Friday, June 13, 2014

The Most for The Least: Part 1

Someone brought up an excellent question that got my thinker thinking.  When it comes to Nerf Blasters, which one gives you the most bang for the cheapest cost?  Most blasters are performing pretty decent these days anyways, so to me it's a bit of a tougher call.  In order to attempt to answer this, we need to nail down what "The Most" really is.  And, to do THAT, I shall refer to Nerf's latest commercial as our criteria for getting "The Most".

Speed, Power, Distance, and Accuracy.  Most of the blasters used in the commercial for this highlighted one of each of these... but for our purposes, we'll be exploring a blaster that maximizes most of that while still keeping cost down.

Additionally, this search will look at modifications to the blaster.  However, the modifications won't include adding parts on to increase performance, but more simple mods like removing the Air Restrictor and such.  That goes for suped-up battery packs to increase RoF or the speed of Flywheels, too.  Standard AAs in a Stryfe, for instance.  No Trustfires or Ultimate Lithium batteries.  No spring upgrade from ACE Hardware.  No Brass Barrels or Angel Breeches.  Things that don't cost anything so that way this truly IS "The Most for The Least".

The whole idea behind this is to discover a blaster that you can walk into a store, go to the Nerf aisle, and pick up a blaster to go kick butt as much as possible for the cheapest price, so we won't be considering discontinued blasters of the past, unfortunately.  Keep that in mind as we explore the options for this blaster.

To tackle things logically, it's probably best to work our way from the cheapest cost Nerf blaster on the market today.  It's the Jolt, whether in it's orange format or the "Elite" colors they have more recently recolored it with.  As far as "Speed" goes, it's a front-loading single-fire blaster, which already means any other kind of blaster (magazine-fed, rotating barrel, etc) is going to have a leg up.  That's okay, it's only one category.  Next up is "Power", and the Jolt certainly packs a punch given it's size, but again... there are stock blasters that can beat it here.  Even with the Air Restrictor out, there's not a ton left for the Jolt to give.  "Distance", well it's pretty good for it's size again, but this is Pre-Elite schtuff so it's outshot there.  "Accuracy" isn't bad with this one though, as most single-fire front-loading blasters are quite accurate.  However, as we take a step back, the Jolt is the cheapest but only really hits on 1 out of 4 for our selection.

Using this same process, I'll be considering other blasters moving up the pay-grade.  Triad, Firestrike, Strongarm, and so on.  I invite you to do the same, as we'll reconvene with Part 2 after everyone has had enough time to explore the possibilities here.  We'll narrow our search after that and start picking the top contenders apart!  Sound like fun?  YOU BET!

I look forward to reading what you have to say about this, as I am only one person.  Getting more perspective from fellow fans is a big part of finding The Most for The Least, so weigh in!!


  1. The Stryfe.
    Cheap, semi auto, simple to mod, simple to use, and reliable (after modded), very versatile, and a quick reload (with extra clips at least).This is my favorite blaster hands down. If you need to keep your opponent at bay then fire single warning shots, or even rev up the motors. If you must blast someone you can pull the trigger until you run out of darts or you finger cramps up. Or any firing speed in between.

    With so many positives there are a few downsides as well. You must open this blaster up. If you don't remove at least the dart checker this blaster won't perform for you. And there is that silly six clip it comes with, it is very easy to go through six darts.

  2. Right now, the Rampage. I keep seeing it for $23.00, it has two to four times the dart capacity of any other blaster (out of the box), slamfire, and it is very durable.

  3. Hands down the Elite Alpha Trooper is by far the best blaster for amount you pay. For only $20 you get a slam-fire blaster with great range and accuracy! The blaster also has a slim profile which makes it very light and versatile! Take out the AR and you get 10-15 feet extra out of this great blaster!

  4. The Triad should be a contender in the low end. Cheap, stealthy, multiple shots, an easy spring mod. Makes the Jolt irrelevant. Everyone in the office should have one.

