Monday, November 1, 2010

Review: Nerf N-Strike Rapidfire AS-20

Nerf Rapidfire AS-20. Been around for a while. 
The Nerf Rapidfire AS-20 is the largest capacity air pressure blaster in the N-Strike range, although historically it had existed for several years prior to the N-Strike banner (albeit with a different colour scheme). As the name suggests, the Rapidfire AS-20 boasts 20 foam dart rounds in a fully automatic flurry of air pressure powered madness which is still pretty awesome, even against the likes of newer blasters like the Vulcan and Stampede.

Design-wise, the Rapidfire is an unusual looking blaster with significant design cues that would be at home with the old Super Soaker water blasters of the 90's. It's very much a "ready to go" blaster out of the box with minimal packaging; it's simply the blaster and 20 sucker dart ammo with no manuals:) Although it sports the new N-Strike inspired paint job and is considered a part of the N-Strike range, it still uses the original mould and therefore does not have a tactical rail for attachments.
Rapidfire AS-20 in new N-Strike colours. I prefer the old red and greys however.
The Rapidfire is quite large and feels a little odd in the hand- it's not difficult to hold, but doesn't feel that natural and has an odd weight to it that makes it clumsy for single handed firing (which you can do given the fact it is fully automatic) but doesn't feel that great with two handed firing either. It's not particularly ergonomic, but that doesn't seem to bother most fans of the blaster. Given it was originally an older pre N-Strike blaster, it doesn't actually resemble any firearm, nor does it boast the tightest build quality either. The Rapidfire squeaks in all joints, and during pumping you can see the back of the tubes twisting and almost 'struggling' to hold it all together.
Your hand remains hidden, protected and..uncomfortable.
The Rapidfire is fully automatic, but can be also considered semi automatic with a quick light squeeze of the trigger. Officially, it has two modes that can in theory change the way the blaster works on firing by turning the large orange dial on the side of the blaster. These two modes are "rapid fire" which is the fully automatic mode where a firm squeeze of the trigger should disperse all 20 rounds, and a "single fire" mode that.. seems to ALSO disperse all 20 rounds with a firm squeeze of the trigger:) I've tried this with several units and it's always the same; the only thing I could possible suggest is perhaps in "single shot" mode it is easier to fire a single round with a light squeeze of the trigger than it would be in "rapid fire" mode. Or maybe not..maybe forget the dial:)
The dial. Doesn't seem to do a whole lot.
The main barrel hosts an impressive 20 individual chambers for each foam dart; as always given the way it loads you can use any type of Nerf foam dart but I normally stick with the sucker darts it comes with. On firing the barrel does rotate; accuracy is a mixed bag as I am never really sure which chamber my next round is going to come out of, but I probably wouldn't use this blaster for accuracy anyway.
Before there were Stampedes.. 20 Rounds of automatic foam. 
To fire, it's a matter of just pumping the blaster up using the pump neck at the front of the blaster under the barrel. This is a blaster that does need to be pumped up a lot and with full length strokes; it suggests around 30 which you really do need if you want to maximise the amount of darts you'll fire off. It doesn't really help if you pump as you go either; you still get pretty pathetic ranges and only low amount of rounds fired if you don't ensure the blaster's air bladder is full. I find for maximum performance I press the trigger several times to ensure the air bladder is completely empty, and then proceed to pump it up to capacity before I commence my foam onslaught.

Clear tube to see the spring. Of course!
Be also mindful that this blaster is quite stiff in pumping; not great for lil' kids and also it's very easy to assume you've pumped the blaster to capacity after 8-9 strokes. Just keep GOING.If you've pumped it up correctly, it should just be a matter of point and shoot and like most Nerf air pressure blasters, you'll get some very fast (rapid is right!) automatic fire from the Rapidfire. 20 rounds should pretty much be emptied under 4 seconds, although as always the more rounds capacity you have in your blaster, the more of a pain in the butt it is to reload:)
Sized up against a Maverick
With practice you should also be able to fire off single rounds effectively without letting out too much air, which will ensure your blaster stays primed and ready for longer. As with most air pressure blasters, if you've done it right you'll get some pretty decent power and ranges- not sure about accuracy given the type of blaster it is but I managed to get most of my rounds ON my target board so at least in the same rough vicinity worked for me:)
It's a real fav this one.
I kid you not that I've owned and exchanged FIVE of these puppies over the past 6 months and I've never really been happy with them until my current Rapidfire AS-20. The build quality isn't the greatest and it feels quite flimsy compared to the ruggedness of the Magstrike; the resistance in the air bladder when pumping the blaster up lends itself to under pumping the blaster(due to fear of bursting the bladder) and thus resulting in sub standard performance. The fire mode dial seems to do not a whole lot either.

