The Blaster In Question #0019: Lumanate

LUMANATE

REBELLE

In general, I’m a fan of the aesthetic choices that go into most Nerf blasters.  By and large they are styled after sci-fi interpretations of regular firearms and that’s cool, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it “pretty.”  Today’s blaster is the complete opposite of that.  My initial reaction to seeing it was something along the lines of “Wow, that’s a pretty gun.”  This blaster is none other than the Lumanate, so let’s take a look.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Lumanate was released in 2016 as part of the Rebelle series.  Similar to the blasters from last week’s review, the mechanics of this blaster are really nothing new with most features being taken from blasters like the Triad or Messenger from previous years.  It uses a front loading, 3-barrel smart AR setup with an inline plunger, keeping everything pretty simple.  The real points of distinction for this blaster are the shell, first of all, and the light-up feature that works with the darts specifically provided with the blaster.  As you probably figured out, I’m a big fan of the work on the shell of this blaster.  It has a lot of really nice flowing lines and smooth surfaces as well as some eye-catching transparent blue accents on the side panel and trigger.  Sadly, only one side has the blue panel, leaving the other a plain white which is a little disappointing.  Just below the cool blue trigger is a hot pink button which activates the blaster’s light-up feature.  Truth be told, this was pretty disappointing too.  Initially, I expected the entirety of the transparent blue panel to light up when the button was pressed, but instead, there is a single UV LED in the transparent orange muzzle of the blaster.  What this does is it “charges” the special glow-in-the-dark tips of the included darts which is intended to create a kind of tracer effect when fired.  It kind of works, kind of.  Not really.  The tiny LED only exposes about a third of dart tip (not the whole dart, mind you, just the rubber piece at the end) when turned on.  It’s one of those features that technically works, but doesn’t add anything practical to the function of the blaster.  The light-up feature requires 3 AAA batteries to operate but is not integral to the function of the blaster otherwise.  Coming back to the work on the shell, the smooth curved lines make the ergonomics of the Lumanate rather enjoyable.  I can see how the hand guard in front of the grip might make holding the blaster cramped and uncomfortable for some people with larger hands, but Rebelle products consistently have smaller grips than those in the N-Strike Elite series, so it’s not surprising here.  The size of the grip does lend to the overall very compact feel of the blaster in hand.  The Lumanate has an attachment rail on the top of the blaster for accessories.  Putting the disappointing light feature aside, the actual blaster works pretty well, especially compared to other Rebelle blasters.  Darts travel a decent distance given the blaster’s size and hit with the usual amount of force.  This blaster is probably best suited for indoor use because regular darts won’t respond to the UV light, and the 3 that come with the blaster are all you can get without buying a whole new Lumanate.  If you don’t mind messing with the color scheme, though, the Glowstrike darts from the Star Wars: Rogue One series of blasters will also glow.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was really excited to pick this blaster up at first but became gradually less enthused when I discovered the extent of the “illumination.”  Even still, I was very happy with the overall looks of the blaster and feel of it in the hand.  It really reminds me of something the Asari from Mass Effect would have designed, and anything that helps me pretend I’m in Mass Effect is a winner in my book.  Honestly, my biggest pet peeve with the blaster is the name.  Why they spelled it “Lumanate” as opposed to “Luminate” I guess we’ll never know.  I guess if that’s my biggest complaint, though, that tells you my opinion of it.  It’s good.  I like it.

The Blaster In Question #0018: Glowshot & Bowstrike

GLOWSHOT & BOWSTRIKE

N-STRIKE

With a line of products as vast as Nerf’s, you know every little thing can’t be AAA gold tier amazing. So how do you make the low tier blasters stand out to potential buyers? Often a lower price point to make them more accessible, but you can also add in gimmicks. Given the functional and punctual similarities, I will be reviewing two such blasters today, so let’s take a look at the Glowshot and the Bowstrike.

THE BLASTERS THEMSELVES

The Glowshot and Bowstrike were both released in 2016 as part of the N-Strike line. Both blasters work in essentially the exact same way, omitting their respective gimmicks which I’ll get to later. They are both single-shot barrel-loading blasters which fall into the “in-line jolt” variation of the oft-copied jolt reskins. Not really a whole lot to say about it. It works, it’s simple, that’s about it. Neither blaster is really a great performer, as these were branded for the regular N-Strike line even after the Elite series had been around for a few years. They’re both definitely better suited for indoor use and/or taking pot-shots at your younger siblings. Both blasters come packaged with 3 Elite darts. Now what makes these blasters unique?

