I don’t think there was ever a more anticipated Nerf release than there was for the 2015 debut of the Rival line of blasters. The N-Strike Elite series was already considered to be the performance driven group of blasters with just a few gimmicks here and there. Rival took that even further with entirely new hardware built from the ground up with zero gimmicks to provide what is likely the best out-of-the-box foam blaster performance available. Today, I’ll be looking at one of the two premier blasters from the Rival line, the Apollo XV-700. Let’s get right into it.
THE BLASTER ITSELF
The Apollo hit retail in 2015 alongside the Zeus MXV-1200 to kick off the Rival brand. I mentioned earlier that these blasters were entirely new and I meant entirely. They fire the golf-ball inspired High-Impact Rounds instead of traditional darts, which greatly contributes to their performance potential. The magazines were also completely new, unsurprisingly, which in the case of the Apollo, meant we got the first magazine-fed Nerf blaster that loaded through the grip like a proper pistol. Holding the Apollo in hand really gives away the fact that Nerf was really gearing these products toward an older demographic than their typical audience. The grip is large and solidly made. The priming handle on the top of the blaster requires a considerable amount of force to cycle it but it does make a very satisfying racking sound like cocking a shotgun, and it gives you a good idea of exactly how powerful the blaster is even before you fire it. The Apollo has a short attachment rail at the front of the blaster for accessories, although it should be noted that it is a proprietary Rival rail and not the traditional Nerf rail found on dart- firing blasters. The body of the Apollo extends a good ways behind the grip and can be effectively shouldered like a stock, which makes it odd in my opinion that the designers behind the blaster didn’t put one in. That is one of my two very minor complaints about the Apollo, the other being that the priming handle prevents any kind of sighting along the top of the blaster unless you happen to have one of the awesome Rival Red Dot Sight attachments (sold separately) on hand. Either way, these are petty complaints that do very little to sway my opinion of the blaster overall. Being released alongside the Zeus, the Apollo definitely feels like it was intended as a sidearm and it can work as one of those if you should choose, but it can also hold its own as a primary if you feel like running it as one. Reloading is super fast with the Rival magazines and with a little practice, you can fire off rounds in pretty rapid succession. As with pretty much all Rival blasters, the Apollo is an outside blaster. Shots travel fast and far and hit hard when they land. Unless you have very very forgiving siblings, I would recommend not busting into their rooms and opening fire with this one. It kinda speaks to the power of the blaster when Nerf feels the need to release full face masks for the Rival line. The Apollo comes packaged with a 7-round magazine and 7 Rival High-Impact Rounds.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I’ll be completely honest, I was expecting this review to be one of those counterintuitive moments where the blaster is awesome but the review is kinda dull cause it’s just me going on and on about how great the thing is. Hopefully I didn’t bore you too badly. When Rival first started hitting shelves, they were just about impossible to find anywhere in my area. My boy Ethan managed to pick up a Zeus for me fairly early on, but the Apollo took me a good month or so of regular Target, TRU, and Walmart stops to find one. The whole ordeal was a major pain, but I gotta say, it was super worth it.