A few months ago, we got the official word from Nerf that the new N-Strike Elite blaster line would have to be "detuned" for domestic distribution in accordance to several countries around the world's strict safety laws; "yay" for us, Australia being one of them. Naturally, much speculation occurred within our community down under, as we pondered WHAT sort of modifications would be made to the line to reduce the power and distances of these new blasters given so much of the hype around the Elite line was ironically about it's improved power and distances!
We were lucky to be in the unique position to be able to compare an original US imported Retaliator (traditional orange trigger) with a to-be-released domestic model (grey trigger) and while I rarely crack open my blasters, I figured it was the question everyone was asking, so in the name of research, Neil from the Canberra + Southern NSW Dart Tag crew and I handed them over to the mad scientist fellas at "Make Hack Void" to pop 'em open and have a look see. Findings after the jump.
Well straight off the bat, we can confirm yes, there's a noticeable performance difference. It is something we'll go into in another post, but the bottom line is after multiple straight line firing tests, we were hitting around the 10m mark with the grey trigger Australian model vs around 15m with the US model. That's the bad news first for local fans- there's not that much of a difference if at all to a traditional stock N-Strike Recon CS-6:(
As you can see from the pictures, the internals look pretty much... identical. Other than the obvious trigger colour differences, you'd be hard pressed to see any differences in the mechanism- no smaller plungers or dampeners put in.
So here's where the difference lies- in the spring. In a sort of 'opposite' case of the new and improved Dart Tag blasters where Nerf added a stronger spring to their existing blasters (and a blue trigger), what they've done with these domestic model N-Strike Elite blasters is changed the spring to a weaker tension- and by the look/feel of it, a different metal.
The weaker spring IS enough to bring the performances back to traditional N-Strike level, but I guess the good news is- in a close quarters indoors setting (as we generally play here at UT) it's not that big a deal, and if it is an issue for you, chances are even if you had the US model, you'd want to crack it open and mod it anyway:) Replacing the spring in either a US or Australian model will therefore give you the same result.
It's not something we can blame Nerf for- Australia's laws are tough on a lot of things- and toy safety is one of them so Nerf had to do what they had to do. But there it is folks, from what we can see, that's the difference. Do with this information what you will:D