GLOWSHOT

Initially, looking at the GS, you may notice that its outer shell is a semi-transparent material (mine is white though a green variant also exists). This is critical for its gimmick which allows the blaster to light up with a few green LEDs inside the shell when the switch on the back of the grip is pressed. Thecolor of the outer shell does not affect the color of the lights, nor is the light-up feature needed to make the blaster shoot. It’s purely aesthetic and requires 2 AA batteries to make it work. The grip on the GS is a little small and my pinky just barely fits onto the handle. The light switch can dig into the webbing of your hand a little but neither of these are surprising nor are they deal-breakers given the price point.

BOWSTRIKE

The BS takes a slightly different approach to its gimmick, which does not require any batteries at all as it is purely mechanical. Like the GS, it’s completely for looks only but is activated upon priming the blaster. When the priming handle is pulled back, the grey “bow” arms and sight pop up. They then lay flat again once the blaster has been fired. The BS also features a much smaller than usual grip with all the same issues as the GS as well as needed a bit more sculpting to accommodate the thumb. As it stands, there’s something of an edge that can become irritating if the blaster is held for any considerable amount of time.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with most of my reviews, I like to drive home the point that these toys are still a lot of fun even with their problems. You really have to take the whole picture into account. These aren’t meant to be competition-grade laser guns. They’re goofy little plinkers, and in that regard, I think they do a great job. Plus, I’m always for making Nerf more accessible.

The Blaster In Question #0015: Apollo XV-700

APOLLO XV-700

RIVAL

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.

The Blaster In Question #0013: Dual-Strike

DUAL-STRIKE

N-STRIKE ELITE

Variety is the spice of life or something.  It keeps things interesting.  But what if you’re in the middle of a foam conflict and you find yourself thinking, “Something new and/or exciting better happen right now or I’m gonna lose it”?  The answer is simple.  Use the selector switch.  What does that mean?  Well, I’ll tell you.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Nerf Dual-Strike was released in 2016 as part of the N-Strike Elite series.  The mechanics present in the Dual-Strike are mostly reused with one big exception that I will get into later.  The blaster fires from one of two sets of three barrels linked via a smart AR system.  The interesting part is that one set of barrels fires standard Elite darts while the other fires Mega dartsOn top of that, you can manually control which type of ammo you want to use via the previously mentioned selector switch on the right side of the blaster.  The switch is quite clearly labeled so you know which setting it’s on.  It’s actually pretty impressive that the switch works as well as it does since it’s not uncommon for more complex smart AR setups to want to eject darts prematurely if there’s even the slightest increase in air pressure.  Since I’ve had the DS, I haven’t experienced any air interference from one barrel group to the other, so kudos to Nerf on the engineering behind that.  Now on the other hand, I do have a few mostly subjective complaints about the exterior of the blaster.  I’m not a fan of the style of priming handle on the DS.  I realize it’s simple and just works, but I really don’t like how it sticks way out the back of the blaster when it’s primed.  There are other Nerf blasters that use this same method of priming and I don’t like it on any of them either, all the way back to the Nitefinder.  I just wish there had been a more elegant solution because I know it’s possible.  Also, while the grip is mostly fine, the notch just below the trigger where your middle finger is supposed to sit is way too narrow for my hand, so instead of my finger getting a secure, comfortable hold on the blaster, I have one finger sitting on a random raised edge.  It would have been better if this had either been moved down slightly or just removed entirely.  Again, mostly just my personal preferences, but I figure you must at least slightly value my opinions since you’re most of the way through this post, and if you are, I appreciate that.  There’s also a single attachment rail on the top of the blaster.  As far as functionality is concerned, at it’s most basic, the DS is a more complicated than usual 6-shot pistol which is pretty oddly proportioned to boot.   The Elite darts fly reasonably far and hit as hard as you’d expect a blaster in the Elite series to hit.  The Mega darts, however, don’t have the power behind them that they would have in a dedicated Mega blaster, so shots leave just a little to be desired.  Overall, I’d say the DS is best suited to indoor use for those times when you can’t decide just how mean you want to be to your younger siblings.  The Dual-Strike comes packaged with 3 Elite darts and 3 Mega darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Dual-Strike is one of those kind of hard to place blasters.  It felt more like a proof of concept rather than a product made to fill a niche in the market.  That being said, it’s plenty of fun for just messing around.  I just see the idea behind it having more potential than the final product we got in the end.  Add that to all this switch and DS talk and I feel like I’m writing up a Nintendo press release.

