Like any other hobby, the jargon in nerf, blaster tag, and foam-flinging can get confusing to beginners – and, admittedly, veterans as well. Naturally, we borrow many words, acronyms, and initialisms from other shooting sports, video games, and pop culture; still, others come from inside the hobby itself.
On this page, we've collected as many of these words as we could and defined them in this glossary. We also threw some common 3D printing terms in here while we're at it. The terms are listed in alphabetical order, but you can use your browser's find feature to quickly locate a term you're looking for.
Can you think of something we're missing? Shoot us an email, and we'll consider adding it in the future!
0.50 Caliber / 0.50 Cal
1. A class of foam ammo, 1/2" (12.7mm) in diameter, that includes full-length darts, half-length darts, and foam paintball rounds. Generally, if a blaster can fire one type of .50 cal foam ammo, it will take minimal modification to fire a different kind of .50 cal ammo.
2. Foam paintball rounds with the same diameter as full-length and half-length darts.
1. The size specification number of a brushed DC motor with the form factor of a typical stock flywheel blaster or slot car. Some upgraded brushed DC motors are also available in this size.
1. The size specification number of a brushed DC motor with an atypical form factor slightly different from a stock flywheel blaster. These motors are less common, but some Worker motors are available in this size.
1. The size specification number of a brushed DC motor. Some upgraded motors are available in this form factor, and may require shell cutting to fit the longer motor cans in a blaster.
1. The size specification number of a brushed DC motor common in stock Rival and Hyper flywheeler pusher mechanisms. Because of their larger size, they are more difficult to replace than other stock blaster motors.
1. The size specification numbers of brushed DC motors. Most Nerf Rival blasters use a 360 size, while 370 and 380 are longer variants. Because of their larger size, they are more difficult to replace than other stock blaster motors.
1. The size and strength specification of a spring common in modded and 3D-printed blasters. A 788 is weaker than a K26 but stronger than many stock blaster springs.
1. The size specification number of a rechargeable lithium battery with a similar form factor as a AA / LR6 alkaline battery.
1. The size specification number of a common rechargeable lithium battery. While less common in the hobby, some 3rd-party blasters come packaged with a 26650, and its larger form factor makes it a prime choice for many other applications.
1. A form of additive manufacturing where a machine heats or cures materials together to form a solid object. 3D printing comes in many different flavors, including FDM / FFF, SLA resin, and SLS nylon; all of these types of printing come with their own benefits and drawbacks.
1. Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene.
2. A type of thermoplastic common in injection molding and less common in 3D printing. Most injection-molded blasters will be made with ABS.
1. See “Rev Trigger.”
1. A production process that builds layers of material together to produce an object. Additive manufacturing, like 3D printing, can be quicker and produce less waste than other processes, which is why many of our in-house products are 3D-printed.
AEB / AEG
1. Automatic Electric Blaster / Automatic Electric Gun.
2. A springer blaster which is primed with an electric motor. This allows a blaster to combine the rate of fire and repeatability of a flywheeler with the accuracy and performance of a springer.
1. Angled ForeGrip.
2. A blaster foregrip or pump grip with a position neither parallel nor perpendicular to the barrel. Usually, this angle is more natural to hold or prime than a vertical or horizontal foregrip.
2. A unit of battery size or capacity (How many hours can a battery last under a constant load of 1 ampere). This unit is less common in the hobby than its smaller sibling, milliamp-hours (mAh).
1. A lightweight metal (and its associated alloys) commonly used in CNC, milling, and casting. Its low cost and ease of manufacture make it great for barrels, ramrods, and other blaster hardware.
1. A blaster which uses a pressure tank, a manual pump, and a release valve to propel foam out of the barrel. Air blasters are an older type of design but have been a favorite of modders to tinker with. See “XBZ.” The Elite 2.0 Motoblitz and power plungers/drain blasters are also notable examples of air blasters.
