Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

How to mod a Nerf gun: An illustrated beginner’s guide to the Hammershot

Here's how an expert does it

Luke Goodman holding a Nerf blaster
Luke Goodman

Some toys are meant to be wielded by adults. Take Nerf blasters, for example, which have seen a resurgence in recent years. Grown men are gradually immersing themselves back into the hobby and making hands-on modifications that level up the range and speed of the toys’ darts. These folks have been bringing their creations to 500-person Nerf games hosted in cities across the country.

If you’ve always wanted to mod your 1990s-era Lock ‘n’ Load or SuperMAXX 3000, do it today. While Nerf modding may be an intimidating craft for newbies, we sat down with the surgeon general of Nerf modifications, Luke Goodman, to learn the basics of modding a Nerf blaster and step-by-step instructions for a beginner-friendly mod: the Hammershot. You may also check out our list of the best Nerf guns for adults.

The Hammershot Nerf gun, Nerf darts, screwdrivers, spring, and lubricant on a wooden table.
Luke Goodman

‘The surgeon general of Nerf mods’

Goodman is a former filmmaker who took a hairpin career turn away from cinematography. Today, the he runs an online shop and Nerf modification YouTube Channel called Out of Darts. Goodman also wrote the first-ever bible of Nerf mods, The Nerf Blaster Modification Guide: The Unofficial Handbook for Making Your Foam Arsenal Even More Awesome, released by Voyageur Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group.

Growing up with a love of paintball, Goodman found out the hidden wonders of the Nerf world as an adult while playing with his cousins’ new Nerf blasters. He went on YouTube to find a good model to buy for himself and unearthed a growing community of people modifying and playing. After tinkering, a trait he acquired from his engineer father, with a few Nerf models, Goodman came up with a few novel modifications like an air blaster that holds 1,200 rounds and shoots 15 rounds a second. He became the go-to source for all Nerf mod inspiration, suggestions, and — after selling his 15-gallon home-brewing set for a 3D printer — even the parts themselves. Between his YouTube channel, shop, and book, Goodman has facilitated an easy (and safe) entry into starting Nerf modification.

Rival Nemesis Nerf Gun
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Why you should get into Nerf mods

“There’s nothing better than taking something into your own hands and improving it — taking something old and making it new,” Goodman told The Manual. “For both kids and adults, getting them off video games, working with their hands, and interacting with the community can happen through Nerf.”

“There’s nothing better than taking something into your own hands and improving it.”

Plus, Goodman says, you’ll find a Nerf community anywhere you go.

“Every college campus has a Nerf group and the games are getting bigger and bigger, with something like 300 people gathering in California to play recently, and over 800 in Ohio. A record-setting Nerf game in Texas brought together 2,289 players in 2016 … and that engagement isn’t slowing down, especially with the popularity of Humans vs. Zombies, an interactive, real-world Nerf game that takes place across entire cities where you pretend you’re surviving the apocalypse.” (Nerf games operate under the honor system since there’s no marking left by the foam darts.)

NERF Zombie Strike Hammershot Blaster.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to mod a Nerf gun

Buying Goodman’s book is the simplest way to begin Nerf mods. The NERF Blaster Modification Guide walks you through terminology, how blasters work, various types of mods, all the tools you’ll need, and five real step-by-step modifications.

The cover of The Nerf Blaster Modification Guide by Luke Goodman.
Voyageur Press

The most attention-catching, albeit difficult, Nerf mods are “electric.” Beginners should start with a “springer” mod, the most common upgrade. According to Goodman, the blaster is opened and the plunger tube is removed.

“The easiest mod to get wrong is an Electric mod because you can burn out components,” Goodman said. “For Springers, you can also commonly put too much spring in if you get too greedy and the plastic will break.”

Goodman gives us an exclusive step-by-step springer modification for the Nerf Hammershot ($21) below, which you won’t find in his book.

Hammershot Nerf Modification Tutorial
Luke Goodman

Nerf Hammershot mod

Goodman calls the Hammershot “one of the best entry-level Springers and a great, relatively simple blaster.” The five-shot front-loader can be operated with one hand and is insanely popular at the higher Nerf level as a sidearm in Humans vs. Zombies. Here’s how to make it badass.


  • Stock Hammershot: 55 fps (feet per second)
  • After the upgrade: 70 fps; range increased by 20 feet


  • #0 screwdriver
  • Small flathead screwdriver
  • Upgrade spring for the Hammershot (just buy it online because going to a local hardware store for Nerf mods is almost impossible)
  • Optional Super Lube or white lithium grease/silicon lubricant to lubricate the O-ring
Hammershot Nerf Modification Tutorial Step 1
Luke Goodman


Step 1

Remove all 12 shell screws and set them aside in the shape of the blaster to remember where each goes. Or leave the screws in the shell that you remove and set aside.

Hammershot Nerf Modification Tutorial Step 2
Luke Goodman

Step 2

Remove the firing mechanism.

A pair of hands removing the orange cap of the Hammershot.
Luke Goodman

Step 3

Carefully pry the two tabs to remove the orange cap. Pry back the two tabs carefully to get access to the AR (air restrictor).

