The Blaster In Question #0053: Qi’ra Blaster

BlasterInQuestion1

QI’RA BLASTER

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (GLOWSTRIKE)

qira1For the last couple rounds of Star Wars Nerf products, it seems like Hasbro has really settled on the formula of releasing a big show off blaster, a medium one with some features, and then a dinky little pistol that is really just there to have a cheaper offering.  More often than not, the pistol gets shafted in terms of quality, typically winding up being a woefully underpowered (even for the Star Wars blasters) single-shot and that’s it.  Now imagine my pleasant surprise when I saw that the pistol offering from the latest wave not only has legitimate range claims on the box, but also can be fired TWICE before reloading.  Sure, it’s hardly groundbreaking as far as Nerf goes, but it’s nice to see Hasbro going just that little bit beyond the bare minimum.  With all that said, let’s take a look at the Qi’ra blaster pistol.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

qira2Hi guys.  Thanks for tuning in to another video on Forgotten Weapons, I’m Ian and today I’ll be looking at this, the Steyr Mannlicher model of 1905 militar— wait, wrong blog.  Let’s try that again.  The Qi’ra blaster pistol was released in 2018 as part of Hasbro’s wave of Nerf merch tying in to the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story film.  It uses a 2-barrel smart AR system like that on the DoubleDown or DoubleStrike or basically any Nerf blaster that starts with “double” (except the DoubleDealer but we don’t talk about that).  Even though I got the wrong intro, it is true that the blaster in the film appears to be based on the aforementioned Steyr Mannlicher 1905 military pistol with a long toe.  You gotta remember that long toe.  I, personally, am quite a fan of the choice here.  It’s nice seeing the prop department for the film taking cues from the original trilogy by using WW1 and WW2 era small arms as the base for most of the blasters you see on screen.  Like all Nerf Star Wars blasters now, the Qi’ra blaster features lights and sounds every time you pull the trigger.  The lights are rudimentary, only lighting up one side of the blaster, but do show a bit more finesse than previous models by fading out rather than just turning on and turning off abruptly.  The pew pew sound effect in this blaster is the same as on the Poe Dameron blaster from the Last Jedi line of products.  It’s a little qira3disappointing that this blaster couldn’t get its own unique sound, but if it plays into Hasbro’s game of halfway decent but still economical Star Wars products, I can get over it.  The blaster also uses the Glowstrike system with UV LEDs in the barrel and glow-in-the-dark darts.  This and the lights and sounds requires just a single AA battery, but this does not effect the actual dart-launching functionality of the blaster.  Being built on a real-world firearm, the ergonomics are decent on this blaster.  The grip is maybe a little blocky but there’s nothing I would really call out as being unpleasant.  The length of the prime is quite short, but the spring feels reasonably powerful and as such, the blaster actually performs pretty well, only just underperforming blasters from the Elite series.  Similar to the Chewbacca blaster, I’d say this blaster is probably best suited for clandestine attacks or ambushes on your younger siblings, preferably at night so they get the full effect with the glowing darts and whatnot.  The Qi’ra blaster comes packaged with 4 Glowstrike Elite darts and 1 AA battery already installed. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

I picked this blaster up on a run to Target with Ethan.  I had just bought the Chewbacca blaster only minutes prior and decided liked it enough to keep the ball rolling, so to speak.  As soon as I opened it, there was something familiar about it that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, so naturally I consulted the video library of Forgotten Weapons and voila, I had my answer.  While admittedly there would be an incredibly niche chuckle to be had if they had chosen to use the Steyr Hahn pistol in a movie about Han, I think this one works out better aesthetically.  It’s that long toe, man, gotta have that long toe.

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The Blaster In Question #0051: Star-Lord Assembler Gear

