You may have heard that Vortex is back. Yes, it seems the once-thought dead line of blasters has miraculous come back to life like Jesus, or Dracula. While my money is squarely on this being a hasty rejiggering of an intended TRU exclusive, the Vortex VTX line seems to be solely in Target’s hands now. So while the hype train is just slowly starting to pull away from the station, I figured I’d jump on board in order to bring you today’s review of the Proton. I’m feeling pretty positive about this one.
THE BLASTER ITSELF
Ok, while this is a Vortex blaster, it’s not part of the VTX lineup, so I’m less of a passenger on the hype train and more of that guy with the accordion who just walks from car to car demanding money in exchange for giving you tinnitus. The Proton was released in 2011 as the smallest (at the time) entry in the newly unveiled Vortex series of blasters. The big draw for Vortex blasters was their supposed super long ranges thanks to the mini-frisbee type of ammo instead of traditional darts. The disks use their aerofoil shape to glide through the air which does allow them to travel pretty far, all things considered, but it also means that they lose speed quite quickly. I’ve talked about this before in my Revonix 360 review and it holds true here and across the line. The Proton, specifically, is a single shot pistol which is loaded through the rear of the blaster by pulling back the slide, placing a disk in the tray, and hitting the slide release lever on the side of the blaster. Honestly, this was the feature that made me buy the Proton in the first place. Regardless of performance, I just wanted a blaster with a functional slide release lever so I could do dramatic reloads while creeping around the house at 2:00 AM. The shell of the Proton is all original which you’d kind of expect given how vastly different the internals of this blaster are compared to something like the NiteFinder. There is at least a standard Nerf rail on the top of the barrel, but there’s not really anything you can put on it without making the blaster really top and front heavy, and that’s no good. The Proton is meant to be nice and light, right around 1.67×10-27kg. Not literally light, that’s photon, with an h. Running the action of the Proton is nice and smooth and unless you did something really wrong, it’s very uncommon to have any kind of jam or malfunction, so that’s a positive. The ergonomics are decent with all the controls where it makes sense for them to be. The grip is a little skinny but not so much that it’s really a problem. As with most Vortex blasters, there are a lot of safety locks inside the Proton, the most important of which prevents the trigger from being pulled when the chamber is empty. It’s good to know so that, if you’re storing the blaster somewhere for more than a day, it’s probably smart to fire off one round just to de-prime the blaster so you won’t wear out the spring. If that happens, it’s like it loses its charge, and you’re left with a neutron. It’s also a good idea to keep it away from stray electrons, because then it just becomes hydrogen, and that tends to poof away into the air. As far as using the Proton against younger siblings, I’d recommend it for longer-distance pot shots rather than the whole busting into their room method. The Proton comes packaged with 3 Vortex disks in the classic Vortex green.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Ah, I see you made it past my science jokes. Good for you. All in all, for as lukewarm as I am to the Vortex series as a whole, I actually quite like the Proton. It’s fairly compact and has that really unique loading mechanism, which is honestly fun to play with just that. While I don’t usually go for recolors of existing blasters, I must admit, the blue and green VTX color scheme looks pretty sharp, so I might not mind picking up another Proton if they come out with it. Then I just need some neutrons and I can whip up some helium.