Elite Approaches

I’m sure you all know about N-Strike Elite line, the new line of blasters that all promise 75 foot ranges; quite the feat. This promise has not been broken, as many bloggers would tell you. Sadly, I don’t have my hands on any of them yet, so I can’t really talk about my experience with them.

can talk about my observations about each of the new blasters though. Click through to see the comprehensive list!

Here’s the Hailfire, the flagship of 2012. It has quite a lot to live up to, being the first flagship blaster of the ‘Elite’ line. It appears to be the successor to the Vulcan, though it has a radical redesign.

The overall appearance is bulky, not so much as the Vulcan, although it is much wider than it. It’s about the size of a Recon without the barrel attachment, although it appears to be three times the width. It has the largest capacity of any blaster; since it has 8 magazine slots. If using eight 18-dart mags, you get 144 darts. That’s pretty hefty. Drums do not allow you to use up all 8 slots, and you can only use four 18-dart drums, or three 35-dart drums. You swap through the mags by using the “Advance Handle”, you simply crank it forwards and then pull it back to get to your next mag.

The blaster is semi-auto, which means you can burn through darts as fast as you can pull the trigger. The main thing about the blaster is, you use each mag  like you would normally, and then switch to the next.

There are two tactical rails on the blaster; one for a foregrip/bipod, and one for any top accessory. The top rail doesn’t seem to work well with scopes, as it blocks them out, but the bottom rail is a must when you’re laying down suppressive fire.

I feel like the Hailfire will be very advantageous in a battle, since all you need to do on reload is crank the handle. Though it looks hard to genuinely reload from the eight used up clips, being conservative in a battle would mean you would never need to truly reload until after the battle. Consider it seven full reloads without even truly reloading; that’s quite a feat.

As for the design choices, I believe they attempted to make a customizable version of the Vulcan, and it can fill many roles. The handle is a neat touch, but you really want to hold the under-barrel part. This is okay, since a normal blaster has 18 rounds per reload, and cranking the handle is basically the same as reloading it.

So my endpoint is: it looks to be a beast for a quick battle, it lays down dang good suppression, but it would be a pain to swap out eight clips during a long firefight, or even carry eight extra clips. It’s also kinda bulky and looks unwieldy.

So now we’re onto the Rampage, the second highest capacity of an Elite blaster so far. 25 darts; less than the original Raider CS-35, but still enough to get the job done fast.

Speaking of the Raider, it’s the successor to it. It carries over every external feature, but adds brand new Direct Plunger internals. However, it doesn’t come with a stock this time, sadly. But I’m sure the ranges will make up for it.

The drum though, that’s something to look at. It houses 25 darts, but it’s not nearly as bulky to use on a blaster as the 18 or 35 dart drums. That’s because it’s centered with the blaster; something that seems to do a great deal for the blaster. I’m excited to see how this works out with the Raider’s design, as this should help a lot with moving the slam fire handle back and forth fluently.

There’s not much other input I can have on it, since overall, it’s a Raider. However, I’m looking forward to buying this one the most out of any Elite blaster. Slamfire speed, small profile when held, and Elite ranges. That’s something to look at right there.

Endnote: It’d be a great primary in any war, moreso than the Hailfire. It’s easy to shoot, it’s fast to shoot, it shoots far, and it reloads quick.

Ah, the Retaliator. I have a strong love for the design, though I can’t get myself into the Recon’s priming method. It’s inefficient to hold.

This is a Recon, but besides the shell and the barrel, it’s completely redone. New stock, new mag, new internals, and new grip. It’s the most beautiful I’ve seen a Nerf blaster in years.  Sadly, it still uses the pistol-slide for priming.

Although the blaster comes with a foregrip, it seems to be the most pointless accessory they could’ve picked. You can’t prime the blaster without taking your hand off the grip, and so in a firefight this won’t help you out very much. It may help you line up a long range, stealthy shot, but a bipod would stabilize it more, while allowing you to keep your hand on the priming slide.

It comes with a 12 dart magazine, which I think is a great size, on top of the fact it works with the Stampede Bipod without touching the ground. This size would work great on a blaster such as the Stampede.

Endnote: This could be used best as a sniper rifle. It has a lot of ergonomic flaws, but honestly, it gets away with being beautiful. It’s not the best blaster to hold, but it would work great in a defensive situation.

So here’s the Stockade. This is quite a blaster.