BlasterInQuestion1

STAR-LORD BLASTER

ASSEMBLER GEAR (INFINITY WAR)

assemblelord1Sometimes performance isn’t the end-all be-all for having a fun Nerf blaster.  If you’ve read some of my earlier posts, you may have seen a review I did way back in the way back for the Star-Lord Quad Blaster.  That’s a great example of fun despite pretty lackluster performance.  Well, today, I’m looking at yet another Star-Lord themed blaster, this time coinciding with the release of Marvel’s latest film, Infinity War.  Now I should warn you, I have seen the movie but I’ll try my best to stay away from spoilers.  Let’s get into it.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

assemblelord2Snape kills Dumbledore.  DAMMIT!  Sorry, I tried.  Anyways, the Star-Lord Assembler Gear blaster kit… thingy was released in 2018 alongside similar compatible kits themed around other characters like Iron Man, Captain America, and Bruce Willis who was a ghost the whole time.  GAHHH! Sorry, sorry.  The idea is that each kit comes with one core blaster component and then a bunch of other parts that can be attached in a number of different ways, kind of like the idea behind the Modulus series, but even crazier.  The blaster piece for the Star-Lord kit has 2 female barrel sockets, 2 male barrel sockets, 3 short little rails, and a rail clip on the bottom.  In addition, the two included extra parts each have a male and female barrel socket and rail and rail clip.  It’s rather a lot, to be honest but it does definitely lend itself to coming up with some pretty crazy combinations which is fun.  It is important to note that the barrel sockets on the Assembler Gear blasters are not compatible with regular Nerf barrel attachments.  It seems the extra parts aren’t really modeled after anything, just shaped vaguely like sci-fi blaster pieces. The core blaster is definitely intended to be modeled after assemblelord3Star-Lord’s signature blaster pistols from the films though it seems like they may have put the top on backwards as it slopes the wrong way.  This could have been an accident or could have been intentional for a number of reasons, but I can tell you it was not so they could fit halfway decent internals in this thing.  The mechanism that launches the dart out of the blaster is the bane of my existence as a Nerf fan.  I can only be talking about the dart flicker style of blaster like that in the Marvel’s Captain America Civil War Iron Man Stark Strike gauntlet blaster… from Hasbro that I looked at a few weeks ago.  I’ve already ranted on this subject before so I’ll spare you, good reader, this time, but it really is just terrible.  One potential argument you could make is that maybe a non-trash based mechanism would take too much space, to which I’d reply “Kevin Spacey is Keyser Soze.”  Then I’d go on to say that maybe scaling up the blaster as a whole wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world because as it is now, the ergonomics are atrocious.  I understand these are meant for children, but so was the Quad-Blaster and that was perfectly fine to hold.  This, on the other hand, is just not remotely comfortable.  A slightly larger blaster could mean a better grip and halfway decent internals, but sadly, it is not so.  Given the ergo and the performance, I feel justified saying it’s just not worth taking this blaster if you’re planning to bust into your younger siblings’ room and open fire.  Pick something else.  The Star-Lord Assembler Gear blaster kit comes with 2 attachments and 3 Star-Lord colored Elite Darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked this blaster up on a trip to a local TRU.  I don’t recall if this was before or after the whole going out of business thing took effect, but I had seen them online and was curious enough so I picked it up.  Having done so, I don’t think I can really recommend a blaster this uncomfortable to use with such pitiful performance.  Maybe that’s the point though.  Maybe it’s meant to make you feel like Star-Lord.  Just get your biggest friend to hot glue some Jolly Ranchers to their hand and tell them to start punching as hard as they can while you try and keep them away by shooting.  I don’t see how this could possibly go wrong.

On a side note, I’m pleased to announce that after their hiatus, the fine folks at Timsical Thoughts have partnered with The Blaster In Question to bring you some degree of “content.”  I know the guy who runs the site personally and he’s just great so feel free to check that out.

The Blaster In Question #0048: Quadrant

BlasterInQuestion1

QUADRANT

ACCUSTRIKE

quad1If there’s one staple of Nerf blasters that always comes back, it’s revolvers, ok, revolvers and jolts, but let’s stick with the revolvers for today. All things considered, it’s a good design. There’ve been so many iterations that pretty much any issues have already been ironed out, but if you look at Nerf Revolvers over time, they have this odd trend of steadily getting smaller and smaller cylinders, and in turn, lower capacity. Today’s blaster is the first example of a 4-shot revolver I can think of, but as we’ve seen from Toy Fair last month, it won’t be the last.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