1. See “AEB / AEG.”
1. American Wire Gauge.
2. A standard measurement of the diameter of electrical wire, at least in North America. Counterintuitively, a lower number equals thicker wire; it comes from how many times the wire has been passed through a drawing die to make it thinner.
1. The act of safely charging a LiPo battery while monitoring the voltage in each cell.
1. A wire terminal on a LiPo battery that is used to monitor and diagnose the voltage of each cell. This is almost always a JST connector, and it’s what you plug a LiPo alarm into when the battery is in use.
BCAR / Bearing SCAR
1. Bearing Centering and Rotation.
2. A barrel attachment using specially shaped bearings to impart spin on darts as they leave the barrel, increasing accuracy. Because it uses bearings instead of monofilament fishing line or 3D-printed grooves, a BCAR promises less drag on the dart than traditional SCARs and PCARs.
1. Any type of foam melee weapons, like Buzz Bee swords and pool noodles. A Boffer War usually only involves foam melee and no blasters at all.
1. Bill of Materials.
2. A list of hardware and supplies required to build a design, kit, or product. All of our complete hardware kits are double-checked against a printed bill of materials, and it can be helpful when organizing parts for your build.
1. An alloy of copper and zinc used for various purposes and applications. In the hobby, brass tubing is known for tight seals around 0.50 cal darts, making it perfect as a barrel material in springers.
1. Charge/Discharge rate.
2. How fast the battery delivers continuous voltage and current to a circuit. A higher C rating in a LiPo will spin your blaster’s flywheels up faster even if the voltage and capacity is the same as another battery pack.
1. Computer-Aided Design
2. An application which makes and modifies shapes to make both structural and aesthetic designs. With the help of a slicer, CAD programs like Autodesk Fusion 360 make 3D printing and CNC designs possible.
1. See “Flywheel Cage.”
1. The maximum velocity a game or group allows a blaster to shoot, usually listed with FPS value before.
e.g., “PaNNC has a 150 Cap at their games, so my unmodded Aeon Pro should be fine.”
1. A part in a springer blaster that holds the plunger in its primed state until the trigger mechanism releases it.
Chrono / Chrony
1. See "Chronograph."
1. From chrono- meaning time and -graph meaning to record: a calibrated electronic device that calculates muzzle velocity.
2. The act of measuring a blaster's muzzle velocity.
1. A rectangular self-contained ammo unit that uses an indexing system to load foam ammo into the barrel to be fired. This is rarely seen in the hobby, but both Nerf and X-Shot have made separate (and incompatible) clip systems for various blasters.
1. Computer Numerical Control
2. An automated tool, usually a router, which cuts out material precisely using a predetermined path. Think of CNC as a cousin to 3D printing, where it takes away material instead of adding to it.
1. Chlorinated PolyVinyl Chloride
2. A popular barrel material in homemades and springer mods for its tighter inner diameter and better seal on 0.50 cal foam ammo than PVC.
1. See “Flywheel Crush.”
1. Close-Quarters Battles.
2. A category of game type with a smaller field and multiple points of cover.
1. A self-contained ammo unit that uses an indexing system to rotate and load rounds into the barrel to be fired.
1. Darts Per Second.
2. A dart-specific unit of Rate of Fire.
1. Firing a blaster without a foam projectile loaded. Many springer or stringer blasters can be damaged from dry-firing because parts of the plunger assembly slam into each other without the resistance a dart or ball would provide.
1. A battery-shaped conductor that connects two battery tray terminals without adding additional voltage to the circuit. These are essentially fancy wires often used to fill a battery tray; they can be used with IMRs to adjust the voltage in a circuit to get below an FPS cap.
1. Eye Protection
2. Glasses, goggles, or face shields primarily designed to guard eyes from foreign objects, like foam darts and sputtering solder. Whether you're at a game or modding in your garage, the use of proper eye pro is highly recommended if not virtually required.
FDM / FFF
1. Fused Deposition Modelling / Fused Filament Fabrication
2. A type of 3D printing that uses a heated nozzle and filament to extrude material into a solid shape layer by layer.
1. The material used in FDM / FFF 3D printing. Typically, this is a thermoplastic (like PLA), which is produced with a consistent diameter of 1.75mm and comes on 1kg (2.2 lbs) spools.