It’s the successor to the Barricade, and you can’t help but laugh at the name. It’s a Barric-ade with a stock.

With all my time using the Barricade, I have to say this sounds great. 75 foot ranges with the familiar, semi auto capabilities of the Barricade. Although the Hailfire is semi-auto, it doesn’t hold or work like the Barricade does.

This time, the Stockade comes with a stock that carries a full reload’s worth of darts. That’s quite an advancement from not having a stock! I don’t enjoy the aesthetics of the stock; the skeleton-looking shape isn’t very appealing to me, but use outweighs appearance.

Endnote: The Stockade looks be a beast in a small battle, but the capacity and reload is slow. It’s a great blaster all around, and could help you win many battles, but you will wish it had more darts.

Here’s the Firestrike. It’s the successor to the Nitefinder, and the first Elite sidearm to be officially shown.

Aesthetically, woah. They redesigned the Nitefinder so much that it finally looks beautiful. I couldn’t get myself to enjoy the Nitefinder much as a sidearm, but this takes the cake. It’s a brand new shell, and it looks tough.

It keeps the main features of the Nitefinder; it has a light, a barrel to put a dart in, a straight-pull priming handle, and two dart storage.

However, it changes the method of using the red dot sight; now you have to pull down the secondary trigger to turn on the light, rather than a half pull of the trigger. This is a great addition, as the Nitefinder was prone to the sight being jammed in the on position.

One thing I’m not certain about is the sight’s ability to change position and adjust for bullet drop. It appears to not have anything sticking out of the sight, but we’ll have to see in the final release.

Endnote: The Firestrike is a great, small sidearm to keep on you during a serious fight, and it looks to be deadly accurate with the combination of a red-dot sight and 75-foot range.

So here’s this mostly unknown fella.

There’s not much to say about the unnamed Elite Jolt, but it looks to be simply a Jolt with the power of the Elite series. I’d assume that it hits 75 feet by reductions in the air restrictor and a better spring. This means you get 75 feet in a stealth weapon; that’s some serious stuff right there.

Consider it a side-arm to a side-arm, although I’d use it as a primary side arm. One of the better factors here is the fact it uses typical, Elite Darts, that means you could have a pocket full of Elite darts and just shove them in any blaster you need. With that in mind, I’d say to couple this with the Stockade in a quick scout role, as you’d only need to carry darts, rather than bulky mags.

Endnote: Freaking small and powerful. The Jolt was a great blaster for its time, and this looks to be even better. It’s a great side arm for lightweight travel.

And last, but not least, the Strongarm.

It’s the lovechild of a Spectre and Maverick, but uses the 75 foot elite range. This looks to be a beast.

I’d call this my favorite side arm. It has six darts in a flip-out revolving chamber, a slam-fire handle(!), a sleek redesign, a forward-mounted tactical rail, and basic iron sights.

The priming handle is slam-fire. This is actually kind of awesome, for two reasons;

  1. It means that the chamber does not advance by the trigger pull, but rather on priming.
  2. You can fire darts as fast as you can pull, not very important on the capacity of only 6 darts, but it means you’re not slowed down in a quick brush of a fire fight, and you can get six shots off fast.

The design is simply beautiful. The Maverick was always kinda bulky looking in my book, and it didn’t appeal to me much aesthetically. It was a great sidearm, but it felt ugly to have in my holster. The blue/white colors, the  great looking grip and the tip-open chambers are fantastic looking.

Speaking of that tip-open chamber, that’s a great advancement. You can now easily pull out each dart, which is something that was normally half-impossible on the Maverick. Crazy small, but dang good. They evidently chose this for the Elite darts, which would be impossible to get out. Ever accidentally decided to put a streamline in a Maverick? Yeah, only shooting will get those out.

The iron sights look like they’ll be kinda useful, as they’re rather realistic, but we’ll have to see.

We’ll also have to see if they finally make the chambers swing out completely. I love modding my Mavericks to do that, but we’ll have to see.

Endnote: This is the best sidearm you can have. Bulky, which gives reason to buy the Firestrike or Elite Jolt, but this is your go-to sidearm for a long battle. You get six shots per reload, can fire them fast, and reload in decent time. It’s for the long haul.

So there’s my opinion on each of the revealed(Or leaked!) Elite blasters. I think Elite is going to be the best thing to happen to Nerf in ages.

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