Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nerf Vortex: Let's do this.

10th of September 2011... while it sounds like any other date to us Australians, it does mark the official worldwide launch of the new Nerf Vortex line. In US date annotation, that's 9-10-11; the date where not just one, but FOUR new blasters are being released with a brand new firing mechanism and the new XLR disc ammunition that apparently shoots further with more accuracy. And more importantly.. they're predominantly green...

Tall calls, but one tends to put a lot of faith in dem smart peeps at Nerf releasing high grade kit. Anyway you've seen the previews and the pics, read the press releases, so really there's not much else left than to get stuck into the new Vortex line and see what all the fuss is about first hand... and so we did:) Nitron, Praxis, Vigilon + Proton? Damn Skippy!

No doubt over the following weeks you're going to be flooded with new Nerf Vortex posts on all the blogs.. it's Vortex-a-rama time peeps:)

Although the much publicised "N-Strike vs Vortex"  promo has resulted in a lot of speculation on 'pairing up' the Vortex blasters to their N-Strike counterparts, I personally found it reminded me a lot of the last time they brought out four blasters in one hit; i.e. the Dart Tag line earlier in the year. It's a similar format here: you've got a quick action single shot, a built in clip larger side arm, a mid sized larger clip rifle and a run-for-cover fully automatic motorised beast. Each to their own to make their own comparisons on this one, that's just mine:)

The first thing we can say about the Vortex line is they. look. TUFF. The likes of Johnson Arms are going to have a FIELD day with these; the designs are definitely both futuristic and organic with a definite alien feel to them. They're very solid in hand as we've grown to expect from Nerf and while the green and orange take a bit to get used to, the scheme does work here but you can imagine how they'd look with a custom paint job.

The ergonomics and intuitive nature of the blasters is also really evident, catering for left handers as well as right. They've thought things through and it shows; discs stay secure in the blaster even when primed so there's no fear of them falling out mid battle; jam switches on all of the blasters is a nice touch as well although we've yet to experience any jams thus far. 

You've already seen the box art before on previous posts so we won't go into that too much other than the fact they're definitely darker and more..emo to look at. Although the speculation is Vortex is to be a design cue to more "alien" technology, the box model guys don't look particularly alien, unless you believe aliens are 90's throwback advertising execs in black turtle necks and Caesar haircuts:) Maybe they're possessed by alien parasites controlling them to wear black turtle necks; either way they get to wield cool blasters:)

We've posted before on the new XLR disc ammunition; these green, soft "mini frisbees" that glide through the air. It was commented that maybe they're to resemble "laser blasts" although one of the more sceptical members of our crew just palmed it off as "the designers just really have a thing for green" :) They're very lightweight and while soft, they're not squishy. The foam is more like N-Force consistency wrapped around a small lightweight hardish plastic disc.

At the moment it looks like additional XLR ammo will come in just the ammo, 10 round clips and 20 round clips. I find this is going to be even more important than darts as the nature of these discs tend to mean losses are even more common (they just soar off..never to be seen again!) The clips are obviously cylindrical to accommodate the discs and are interchangeable with the Praxis + the Nitron.

Although this question seems to come up a lot (and gawd knows WHY), I can assure you, NO, the clips are obviously not compatible with the N-Strike line. One couldn't even "try and see" :)

You almost can guess Nerf won't sit still with these, and sooner or later there would have to be ammo variants, but given their design I can't imagine adding suction caps or velcro to them; I do think alternate colours and definitely a glow-in-the-dark feature would be almost inevitable.

Soo..let's break them down and go with our initial thoughts. 


The Proton is a single shooter; while it's small and compact, it's ranges are still very impressive and we love the way you prime the blaster; pulling back on the sled to load a disc, and then a flick of the switch on either side of the Proton with your thumb snaps it in place ready to fire. I'd even suggest it out performs the Nitron distance wise. Definitely makes the 60ft +, though accuracy is best for close quarters.

Love the styling as well. I'm not normally that excited by single shooters but this one's awesome.


The Vigilon reminds us of the Dart Tag Speedload 6- it's got a 5 round internal clip that sits on the left hand side. A flip of the switch with your thumb opens the ammunition door and the discs are loaded; it's pretty fiddly to do, but you get the hang of it. 

Cocking mechanism is on the top rear of the blaster like a Speedload or Recon, but it is springloaded like the Maverick. Pulling it back and forth loads the disc.

 Personally, the Vigilon is the ugliest blaster of the four, if not.. well of any Nerf blaster really. It's sturdy, we'll give it that but it's also pretty bulky. Its novel in its design which makes us enjoy fiddling with it, but I wouldn't be keen to, say get another in a hurry.

Ranges are still very good, also surpassing the 60ft mark. Maybe a tad more accurate than the Proton, but not a whole lot in it. 


The Praxis is probably the blaster most of the fans have been excited about the most and I can understand why. It's a really good looking unit; it comes with a stock and looks the best with all the other blaster's attachments.. and for ours, even better without the stock in place. It's likened to the N-Strike Recon but so much cooler, mainly because it performs beautifully; possibly the best of the bunch really.

Comes with some cool kit-but looks better with the Nitron gear
It's feels great in the hand and the pump action priming of the Praxis is awesome. It can be a tad fiddly though and we did get our hands on two of them, with one tending to stick when priming which could just be a glitch.

Yup.. Baby got back- takes all N-Strike attachments too
Pump action Praxis- we LIKE.

Tactical rails in the right place

Jam switch 


The Nitron's a beast- it's solid as hell, looks fantastic and comes with a very cool if not somewhat useless scope and a big 20 round clip:) We already gave it the once over in a previous review so we won't do it again; we do like it but being a noisy flywheel mechanism, it does tend to be a tad slower than the other three on firing and arguably performs the worst in ranges. 

