Of all the all new N-Strike Elite series of blasters, the new Roughcut 2x4 has been the one blaster I’ve been waiting for since the 2nd round of Elite gear was announced/leaked; it sounded the most interesting and I liked its general design.
Given its form factor, it’s a suitable successor to the old N-Strike barrel Break IX-2 being a shot gun styled unit complete with the simultaneous dual round functionality but also holds 8 rounds with an added bonus of slam fire. Sounds cool? It is. Sorta..
Although not due for domestic release till mid 2013, we still got our hands on one (Thanks to Neil from the Canberra and Southern NSW Dart Tag crew) to have a bit of a play.
The Roughcut is a solid piece of kit; like all Nerf blasters it’s sturdy and well built, with a really chunky muzzle and sloped rear grip. Aesthetic modders should love the design as it lends itself to a variety of different ‘looks’ pending the paint job.
Although the blaster accommodates 8 rounds, it basically fires two darts at a time which is sort of in line with the shot gun styling of a bigger spread. I’ve yet to be able to shoot the darts in any single shot mode like with the Barrel Break, so it is true to its 2x4 name- consider it more a mega 4 shot blaster instead:)
Loading the blaster is pretty simple- no clips here, it’s just a matter of sliding the rounds into the dart holes at the front of the blaster. I haven’t encountered any issues with the darts falling out yet- seems to be a pretty snug fit. Obviously it should be used with Elite darts, but it does work ok with whistlers, suckers and dart tag darts. Original streamlines, not so much, although I had a freak occurrence where THREE darts shot out at the same time (albeit the streamline was pretty woeful)
The handle is quite short, which seems to be the trend with the new Elite blasters, but I've got small hands so it hasn't really been an issue for me. They also feature a standard loop to attach straps should you be so inclined.
There's also a loop on the top/ back of the Roughcut too.
It's a matter of pulling it back towards you and then push the grip forward and the blaster is primed. I’m always a big fan of a front grip pump action (vs bolt action such as the Longshot or a rear slide cocking mechanism like the Recon) so I thought this would be awesome, but to be honest the grip is.. well pretty darn uncomfortable to hold, let alone pull back.
It’s a very short, strangely shaped grip that even I with my really small hands struggle to grip and I found it digs into my palms.
This of course makes it somewhat uncomfortable and difficult to slamfire; yup the Roughcut has this functionality which is awesome, but it feels sort of stiff and awkward to do so effectively because of the uncomfortable grip. I tried various different ways of holding it which gave moderate success, but nothing fantastic, so I ended up giving up on it. Slamfire will still only give you effectively four shots, so it's not particularly efficient in battle:)
I've had a play with various configurations and on the whole, it still always manages to fire two darts at the same time, so long as there's at least one dart on each side of the muzzle. It's a lot like the way the Triad EX-3 can detect if there's a dart in a chamber or not.
The Roughcut does have a tactical rail on the top- ideally you'd probably attach the Barrel Break IX-2 dart holder to it, but sure, anything with the attachment piece will work.
As for performances- the Roughcut fires with the power that we've grown to expect from the new N-Strike Elite series (well the orange trigger models anyway). It packs a fair amount of punch and the distances are similar to it's other Elite brothers. It is however a tad on the inaccurate side- two darts will leave at the same time, but there were times where neither of them hit the target and one or both could easily spiral off inconsistantly. That being said- it's supposed to be a shot gun, so the fun part is shooting with a larger spread, and in a few cases, I managed to hit two opponents at the same time with one squeeze of the trigger which does give you a massive "BOOYAAAAAA" sense of achievement:D
It's more refined, more clever and to an extent, more fun than the Barrel Break IX-2. The aesthetics and build quality are awesome, and the fact that it is a 'shotgun' makes it just so much more fun to play with. It became a very quick fan fav with the folks at UT headquarters from a role playing "wtf is THAT?" sort of way, but when it came down to the regular impromptu wars in my apartment, it became a source of frustration and very quickly changed out for something a little more consistent and accurate. I still love it, would recommend it and am still very much looking forward to getting one of my own, but as far as whether it's a GREAT Nerf blaster? I do believe the quirk/random factor of it that makes it so cool is also what makes it a bit of a let down. Everyone struggled with the slam fire, the hit rate from a distance was pretty poor and the fact it was essentially a 4 shot shooter meant anyone who had it ran out of ammo pretty quickly.
There is more to a Nerf blaster than JUST performances though- the Roughcut is tough, it's so much fun so I'd still suggest you to pick one up where you can.