quad2Ok, first things first, I know I give Nerf a decent amount of ribbing over the naming conventions for their blasters, but when the other 3 blasters in a line have names containing “falcon”, ”hawk”, and “raptor”, there’s a pretty clear theme that they’re going for. With that in mind, what the double deuce kind of name is Quadrant? I get the name references the 4 barrels in the cylinder, but it throws off the whole bird-of-prey thing they set up. Anyway, the Quadchickadee was released in 2018 as part of the Accustrike series. As mentioned before, it is a 4-shot revolver that works more or less like any other revolver at this point. The construction is all new and pretty solid, like you’d expect from a Nerf blaster of this size, and the ergonomics are good. The proportions are kind of weird, what with the top half of the blaster being rather large and bulky. quad3At the very least, it’s not terribly top heavy which is a concern I had before it was released. What I don’t quite get is why the barrels are so far apart in the cylinder. Typically, the benefit of lower capacity in a revolver is a lower profile, but the cylinder for the Quadbearded-tit is barely smaller than the one in the Hammershot, which holds 5 rounds normally. But in addition, modders have shown it can handle 7 rounds in the same space quite handily. It just feels needlessly limiting to cap the capacity at 4, especially when it doesn’t even enable some other gimmick or function in the blaster. The performance is on par with other Nerf pistols. It doesn’t have the most power or range ever, but no one expects it to. Being in the Accustrike series, there’s nothing mechanical that separates this from any other blaster, all that means is it’s orange and comes with Accustrike darts as opposed to standard Elites. The darts do actually make it a little easier to hit targets from further away, so they’re good for surprise pot-shots at your younger siblings, with or without busting into their room first. The QuadAndean Cock of the Rock (it’s a real bird, look it up) comes packaged with 4 Accustrike darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Once again, I feel it’s important to make the point that I do actually like this blaster. I’ve gotten my money’s worth of fun out of it. Are there some issues? Sure, but I can be critical while still enjoying something. My primary complaints are that I wish it had more capacity or that it had some other gimmick going on. Maybe next time we’ll get one of those things, and you know there’s going to be a next time. There’s always another Nerf Revolver.

 

The Blaster In Question #0046: Dauntless

BlasterInQuestion1

DAUNTLESS

REBELLE (CHARMED)

dauntless1For those who are familiar with the typical catalog of Nerf blasters over the years, it’s clear that they aren’t strangers to the idea of repackaging old ideas. Oftentimes this becomes pretty tiresome after seeing the same design rehashed with countless iterations (I’m looking at you, Jolt), but every so often, the redesign is significant enough that it warrants buying the new blaster. This week’s case in point is the Rebelle Dauntless pistol. Let’s see what makes this blaster so special.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

dauntless2The Dauntless was released in 2015 as part of the Charmed set of Rebelle blasters. It uses a 3-shot inline smart AR system, just like the Lumanate or Messenger blasters, also from the Rebelle line. Nothing new with the mechanics of the blaster, but what really stands out is the design. Using a lot of the same elements as the Fair Fortune Crossbow, the Dauntless has a slightly regal but also vaguely piratical feel to it. The profile is definitely evocative of an old flintlock, albeit far more streamlined. The gold filigree pattern on the side lends itself to the highly decorative nature of the blaster and is echoed in the truss along the underside of the barrel. This truss also contains a hook by which you can attach the included charm bracelet, connecting the other end to the butt of the grip. I raved just a little bit in my review of the Fair Fortune Crossbow about how much I dauntless4enjoyed the inclusion of the charm bracelet and the same is true here. While it’s far too small for adult wrists, it is a satisfying little accessory to have hanging from the blaster. Paired with the décor of the blaster itself, when combined, the full kit feels like it was pulled right out of one of the Bayonetta games. I’ve not seen it, but I really hope someone else noticed this and made a pair of heels out of a couple Dauntlesses. While the aesthetics are certainly very strong, ergonomics take a bit of a hit. The grip is quite wide and the way it curves forward, while very elegant looking, makes it rather hard to get a firm grip. It’s also pretty short for a pistol grip which isn’t unheard of, especially in Rebelle blasters, but it does raise another issue. In order to try and get better purchase on the grip, I tend to place my hand further up toward the rear of the blaster. The problem is that there’s no scoop or beavertail to catch the webbing of your hand between your thumb and forefinger, so it’s pretty easy to get pinched if your skin is in contact with the priming bar when you fire the blaster. There are sights along the top of the blaster, I guess to make you think it’ll help with aim. As much as sights can ever be useful on a Nerf blaster, these ones are especially no good as the Dauntless doesn’t have the same power that many other Nerf blasters have. It’s certainly usable, but shots definitely hit softer and don’t travel as far. You do feel pretty cool looking down the sights at your younger dauntless3sibling after you’ve just burst into their room announcing that ye be takin’ none o’ them landlubbers as prisoners, rather ye be here to demand this week’s allowance. So I suppose there’s that. The Dauntless comes packaged with 3 of the collectible Rebelle darts and the charm bracelet in an old bronze kind of finish.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After initially buying the Fair Fortune Crossbow, I was pretty much sold on the Charmed series of blasters. Not long after that, I found the Dauntless at a local Target. It may not be the most effective blaster out there, but as a prop for playing pretend that actually shoots, I’d say it’s way ahead of the other blasters on the market.

