Saturday, April 29, 2006

Nerf™ Dart Tag Crossfire Blaster & Target Shield

The Crossfire is a simple pistol that fires velcro-tipped "Tagger" darts. It is marketed as part of the "Dart Tag" line. The original "Dart Tag" blasters were a $40 set of two blasters of 10-round capacity, one red-and-silver, the other blue-and-silver. Crossfires use gray instead of silver, and are available in red and blue variations.

It fires one shot at a time. You pull the slider back to cock it, and then you press the green trigger. Interesting enough, the holder beneath the barrel holds five -- read: 5 -- darts. In a firefight, this could come in handy, as darts in your pocket could get squashed.

The range is respectable; it fires a standard suction-cupped tip approximately 20 feet indoors, which places it within the same distance achieved by the Maverick Rev-6, the Scout (of the N-Strike Unity System) and the N-Strike NiteFinder EX-3.

(Photo right: the original Dart Tag set, 10-round capacity each.)

I found two problems with this blaster.

First, it is finnicky with certain darts. I happened to have a suction cup tipped orange dart handy. Inserting it into the barrel, it kept getting pushed out by a spring-loaded contraption at the base of the Crossfire's barrel. This sucks. I've noticed that the orange foam suction cup tipped darts can be about 0.5mm thinner than the black foam refill ammo darts, and certain Nerf brand blasters are so sensitive that it rejects the darts (pushing it out so that the air pressure doesn't push the dart forward for more than a few inches.)

I'm sure the Crossfire is good with the velcro-tipped "Tagger" darts that come with the blaster, but for safety reasons I'm not recommending use of Taggers and recommend instead that people invest in Sonic darts. Velcro, by nature, is comprised of tiny hooks that enable it to "tag" materials like cotton or felt. To their credit, Hasbro ships their Dart Tag products with protective visors (their sides don't even fold). The visors are rose tinted and optically okay with no noticable distortion, but they're tight on the head for adults; grown-ups should therefore take an extra step to find affordable eye protection -- and fortunately, there are cool-looking ballistics-grade industrial eye protection available on the cheap.

Second, the grip is short and in hands (I'm a grown-up) it was awkward holding this with four fingers instead of five (the Scout and the NiteFinder have this down good.)

Not a grown-up's pistol but maybe a small kid's....

It comes with a felt alyered shield roughly around 7 inches wide that can be propped up to be a target, or can be worn around the arm if a small kid wanted to play Captain America before you clocked him in the eye because he forgot to wear his visor, and now his parents are thinking of filing a lawsuit against you (is my concern for velcro tipped darts showing? If so I apologize!)

NiteFinder Take Two?

The package I bought at WalMart had a "BONUS" extension of the box -- basically buy the Crossfire and get the Firestrike Blaster free. Well, at least I think it's almost free; an N-Strike NiteFinder EX-3 runs around $7.00 and I paid something over $9.00 for this, so yeah it's free-ish.

What's interesting is that this is basically a N-Strike NiteFinder EX-3 repackaged but it's now part of the Dart Tag line. What's up with that? It's the same mould and same shape and all. (Hasbro had also repackaged the N-Strike Unity's "Scout" pistol as a "Tech Target" blaster.)

The Firestrike follows the Dart Tag (10 shot) blaster's color scheme (the one shown here is red and silver). It sports a rail so that it attaches to the Dart Tag blaster's top which makes you certifiably rediculous looking because it looks like a growth or something.

I found the Firestrike far more suitable for my hands, and the Firestrike is basically going to be as good as the Nitefinder because they're the same gun. The range again for a standard suction cup tipped dart is approximately 20 feet indoors.

Assuming you're wearing eye protection, this bonus pack isn't a bad choice for a dad and his child. The child will feel a "one-up" on the dad because the Crossfire can hold five darts and chamber a sixth, while the Firestrike holds two and chambers a third. The Firestrike is cocked by pulling back an orange ring.


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