The Nerf N-Strike Elite Firestrike is a single shot blaster seen to be the successor to the much loved N-Strike Nitefinder EX-3. It bares similar traits to it's older brother with the ring pull priming arm and red dot targeting light but in a more refined, compact styled form. Naturally the domestic model bares the grey trigger aesthetics and the de-tuned performances but we still found it ok to use. More after the jump.
The Firestrike comes in an open card packaging similar to the Nitefinder. It also comes with three Elite darts and a manual. You can see the packaging indicates the 15m distances rather than the 20m/75ft the international models have- 15m isn't that different from the original N-Strike range.
Back of the packaging also showcases the Strongarm.
The aesthetic design of the Firestrike looks awesome- it's compact yet aggressive, and more similar in size to the Scout rather than the Nitefinder. One interesting point I found- the plastic seems to be a different grade to other N-Strike Elite blasters and therefore a slightly different shade of blue- almost purple in some light. I've stared at it several times and I really do think it's different. It's sturdy and well built but does have a rather short hand grip compared to other blasters. That being said, it has a sort of extension lip to the front of the hand grip that should assist larger handed players.
As with the Nitefinder, the Firestrike has two dart holders underneath the muzzle but it's more integrated in the whole blaster design rather than with the Nitefinder. I'm never really a fan of dart holders; I just see them as two empty holes but I guess they serve a purpose:) The introduction of the Triad EX-3 does challenge the 'side arm' status of the Firestrike, as now there is a blaster that arguably is more effective with the 3 dart firing capacity and is somewhat smaller (albeit chunkier).
The Firestrike does use the same style of priming arm as the Nitefinder- it's as simple as pulling the ring back till it cocks and you're ready to fire. The priming arm is always the 'eye sore' part of these blasters- A nice sleek looking piece with this ugly arm sticking out the back of it- but hey, what can you do:)
Just like the Nitefinder, the Firestrike has a red targeting light under the muzzle which is one of those novel- but- noone- really- uses- it features. It's surprisingly accurate if not a tad unnecessary.
Powering the light is in the handgrip of the blaster- it takes two AAA batteries.
The light activation is in the form of a little switch under the trigger- it just takes a small squeeze and your targeting light comes on in the form of a red circle with a dot in the middle.
A cool feature is a nifty light up section on the side of the Firestrike which looks great in the dark. Sure it'll give away your position, but then so will the red light anyway:)
The Firestrike also comes with a tactical rail on top of the blaster so you can slap on sights, or probably more importantly a Barrel Break ammo holder attachment.
Soo, performances. I have to say, it's not Nerf's fault given the strict safety standards we have here, but it's disappointing to see the power and distances coming from the Firestrike rarely if ever surpass the Nitefinder, and at times fall short of the original N-Strike line. Especially compared to my imported Triad EX-3, you can really feel that detuned spring and although I'd never say this before, but it really makes me want to mod this blaster out. Everything else about it works, but you know it can be better. Shame because even the grey triggers look tough:)