1. An internal part of a blaster that secures and stabilizes the flywheels to the body of the blaster.
1. The spacing between two counter-rotating flywheels, usually measured in mm. Generally, higher crush (smaller spacing) has more contact with the foam and can equal faster and more consistent performance.
1. The size and shape of the flywheels. Flywheels come in many different shapes and sizes: From full-sized bulldog wheels with a low concavity to the much smaller Nightingale wheels with higher concavity.
1. A blaster which uses motors and counter-rotating wheels to propel foam out of the barrel. Flywheels usually come in pairs called stages; blasters can come with up to 3 stages, but many consider a third stage excessive.
1. An internal part of a magazine that sits in between the spring and the foam ammo and helps consistent feeding.
1. Feet Per Second (how far a foam projectile can travel in one second).
2. A common unit of measuring the velocity of a blaster, at least in North America.
1. See "Cap."
1. A 0.50 caliber dart compatible with most stock blasters.
1. Full Vinyl Jacket
2. Knock-off full-length darts with a solid incompressible plastic tip. While the cheapest option at some online retailers, they hurt when being hit and can destroy flywheels and motors. Many clubs and games ban the use of FVJs and voberries for this reason.
1. See “Flywheel Geometry.”
1. See “Short Dart.”
1. High Airflow Manual Plunger / Hand-Actuated Manual Pump
2. A blaster which uses a plunger system and human effort to propel foam out of the barrel. HAMPS usually involve some larger projectile, like missiles or Mega XL.
1. The absolute maximum velocity a game or group allows a blaster to shoot. Usually, a game with hard and soft caps will chronograph a blaster, and if even one shot reads over the hard cap, that blaster cannot be used in that game.
1. A tab or bit of material located in the top of the barrel of a rival or hyper blaster, imparting backspin and improving range and accuracy.
1. Archaic. An old-school blaster designed from hardware store parts like PVC.
2. Informal. All custom/community-designed blasters more broadly, including contemporary 3D-printed blasters.
1. High-Pressure Air.
2. A type of air blaster, which uses a tank of compressed air or CO₂ stored at hundreds of PSI. HPA is relatively new in the hobby, and many clubs and events ban their use.
1. Heat-Treatable PLA / High-Temperature PLA.
2. PLA filament that can be heat treated for higher temperature resistance. Nearly all of our filament from Proto-Pasta is HTPLA.
1. Humans versus Zombies.
2. A common large-scale foam-flinging gametype involving one or more factions of humans with blasters trying to survive against increasing numbers of zombies with foam melee. This gametype is typically played on and around university campuses, and rules, FPS caps, and special zombie roles vary regionally.
1. Archaic. A custom, handmade blaster from hardware store parts, primarily PVC and CPVC tubing. This includes classic designs like the Rainbow Pistol, Pump SNAP, and + Bow.
1. A gravity-based feeding system that loosely contains the foam ammo and aligns individual rounds with the barrel to be fired. This is a broad category that includes everything from RSCBs and wye hoppers to the feeding mechanism of some rival and hyper blasters (including our Proton Pack).
1. Inner Diameter
2. The width measurement of the inside of springer barrels and plunger tubes. Usually, the inner diameter is the exact outer diameter of the foam projectile so that it can seal around the dart properly and propel it out of the barrel.
1. Lithium-ion Manganese Rechargeable.
2. A type of Lithium-ion cell, usually packaged in a 14500- or 26650- sized format. 14500-sized IMRs offer a higher voltage (3.7V) and a higher discharge rate than alkaline cells while still fitting inside stock blaster battery trays. IMRs are considered somewhat safer than LiPos, but still have some drawbacks (like a lower energy density)
1. In 3D printing, the structure added into a shape to add strength and stability to a part. Some smaller parts may have 100% infill and no discernable pattern, while larger parts can be designed with a patterned infill that uses less plastic without compromising the strength of the product.
