Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Review: X-Shot Thundershot: All show, no go

The X-Shot range of blasters from Zuru is a new concept that utilises a dual ammo system of both foam darts AND water. They look awesome, but given we NORMALLY have a "No Non-Nerf" policy we've been a lil wary; that being said we were surprisingly impressed with the X-Shot Stealth, so we decided to check out its bigger brother, the impressive looking X-Shot Thundershot. It boasts a clip system style banana clip that takes six darts and an air pressure system water blaster all in one sizable package. So how does it stack up? 

Pretty crap really:(

Thundershot in box. Looks great. goes downhill from here..
 The Thundershot looks great in box; comes with the blaster, six ammo shells and eight foam darts. It's quite a decent size and solid; the clip is quite large and actually curves slightly, just like a real banana clip.

Back of the Box
 There are 3 X-Shot blasters atm in the range; I haven't seen the Sidewinder in stores here in Australia yet but already have the Stealth.
Close ups of the Thundershot back of the box
Out of the box but still in its cardboard shell
 The Thundershot uses six ammo shells to hold the foam darts, perhaps taking it's cues from the Buzzbee Doubleshot. Cocking the blaster allows the used shell to be pushed out of the side of the blaster. Really, all that happens is it just sits there and jams..

The foam darts and ammo holders
Down the Ammo holder
 Once you've fitted your darts into the ammo holders, the shells are then inserted into a spring loaded clip much like the way you would insert darts in a Nerf N-Strike CS style clip. It's interesting how both the Stealth and this Thundershot feature detachable yellow clips, but the Stealth's clip holds water whereas the Thundershot stores darts. No interchangeability possible.

Priming the Thundershot for foam dart firing works similarly to a Nerf N-Strike Recon CS-6- the primer is on the top of the blaster and you need to manually slide it back and forth in order to fire. Straight off the bat, for my first shot it jammed up and ended up squishing my dart and bending it. It doesn't really get any easier here on, jams are almost inevitable if you understand how this blaster works.

The primer, pushed forward
 When the primer is pushed forward, a window on the right hand side is exposed, mainly so that the empty ammo shell can be dispensed, but really it works more as a jam door to see how your darts are being squished:(
Shell window exposed when primer is pushed forward
The priming of the Thundershot never feels solid; you always feel like you've got a dart jam, even if it's successfully chambered and ready to go. It's quite a clunky mechanism, and if you are lucky to not end up with a jam, the general performance of the Thundershot is pretty awful. It's easily outclassed by its smaller and cheaper brother in the Stealth, and definitely by any blaster available from Nerf. From under 4 metres away from the target the dart already starts to drop, and at times even spins out of control almost like you've "flung" the dart rather than successfully fired it. I've never been a fan of the "realism" of empty shells flying out of the chamber, and this blaster reiterates this- it's just a pain in the butt to retrieve and you ver quickly consider not bothering.

The pump to pressurise the water. Ok, but very short
 So how does the Thundershot handle water engagement? Not that great either, but probably the better of the two firing mechanisms. Water is stored in the stock of the Thundershot, and it uses an air pressure pump, like early generation Super Soakers, only the air pump tracking is very short, so you've got a LOT of pumps required in order to really get your water pressurised adequately. There's a thing with water blasters called 'misting' where the blaster feels like it's spluttering and not dispensing a good solid stream, and the Thundershot is victim of this; the stream is irregular and quite small in comparison to any rival water blaster available. It uses the same trigger to fire both the water and darts, so you could fire your dual simultaneously and STILL not hit anyone:(

The dual barrels of the Thundershot
All and all, the only good thing going for the Thundershot is it looks nice, but other than that it's an awful awful piece of tech. It feels like a mish mash of Nerf, Buzz Bee and old Super Soakers but doesn't do anything even marginally well; the blaster has no design consistency with it's little brother in the Stealth other than the colour scheme. Whereas the Stealth was very impressive performance wise (comparable to a Nitefinder), the Thundershot is a big, waste of time and money.

