I’ve mentioned before that the vast majority of the bow and crossbow type Nerf blasters fall under the Rebelle series. Every so often, however, one of the other lines will get a bow of some sort, and that is the case for this week’s blaster, the Crossbolt. This blaster in particular also fits into the category of blasters that I greatly enjoy but is fairly widely disliked by other Nerfers. I can maybe understand some of the more common complaints, but not enough for it to ruin the blaster for me. I’ll get to that in a little bit. Let’s take a look at the blaster.
THE BLASTER ITSELF
The Crossbolt was released in 2015 as part of the N-Strike Elite series. It is a magazine-fed, elastic powered crossbow type blaster, which makes it very unique among Elite blasters as there are no other crossbows or “stringer” blasters in the line. Additionally, it is one of the only two blasters to feature a bullpup configuration (firing mechanism behind the trigger) along with the Rayven. Aside from this, the blaster is entirely original. The main 3 of the aforementioned complaints about the Crossbolt focus around the ergonomics of the blaster. The first issue concerns the bow arms protruding into the path one’s hand might take traveling from a forward grip to the priming slide at the top of the blaster. While this is admittedly a hurdle few other blasters have, a simple twist of the firing-hand wrist solves the problem quite nicely. This is also achieved without any of the straight up goofy flailing and fumbling I’ve seen some people do while trying to illustrate that plastic is solid and hands can’t go through it. The second issue it the magazine release. This, I can understand a little more because it is true that the placement and style of the magazine release make it fairly easy to accidentally bump the mag so that it falls out of the blaster. I’ve even found that the release button doesn’t necessarily need to be pressed to cause the magazine to come loose. The conclusion I came to was that the back of the blaster is not, in fact, a stock and that the blaster is not intended to be shouldered, a theory i felt was supported by how hard it is to line up the sights if it’s shouldered. Could Nerf have designed it better to avoid this problem? Yes, but it’s really the kind of problem you learn to avoid pretty quickly, so it’s still not a deal breaker. Lastly, a lot of grown-up Nerfers like myself (but not including myself in this instance) complained that the dimensions of the thumb-hole grip were cramped and left parts of the blaster digging into their hands and/or wrists. This, I absolutely don’t get. Maybe I have weirdly perfect Crossbolt hands. Either way, I’ve had zero problems with the grip and actually find it quite comfortable for such a compact blaster. As I said, the Crossbolt features some fairly basic sights along the top as well as not one, but two jam access doors due to the slightly more complex internal structure of the blaster. There is also an attachment rail on the underside of the barrel for accessories. As with other stringer blasters, firing the Crossbolt is very quiet compared to an air plunger blaster, although priming each shot does make a good bit of noise as there are plenty of catches and latches along the stroke. The string in the Crossbolt seems to have a noticeable amount more tension than with other stringer blasters and this definitely shows in performance as darts fly far and fast, hitting with good, solid impact, making this more of an outdoor blaster. The Crossbolt comes packaged with a 12-round magazine and 12 Elite darts.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I felt it was important to highlight the fact that this is a really fun, unique blaster because I remember, after it came out, seeing reviews with goofballs smacking their hands into the bow arms intentionally in an attempt to make their point like a cheesy infomercial. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite blaster, but it is entertaining in its own right, and entirely undeserving of the bad wrap it’s gotten over the years.