The Blaster In Question #0012: Rey Jakku Blaster

REY JAKKU BLASTER

STAR WARS

Why does everyone want to go back to Jakku?  It does’t make sense to me, especially in regards to today’s review.  Yes, Rey is from Jakku, and yes, she uses this blaster, but she never has the blaster ON Jakku.  Why is it named the Rey Jakku Blaster, then?  Beats me, but let’s get past that and take a look at the thing.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Rey Jakku Blaster was released in 2016 as a tie-in to the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.  The shell of the blaster is completely original but the internals are identical to the Han Solo Blaster which was released at the same time.  Both of these blaster, in turn, are largely the same as the Mega series Magnus, just chambered for standard Elite darts and holding 4 rounds instead of 3.  Due to it being a licensed product, it is entirely devoid of any Nerf branding aside from a mention on the box, opting for the Star Wars logo as well as the crest of the rebel alliance.  The blaster is based off of the NN-14 blaster that Rey receives from Han on Takodana, AFTER they have fled Jakku.  The toy is substantially larger than the blaster in the film and, sadly, is not chrome but simply white.  Additionally, there is a sizable grey boxy part that sticks out the back of the Nerf blaster that is not present on the original from the film.  I understand that it needs to be there in order to house the internal mechanism, but it does alter the form factor quite a bit from that of its inspiration.  It seems like the proportions as a whole had a rough time being translated to a functional Nerf blaster.  Even the grip feels oddly oversized.  It’s not terrible, but it definitely doesn’t help, especially with such pronounced edges along the profile.  I’m also not sure why, but there’s an attachment rail on the underside of the blaster if you really wanted to accessorize, I guess.  Functionally, the blaster works just fine.  In fact, I might say it feels better to operate than the Magnus because the loading port on the RJB is long enough to fit a dart without having to bend it or load it at an angle.  The prime is also a good bit smoother than that of the Magnus, but this may be because of the severely weaker spring.  As such, operation is fine, but performance is pretty flaccid.  This shouldn’t be surprising since Nerf needs to keep its core products competitive, but it’s still a little disappointing.  The range from the RJB is laughably short if you see it fired outside, but even indoors, it’ll hit the floor about 10 feet short of a target across the room.  It’s fun for plinking and playing pretend, but unfortunately not much beyond that.  The RJB comes packaged with 4 blue Star Wars branded Elite darts that have transparent tips which is kinda cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t know if this has come across, but I have quite an interest in weapon design.  After seeing The Force Awakens, I do remember liking the little silver pistol that Rey has and thinking it would be easy to throw together my own prop version.  Then Nerf came along and handled it for me.  Sure, it’s not perfect, but I enjoy it, mainly for the novelty of having a Star Wars gun that actually shoots, and sometimes that’s all you need.

The Blaster In Question #0008: Star-Lord Quad Blaster

STAR-LORD QUAD BLASTER

MARVEL

It is a well known fact that the Guardians of the Galaxy movies are awesome.  No one disputes this, it’s just true.  As with just about every Marvel movie to come out in the last decade (yeah, Iron Man was in 2008, I had to look it up) there’s been a decent amount of merchandise out there.  Regulars to the site will likely have seen at least one of Ethan’s numerous GotG figure reviews, but what if you’re one of those people who would rather be Star-Lord rather than just have him on your shelf?  Thats where we get the subject of today’s review.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Star-Lord Quad Blaster was released in 2014 as a Marvel tie-in product to coincide with the release of the first GotG movie.  Interestingly, there is no Nerf branding anywhere on the blaster, but just a quick mention on the box.  Aside from using a “smart air-restrictor” setup found in a plethora of other Nerf blasters, the Quad Blaster is completely original.  The blaster is operated by priming one or both of the slides on the rear and pulling the trigger.  Unlike the Roughcut and other similar blasters, the Quad Blaster does not have a staggered trigger, if both barrels are primed, both will fire simultaneously.  In addition, the smaller secondary trigger just below the firing trigger releases the latches holding the spring-loaded front ends, causing them to snap back, revealing two extra barrels.  In all honesty, this feature was 85% of the reason I got this blaster.  It’s just a ton of fun fiddling with even if you’re not actively firing the blaster, and if you flick your wrist just right, you can reset the barrel covers without touching them.  Opening the front covers is required to fire the second barrels on the top and bottom.  The blaster is very sleek and definitely has an appropriate sci-fi feel to it, almost like one of the plasma weapons from Halo.  The grip could maybe stand to be a little bigger as I could see someone with larger hands feeling cramped while holding it, but it’s forgivable when you remember the target audience.  The main body of the blaster feels on par with other Nerf blasters in terms of structural integrity, but it is worth noting that the plastic for the priming slides feels a little thin, and the front covers are a smoother, slightly more rubbery plastic than the rest of the blaster.  The priming stroke on the Quad Blaster is very short and not terribly heavy, as such, the performance is limited.  It’s still fine for running around the house, blasting your friends, but even on longer indoor distances, the darts tend to drop off a little sooner than I might like and the impacts can feel kinda flaccid.  Again, I can understand this decision given this is meant for children, and Nerf has to keep it’s own core products competitive, but it’s still a bit of a bummer.  The Star-Lord Quad Blaster comes with 4 Elite darts but with black bodies instead of the traditional blue.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find all 4 of mine but I got 2 and some regular Elites for comparison.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s become sort of a recurring event in my life where every time Chris Pratt is in a movie or tv show (Gotg, Jurassic World, Parks and Rec) people tell me that his character reminds them of myself.  Normally I wouldn’t really take this to heart, but when my own mom is one of the most vocal people on this opinion, I figured I would just roll with it.  I mean, it’s no surprise that I would buy a Nerf blaster, but being attributed with Star-Lord (WHO?!) just moved it up my priority list.