 

The Blaster In Question #0042: Kronos XVIII-500

BlasterInQuestion1KRONOS XVIII-500

RIVAL (PHANTOM CORPS)

kronos1“Hang on a minute, didn’t we just have a Rival review, like, two weeks ago?” I hear you ask.  Why yes, sharp-eyed viewer, indeed we did.  Ordinarily I’d try and spread stuff out and keep you guessing about what the next blaster will be, like a game, but this is new and hot.  The new hotness, you might say.  So this week I’m looking at the Kronos.  Something that bears the name of the father to the Olympians must be a behemoth of a blaster, right?  Actually, it kind of goes the other way, but trust me, it’s not the size that counts, it’s all about the balls.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

kronos2The Kronos XVIII-500 was released in 2018 as part of the Phantom Corps subset of Rival blasters.  I was initially under the impression that Phantom Corps was a Target exclusive line, but this blaster was purchased from TRU which confounded me to no end, at least for a few minutes.  No idea what the deal with that is but whatever, you’re here to read about the blaster.  The Kronos is a spring powered pistol with a 5 round integrated magazine à la MEGA Magnus or Star Wars Rey (Jakku) Blaster.  Like both of those examples, the Kronos is loaded through a port on the top of the blaster that opens when the slide is primed back.  The Kronos also has an additional flap covering the port which I guess isn’t really necessary but it does preserve the silhouette of the blaster a little bit.  The shell of the blaster is all new and sports functional front and rear sights as well as 2 Rival accessory rails, one on the slide and one just above the muzzle.  Interestingly, while the blaster is labeled “XVIII-500” on both sides, the name Kronos appears nowhere except on the packaging.  Something to note about the rails on the Kronos is that, after attaching the Rival red dot sight, I noticed that it could slide back and forth just a little bit, just a few millimeters at most, and the nature of the attachment mechanism means it wasn’t in danger of falling off, but it’s just something I’d never had kronos3any of my other Rival blaster do.  I doubt that’s going to make or break anyone’s opinion of it, though.  Aside from that, everything about the Kronos’ construction is solid.  The grip in particular is very comfortable and secure in the hand as it follows much more organic lines than the more hard-lined rest of the blaster body, which is a style I quite like, visually and practically.  The slide has a surprising amount of thought and engineering put into it.  Priming the blaster is fairly easy with the grip panels that add a good amount of traction as well as providing a more defined surface to pull back on.  On the underside of the slide, there are a couple of telescoping flat panels that extend when the slide is pulled back, I assume to either keep the mechanism clean or to prevent kids pinching their fingers in the internals.  The very rear of the slide also has a cutout so you can see the orange plunger when it’s primed as well as a button to release the lockup if the blaster jams. Like all other Rival blasters, the Kronos has a safety which locks the trigger when engaged.  Unfortunately this particular safety has the same after-the-fact addition kind of feeling that the Zeus’ had.  It’s hard to describe verbally, but it feels like it’s flexing before it clicks rather than pivoting and is generally unpleasant to operate, not that it’s a necessary feature per se. For its size, the Kronos holds its own surprisingly well against other Rival blasters in terms of performance.  Shots fly and hit with the expected Rival accuracy and power, making it a kronos4real terror for younger siblings, especially given how low profile and nimble it is due to its smaller size.  I’ve even found that it fits rather handily into standard jeans pockets for holstering, just so long as you have jeans with actual pockets (why are fake pockets even a thing?  Sorry, side-tracked).  The Kronos comes packaged with another set of red and blue Rival flag/ribbon things, provided you got the Phantom Corps version and didn’t shell out $70 for the Deadpool variants, as well as one Rival round-  what’s that?  It comes with 5 rounds?  Ok.. if you say so.  Scratch that, I guess it’s supposed to come with 5 rounds.  Hmm…