Bear in mind, when we say worst, do realise the Nitron is STILL hitting 60ft, and probably quite accurate at that range compared to the Proton. Don't discount it because it's flywheel, and we'll be interested to see how it goes with some voltage fun:)

Everything about these new Vortex blasters feel so novel and just encourage curiosity, again sort of like how we'd act if we did find alien technology. You just want to press every switch, and look down the barrel to see the mechanism (and shoot yourself in the head at times); you want to compare it with every N-Strike blaster you have, and mix and match attachments and just experiment. Your mind ponders how it'll go in real life game play (something which Neil is really going to test this weekend) and you just want to keep shooting just to watch those discs launch into the air.

The Vortex blasters are designed to be compatible with all N-Strike attachments; all four Vortex blasters come with tactical rails to accommodate all N-Strike sights and other fun stuff although the placement of the rails do seem a bit odd in the Proton and Vigilon. 

Only the Praxis however has a stock attachment m'fraid- you can see for yourself that it's similar to, but by no means identical to that of the Recon. 

While the N-Strike attachments fit, they don't exactly look pretty; green's just a tough colour to coordinate, so it the Vortex line does tend to look better using other Vortex blaster attachments:

This one's our personal fav. Praxis, no stock, Nitron clip + Scope. tuff.
In close quarters (ie my apartment) you can't really feel the difference between the Vortex line and an N-Strike blaster other than perhaps the better accuracy. They fire quite quickly; admittedly there is always a 'slight' delay in firing the Vortex Nitron as it is essentially 'launching' the disc after full trigger pull through the flywheels, but you don't notice as much when you're running up and down the stairs in close quarters.

In more open areas, you can really see the discs glide, lose velocity and return to earth (like with frisbees) and so while you may have the distance (we got 60ft + on all of them) , it appears to be easier for your opponent to dodge the further they are away as you lose accuracy past 40 ft. That being said..this however would be the same with darts as well I would imagine?

Normally, if you saw a disc shooter on the shelf you'd probably laugh it off. But there's something about the NERF brand that makes us..want to know more. SO even though so many sceptics panned the idea of the Vortex line and were so hell bent on sticking with the tried and true, I really doubt they could help themselves in just being a LITTLE curious and wanting to know more- and perhaps even at the end of the day going out and ordering one "just to be sure".  I think there will be the haters and the "bah, my Longshot rules" but for many of you out there, you may just be surprised at how cool this new line is.

We said it before with our Nitron post a short while back, that we can definitely attest that the Vortex line does shoot further, and with accuracy than the traditional N-Strike line. It's just whether the XLR discs will prove to be something we can all adjust our mindsets to or leave them alone. Either way though, the Vortex line is very sweet looking kit and we really think worth giving a good solid go.

Next on the agenda, I know what you're all wanting.. Range test videos right? :P


  1. Internals would be nice.

  2. Basic Nerf here,

    Great post. I'm when these are mass released people will be all over them. Opening them up, Nerf Waring, etc etc.

    I just had to ask though. Does the Vigilon really get 60 feet? The one Nerf sent me gets 30-35 feet (aiming from shoulder length indoors).

  3. Do you dare doubt pocket and nerf?

  4. Aww... Should have bought the one at TRU. This guarantees I'll be waiting for Black Friday or Holiday shopping.

  5. Does the Praxis have slam fire capabillities.

  6. No Slam fire capabilities it seems with the current line of Vortex blasters. Different type of mechanism.

  7. Nice review. I'm still most interested in the Vigilon, but I'll undoubtedly pick up then others just for the attachments when they go on sale.

  8. HOL-E CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Pocket's always said he doesn't mod or do internals stuff so you'll probably have to go somewhere else if that's what you're looking for.

    But man, UT never fails to impress. You guys are definitely the best Nerf blog ever!

  10. I've been waiting for the Praxis and this confirms my assumptions that it's the one to get. I'm totally stoked. Nerf should be paying you Pocket, you do a better job at promoting their gear more than anyone!

  11. Can you mod it to shoot darts?

  12. I got a Proton. It's neat. I think i got it before you too but I dont have a website

  13. Neat-o! I wish my de facto NERF militia would have qualified....

  14. Well, what to say? They ALL look very interesting and TUFF. I bet if I got some of these to show off, everyone else would want one. :) Now, to get $200 dollars and to pray that they make it to Australian shores. :D

  15. I just slobbered all over my keyboard. Now there's a clean spot, Pocket!!! Dangit!! :)

    I will really look forward to checking these out soon, hopefully :)

  16. are they worth it. portal

  17. How would you compare the Nitron to the Stampede? Do you like one better than the other?

  18. Everything's ambidextrous... except the Vigilon, dangit! Might see if I can do a left-handed mod once I get one.

  19. i am only allowed to get 2 of the blasters
    could you reccomend which 2 to get

  20. can you all please send the blasters i live in trinidad and it is really hard to get guns please send me them please

  21. I hate it when people liken the praxis to the recon. Please for the rest of your post liken it to the Alpha trooper. likening it to the recon is basically calling it a crap gun. THE PRAXIS DESERVES MORE THAN THAT!!!

    All the links above have the latest Nerf vortex stuff!

  23. i dont really enjoy the lack of tac rails and the colour scheme. none of the n strike attachments can really fit well due the colour scheme and where the rails are placed. also, the praxis may look the same as the recon but its no doubt a lot better. the two can simply not be compared. still, if you are colour blind, then maybe a praxis with a longshot scope and 20 disc clip?