The Blaster In Question #0005: Magnus

MAGNUS

N-STRIKE ELITE (MEGA)

That ain’t no dart, this is a dart.  Ah, yes, the Mega series, Nerf’s go at the “bigger is better” trope.  The line started back in 2013 with the equally giant Centurion.  After that, the next obvious step was something a little on the smaller side, while still using the bigger Mega darts.  Give it a year, and thats when we were given today’s blaster, the Magnus.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Magnus was released in 2014 as the second blaster in the Mega series.  At the time of its release, it was entirely original.  Since then, the internal magazine and general operation have been reused in a couple of the licensed Star Wars blasters albeit chambered for the standard sized Elite darts.  This style of magazine works much in the same way as the Speedload 6 or Quick 16 from the Dart Tag line in that it is not removable and loads from the top, but does this while being in line with the center go the blaster and without all those extra dart pushing parts.  Given the size of the darts relative to the blaster, the Magnus only holds 3 rounds, which some might argue is too few to be worth the complexity of the design but I don’t have a problem with it.  You may have noticed that I have 2 of this particular blaster and that is for a couple reasons, but more one than the other.  Primarily, my first Magnus, the red one, is busted.  I’m not sure exactly the reason but 75% of shots fall limply out of the barrel rather than flying at my siblings like I intend.  This gave me reason enough to seek out a replacement, and what better than the ToysRUs exclusive “Sonic Ice” version.  The color doesn’t affect the performance assuming you’re comparing fully functional blasters.  One thing I found surprising about the Magnus was the grip.  It has a nice texture to it that does indeed add some traction, but it’s also fairly slim, especially for a Mega blaster.  It doesn’t ruin the blaster or anything, it just struck me as an odd balance of proportions.  The Magnus features some very rudimentary, although still appreciated, sights on the top of the blaster and an attachment rail on the underside.  In line with the rest of the Mega series, the Magnus packs a decent punch, hitting noticeably harder than many Elite blasters and with larger, heavier darts to boot.  As such, the Magnus is probably better suited for outdoor play.  Shooting from farther away also lets potential targets hear the darts coming at them as Mega darts whistle when fired.  The Magnus comes packaged with 3 Mega darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My initial Magnus came about from a combination of odd circumstances all overlapping.  The first and foremost being that there was a current Nerf blaster that I did not yet own.  The second is my aunt knowing that I wanted it, and third, knowing exactly which blaster it was.  Put all that together and you get the only Nerf blaster I’ve received for Christmas in the last decade.  It was really a shame to find out that mine wasn’t working properly, but my recent birthday was enough to convince me to get a replacement.  And who knows, maybe with a little more tinkering, I can get the original up and running.

