- Most can be fixed with indirect heating from a hair dryer or hot water.
- To fix nerf darts, there are many cheap and effective options to choose from that only require household items
- Some darts that have tears or worse wear may require replacing
While Nerf is a cheap alternative to other forms of mock warfare, many people can go even further in their money saving by fixing faulty darts at home.
More extensive damage like rips or tears require replacements, but a loose dart only calls for materials you can find in your bathroom or kitchen.
Some methods work better than others, but all of them use indirect heat to shrink the darts back to their original shape. The secret is avoiding too much heat which can melt the darts.
How Do I Avoid Melting My Darts?
Nerf darts are made of closed cell foam, which over time expands. This can lead to a loose dart that doesn’t fit snugly into its barrel compartment.
Too much heat can melt or deform your darts, so the two ways to fix them try to transfer quick indirect heat through water or air on it to avoid this.
Using a hairdryer is probably the most popular method, because most people have on laying around the house.
First you set your dryer to a low-medium heat (This can change depending on the dryer you have, so start low and go from there).
Second you will want to find a pillowcase, and put the faulty darts into the bottom of the case. Point the dryer into the opposite top-half and let it circulate hot air for a few seconds–no longer than 30.
It’s important you don’t close the pillow case, let the air catch inside it like a windsock so that it circulates out as it goes in.
After the darts have cooled for about a minute, test them in the gun to see if they have tightened their grip in the barrel.
This link gives a visual tutorial if you follow that style of tutorial better.
Pot of Water Method
This method is very similar to the dryer, although it is less commonly used because water exposure over time creates limp bullets.
Simply take a pot of water, bring it to just barely a boiling temperature. Take a pair of tongs and quickly dip the foam side of the dart into the water.
This only takes 1-2 seconds because of the high temperature.
The more direct heat of this quick fix can be damaging, so make sure you only hold the foam side of the dart in the water for a few seconds at most.
Lay your newly shrunk darts onto a towel to dry and cool for a few minutes. Once they are cool to the touch, you can test them out in your gun.
Nerf dart tips falling off or peeling velcro are not uncommon problems, and are easily fixed with some hot glue.
The trick here is to let the glue cool for just a few seconds before applying it, or else you risk leaving melted pits on the foam. To avoid this, use a toothpick or other applying device to first put the glue on, then spread.
This can take some practice but may end up being worth it if you buy specialty tipped darts like the velcro ones.
It should be noted that bonding adhesives like super glue can melt your foam, so stick to your classic hot glue or elmers glue.
Damage Prevention and Dart Care
While dart damage is unavoidable, you can take steps to ensure you are getting the best life out of your darts.
Don’t leave your darts laying around where they can be stepped on or otherwise mishandled. You can double your darts life simply by storing it in a safe place until use.
Make sure to remove all darts from their barrels when you finish playing. Due to them being made to fit snugly, leaving them in compresses the foam faster and leads to loosely fitted darts.
While you can boil your dart quickly to help it fix, it’s recommended to use the hair dryer method first.
Any moisture can lead to limp darts, which even if they do fit snugly in the barrel, tend to show poor performance; always store them in a dry area.
How Long are my Darts Effective
Because they are a cell foam structure, darts start degrading from their very first shot.
If you are looking for peak effectiveness, at around 50 shots, a nerf dart will mostly permanently be performing at a lower standard from then on compared to when they were fresh out of the box.
Most professional players opt to buy all new rounds before private matches to keep top performance out of their gear. This isn’t necessary, but shows just how quickly darts lose their speed and accuracy.
When you maintain your darts with one of the quick fixes, it can give you a couple extra outing’s out of their usable life. In addition to the convenience, this can save you considerable money if you play nerf often.
In the long run, all darts eventually hit their stride.
There’s only so much you can do to keep your darts working, and repeated fixing slowly decreases functionality. If your dart is ripped or limp, sometimes the best option really is to just retire them and buy some new ones.
Nerf’s website has all of their dart’s for sale, but if you are looking for a bulk deal, amazons 1000 piece deal is probably the best you will find for the N-strike elite series.
Ultimately, you can decide when you want to retire your bullets; if you are simply buying Nerf for your kid, then speed/accuracy only matters to a certain point.
Just have fun and if you notice your darts aren’t performing to your liking, these DIY fixes may help them get back to working order. Otherwise, replace as needed and enjoy the game!
If you are interested, here is a link to everything Nerf on Amazon.