 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

Ethan was actually the one who found this blaster at TRU and nicely offered to pick it up for me as I mentioned last week.  I went over to his place to pick it up as well as just to generally hang out, but when I opened the box, I found that only one round, specifically the one visible in the little window on the box, was actually inside.  Further inspection of the box revealed that the tape on one side had been cut and then taped over again, leading us to believe that someone had swiped the remaining 4 rounds from my box.  Normally I’d be rather upset upon finding out that I had been shorted, but I could not for the life of me, think of a more laughably unsubstantial thing to steal.  Whoever this chuckle-head is, decided it was worth risking getting kicked out of a Toys R Us or even fired if they were an employee over 4 Nerf Rival rounds.  The imbalance of risk to reward was so skewed, I couldn’t even bring myself to be mad about it.  If you did it, and you’re reading this, I hope you’re really enjoying playing with my balls.

The Blaster In Question #0039: BarrelStrike

BlasterInQuestion1

BARRELSTRIKE

MODULUS

The great thing about the Modulus series, since its inception (BWAAAAHHHH) has been the increased variety of accessory pieces and attachments with which you can equip your blaster. Oftentimes these attachments come with and serve to compliment a larger blaster, but what about attachments that ARE the blaster? That, dear reader, is how we got the Modulus BarrelStrike. How exactly does that work? To find out, we have to go deeper (BWAAAAAHHHH).

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The BarrelStrike was released in 2017 as part of a wave of standalone Modulus accessory products, meaning they weren’t packaged in with a bigger blaster but could be purchased in a more a la carte manner. As a blaster in its own right, the BarrelStrike is a 4-shot muzzle loaded blaster with the standard style of Jolt-esque prime and a staged smart AR setup, like the Triad but with an additional barrel. The outer shell of the blaster is all original and features a hinged stock with a barrel tube running through it. Pressing a button on the right side of the blaster releases the stock which can then be folded up over the top of the blaster, revealing the barrel attachment ring that gives the BarrelStrike its titular feature. When folded up, the stock of the blaster can act like a standard Nerf barrel attachment for any other blaster with the corresponding lug. In this way, the BarrelStrike can act like an under-barrel alternate fire weapon, providing 4 additional shots to whatever you chose to mount it to, and in a way that is far more secure than simply using a rail attachment. The BarrelStrike does have a single attachment rail on the top of the blaster but this is only usable when the stock is deployed. Personally, I prefer to leave the BarrelStrike on its own with the stock down as I don’t think the boxy shape of the stock fits particularly well with the aesthetics of any current blaster, but the functionality of it is hard to deny. I suppose you could argue that it should use a different ammo type like the MEGA darts or even the Demolisher missiles, and you mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling (BWAAAAAAHHHHH), but as far as back-up blasters, you can do a lot worse. Being so compact, the construction is solid. The grip is a good size, granted it has to accommodate an air cylinder and plunger. The stock, when deployed, is a bit short, but I’m not mad at it. It’s a small blaster with a small stock, what do you want? It still locks into place pretty securely and doesn’t flex or bend when you put pressure on it, so I’d say it’s still functional. As a barrel attachment, the distance from the bore to the grip means that its fairly easy to accidentally twist the whole thing off the attachment lug of another blaster if you’re not paying attention, but as I stated before, I don’t tend to bother with this configuration so it’s less of a problem for me. The BarrelStrike has a considerable prime length which contributes to its actually pretty respectable performance. Shots fly far and hit hard, just so long as you don’t leave darts in the barrels for more than a day or so as they can get crimped and lose pressure when fired. Also, with such a lengthy priming stroke, if you don’t fully prime the blaster and release the plunger, it has a tendency to spit out one or two darts with a pitiful amount of force. Just make sure you know how to run the blaster reliably before busting into any younger sibling’s rooms otherwise you may end up getting a defiant chuckle instead of the shrieks of terror you’re going for. The BarrelStrike comes packaged with 4 white Modulus Elite darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When it was announced, I was less excited about the BarrelStrike’s ability to attach to another blaster than I was to have a blaster with a folding stock akin to that of the vz.61 Skorpion machine pistol, especially given the relative size of the blaster, it just seemed so fitting. Yes, the stock could stand to be a little longer but it definitely serves its purpose, and I can’t speak for anyone else, but snapping it into place before busting into one of my siblings’ rooms makes me feel like a SWAT trooper.

