Boo! Haunted house! What else could be scarier than a late review? Muahahaha! Ok, well, lots of things, I suppose. Zombies, for instance. And if there are zombies, you know you’re gonna need to shoot at least a couple of them, you know, just to try it out. Sure, you could, in theory, use any of the quality blasters in the Nerf catalog, but what if one or even two darts at a time isn’t enough? That’s when it’s time to consider the Sledgefire, and consider it we shall.
THE BLASTER ITSELF
The Sledgefire was released in 2013 as part of the first wave of Zombie Strike blasters alongside the Hammershot. Like the Barrel Break from last week, it operates using a break action with darts being loaded tip first into the barrel. The big difference between the Barrel Break and the Sledgefire is that the Sledgefire uses proprietary shells for loading which hold three darts a piece. Pressing the orange tab above the grip unlocks the barrel, allowing you to simultaneously open the action of the blaster and prime the air plunger. Once fully opened, you insert a shell and close the breach back up. Pulling the trigger fires all three darts out of the shell in one blast, there isn’t a staged trigger like on the Barrel Break, so it’s effectively a one-shot blaster that has a spread pattern. The outer shell is all original, featuring a pretty aggressive looking attachment rail on top, and sports a rather appealing turquoise blue color that we are yet to see on any other Nerf blaster, which I feel is a shame. The shells are unique to the Sledgefire and serve simply to hold the darts in position for loading and firing. The stock has cutouts that allow you to store the shells with the blaster so they don’t get lost, which is a nice feature since the blaster cannot work without the shells. You can buy more shells, but only through Amazon or via the Hasbro Toy Shop website, which is nice that they’re available, but I wish they had a proper retail release. The ergonomics of the Sledgefire are pretty nice, the grip is comfortable even at such a steep angle which seems to be Nerf shorthand for “this is meant to be a shotgun” at this point. Everything feels nice and solid especially around the breach which is important for something like this to work well. Loading the shells into the blaster is pretty fiddly and takes a bit of time to get used to, but it’s novel and has nice mechanical feedback so the fun of reloading makes up for some of the required fine motor control needed. Performance isn’t really the focus of the blaster, and as such, spreading the air pressure of a single plunger across three darts does make them fly a little shorter and softer than typical. Additionally, I’m not sure what it is, but the Sledgefire is on of the worst blasters as far as dart crimping, where if you leave the darts loaded in the shells for any period of time more than a day or so, they get compressed and don’t fit the chamber as snugly so performance drops pretty dramatically. It’s still quite effective against younger siblings whether you’re busting into their room or waiting in ambush to blast them. The imposing ka-chunk if snapping the breach closed only adds to the shock and awe impression its sure to leave. The Sledgefire comes packaged with 3 shells and 9 green Zombie Strike colored Elite darts.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I figured this would be a pretty fun blaster to look at for Hallowe’en (or Samhain if that’s more your style) weekend. It’s not really a practical blaster at all, but once again, the fun of it makes up for that in spades. You can always count on shotguns for fun.