Thursday, October 28, 2010

Retro: Nerf Blastfire DX-500

Blastfire DX-500. "in my day, 5 rounds was plenty!"
Nerf's range of blasters that have come out in the past few years are pretty awesome; they're innovative, powerful and they look fantastic to boot. Nerf blasters of old- not so much. Gaudy colour schemes, dumb looking designs and..let's go back to the gaudy colour schemes:) Still, the fact that most people in this world will eventually find a partner regardless of how butt ugly or stupid they are does suggest that people all have different opinions on what is appealing and attractive; so to there's a very hot market for the older retro blasters of days gone by (mainly because they've got some serious modding potential- but some actually like said gaudy colour schemes). 

Although I've rejected them to date, there is one of the old blasters that I have always really liked the look of.. so when the opportunity came to pick one up I took very own Blastfire DX-500.

The Blastfire DX-500 came out in the very early part of the decade- 2000-2001 I think and was officially a part of the Airtech series; it is a  true semi automatic blaster that can shoot 5 darts one at a time, or all 5 in one burst. While appearance wise it could liken it to its higher capacity brother, the Powerclip DX-1000, or more recent blasters like the Magstrike AS-10 or the Rapidfire AS-20 but on closer inspection, you know what's surprising? It's basically the same as a Hornet AS-6. (It also has given me more insight into how to use my Hornet more effectively rather than put it in the limited edition P.O.S box.. whoda thunkit?!)
Mmm. Came with genuine Canadian store dust:)
 The box is quite a small compact one, with an open window to the blaster and some very funky, dated looking graphics all over the packaging. This particular unit came from a toy store in Canada, and looks like it'd been lost under a pallet or shelf, but otherwise it was in quite good condition.
Big Bad Bow! Man that's been around for ages..
My favourite part of toys in the store as a kid was looking at the back of the packaging and seeing what else was available (mainly because we couldn't actually afford to buy toys so that was pretty much me living through "what could have been" :) ) So I thought it was pretty cool to get a snap of the back of the Blastfire's box too to see what was out at the time. It's also the extent of the instructions required for the Blastfire- in the box it's just the blaster and the 5 darts.

The Blastfire. Check that old school Nerf logo:)
Out of the box, the Blastfire feels quite sleek and compact for an air blaster. It's got very nice angled lines, an interesting fluoro lime green and black colour scheme with orange accents and build quality is consistent with other Nerf blasters, even those from today. As an air blaster, it uses a pump action neck at the front of the blaster to pressurise air to propel the darts from the barrels.
Primer at the back of the Blastfire cocked back
To use the blaster, there is a manual "reset" primer at the back of the blaster that needs to be pulled back and forward; my guess was originally that this was to release any mid pressurised air in the bladder, but by the look of it it has something to do with the firing mechanism. The holes in the primer show a small tube- whichever hole the tube is behind is the chamber that your dart will be firing from, hence pulling it back resets it to the first/bottom chamber, JUST like with a Hornet.(anyone who's cracked one of these open could probably confirm it).

Once this has been done, it's a matter of pumping the blaster up with air.
The pump neck of the Blastfire..and the 5 chambers. Not of Shaolin.
The Blastfire can shoot 5 rounds in true semi automatic fashion. Pumping the blaster up is easier than other air pressure blasters and only needs 4-5 pumps to ready the blaster (but a few more won't harm). The blaster has 5 individual chambers for the darts, and can accommodate any type of foam dart; it comes with the older styler suction cap darts from 2000.
When suction caps were lil and darts were red.
The darts shoot from the bottom chamber up, but unlike the Powerclip or Magstrike, the chambers do not "slide" up- you need to adjust your aiming accordingly to which chamber is ready to go.

Press the button. Which button? THAT button.
On top of the blaster, you'll notice there are no tactical rails- this is definitely pre N-Strike. More importantly is the big orange button, that like with the Hornet allows you to send all of your darts out in one go. Unlike the Hornet, this actually works:)

The Blastfire from other angles. Arty.
Performance wise it's not too bad but I don't get the same power or range from a Powerclip or Magstrike. While the Blastfire is not fantastic in power and distance (it does still make it up the staircase though into Greg's gut) , in short close quarters battle it's pretty decent and surprisingly accurate. It's also very light and easy to carry; the 5 rounds is a little lightweight by today's standards, but the fact you can have 5 round semi automatic fire compared to the Spectre which requires you to cock the blaster each time allows you to dual wield..which we all love to do:)

It's weird, pressing the trigger has a very firm "click" to it which I'm not used to in air pressure blasters, and you feel like you've used up all your air in the first shot. But press it again, and lo and behold.. out fires another dart. The blaster doesn't feel that "recoil" like with the Magstrike, probably because the Blastfire is semi automatic and even if you pull the trigger completely, it's genuinely one dart per pull (hehe)
Blastfire comparison to the Magstrike AS-10
Given it's age, the Blastfire DX-500 is surprisingly a very cool blaster. It looks great, feels good to hold and performs very well; it's reliable, does what you expect it to do and so far I haven't experienced any jams or misfires. Sure, 5 rounds is a little limiting and you'd probably not use it as a primary, but then it's also very quick and easy to load. It's one of the older vintage blasters I'm quite a fan of, and while it does show its age in some aspects, in others (especially in reliability and..aesthetics) it holds its own well. I really like it and it'll come out more for nostalgic novelty purposes more than anything else, but at least it's not a Warthog..

Blastfire DX-500 against the same era Powerclip DX-1000
The Blastfire was discontinued in 2001, so ebay is obviously going to be your best bet. I picked mine up for 25 dollars US which I thought was pretty damn decent for new in box:)

Usability: 6.5/10
Out of the box performance: 6.5/10
Cool factor: 7.5/10
Price point: 7/10 (depending on where you get it from)


  1. on sgnerf the wild fire looked pretty decent, look on the review

  2. Ah, the good old days.

  3. I agree with first comment, though i hear it takes a lot of pumping(wildfire)

  4. this is not about this gun but what does the two orange buttons on the big bad bow it is the two little buttons

  5. I have this. Found it at a Goodwill for $3 bucks. IT IS AMAZING. It shoots tagger darts a good 35-40 feet stock.

  6. What does it look likE in ihe inside

    1. He dosn't open them up, google "Blastfire DX-500 internals"