A pair of hands removes the orange cap and spring of the Hammershot.
Luke Goodman

Step 4

Remove this small orange tab (the Air restrictor) and small spring. Discard these two pieces. Removing this will allow more airflow to the dart to take advantage of the upgraded spring. After removing this, you’ll want to avoid dry firing (firing without a dart). Remove the spring and AR, then close the cap back up.

A hand uses a screwdriver to reinstall the orange cap of the Hammershot.
Luke Goodman

Step 5

Reinstall the orange cap.

A hand holds a screwdriver to remove the screws.
Luke Goodman

Step 6

Unscrew the three black screws.

Hands pulling out the Hammershort's hammer mechanism and plunger.
Luke Goodman

Step 7

Pull out the hammer mechanism and plunger.

The plunger tube becomes lubricated with Super Lube.
Luke Goodman

Step 8

Lubricate the plunger tube with Super Lube or silicon grease.

A hand holds a screwdriver to reinstall the screws.
Luke Goodman

Step 9

Reinsert the plunger tube and replace the white plate. Replace the three screws.

A close-up of a spring and a screwdriver.
Luke Goodman

Step 10

Flip the plunger/trigger assembly over to confirm your spring is still in place. If not, replace it as pictured.

A pair of hands holding the shell of the Hammershot and an upgraded spring.
Luke Goodman

Step 11

Install the upgraded spring.

A pair of hands holding the Hammershot wit the trigger mechanism intact.
Luke Goodman

Step 12

Replace the trigger mechanism back into the shell.

A pair of hands holding the shell of the Hammershot while tightening the screw with a screwdriver.
Luke Goodman

Step 13

Replace the left shell and tighten all the screws. Congrats! You’ve finished. Load the blaster and test fire!

Man with Nerf Gun
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Is it legal to mod a Nerf gun?

The short answer is yes. It is completely legal to mod a Nerf gun, provided you’re not modifying the gun to fire live ammunition, explosives, or other dangerous objects, but modifying it to shoot standard Nerf darts is OK.

According to information from the Nerf Fandom website, Hasbro, the company that owns Nerf, is officially against mods due to safety and liability concerns, and it will not offer support to modified Nerf guns. The company defines modding as altering the internal mechanism of the gun in any way or repainting the gun.

Speaking of painting, there is one more factor that you should consider. While it’s tempting to paint your Nerf blaster to look more like a real weapon, in many parts of the country, that’s illegal. Most toy guns, including Nerf guns, are sold with orange-colored barrels and/or muzzles, so police can easily tell what is a toy gun and what is a real gun. Altering a toy gun to remove the orange safety colors is illegal in some states, and even if it’s not illegal, it can be very unsafe.

So feel free to modify that Nerf gun to your heart’s content; just make sure you do it safely.

Nate Swanner
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Nate is General Manager for all not-Digital-Trends properties at DTMG, including The Manual, Digital Trends en Espanol…
How NASA trained astronauts using a really cool waterslide and a ‘rubber room’
NASA wanted to get the astronauts to safety in a fun way — with a giant waterslide
Space Shuttle Challenger launching from Launchpad 39.

Everyone gets that thrill when watching astronauts take off for an exploration into space. We all turn into little kids and get that wonder in our eyes. And while no one wants to see it, there's that little voice in the back of your head asking what if the rocket exploded, and how would the astronauts escape to safety? Well, those are probably intrusive thoughts in the heads of the people in the shuttle, so NASA gave astronauts a way to put their minds at ease with a secret rubber room below their launchpad, and the way to get there is a little whimsical.

The launchpad with the surprise bunker
As with anything weird or unusual, this takes place in Florida, at the site of Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39, also known as Launchpad 39, on Merritt Island. The complex was built in the 1960s for the Apollo Program during the Space Race, and would later be tweaked for the Space Shuttle Program.

Read more
Babe Ruth explains how to swing a baseball bat in this incredible 90-year-old-video
Hitting a baseball is hard, but Babe Ruth makes it look easy
babe ruth swinging a bat

We all know that hitting a baseball is not as easy as it may seem. You've got to be incredibly precise, and given the speeds that your average fastball hits, you have a remarkably narrow window to actually hit the ball. What's also true, though, is that people have been swinging bats at balls for more than 100 years, and for a lot of that time, the best hitters have been getting paid quite a bit to do it.

One of the best hitters of all time was undoubtedly Babe Ruth, and in a recently resurfaced video, he offers a pretty succinct explanation of two different types of hitting. As the Great Bambino explains, there were two popular styles of hitting at the time. The first was called "choke-hitting," and the second "swing-hitting."

Read more
Incredible video shows how hard it is for MLB players to actually hit a baseball
There's a lot of physics involved
baseball on pitchers mound

Playing any sport at a high level comes with the kinds of challenges that very few people are capable of meeting. That's why athletes get paid so well — they're capable of doing things that the average person simply can't. Among all the incredible feats that athletes accomplish, though, one of the most astonishing happens every time a batter steps up to the mound to try and hit a ball in the MLB.

Even the best hitters in baseball only successfully record a hit on two of every five of their mound appearances, and that's because hitting a ball well requires incredible precision. The video below, which was created by Business Insider, shows just how little room for error a batter has when they're about to take a swing at a pitch.

Read more