P.S. The Inception jokes have nothing to do with the blaster, if you were curious. I’ve just had Inception on my mind, that’s all.

The Blaster In Question #0038: First Order Stormtrooper Blaster

BlasterInQuestion1FIRST ORDER STROMTROOPER BLASTER

STAR WARS

stormpistol1One little word sure can make a big difference, especially when that word is “deluxe.”  Yes, this is in fact a different blaster review from last week, it’s not a typo.  So what does the First Order have to offer when “deluxe” is off the table?  Well… not very much, as it happens, but let’s have a look at it anyway.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

stormpistol2The First Order Stormtrooper Blaster was released in 2015, alongside the deluxe version as a promotion for The Force Awakens.  If you’re not sure what part of the movie it’s from, you can be forgiven for missing it because it doesn’t get a lot of screen-time, but it’s there, I promise.  Now, having just recently The Last Jedi, I can tell you it gets a couple scenes where characters using it are front and center on the screen, so that’s nice.  The blaster itself is almost as basic as you can get.  It is a single shot, muzzle loaded pistol with a little spring loaded priming tab in the back.  While the tab does a good job of maintaining the blaster’s aesthetics even when primed, it does mean the actual size of the plunger tube is severely limited.  You can really get a sense of this by how short and light the priming stroke is.  The outer shell is completely new to resemble the blaster from the film and looks pretty accurate… until you actually hold it.  In the film, the SE-44C blaster, which this is designed after, is built on a Glock 17 pistol.  If you’ve been keeping up with my Star Wars Nerf reviews, you’ll know that in general the Nerf blasters have pretty good ergonomics as they’re modeled after props that used real world firearms.  In the case of the FOSB, the shape is right, but the scale is waaaaayyy off.  It feels tiny in the hand.  As such, the normally quite comfortable grip of the Glock has been shrunk down so it no longer lines up with regular human sized hands.   I understand the reasoning behind it, because otherwise there would be just an unnecessarily large body housing a small internal mechanism.  Sure, they could have scaled up the plunger tube to get more air into the system but that… actually, that’s a good idea.  Why didn’t they just do that?  I guess it’s probably safe to assume that it all comes down to cost cutting measures, as is so often the case.  But hey, at least it comes with a cool attachment piece, right?  I mean, it does come with an attachment piece which clips onto the standard Nerf rail on the top of the blaster, but what even is the piece supposed to be?  As far as I can tell it’s a sight(ish) but it sits in the dead center of the blaster and has no other sight to line up to, so it’s kinda useless.  It’s actually really useless, but its on the blaster in the film, so there it is.  The FOSB’s performance is about what you’d expect for a Stormtrooper’s backup blaster.  Distance and power are lacking pretty heavily from that of a regular N-Strike Elite blaster, but you can usually hit your target if the muzzle is just about 5 or 6 inches away from it, so… yay?  Stormtroopers are meant to be imposing and scary, but a couple shot from this blaster and I doubt you’ll be able to maintain that kind of fear-based dominance over your younger siblings when you bust into their room.  The First Order Stormtrooper Blaster comes packaged with the useless sight/spike thingy and 3 of the red Star Wars branded Elite darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got the FOSB at the same time I bought its deluxe bigger brother.  I think having the deluxe blaster there distracted me from how lackluster the pistol was.  I’m not saying I regret buying it or owning it, but for the price, we essentially got a Star Wars logo that came with a free Nerf blaster.

The Blaster In Question #0034: Firestrike

FIRESTRIKE

N-STRIKE ELITE

Do you ever find one of those movies where you have to watch it over and over in order to really understand everything, but on that last watch, it all clicks and you have an a-ha moment?  Well, that’s pretty much the Nerf community and the Firestrike in a nutshell.  If you were under the impression that this was just an Elite reskin of the Nite Finder, allow me to explode your brain patterns.  On to the review!