The Blaster In Question #0004: Speedload 6

SPEEDLOAD 6

DART TAG

For all the fun, random quirks that have appeared in Nerf blasters over the years, the one avenue that has always remained is the competitive aspect.  Nerf has gone through many iterations and just as many product lines trying to corner competitive play.  Recently they’ve made some moves that a lot of people consider game changing in the competitive arena, but this wasn’t always the case, as with the off-and-on-again Dart Tag line.  Today I’ll be looking at the mid-class Speedload 6, so let’s load up the review… quickly.  Speedily.  A speedy load- forget it, here’s the blaster.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Speedload 6 was released in 2011 as part of the revival of the Dart Tag line.  As you may note, mine has an orange trigger, whereas the second wave Dart Tag blasters featured blue triggers, signifying slightly improved internals.  As with just about every repeating blaster at the time, the SL6 uses a reverse plunger mechanism which should irritate you if you’re a seasoned modder, or mean absolutely nothing to you if you aren’t.  The SL6 and its bigger brother, the Quick 16, both share a fairly unique loading mechanism.  They both feature integrated magazines that can be constantly topped off while a series of cams and levers pull darts sideways into the chamber to be fired.  (The only other blaster that has anything even resembling this mechanic is the Vortex/Zombiestrike crossover Fusefire, but Vortex is a whole different story so let’s leave it at that.)  Not only this, but both of these blasters fire Dart Tag velcro-whistle darts, which is impressive in and of itself for a magazine-fed blaster.  The SL6 is deceptively large.  When I first saw images of it, in my mind, it would replace the Maverick REV-6 as the goto 6-round pistol, and it might have if the it wasn’t quite so large.  Don’t get me wrong, the size isn’t a problem, it makes operation of the blaster very easy and comfortable even for a grown adult.  The blaster is solidly built and shooting it feels nice and snappy.  At the time, Streamline darts were notoriously unreliable so having a magazine-fed blaster that used more stable “broadheads” was quite an advantage, just so long as you had plenty of time to reload the fixed magazine.  It’s also important to make sure you fully cycle the priming slide while firing.  I’ve had a number of instances of the blaster trying to chamber multiple darts due to partial priming.  Admittedly, it is user error, and I’m sure someone could get used to it if they were dedicated, but it’s just different enough from other slide-primed blasters that it can throw you off if you aren’t using it regularly.  Being targeted to competitive players, the SL6 has decent performance, although I must add a caveat.  My SL6 has been modified to boost performance, and it was done long enough ago that I can’t say I really remember it before then.  Granted, it was also long enough ago that my skill as a modder probably didn’t add too much.  Nevertheless, in its current state, my SL6 shoots just marginally weaker than stock Nerf blasters available today.  The Speedload 6 came packaged with 6 Dart Tag darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I bought the Speedload 6 right around the time I was way into Humans Vs Zombies on my college campus.  At the time, it served very well as a sidearm and occasionally a compact primary, but sadly, since the introduction to the Elite series and now Accustrike, many of the advantages of using the SL6 have become irrelevant.  If there’s anything I can give it credit for today, it is the engineering behind the wacky loading mechanism and the blaster’s overall durability.  I loaned mine to a friend to use on a week long HVZ game, and for all he put it through, it still works perfectly fine.  Not bad.

The Blaster in Question #0002: Disruptor

DISRUPTOR

N-STRIKE ELITE

I don’t know what I expected when I heard the name of an upcoming Nerf blaster was the Disruptor. What I definitely did not expect was a revision of the classic 6-shot revolver, a staple in the average toy blaster arsenal, but that’s exactly what we got. It’s not uncommon for Nerf to reuse designs and make a few tweaks here and there (jolt reskins, anbody?), so if you’re a fan of the Maverick or the Strongarm, then you’ll be fine with Disruptor, I guess. So let’s take a look at it.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Disruptor was released in January of 2017 as part of the core N-Strike Elite line. It measures 12 1/2 inches long, 6 inches tall, and 2 1/2 inches wide. As I mentioned earlier, the blaster works in much the same way as the Strongarm, the other elite series revolver, with one main difference. The Disrtuptor’s rotating cylinder does not pop out the side of the blaster. Instead, the front of the blaster has been redesigned to be more open, allowing easier access to the cylinder for reloading. While it does make the overall blaster smaller and somewhat more solid than the Strongarm, it does sacrifice the ability to spin the cylinder by hand, Russian roulette style. It sits comfortably in the hand, although it does feel like the upper part of the grip, near the trigger, is a little wider than at the bottom. It’s not a big deal but it might make the blaster a bit more prone to slipping out of your hand if you’re a crazy person who plays Nerf in a rainstorm or something. Along the top of the blaster are a set of sights which almost certainly don’t help with aiming but are appreciated nonetheless, and an attachment rail for accessories. If you’ve read my review of the Falconfire, you’ll know that standard Nerf Elite darts are plagued by inaccuracy and that’s true of the darts packed with the Disruptor as well. The blaster shoots pretty hard, as to be expected with the Elite series, suitable for indoor and outdoor play. As with most revolvers, reliability isn’t much of a concern as jams are rare even when using slam fire. I suspect the design of the grip and the priming slide are intended to facilitate dual weilding, similar to the Firestrike, but I can’t easily test this as I only have the one blaster for now. The Disruptor comes packaged with 6 Elite darts and instructions.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I purchased the Disruptor from Target on the same visit to Ethan when I got the Falconfire. Initially I hadn’t planned on getting it but after spending enough time setting up the BIQ, I figured I should get more material to review while I was there. Never mind the fact that the action figure guy and the Nerf guy tend to wind up buying toys when we hang out. As far as the blaster goes, if you’re not a completionist Nerf collector and you already have the Strongarm, you can probably give this one a pass. On the other hand, if your arsenal is missing a trusty sidearm, this is a good candidate.