1. A barrel or attachment with a progressively narrower inner diameter so that only the dart closest to the muzzle has enough of a seal to fire. Depending on the design, an inline clip can be "self-loading" with a lightweight spring, or it requires seating the next dart manually with a flick of the blaster.
1. A complex blaster mod that combines the shells and internals from two or more different stock blasters to achieve a desired look or performance. Some integrations involve making a "sleeper" mod that appears stock at first glance, while others cut and glue the shells together forming a unique one-of-a-kind blaster.
1. Japan Solderless Terminal.
2. A series of connectors common in LiPo balance terminals and MOSFET signal connectors.
K26 / K25 / other K-Series Springs
1. A group of part numbers relating to springs common in modded and 3D-printed blasters. These springs are some of the strongest available and are especially common in high-powered springers like the Caliburn, TalonClaw, and Lynx. Note: the “K” does not refer to the spring weight rating in kilograms (kgs).
LFP / LiFePO4
1. Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery
2. A type of Lithium-ion cell, usually packaged in a 14500- or 26650- sized format. LFPs offer a higher voltage (3.2V) and a higher discharge rate than alkaline cells but are considered safer than IMRs or LiPos. 14500-sized cells will fit inside stock blaster battery trays and, when paired with dummy cells, make for an instant performance upgrade for beginners.
1. See “IMR.”
1. Lithium-ion Polymer Battery.
2. A High-voltage, high-discharge battery pack made from polymer cells connected to a standard battery terminal connector (like XT-60). LiPos offer the highest energy density of any hobby battery but do require care when using and charging (see LiPo safety page).
1. Low-Pressure Air.
2. A type of air blaster that uses compressed air, either by manual pump or a small air compressor, and usually capped at below 100 PSI.
1. An object or event that motivates players to advance the plot or achieve another objective. A MacGuffin can be completely unimportant compared to the larger game objective, or it can be the thing you need to do once or more to achieve that objective.
Mag / Magazine
1. An ammo feeding system that uses a spring and a follower to load individual rounds into the barrel to be fired
2. A unit of battery size or capacity (How many hours can a battery last under a constant load of 1 thousandth (0.001 or 1/1000) of an ampere).
1. See “MacGuffin.”
2. The act of altering the appearance, function, or performance of a blaster.
1. Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistor.
2. A circuit board with components used to switch a circuit on and off without the operating voltage going through the switch. This kind of circuitry can assist by allowing the use of smaller diameter wire in tight spaces like a blaster’s grip.
1. A type of DC gear motor commonly used as a pusher motor in flywheel blasters.
1. Nerf Internet Community.
2. Archiac. The foam-flinging hobby, especially in spaces and forums like Nerf Haven and old-school games using homemade blasters.
1. A type of plastic used rarely in specialty 3D printers, like SLS printers.
1. Outer Diameter
2. The width measurement of the outside of springer barrels and plunger tubes. Outer diameter often determines compatibility with hardware replacements, SCAR barrels, and other accessories.
1. A rubber ring commonly used to create or improve an air seal in springers.
1. See “Polycarb.”
PCAR / Printed SCAR
1. Printed Centering and Rotation.
2. A barrel attachment using 3D-printed grooves or ridges to impart spin on the dart and improve accuracy.
1. See "-victus."
PETG / PET-G
1. PolyEthylene Terephthalate Glycol.
2. A popular thermoplastic used in 3D printing, which offers slightly different properties than PLA (like higher temperature resistance).
3. A once-common, lightweight barrel material with a looser fit than CPVC.
1. PolyLactic Acid.
2. A popular thermoplastic used in 3D printing made from fermented plant sugars. Out of Darts almost exclusively uses HTPLA from Proto-Pasta.
1. An internal part that interfaces with the spring and plunger tube to compress air into the barrel, propelling foam forward.
1. An internal part that interfaces with the spring and plunger rod to compress air into the barrel, propelling foam forward.