The X-Shot Thundershot is available at KMart Australia for 29 dollars.

Usability: 2/10
Out of the box performance: 3/10
Cool factor: 6/10 (idea is good in theory...)
Price point: 3/10 (rip off for something this poor in performance)


  1. I actually nearly bought one of these the other day on a whim... Thank you Pocket!! You saved my bank account!! Lol.


  2. Mods for this could be interesting...

  3. Loved the review of the Thundershot guys! It is one hot looking blaster I'd prob just pick up for the looks. Too bad it performs so badly aye.

  4. I have also been burned buying a non Nerf product (BB Rapid Fire, the lever action rifle = crap). Once bitten twice shy, as they say.

    They also say "its Nerf or Nothing" and I 100% agree now.

    Thanks for the review Pocket, hopefully it will save blaster fans time and money.

  5. Jim, the BB rapid fire rocks haha mine does anyway. but i like nerf better. But bussbee Double Shot beats the Nerf Barrel Break any day. haha but this is all coming from a modder.

  6. how bout sending it to jerm? he could mod it for ya!!

    vossmaster46 (plz reply)

  7. Come on guys.... we all know that few non-nerf blasters will ever perform as well or better than nerf. It is the novelty/uniqueness/style that counts. <- I give this one an 8. And as for the clip/shell system that this blaster, along with the Hawk and the (BB) Rapid Fire Rifle seem to share, I hear a lot of mixed experiences, but sometimes it is just a defective part, sometimes it is the operator. Only time I jam my RFR is when I do something that I know will jam it. Otherwise I can 'rapid fire' it slightly slower than a Recon sans jams.

  8. I bought one of these too, and was very disappointed at my purchase. It looked awesome, and I really thought how bad could it be, but its awful. With Nerf, jams are normally operator error, but with this blaster, this will be the 4th experience I've heard with jams, and we are all experienced nerfers so i think operator error would be limited. I think Pocket's review is more consistent with most other people's experiences. Don't buy it.

  9. The design of the Thundershot was fairly impressive (I like the stacked barrels), but it seems the performance was not. I never really understood the concept of water + darts anyway. Super Soaker battles are more frenzied, more about the adrenaline rush, while Nerf wars are generally more tactical and complex. Perhaps X-Shot was going for something akin to a flamethrower/rifle combo? I, for one, wouldn't want both in one. The Thundershot is like many cheap multitools - many functions, but none of them work.

  10. I wonder if that clip goes with the Rapid Fire Rifle by BuzzBee. If so. That would be awesome.

  11. Since it's so bad, you should open it up and give us some internal pics!

    Even if you can't get it back together, is it really that much of a loss?

  12. Can you get new darts or can you use the Nerfs darts?
    Until now (3rd day), it works fine, is a bit big/heavy for my nine year old, but he thinks its cool!

  13. I would get it for my friend. He just really wants a moddable gun that ejects shells from a clip.

  14. we picked up a couple on sale. fun for the kids.

  15. My 6 yr old just got X-Shot Thundershot for his birthday. we can't figure out how the darts work. we loaded the darts into shells and shells into banana clip, pump the top slider to load the shell into the barrel... but when we squeeze the trigger nothing happens. if you pump the top slider again, the shells jam in the barrel.
    are we doing it wrong or is it just a pice of @$%& that doesn't work?

  16. I think i would be good if you modded it (AR's etc) and then if you could make the front pump handle the primer for the slide. It would make it more useable. I wasn't a fan of the recon top slide load as if found it a little awkward (with all the attachments fitted) but fine as a pistol.

    Thinking of buying one and try and do that mod! LOL

  17. Nerf is losing its edge. And imitaters are just off brand of the new crap. nerf is just trying to be too flashy now. They need to recover three lost edge of nerf guns and super soakers