1.75s. A dart traveling at 250 fps would, discounting air resistance, be expected to travel more than four hundred feet- fired flat. Of course air resistance is involved and would slow the dart, but that would also serve to keep the dart in the air longer. Quite simply, Nerf guns don’t shoot that hard, even modified.

    • kid

      and what about gravity?

  • Travis

    This is just total B.S. If you’re stupid enough to injure yourself with a Nerf gun, you deserve it. Kids will always find a way to injure each other for sport/recreation. My uncles shot at each other with pellet guns, do you think this is worse? And while I’m at it, you’re waaay more likely to get a “concussion” playing Football, or Baseball, or by saying the wrong thing to someone bigger than you. Quit making this worse than it is.

  • Collin

    first off, those guns aren’t even in productiuon any more and are very rare, second nerf modding is much MUCH less dangerous than airsoft or paintball, third homemades of that magnitude are only made by idiots, and are not regulated at any nerf war, and only a complete idiot would let themself get shot by such a thing, and fourth nerf is actually partnered with, one of the biggest, most popular nerf modding sites in th U.S. thank you very much.

    • Ryker Hull

      UHGGG……. nerf is still in production as far as i know

  • Jason Bornstein

    I really love how they try to make everything as negative as possible, in order to make parents think that there is false danger. I modify nerf darts all the time, and they left out a couple very important rules.

    Sling shot wieghted Darts, (like the ones that “knocked him out”) are banned. Even if they were allowed, they wouldn’t be able to do that unless fired from a titan, or other banned gun. I’ve been hit by them before, they don’t hurt that much.

    Second, the Majority of modders are on NHQ, which has a very low tolerance for stupid and dangerous idea’s, because we didn’t want anything like this to ever happen. We never wanted publicity.

    Third, In order to sign up for a Modding sight, you MUST be at least 13 years of age, all of teh idiots that the interviewed were clearly not old enough to join, adn broke international law by clicking “I have read and understand the Terms of Use.”

    • Rko

      Get shot with a slingshot weight out of a plusbow from fifty feet in the noggin’ and get back to us. I can see where that might happen. And that whole banning business only happened this year in il. Slingshot weights are still used through Canada and the east coast. That is how real men nerf!!

    • TD

      Clearly grammar is not your strongpoint. The news article talks about the possible dangers of modding. The sites are all accessible WITHOUT NEEDING A MEMBERSHIP. Parents need to act like parents and keep an eye on their kids so they don’t lose one.

      • Larry Stone

        @ TD I hope you notice that people can go to Wal mart pay 30 dollars and buy an air soft that can shoot plastic or METAL BB’s. How fast do you think it shoots?…..How about 300 F.P.S. Witch in my opinion is twice..No three times as dangerous then an airsoft gun. There are videos on youtube that show how to build Bombs and guns even pornography is on this site. Most of the nerf wars they check the darts before war-ing checking for needles and thumbtacks and what-nots . So your point has been shot down stop being a flaming troll on people who just do this as a hobby.

      • A. Matale

        actually stock airsoft pistols shoot 300 as standerd. airsoft guns shoot plastic, BB guns shoot metal. BB guns are the lethal. airsoft=capgun, BB= TANK. just thought id clear that up

  • Mr BadWrench

    Stupidity has been around much longer than Nerf blasters. Just because someone posts a video of something unsafe on the tube does not mean everyone who has one of these devices is involved in the same stupid acts.

    • NightFire1555

      people that have paint ball and air soft wars moddify the guns to shoot over 200ft.Now how safe is that!!FIND ME ON THE FORUMS PEOPLE

  • Will

    Modifying a nerf blaster takes a level of intelligence that come on par (mostly) with the level of responsibility needed to play. If the kid is too young he will very likely BREAK his blaster rather than make it a ‘dangerous weapon’. If we want to whine about aring little kids, shouldnt we be yelling at parents who buy hi-fps airsoft rifles for their 10 yr olds?
    Kids will always find ways f hurting themselves- don’t ruin the fun of the mature nerfers for the pocket of morons present in any hobby!