  5. I would have to say the Stryfe as well even though I'm not a fan of electrics in general, flywheels in particular. It's just versatile enough to make it a prime choice for any nerfer. A good all rounder.

  6. Elite Alpha Trooper.
    Cost: $20 US. That's cheaper than a Retaliator. Speed: It has slamfire, which means it can easily fire faster stock than the Rapidstrike--additionally, it has the same 12-dart-clip as a Retaliator, and can accept other clips and drums that are available separately (or you may already have), so reloads are fast. You can also remove locks for a smoother and more reliable firing sequence. Power: Standard Elite plunger. Distance: Standard Elite plunger/distance, and you can get a little more out of it by simply removing the air restrictor. Accuracy: It's got a longer barrel than any Nerf pistol, which gives you something to aim down. Also, it generally doesn't overpower the darts, so it is relatively accurate.

    Cost: $13.00 US. Cheaper than an Alpha Trooper, but with half the stock capacity and a drum that you need to reload one dart at a time rather than swapping the clip out. With a simple mod, you can rear-load it, though, which can save you a few seconds. Speed: You need to prime it between shots, but it DOES have slamfire and features that make it easy to dual-wield. Power: It makes Mavericks hang their muzzles in shame, and holds its own with all other Elites. Distance: Standard Elite ranges. You can get slightly more with an air restrictor removal, but the darts get overpowered slightly and you lose accuracy. Accuracy: Stock, the accuracy isn't bad--it has shell features which make good sights, and it's light and easy to point at the enemy. That said, the darts do tend to swerve a little.

    Cost: $15.00 US. More expensive than a Strongarm. Speed: With practice, you can get a lot of speed out of this. I'm not talking about the silly fan-fire that everyone does wrong (you're supposed to prime it and pull the trigger, not hold the trigger and just keep working the hammer)--if you hold the grip two-handed, one thumb can steady the blaster and the other thumb can operate the hammer (which is a lot more stable that slamfiring a Strongarm). Additionally, you don't need to open the cylinder to reload, but you must still fill the cylinder one dart at a time. It's also easy to dual-wield. Power: Standard Elite sidearm power. Stock, it's just at the edge of Elite darts' upper stable threshold. Distance: Standard Elite sidearm distance--very respectable. Accuracy: Easy to aim, but the darts occasionally swerve a little. ANY power mods (including an air restrictor removal) overpower darts and make them swerve noticeably-- when it comes to power, distance, and accuracy, it's just-right at the upper performance threshold out of the box.

    1. Yeah, how you one-hand the HS is aim it above where you want to fire, swing it down, but keep your thumb and the hammer in place, fire, and fake-recoil it to repeat.

      Go to Target and get the two best manual blasters: The Elite Alpha Trooper, and the Hammershot!

  7. I have had a good think about this one based on the criteria of Speed, Power, Distance, Accuracy and Cost.

    For starters it will have to be an Elite Line Blaster or “Elite-esque” Blaster to provide an adequate distance and accuracy score. We can sadly rule out any of the Vortex line of blasters as in an outdoor play environment the wind results in poor accuracy. The blaster will need to be slamfire or rapid-fire capable to meet the Speed criteria. Cost will need to factor in everything in my humble opinion and this would have to include batteries/chargers etc.

    Therefore I would nominate the Elite Alpha trooper (EAT), £20 in the UK. The reason I would place this Blaster above the Stryfe is simply that it does not require any batteries to fire an EAT. Plus it is still a clip system Blaster meaning that it is compatible with a large range of reload options from light 6 round mags to 35 round drums and it can take a stock.

    My second nominations would be either the Strongarm, typically £10 or a Hammershot usually £15. The Strongarm has one extra dart and slamfire in its favour with the only negative been a more awkward reload. The Hammershot has very easy reload plus one handed operation with the minuses of one less dart and no “true” slam fire.

    Hope that helps the debate.