For a list of all clip system-compatible blasters, see Category:Clip system blasters.
Nerf blasters under the "CS" or "ECS" systems are only compatible with Streamline Darts, Elite Darts, or Elite Suction Darts. With the N-Strike series being obsolete, many newer blasters do not use the CS number code in their names even when they operate with clips.
Clips have a spring-assisted follower which pushes the darts into the blaster's bolt when the chamber is open. In a spring powered blaster the priming mechanism usually opens and closes the bolt. Once the bolt is closed, the trigger can be pulled and the dart can be fired. Once the chamber opens again, it allows the clip's spring to push a new dart into the firing position. In a flywheel blaster, a conveyor system or a pusher mechanism shoves the dart into the flywheels. Then the clip's spring pushes another dart into the mechanism. The same thing happens with a conveyor system, but faster.
A small plastic nub protruding from the rear of the blaster's clip well is responsible for keeping clips in place when in the blaster. Sliding or depressing clip releases utilize springs to extend/retract this nub.
Some N-Strike clip system blasters feature a dart holder usually located inside the grip. Additionally, on some Spring powered blasters an extra dart can be muzzle loaded if placed with the priming mechanism back and the clip removed.
Clip and drum variations
The clip system features two forms of ammunition holders: clips and drums.
There are four different types of clips: the six dart clip, the ten dart clip, the twelve dart clip, and the eighteen dart clip.
A standard, six dart clip in both its N-Strike and N-Strike Elite variants can hold six darts and comes packaged with almost every clip system blaster. A ten dart clip comes in two forms: a straight clip, and a curved banana clip. Both the N-Strike and N-Strike Elite eighteen dart clips are straight-fed; the Rayven CS-18 includes a glow-in-the-dark-compatible Firefly Tech clip that can also hold eighteen darts.
The second ammunition holder type is the drum, which generally can hold more than clips. There are five different types of dart drums: eighteen, twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five, and fifty darts (the Alpha Trooper CS-18, Rampage, HyperFire, Titan CS-50, and Raider Rapid Fire CS-35, respectively). There was an earlier N-Strike variant of the fifty dart drum prototype for the Stampede ECS, but this variant of the drum was never produced or released.
Internal clip system
Main article: Internal clip system
Internal clips are types of non-removable clips that are built in to the blaster itself. The first modern internal clips were seen in the Speedload 6 and the Quick 16. Newer blasters with internal clips use the ICS number code designation, such as the Shadow ICS-6.
Electronic clip system
Main article: Electronic clip system
Electronic clip system blasters are a branch of clip system blasters that are electronically powered. Not all electronically powered clip system blasters use the ECS number code (e.g. the RapidStrike CS-18).
An inherent advantage with the clip system is that it allows Nerfers to hold varying amounts of ammunition in a single, quick-detach container. From the prevalent six dart clip to the thirty-five dart drum, darts that would have to normally be tediously loaded one-by-one into the blaster's internal clip can now be instantly replenished with a simple clip change.
The clip system also benefits from utter prevalence in the Nerf product lineup. Nearly all large N-Strike blasters released later in the series lifetime use the clip system for reloading, making new clips easy to acquire.
The clip system is not without fault. While clips can hold many darts at one time, they can accept only Streamline Darts, Elite Darts, Elite Suction Darts, and AccuStrike Darts. The use of any other dart type will jam the blaster. Human error can also cause jams.
Clip system blasters cannot be easily reloaded once all the user's clips are empty, as the user will have to reload the clips; this may cause them to be exposed during a Nerf war, if they do not have a back-up, non-clip system blaster.
A known flaw in clip system blasters is that the ones produced in the N-Strike series (with the exception of the Longshot CS-6 and the Stampede ECS) use reverse plungers. While reverse plungers make blasters cheaper to build (and therefore cheaper to buy), they are notorious for poor range and poor accuracy. The N-Strike Elite series fixed this issue, as all released clip system blasters within the line are direct plunger blasters, with the exception of the flywheel system blasters under the series, such as the Hail-Fire, Elite Rayven CS-18, RapidStrike CS-18 , and the Stryfe.
Leaving darts inside clips for extended periods of time is not recommended, as the darts will eventually warp over time as a result of being placed under pressure by the spring inside the clip. These warped darts are more prone to jamming. It can also warp the darts so that they are narrower than the slot on the top of the clip, making them impossible to keep in. Also, if a full number of darts is put in the clip, the spring will be pushed down, causing it to be weaker, and then causing jams because the darts don't feed in quickly enough.
If clips are loaded into the blaster facing the wrong direction, the user may have to take the blaster apart, especially if they try to prime the blaster. The blaster will jam and users won't be able to pull the jammed clip out of the blaster by using the clip release button as the slide won't budge. Users should take the blaster apart and take the internals out. Once the blaster is opened, users will be able to take the jammed clip out. Once the jammed clip has been taken out of the blaster, users will need to look up how to put the internals back in.
List of Nerf clip system blasters
Other clip system blasters
- The clip system is erroneously named, it is technically a magazine system, as the accepted definition of a clip is a structure that holds ammunition together to be loaded into a magazine (meaning that clips do not advance their darts), whereas a magazine system actually feeds ammunition into the firearm using a spring or other self-contained movement. Examples of Nerf blasters that actually use a formal clip are the PowerClip, the Max Force Sawtooth, and the Magstrike AS-10.
- In some clip system blasters like the Recon CS-6, it is possible to chamber a dart into the bolt without a clip inserted. This allows these blasters to fire other forms of darts, such as Micro Darts. However, the diameter of the actual barrel may hinder the dart's performance, or not even allow the blaster to fire.