1. See "Air Blaster."
2. A type of thermoplastic used in injection molding and some 3D prints. Polycarb is known for its heat resistance, durability, and consistency, making it ideal for plunger tubes and high-crush cages alike.
1. Holes or vents at the end of a barrel that are designed to reduce turbulence and improve accuracy.
1. When the resting length of the spring before priming the blaster is shortened, usually by adding a spacer or a longer spring than designed to fit in the plunger tube. This increases the potential energy the spring will provide when the trigger is released but may make the blaster more difficult to prime or lower the life of the spring.
1. To compress the spring in the plunger tube so the blaster is ready to fire. This can be done by levers, gears, or directly interfacing with the plunger assembly.
1. Pounds per Square Inch.
2. A unit measuring air pressure in an HPA or LPA blaster, at least in North America.
1. In a springer, a tube connected to the plunger tube which guides a dart into the barrel after priming.
2. In a flywheeler, a mechanism actuated by the firing trigger, which pushes a foam projectile into the flywheels. Usually, this is a small rod linked to the trigger manually or powered by a pusher motor.
1. PolyVinyl Chloride.
2. A popular material in homemades and springer mods for parts that need to be strong or hold a certain amount of pressure. Many look for the “magic PVC,” which can join easily with CPVC, but few prevail.
1. To spin up the flywheels to their maximum RPM, so the blaster is ready to fire. This is usually done by pulling a secondary rev trigger before the firing trigger, but single two-stage triggers and single triggers on smart blasters are also common.
1. A secondary trigger, usually below the firing trigger, which powers the flywheels to spin up before firing the blaster.
1. Rate of Fire.
2. How many foam rounds a blaster can fire in a given amount of time (usually measured rounds or darts per second).
1. Revolutions Per Minute.
2. The rated speed of a DC motor when run with the rated voltage.
1. Rounds Per Second.
2. A generic unit of Rate of Fire meant to include non-dart foam projectiles (vortex, rival, hyper, etc).
1. Archaic. A once-common type of inline clip or hopper in homemade blasters named after the initials of its creators.
1. Cell Count.
2. How many cells a LiPo battery contains in series. Each LiPo cell is 4.2V when fully charged; common blaster LiPo cell counts and voltages include 2S (8.4V), 3S (12.6V), and 4S (16.8V).
1. String Centering and Rotation (backronym) / String-based Auto-Centering and Rotation barrel.
2. A barrel attachment using a string or monofilament fishing line to impart spin on the dart as it leaves the barrel, improving accuracy.
3. Informal. Any barrel attachment which imparts spin on the dart to improve accuracy.
1. The part of a springer blaster which interfaces or transfers movement from the trigger to the catch. This can be a separate linkage or a surface built into a single trigger part.
1. A 0.50 caliber dart with approximately half the length of a full-length “elite” dart.
1. In a springer, a part of the plunger assembly with a thinner profile, allowing for the insertion of magazines without priming the blaster.
1. A way springer blasters can increase the rate of fire without the use of a motor. Usually, this is actuated by holding the trigger down and repeatedly priming the blaster.
1. A programming interface that translates 3D shapes from a CAD file into machine-readable instructions for a 3D printer or other equipment. Some slicers, Like PrusaSlicer, can add and modify to the shapes and polygons in a pinch, in addition to changing the amount or shape of infill.
2. A type of 3D printing using a high-contrast screen of UV LEDs to partially cure layers of plastic from a reservoir of resin. Resin printers tend to render finer details and smaller parts than FDM at the cost of more material waste.
1. Selective Laser Sintering
2. A type of 3D printing using lasers to superheat powdered nylon. This form of 3D printing is extremely rare and expensive but does produce sturdy structural parts with a unique textured finish.
1. Smart Air Restrictor.
2. An internal valve system that automatically indexes and fires individual darts from multiple loaded barrels. This system is shared among brand-name Nerf products since they hold the patent for the Smart AR design.
