Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Review: Nerf N-Strike Alpha Trooper CS-18

Nerf Alpha Trooper CS-18. It's Tuff. Really.
Nerf's much anticipated Alpha Trooper CS-18 is an awesome blaster. Coming with it's own 18 round mini drum with it's cues from the Raider, this blaster is light weight yet packs a considerable punch with an impressive array of features for quite the decent price and is rapidly becoming the blaster of choice for many Nerf wars.

US-wise, The Alpha Trooper CS-18 is officially supposed to be a Target US exclusive, but elsewhere in the world it is carried in other toy stores as well (albeit still featuring the "only at Target" sticker!) I received mine online in July. The box was surprisingly lightweight; this isn't a heavy blaster at all.
Alpha Trooper CS-18 box

Inside the packaging, it's a pretty basic kit- one blaster- check. One 18 round drum? check. 18 streamline darts? check. Good to go!
Alpha Trooper unboxed.. 
Off the bat, The Alpha Trooper boasts the same slam fire feature as with the Raider CS-35- keep pressure to the trigger and pull back the cock under the barrel and you can straight away have impressive rapid fire action. Distances are quite impressive and are proving to be better than the older range of blaster such as the Recon and Longstrike; Nerf have seemed to improve their firing mechanisms for their new 2010 range ..though I do only test it in close quarters firing. Yes, it does still use a reverse plunger but it doesn't feel at all "under tuned"; it's also quite accurate when requiring single shot firing.

Alpha Trooper CS-18 unclipped
The Alpha Trooper comes with it's own 18 round drum, that also takes it's cues from the Raider CS-35. It's surprisingly small (and some would even say "cute") and lightweight and takes standard streamline darts. Drums are more prone to jamming than clips are, but often this is due to operator error- take the time to insert your darts with care and you should have minimal issues.
Comparison between the Alpha Trooper drum and the Raider drum

Of course the Alpha Trooper's drum can fit in other clip compatible blasters- pictured here below with a standard CS-6 Recon. You can also see the size comparison between the two blasters.
Alpha Trooper drum in a Recon CS-6
In hand, the Alpha Trooper is surprisingly lightweight. It's easy to hold and quite comfortable, and the pump action style priming under the barrel is easier to cock than the Recon's top slider.
Alpha Trooper in hand.. Swoooit..
The Alpha Trooper supports tactical rail accessories, as well as allowing for the detachable stocks found on the Raider, Recon, Spectre and Super Soaker Shotblast water guns. It doesn't have any allowances for barrel extensions, but then it's long enough as it is.
Alpha Trooper CS-18 with Raider drum and Blast Shot stock
Overall, the anticipation and hype for the Alpha Trooper CS-18 is well deserved.  While it's a compact and lightweight blaster but it packs a significant punch with the 18 round high capacity drum and slamfire capabilities. It also looks awesome and the ability to add a stock to it means you can customise your "look" to suit your roleplay needs:)

I'd definitely rate it as one of my favourite blasters and would happily recommend it to anyone. They are becoming more and more available worldwide and they're priced at a decent cost of under 30 dollars AUS as of Nov, 2010. Whether you're just starting out, or have several blasters already, the Alpha Trooper CS-18 is an almost "must have" for your arsenal. Check it out.

Usability: 7.5/10
Out of the box performance: 8.5/10
Cool factor: 9/10
Price point: 8/10 


  1. Isn't the Alpha Trooper is just an updated version of the Raider but with a smaller capacity drum?

  2. Hi Ray,

    In my opinion- not really. It's a smaller,more compact and more versatile blaster; it feels like a better designed Recon that's weighted correctly.

    The smaller drum can be interchanged with the Raider's if you want higher capacity, but the 18 round drum gives you a good compromise of high capacity vs weight.

    Arguably, it's also more powerful; the Raider is easier to slamfire (due to the hand grip) though.

    All and all, the Raider has always been my favourite blaster, but the Alpha Trooper DOES rival it depending on my mood.

  3. i'll back pocket on this one!

  4. Pocket. Esq,

    In your opinion, what would be the better purchase, a Raider cs-35, or an Alpha Trooper cs-18? Initially, I was drawn to the raiders large ammo capacity, which would serve me well with the stampede's release, but am curious if what you said about the Alpha Trooper's range is correct. Does it truly match the Longshot Cs-6 in firing potential? Is it as powerful? Thanks,


  5. Hi Aspernatio,

    Tough call. These two are probably both my equal favourite blasters of the N-Strike range. Head to head, it IS true the Alpha Trooper seems to have more power and range (and therefore accuracy).