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Firestrike was released in 2013 as part of the N-Strike Elite series.  Being one of the earlier releases in the line, it was more of an update to an existing blaster than a wholly new idea, that blaster being the N-Strike Nite Finder EX-3.  All of the functionality of the Nite Finder was preserved, using the same single shot muzzle-loading design and even keeping the “laser” sight and dart storage under the barrel.  Overall, the Firestrike is significantly more compact than its predecessor, most of the bulk being trimmed off the grip and under-barrel area.  The feature that stumped almost everyone for quite a while was the peculiar shape of the butt of the pistol grip.  There’s just this weird spike sticking down from the bottom and no one I know could say for certain why it was there.  As I recall, it took someone finding the actual design documents for the blaster to realize that the spike is to help dual-wield Firestrikes.  Every so often, those brainy types over at Nerf come up with some elaborate system to add a feature to a blaster and everyone gets mad hype about it.  This time they put a peg on the grip so you can prime the blaster with another blaster and everyone got mad hype, well after the release of the blaster itself.  I suppose it may have gotten a little blown out of proportion but I think people were just excited by a reason to buy a second Firestrike and for good reason.  Everything about the blaster works well.  It’s small size and relatively few moving parts make it feel sturdy in the hand, though I can see the small grips being an issue for some people.  As with the Nite Finder before it, the plunger rod sticks out the back of the blaster quite a ways when primed.  I’m not a fan of this from a purely visual perspective but it’s definitely simple and effective.  There’s an attachment rail on the top of the blaster, but I don’t know why you would want to put a scope on the Firestrike since it has a built in “laser” sight.  Sure it’s just an LED and is too dim to use outdoors or in a brightly lit room but it works as well as can be expected and performs admirably as an ominous signal to your younger siblings of what is pointed right at them.  The light requires 2 AAA batteries to work but it has no real bearing on the function of the blaster itself.  In keeping with Nite Finder tradition, the Firestrike actually packs quite a punch for its size, shooting a little farther and harder than some of the larger blasters out there.  The Firestrike comes packaged with 3 Elite darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Up until very recently, I only had one Firestrike in my entire collection, even knowing about the potential for dual-wielding.  I just happened upon a handful of older Nerf blasters at a local thrift store while browsing with my boy Ethan.  For $2, it’s almost not even a question if it’s worth buying, though I could easily have justified paying more.

 

The Blaster In Question #0028: SharpFire

SHARPFIRE

N-STRIKE

This week, we’ll be playing the NES classic, Duckhunt using the zapper light gun.  Wait, hang on.  Nope, scratch that, this is a Nerf blaster, but let’s be fair, you can understand my confusion.  I mean, look at it.  Ok, fine, we can look at it together.  Let’s get into reviewing the N-Strike SharpFire.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The SharpFire was released in 2015 as part of the N-Strike series which was a little odd seeing as N-Strike Elite had already been launched several years prior.  It is a single-shot, breach-loading pistol/rifle thing.  It’s a bit of a mess, quite frankly.  To my knowledge, it was the first Nerf blaster to use this breach-loading mechanism but not the last as it has also appeared in the Modulus and Accustrike lines as the IonFire and FalconFire respectively.  The core blaster can be used on its own as a small pistol or combined with the included (and proprietary) stock and barrel extension.  The barrel extension is just a tube that snaps on the front, but the stock can be reversed and used as a holster of sorts.  It even has a belt clip on one side and can hold 6 extra darts in storage as well as holding onto the barrel extension when not in use.  The shell of the blaster is completely original and has only seen reuse in the SharpFire Delta, effectively just a recolor and without the accessories.  The ergonomics of the SharpFire leave something to be desired.  The lump on the back of the pistol grip makes achieving a firm grip rather awkward, and the barrel and stock are too short.  The stock is especially uncomfortable as it has no semblance of a cheek rest of any kind, leaving your head floating awkwardly behind the blaster as you hunch way down to get any kind of sight picture.  The whole thing is quite literally a pain in the neck.  This is not helped by the fact that the barrel attachment mechanism is so poorly designed that it is both too tight where it causes stress marks in the plastic from attaching and detaching, but also too loose so the barrel never stays on straight.  As a pistol, my left hand can wrap around the fingers of my right hand in a standard grip, but as a rifle (kinda sorta), It feels like there should be something more substantial to hold on to in the front of the blaster and there isn’t.  These would be bad enough except that both of these accessories are only compatible with the SharpFire, and likewise, the SharpFire can’t accept standard attachments.  Performance isn’t exactly stellar either.  With just the core blaster, many shots seem to idly coast through the air before dropping to the floor as opposed to the speed and force seen with Elite series blasters, which again, had been out for 3 years at this point.  I just feel like I need to point that out again.  With the barrel attachment on, the loose fit would sometimes mean that darts would impact the inside of the barrel and slow down before exiting the blaster, leading to some hilariously flaccid shots.  Needless to say, you don’t want this happening when you decide to bust into your younger sibling’s room.  You’ve got an image to maintain.  The SharpFire comes packaged with its stock, barrel extension, and 10 N-Strike Elite darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hoo-boy.  That was a rough one.  When it was first shown in a leaked promo image back in 2014, I was super excited for it to come out because it didn’t look like anything that had come out before it.  I was really confused why no one else seemed interested in what could have potentially been a dedicated Nerf sniper.  Then it came out and I figured out why.  I guess it’s hard to convey scale on a low res leaked picture but this thing really is just kind of disappointing all around.