1. The approximate maximum velocity a game or group allows a blaster to shoot. Usually, a game with hard and soft caps will chronograph a blaster, and even if one or two shots read over the soft cap, that blaster can still be used in that event.
1. Where the maximum velocity a game or group allows varies by blaster type to attempt to balance out any competitive advantage. A common split cap divides blasters into two categories: manual-powered (springers and stringers) and electronic (flywheelers and AEGs / AEBs).
1. A blaster which uses a spring and plunger system to propel foam out of the barrel. Springers usually are manual powered but sometimes can be primed with a motor (See “AEB / AEG”).
1. See "Spring Weight."
1. A manufactured piece, usually plastic, that increases spring precompression to tune the performance of a blaster.
1. The nominal force measurement of a compression spring, measured in kilograms (kg). Note: this does not correlate to the draw weight or compression weight when priming a springer blaster.
1. A set unit of flywheels. Usually, each stage is a pair of matching flywheels and motors which work in tandem to propel a dart forward. A second stage can match the next, or it can have a different configuration to achieve the desired performance.
1. Archaic. Modified or manufactured darts for homemade blasters.
2. Informal. All types of shortened .50 cal diameter foam darts.
1. A class of blasters that have a performance of less than 110 FPS.
2. Informal. An unmodified blaster regardless of its advertised performance.
3. The part of a blaster held to one’s shoulder for stability and leverage.
1. A blaster which uses a string or elastic to propel foam out of the barrel. Stringers can be integrated into a plunger system, like a springer, or they can apply force directly, more like a bow or crossbow.
1. A class of blasters that have a performance around 110-160 FPS. This includes “stock” Dart Zone Pro-Max blasters, modded blasters, and some community-designed blasters.
1. Tactical Gear
2. Any wearable bit of clothing or holders which keep yourself, your blasters and magazines safe and contained while on the field at a game. This can be as simple as some eye protection, a belt, and holster or as complex as a helmet and chest rig with MOLLE loops for various accessories.
1. See "-victus."
TrustFire / TF
1. A brand of lithium-Ion Manganese Rechargeable (IMR) battery cell, usually packaged in a 14500- or 26650- sized format. TF batteries are protected cells and promise explosion resistance.
1. A class of blasters that have a performance greater than 160 FPS. This includes some “stock” Dart Zone Pro-Max blasters, modded blasters, and some community-designed blasters.
1. See "Skinny Pusher."
1. Vertical ForeGrip.
2. A blaster foregrip or pump grip with a position perpendicular to the barrel.
-victus (Trivictus, Pentavictus, etc)
1. A suffix used in SCAR, PCAR, and BCAR barrel naming schemes indicating the number of strings or grooves, or rows of bearings a SCAR has.
e.g. "Sillybutts' Silly SCAR is a trivictus-style PCAR that can also shoot Mega XL."
1. Knock-off full-length darts with a hollow incompressible plastic tip. While the cheapest option at some online retailers, they hurt when being hit and can destroy flywheels and motors. Many clubs and games ban the use of FVJs and voberries for this reason.
1. Archaic-ish. A type of hopper using a PVC wye joint to load stefans into the barrel. In the days of PVC homemades, this was considered an improvement on earlier inline hoppers, like the RSCB. You can still occasionally find wye hoppers used in new blaster designs, like in the Why Tho Wye Bow.
1. A rubber ring used to create or improve an air seal in springers blasters. X-rings promise a better seal compared to the more common O-Ring, making it a more premium offering in some hobby kits.
1. Buzz Bee Air Warriors eXtreme Blast-Zooka
2. A beloved air blaster from the 2010s, which could easily be modded and minimized for mods. Notable Examples include Brett’s Sax-BZ and the precursor to the Little Rocket: XBZ Subs.
XT-30 / XT-60 / other XT-Series Connectors
1. A common type of Nylon LiPo battery terminal in foam-flinging, including the XT-60 and the XT-30. The Number after the “XT” indicates how much continuous current the connector is rated to provide (measured in Amperes).