    One thing I should note though, is my Alpha Trooper is only a few weeks old, whereas my original Raider is over a year old. When the Alpha Trooper is compared against my Clear Raider (purchased only a few months ago) the difference is not as obvious.

    I might do a video review so you can see for yourself.. give me a few days:)



  6. Pocket. Esq,
    I'll right, thanks. At the moment, I'm leaning more towards the Alpha Trooper, simply because of the cost. While I too usually engage in indoor nerf play, the areas in which these events take place usually have relatively large spaces, and thus range does come into play. Additionally, the $15 price difference is also a factor. Thanks again,


  7. Hi Aspernatio,


    I just posted a video comparison; I'm still sort of new to this whole "posting videos" thing but it should give you a good indicator:)

  8. Pocket. Esq,
    I greatly appreciate you taking the time to whip that review up. It really did showcase each weapon's capability. Additionally, I noticed that you had no problems with pumping the Alpha Trooper, whose grip I had been a bit skeptical of in terms of functionality. Again, Thanks,


  9. I got mine for $20 USD. Same as a Recon. The Raider is $35 USD where I am. Vulcans and Stampedes are in the $50 USD price range, and I'd take an Alpha Trooper with a Raider barrel and stock over a Vulcan or Stampede any day. I can put more rounds on target than a Vulcan or Stampede.

    Also Slam Fire = Double Tap.

  10. when i get this i'm going to hot glue or super glue the front longshot handle onto the bottom of the shotgun cocking mechanism grip so its like a mini raider :)

  11. I have a raider, the drum and slam-fire is amazing but the gun is not as accurate as my recon and does not seem to shoot as far. Since the alpha trooper looks to be a combination of the recon and raider it would seem that it shoots further and more accurately then the raider. In your experience is this true?

  12. Yes, mt out of the box one goes 55-60 feet. Unfortunately I'm returning it today. The drum broke. The black thing won't enter the clip. I enjoyed the sniping with a machine-gun while it lasted though. I'm going to buy another one!
    O O
    \____/ This gun...
    My ONLY complaint is that they should have made the slam fire piece longer and/or put the hook the other way.

  13. (Same guy with 60 foot range)
    I can get head-shots in at this range. You have to pay attention to curving though. :<

  14. On saturday I found an Alpha Trooper at target for $30. I thought about getting it but didn't have any money. Isn't the Alpha Trooper officially unavailible in Aus yet?

  15. I just got my Alpha Trooper and it is by far the best out of the box of any Nerf gun I own. No need for mods on this gun at all.

  16. does the Alpha Trooper jam much? i had jam problems with my recon. any advice for cs guns that arent prone to jamming?

  17. This gun is gunnish. In my opinion, it's better than the Raider. The capacity is the only problem of Alpha Trooper defeating Raider. Remember, you could always use the 35 Drum Magazine. I found that the Recon stock works well on it, but that doesn't change it's flimsyness (Is that even a word?).

  18. The Alpha Trooper is hardly prone to jamming...for some reason. Especially if you take care when loading the clips/drums.
    According to the Nerf website, not even the STAMPEDE is available here. Then again, it hasn't been very up-to-date; it still lists the BLUE Longshot
    Glue some wooden dowels to the Recon stock to reinforce it. It's no longer flimsy.

  19. I've actually had some issues with the AT Drum mag. Maybe it was a bad batch of blasters, but a bunch of friends and I would have issues with the drum not feeding the last few darts into the blaster, which was frustrating when one could only fire 10-12 rounds reliably.

  20. My favorite AT configuration is with the Stampede clip, Recon stock, and Longstrike sight. It works really well. Not to mention how awesome it looks!

  21. The AT or the spectre I need an opinion!

  22. JMJqueseyo, I would say the AT is a great gun it comes with the 18 darts and the 18 cap drum mag a really good amount compared to 5 darts with the spectre. To me the AT seems like a recon with barrel on and the pump acton mod, Nerf might of seen people doing that then made this in mind.

  23. Thanks but the reply was kind of late I already bought the Alpha Trooper.
    Thanks anyways.

  24. I had a Alpha Trooper and it broke :(

    and its really good though

  25. Can you put barrel attachments on it?

  26. no only a shoulder stock but not a barrel attachment.