Shotguns are kind of a weird area for Nerf. There are plenty of blasters available that do a decent job replicating the look and feel of a shotgun, but it’s a rarer thing to find one that actually functions like one i.e. actually firing a spread of darts. One of the more successful implementations of this feature came to us in the form of the Roughcut 2×4. While the name evokes a plank of wood, the actual blaster is a lot more interesting, unless you’re one of those lumber fanatics, in which case, no judgement, more power to you.
THE BLASTER ITSELF
The Roughcut 2×4 was released in 2013 as one of the first original blasters in the N-Strike Elite line. It was also one of 2 blasters in the very short-lived Multi-Shot Madness collection alongside the Diatron from the disk-based Vortex series. Mechanically, the blaster borrows heavily from the Barrel Break IX-2, featuring 2 separate plunger systems side by side. If your trigger finger is very precise, this setup allows the user to fire either one barrel at a time or both at once. Even the grips of both blasters are severely inclined, almost parallel with the barrels. The main difference is that the Roughcut opted for a more straightforward front loading design with 8 barrels arranged in 2 columns of 4 (hence the name) as opposed to the Barrel Break’s weird breach-loading action and only 2 barrels. Additionally, the Roughcut is pump-operated, so successive shots can be fired off much faster. Aside from the aforementioned grip, the blaster is pretty run-of-the-mill in terms of how it feels. Everything that’s supposed to move moves well, and everything that isn’t feels sturdy. The Roughcut features some sights, although they do strike me as a little more of an after-the-fact addition than on a lot of other blasters. There’s also a rail along the top of the blaster for attachments. Being part of the core N-Strike Elite series, performance is strong. Darts fly a good distance and land with a solid impact. Decent range paired with a fairly compact form-factor and the ability to shotgun darts makes the Roughcut great for either ranged outdoor battles or just to keep handy for close encounters. Just try not to hit anything fragile like your mom’s china or someone’s face. The Roughcut 2×4 comes packaged with 8 Elite darts.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Man, do I love shotguns. Practically every shotgun-type blaster that Nerf has released in the last 15 years has been a favorite of mine. The Hornet AS-6 was great apart from its cumbersome cocking and pumping mechanism. The Barrel Break IX-2 was great apart from its awkward slide and break breach mechanism. The Sledgefire was great apart from its finicky— you see the pattern. To be fair, when working with Nerf darts, making an actual shotgun that works well in all aspects is difficult and things can get complicated very quickly. Just goes to show that, in the case of the Roughcut, simplicity pays off