BUT... once everything is working, it's not bad at all to use, and while it's getting on a bit and for me, a little dated, I don't at all mind the Rapidfire AS-20. Having 20 rounds at your disposal is pretty decent, even by today's standards, and although totally impractical, sending off 20 rounds downstairs towards my couch is pretty fun. A literal foam storm:) If I was to recommend an air pressure blaster, I'd PROBABLY suggest you purchase the Magstrike instead; sure it boasts less rounds but it's a more reliable, easier to use blaster, even though costwise they're actually much the muchness.

I haven't seen them anywhere else but Target in Australia; they go for between 30-40 bucks AUS.

Usability: 6/10
Out of the box performance: 8/10 (when it works)
Cool factor: 5/10
Price point: 6/10


  1. I have one these and I haven't mastered the single fire ability yet but I use this one as a "Single Use" blaster. Use it once to either ambush someone or finish them off, then I stick to my easier to use blasters.

  2. I got a rapid fire 2 days ago for 20, - it broke after seven shots, I exchanged it at the store today- found another one that didn't work, grabbed (and tested) one that works - My new favorite blaster. Single fire mode does nothing, but I only want rapid fire anyway. This thing weighs nothing and I have no idea how far it shoots, but my hallway is 30 feet long and it nails it at waist height, so there you go. The handle is NOT uncomfortable for me (unlike the firefly, cough cough) and this little thing has the same wtf factor as the Vulcan; it just doesn't look like a gun but once you fire it everyone freaks out. ;) The lady in the store jumped when I test fired it, without ammo. This thing is awesome -just keep the receipt in case you get a defective one. And exchange it for an awesome one.

  3. Ive probably fixed this gun more times than one should, and after some work its better than the mag ever could be.

    I'm not going to get into the cpvc mods, since those are obvious, but I was able to plug everything with hot glue to ensure perfect air retention, and fixed one vulvae with hot glue, a dremmel , and a coffee straw.
    It actually works better now (by that, its gets better air retention).

  4. In Australia, its a Target ONLY Nerf Blaster, Picked up 2 today :) as they go so fast in Tasmania.

  5. I picked up a Rapid Fire at Target the other day after reading a lot of reviews. I was hoping for similar performance to the awesome Magstrike, key word there being "hoping".

    Got it home, loaded the dart, pumped it up and took it outside to test. I set the blaster on Full Auto and pulled the trigger. I was disappointed before the first dart hit the ground, haha.

    I tried it again hoping, again that word, for a better result. The second time was actually worse!

    Thankfully I kept the receipt. Looks like I will have another Magstrike in my future.

  6. My Magstrike cost me $20. An extra mag with darts cost me $14. Altogether, that's $34, which is only $2 more than a Rapid Fire is in a sale at Target ($32). I'd take my Magstrike any day.

  7. I think the dial is for full-auto firing (all rounds in 4 secs) or slower-auto firing (shoots half as fast).

  8. I bought this last week for 30 bucks. TIP: Before buying it, make sure you check it first. Its your right as a consumer.

    Anyway, it does looks clumsy and squeaky, but in the battlefield, it was AWESOME. Pre-pumped it 30 times before a battle, pawned 7 out of 10 with rapid fire mode when ambushing enemies in a NERF war. Sure Magstrike is cheaper, but Rapid Fire is awesome. Now I seldom carried my Vulcan ever since.

  9. no tac rails sucks. escpecially because this gun accuracy is low

  10. my fav gun works perfect bit of pain to reaload though

  11. I have a bit of a probleme with it.
    When I bought one today I was so excited I played with it for 5 hours and then it happend. In the pumping system when you pupmp it you usualy hear a squicking sound normally but mine after 5 hours of using it the squing stop and when I pumed it, it restricks of pumping then I have to pump it 40 times to get 20 shots. Pleas help me with this probleme.

    1. It is the o ring it gets misaligned when you use the rf20 alot

  12. Wow! A twenty dart foam storm!!! That's even better than my Magstrike!!

  13. Will their be a ELITE AS 20 Rapid Fire coming out. I'm going to be waiting 6 months for a Stockade, but I would probably get a ELite Rapid Fire instead