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.