  • RazgrizInferno

    Once again, a local news network shows themselves to be nothing more than dishonest alarmists.

    Bravo, CCBS. You’ve succeeded in reminding me why I no longer watch TV.


    i myself love nerf but do not mod them because i dont have the equipment to but how can the kids quote on quote little friend be mistaken for a real gun it has an orange tip ok so deal with it you just do not like nerf

  • LGLF Online - Freeing Lawn Gnomes From Oppression Since 2002 » The Road to Bad PR is Paved With Good Intentions

    […] and Nerf Modders have gotten some (arguably) bad press lately, and the reaction has been, for the most part, “That’s what you get for talking […]

  • Coop

    There are videos on YouTube instructing people how to make bombs, guns, and other LETHAL items. Why are you guys wasting time insulting our hobby with this nonsense? We can’t sue Hasbro due to their printed warning and we take safety precautions to avoid injury, so I don’t see any problems.

    But, I’m sure you sparked interest in the hobby if any kids were watching the news. So THANKS!

  • Forsakenarchangel24

    Why don’t you guess just leave us and our hobby alone. Yes we do know of all of the dangers but we ALWAYS take precautions and do have strict regulations on what can be used in Nerf wars that we host. Just because some of the stupid idiotic kids out there do idiotic stuff doesn’t mean that you have to insult all of us who do know what we are doing. Even though we are going against Hasbro’s warnings, they still send info to heads of our forum websites such as because they appreciate that we are buying there products.

    • Tyler Maginnis

      i agree

    • Bob

      It’s not nerf blasters that hurt people it’s idiots that make death darts that hurt people. I completely agree with you. How come there is no one that supports this video responding, it’s because they know they would get beat in an argument. I don’t think i’ve ever seen a news video that supports nerf blaster modded or not. It’s just sad.

  • Tyler Maginnis

    i have been modding for over 2 years and you guys don’t truly get the modding family…our goal is not too hurt the other player (un like some people) but too just have…when i play i never aim abovr the shoulders and i’m never point blank range…and you make the voltage thing sounld so “BAD” when all it does is shoot faster…and that guns a spring gun any way mainly air powered or the longshot are used in wars…well i know i’m only 15 but still nerf is safer then arosoft or paint ball…and no one will even care what i say…and the guy with the Stampede yeah i have followed his work for awhile and he makes guns that he knows are over powered and he would refuse too use them in a war or another person…you guys didn’t get the modders point of veiw so yeah have fun with your stoties

  • Dylan Sy

    This is dumb. Why are u CBS people doing this? Nerf i mean yeah, your not supposed to modify them, but its more fun modifying it because some guns only shoot like 3-30 feet which is no fun. we like to shoot from far away because its is fun like real guns but not to hurt anyone. im not trying to say it is ok for a idiotic child to break their gun.

  • Edible

    I really think it’s stupid how negetive this is. All we do is modify these to have fun, and even if we were told we can’t modify anymore, Homemades would just become more popular, and I guarantee any homemade will out-range an actual nerf gun all day. When we participate in nerfs wars, We no the rules, and we know the risks. The press needs to shut up and calm the hell down.

  • John

    I’m A modder myself. I admit, i’ve done all kinds of dangerous mods, but increasing range and power wont hurt anyone. It never has, never will. I think Hasbro should take into account that kids are modding for a reason. They aren’t good enough. Maybe hasbro should make them better to start with.

  • Leon Alfonso Masso-Diaz

    Airsoft goes over 300 miles per second, and your saying this is bad? This is educational. Isnt that what all the parents want? Something that’s fun and educational. Well guess what, we mod when we want to, Sure some idiots go and put pushpins in their darts, well experienced modders just cut the dart in half or make their own darts that dont have points. So go bother some other people. We’re perfectly safe at Nerf wars and yes I do realize im 12 but I know what im doing unlike some idiots. So go buzz off you idiots.

  • Merzlin

    You morons need to leave us alone I agree with coop and forsakenangel

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