I’ve talked before about how much I appreciate Nerf’s willingness to update and improve on their designs over time. It definitely makes me, the consumer, feel that they are trying to present me with the best possible product. That is, assuming that each iteration is actually an improvement over the last. One of the most pervasive designs is the Recon from way back in the days of regular N-Strike. From the Recon, we then got the Retaliator and the Recon Mk2 (which itself had an updated version to fix some issues). Now I’ll be looking at the latest model of this type of blaster, the Delta Trooper.
THE BLASTER ITSELF
The Delta Trooper was released in 2018 as part of the N-Strike Elite line and moved to fill the role of the Recon Mk2 as the newest version of the slide-primed magazine-fed configurable rifle/pistol thing. You could be forgiven for thinking it should be an updated version of the Alpha Trooper, but not this time. It functions exactly like any of its predecessors, but with a new style of magazine release, and more importantly, with slam-fire. Slam-fire is always nice to see added as there’s really no downside to having it, and I quite like the AR15 style push-button mag release over the latch we typically see. All put together, it’s a pretty good looking blaster. It has decidedly more aggressive lines than the Recon or Retaliator, which I enjoy. Sadly, that is almost all the good things I can say about the Delta Trooper. Here’s where we start with the complaints. First and foremost is the ergonomics. The pistol grip on the DT is a weird size. It has a decent thickness to it and fills the hand quite well, but it’s about as short as it could possibly be and still fit all my fingers on it. I could overlook this if it wasn’t made worse by the abrupt hard edge right above where my thumb sits. If I choke up on the grip, this edge digs rather uncomfortably into my hand which makes me want to move down a bit, but then my pinky is all but falling off the grip. I’m not exaggerating when I say I had to manually smooth out that edge to make holding this blaster normally a mostly comfortable feat. Sure, I’ve had blasters with seams that didn’t line up where I’ve done similar modifications for the sake of comfort, but this wasn’t a seam, it was a quirk of the design that I’m surprised no one in testing had issue with. But what about the other hand? Well, on the main blaster body there’s a small area that can be used as a fore-grip, but trying to hold the blaster by the barrel, when attached, is again, thoroughly uncomfortable thanks to the design of the shell. All those visually appealing aggressive lines just do not work with hands, but they also have another drawback. One of the main features of the Recon/taliator is its customizability with attachments for the barrel, stock, and as rail accessories. The DT has a stock, though short and blocky with no extra features, and a barrel, which refuses to sit parallel to the main blaster and has the aforementioned ergo problems, but what the barrel does have is the only rail on the entire blaster. There are no rails on the core blaster itself which means that most options for customization are just gone. The other issue, while slightly more nit-picky, is the magazine well. With the included 12-round mag, it works as it should, but with every other magazine I had on hand, it was tight and stiff, nevermind that it simply does not accept the 35-round Raider drum mags. Sure, the blaster still works, but this isn’t the same level of polish I’m used to seeing from Nerf. Now, the Recon Mk2 had similar issues and those did get fixed, so maybe an update is in the works, but I’m still a little frustrated with it. Overall, the construction does seem solid and the performance is good, but these are kind of expected at this point for a full size blaster from Nerf, so they do little to abate my annoyance with the other issues. The Delta Trooper comes packaged with the stock, barrel, 12-round magazine, and 12 Elite darts.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
If I’m being honest, from when I first heard about this blaster, my thoughts on it have been a series of concessions. First I thought it might be a new Alpha Trooper and it wasn’t, but maybe they’re going for a whole assortment of “trooper” blasters. Then it was shown as only having one rail for the whole kit, but at least it looked really cool. Then I got one and felt it in my hands and wasn’t thrilled, but maybe performance will justify all of it, but it’s standard Nerf performance. I won’t go so far as to say I regret buying it, because I don’t, but I do sincerely hope it gets the same treatment the Recon Mk2 got. Either that or I’ll hold out for the Upsilon Trooper.