The Blaster in Question #0001: Falconfire


FALCONFIRE

NERF ACCUSTRIKE SERIES

What’s this? It’s not an action figure? No, today I am kicking off my series of toy blaster reviews. Given my extensive knowledge and collection of Nerf blasters in particular, this seemed like a logical addition to The Figure in Question network. Will it work? Will it be interesting? The answer is a resounding maybe. But enough intro, get into cover and yell “NOT IN THE FACE! NOT IN THE FACE!” because here comes the foam.

Birds. That’s what you think of when talking about accuracy, right? Well the fine folks at Hasbro certainly do, as evidenced by the naming convention used on the Accustrike series of blasters. So let’s kick things off with a look at the smallest blaster in the series thus far, the Falconfire. Caw caw!

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Falconfire was released right around January 2017 along with its bigger brother, the Alphahawk (caw) as one of the first blasters in the Accustrike series. While neither of these blasters provided much new material in terms of operation, they did usher in the latest in foam dart technology i.e. the Accustrike darts. These darts, in comparison to standard Nerf Elite darts, feature a redesigned tip which is supposed to impart a sort of rifling effect upon the dart as it flies, providing a much more consistent trajectory. Long story short, they work. The inaccuracy of Elite darts beyond maybe 20 feet was a well known gripe in the Nerf community and I have to give props to Hasbro for the solution they came up with. Not only are the new darts a marked improvement over the last generation, but they’re entirely cross compatible with existing Nerf blasters. This point is clearly demonstrated upon inspection of the Falconfire blaster itself. As I mentioned earlier, functionally, the blaster is nothing new. The Falconfire is 13 inches long, 6 inches tall, and 1 1/2 inches wide and is built on the same mechanics as the Sharpfire from the N-Strike line, and the Ionfire from the Modulus line. Admittedly, it’s a little over-complicated of a mechanism for a single shot blaster. Nevertheless, it’s fun to mess with and the breech-loading does lend itself to playing sniper if you’re into that sort of imagination thing. There is also an attachment rail on the underside for accessories. The blaster feels nice and solid in hand. The handle in particular is exceptionally comfortable compared to many other Nerf blasters (I’m looking at you, Modulus). The barrel is largely useless in terms of accuracy but it does fit with the aesthetics of the blaster, and the hole is large enough that it doesn’t detract from the blaster’s performance. I am a fan of Nerf adding sights to their more recent blasters and this holds true for the Falconfire, though they may have gone just a little overboard. I mean, it works, but 3 rear sights and 2 front sights including the great big ring seems a tad much. Maybe that’s just me. Being as simple as it is, jams and malfunctions are extremely rare. Performance is decent but nothing to write home about. It does seem to shoot softer than most of the larger blasters and even some pistols, but for indoor plinking, it serves just fine. The Falconfire comes packed with 6 Accustrike darts and instructions for operation.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up the Falconfire at a Target while I was visiting my boy Ethan. Fun fact, the whole idea for The Blaster in Question has been in the pipeline for quite some time and after some pestering, Ethan convinced me to write up the first review now while I have the blaster in hand. So here we are. Overall, I quite enjoy the Falconfire, despite not being top tier in terms of performance. I especially appreciate the new darts and am excited to see what new releases Nerf will cook up for the series. If they stick with the same naming convention, I’m sure we can all look forward to the Eagleshot, Ospreyblast, Vulture Pew Pew, and BLAM Chickadee.