 

The Blaster In Question #0023: Poe Dameron Blaster

POE DAMERON BLASTER

STAR WARS EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI

While the vast majority of the Force Friday haul was action figures for Ethan, I did manage to pick up something for myself, and, big surprise, it’s a Nerf blaster.  It is the smallest and cheapest of this year’s Star Wars releases.  I am, of course, talking about the Poe Dameron Blaster pistol.  Let’s take a look at it.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Poe Dameron Blaster was released in 2017 as part of the Force Friday lineup of new products promoting the upcoming Star Wars Episode VIII.  The blaster is about as simple as it gets, mechanically.  It is a single shot muzzle loaded pistol with a priming tab in the rear of the blaster.  The tab is a separate piece from the plunger and has its own return spring so it doesn’t stick out the back of the blaster when primed like the Nitefinder or Firestrike.  In addition to priming the action of the blaster, pulling the tab back also activates the Glowstrike feature which is part of every Star Wars branded blaster at this point.  There is a single purple LED with a clear inner barrel that “charges” up the dart so it glows in the dark when fired.  The light turns off following a trigger pull which, in turn, fires the dart and sets off the blaster’s light effect and sound.  I can’t speak for the accuracy of the sound as the film has not yet come out, but I have to say I find the light effect a little disappointing.  I wasn’t expecting the same level of light effects as are on higher end blasters, but the single light on only one side of the blaster feels a bit underwhelming.  This is only accentuated by the fact that the light stays on for almost a full second after the trigger is pulled.  Even with the lackluster setup, I would have much preferred a quick flash of light than the drawn out night light effect the blaster has.  Ultimately, it’s kind of a nit-picky criticism to make, but I know Nerf have the capability to deliver better and I wish they had done it just a little different.  The form factor of Poe’s blaster, thankfully, brings us back to the positives.  Like with most of the prop blasters in Star Wars, Poe’s blaster in the film is built on the frame of a real world firearm, in this case the Sig Sauer P226.  This won’t matter to 98% of people who buy the Nerf replica, but what it means is that the grip is exceptionally comfortable.  It may seem like a small detail, but if a blaster is genuinely pleasant to hold, even if it’s only so-so otherwise, I’m much more likely to pick it up and pew pew around my house than I am with a functionally superior but less comfortable blaster.  The handle also houses the single AA battery that powers the light, sound, and Glowstrike feature.  The little bit of extra weight in the grip also helps with comfort.  The build quality is good and everything feels solid, as you’d expect from a Nerf blaster.  Poe’s blaster has an attachment rail on the top for accessories if you really think it needs them.  Unsurprisingly, Poe’s blaster is a bit underpowered compared to the Elite series.  This is the case with just about all licensed blasters Nerf makes so it’s not surprising.  This is an indoor blaster, plain and simple.  It doesn’t pack nearly the same punch as core Nerf blasters, but that just means you’re less likely to accidentally injure your younger siblings when you burst into their room.  Besides, the glowing darts and sound effects leave enough of an impression to make up for it, especially for nighttime ambushes.  The Poe Dameron Blaster comes packaged with 3 Star Wars branded Glowstrike darts and one AA battery already installed.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

To be completely honest, I was pretty disappointed with this years selection of Star Wars Nerf.  I didn’t even buy this blaster just because I wanted it but because Target was giving away freebies if you bought something from Force Friday.  That being said, do I regret buying this blaster?  No.  It has plenty of issues and I wouldn’t put it anywhere near my top 10, but for what it is, I feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of it.  And besides, it’s just so dang comfortable.