When Bungie, makers of Destiny 2—among other great games—and Nerf, makers of … well, soft projectiles we all know and love, got together to announce they were bringing the Gjallarhorn, one of Destiny’s most iconic weapons, out of the game and into your hands, I was thrilled. What I didn’t expect was for them to send me one, and for me to fall in love with the thing.
First, let’s back up. I play a lot of Destiny 2. I have something north of 3,200 hours in the game, and strong opinions about the story, the gameplay, and the characters I love. And while I’m by no means at the tier of the Destiny YouTubers I admire, I like to think I can hold my own and take advice from the folks who have experienced the raids and dungeons before I have. But one thing about the game I’ve always loved is the Gjallarhorn.
An exotic (e.g., rarest-tier) rocket launcher that dominated the original Destiny back in 2014, Gjallarhorn made waves when it reappeared in Destiny 2 with the Bungie 30th Anniversary Pack back at the end of 2021. At the same time, the Bungie team announced they’d partnered with Nerf to bring the Gjallarhorn to life in the form of a $185 toy rocket launcher. In-game, my Gjallarhorn stays in my inventory, which is saying a lot, since rocket launchers aren’t exactly top-tier weapons in Destiny 2. But read the Destinypedia page for the thing: The in-game lore is incredible and features our good friend Randy, a guardian who should really get his own Destiny-themed comedy series. It’s forged from the armor of fallen guardians who fought in one of the franchise’s most significant battles! You have to love it.
So when Bungie offered to send me the Nerf version, I accepted, expecting it to be a fun little toy that would take up a bit of space on a shelf. What I wasn’t ready for was the 5-foot-tall, beautifully decorated box that the thing came in, and I definitely wasn’t prepared for the 4-foot-tall rocket launcher itself, at 1:1 scale, and weighing around 15 pounds.
Everything about the Nerf Gjallarhorn mimics the in-game version. It feels sturdy and heavy and was simple to put together. (Truly, it was four pieces that snapped together in minutes, including the red, glowing, light-up sight that you can turn on and off after you pop two AA batteries into it.) But here’s the problem. A 1:1 scale rocket launcher, on my shoulders, in my New York City apartment, is a recipe for breaking something.
That didn’t stop me from trying it out though: The Nerf Gjallarhorn comes with four “rocket” rounds that can be loaded with three Nerf darts each. Three of the rounds are orange and use larger, fatter darts, and one round is gray and uses thinner, faster darts. All of them work just like the in-game version of the rocket launcher. The loading chamber pops open, and you insert the “rocket,” loaded with darts, into the chamber. Then you push the rocket into place, close the chamber door, and rack the whole top of the rocket launcher back toward your shoulder to ready it to fire. Pop the whole thing on your shoulder, aim, and pull the trigger. A spread of three Nerf darts fires out of the business end and into whatever person, furniture, or other object is in their path.
And it fires with pretty substantial force. This thing is heavy enough that I’d be surprised to see children carrying one (Bungie’s product description says it’s for ages 12 and up, but I don’t know if I’d really trust a 12-year-old with this thing). My arms even got a little tired from using it for too long. The shots themselves are powerful enough that you definitely don’t want to get hit by them, but they won’t actually hurt or anything. Just be smart and don’t aim at children, pets, vases, glasses, or anything delicate. The aloe plant on my windowsill was almost a casualty of war, so don’t be like me.
Honestly, the weight and impressive level of detail on this thing makes me think it serves much better as a functional cosplay prop than an actual weapon of Nerf war. Although I will say this, if you and your roommate or coworkers are involved in a fun little Nerf battle, this is definitely the nuclear option. It comes with 12 darts for those four rounds, which means you can really hit someone (again, don’t shoot people) several times before you have to scramble to collect the darts and reload.
I definitely expect to see some cosplayers who love Destiny 2 strap one of these to their backs, take some great photos, and then maybe complain about how heavy it is. I also expect die-hard Destiny fans to grab one for their collections, although I don’t expect them to use it. As for mine, it’ll live next to my desk, something to show off in Zoom meetings and Twitch streams. And if The Hive ever break into my apartment, they’ll be greeted by a very angry Destiny player with his favorite rocket launcher mounted on his shoulder. I just hope they’re weak to foam darts.