So does the Rapidstrike live up to all of its hype?
Here's the flattened box to start off with.
Bottom right trigger is the rev trigger. This gets the flywheels spinning up, and allows the main trigger to be pulled.
Bottom left button is the clip (mag) release. It lets you pull out the clip (mag) (howls of amazement).
The top one showcases the angled grip in front of the magwell. This reduces first shot recoil by 33%...or since it's a Nerf blaster is purely to account for personal grip preference.
The bottom showcases a "normal" underbarrel grip.
Both are reasonable comfortable, though because of the width of the battery tray, those with smaller hands may have trouble getting a solid grip.
The right most white/grey part is the clip (mag) retention piece, so without it clips (mags) would just fall out.
The second from the right white/grey piece is a safety that prevents pulling the main trigger if a clip (mag) is not loaded.
The (removed) safety where the red circle is is an electrical safety that prevents revving up the flywheels if a clip (mag) is not loaded.
Some time back, Basic Nerf reported that he was getting strange jams, in which the dart seemingly wasn't pushed forward fully into the flywheels. Unfortunately, I am experiencing the same problem. It seems that the pusher begins to retract before the dart has reached the flywheels, and so the pusher is stuck cycling, while the dart is stuck just before the flywheels, and nothing is happening.
EDIT 10/8/14: My clear 18 clip (mag) seems to be a little sticky compared to my other 18s, in that the dart feeder would occasionally stick in position for a short time. I'm not sure exactly why, but it doesn't like being compressed, similar to how a drum fails to feed if you apply enough pressure to the neck.
And now of course, performance.
Range is honestly not very good, and not particularly consistent. With TRU branded C batteries that have been lightly used, I'm getting 10m average ranges at true flat. Some darts dip down at as little as 6m, while some fly a little further to 11 or 12m. Even by N-Strike standards that isn't great. Do remember that this is the grey trigger version. An interesting result from the Rapidstrike's circuit design is that the flywheels only rev up to maximum when the main trigger is pulled, making idling flywheels much quieter. Additionally, because the flywheels are fed max power when firing, there is no range loss in rapid fire.
Accuracy, like with the Stampede, is awful and is pretty much non-existent. Not unexpected, but still fairly disappointing. Even at a 5m range, it's very difficult to get solid hits on a smallish targets, where most other blasters would score easy hits. Thankfully, it is still possible to score hits on a human sized target at 9m away because of the Rapidstrike's ROF.
Rate of fire is where the Rapidstrike makes its name. Nerf claims that it empties the included 18 clip (mag) in 5.62 seconds, which is a ROF of 3.025dps. My testing shows that the Rapidstrike will empty an 18 clip (mag) in 4.923 seconds, giving a ROF of 3.45dps, which for once is a stat superior to that claimed by Nerf. In fairness, it's possible that they began timing as soon as they started revving up the Rapidstrike, while I started timing once the first dart shot out. This ROF is fast enough to partially counteract the awful accuracy, but you will still end up wasting a lot of darts.
One thing that's very important to note is how sensitive the Rapidstrike is to dart quality. I had a few darts that were the slightest bit bent at the neck, and fired fine from my EAT and Elite Rayven. And yet in the Rapidstrike they would get stuck on something and jam up. This forces me to further reduce the Rapidstrike's Usability, since the other blasters I tested worked fine, hence so should the Rapidstrike.
Note that this jamming is happening without the rubber skirt in place.
Everything considered, is the Rapidstrike a blaster you should get?
If you're looking for a precise, powerful blaster then no, obviously. That is basically the complete opposite of the Rapidstrike.
If you're looking for a compact, lightweight blaster then again no, obviously. If you want a compact, lightweight, clip (mag) fed flywheeler get a Stryfe or an Elite Rayven.
If you're looking for a suppressive fire type blaster, then the Rapidstrike is certainly a good option. While it doesn't have as much capacity as the Rampage, the Rapidstrike's full auto makes it easier to spray out a burst of darts. While the Rampage does have better single shot ability as well as a higher capacity, the Rapidstrike's ease of bursting as well as full spraying making it a great suppression blaster.
If you're looking for just an all-round primary, then the Rapidstrike is certainly a good option. The rate of fire and ease of spamming at a semi-decent range (10ish metres) give you great power in close quarters and close range. It's definitely not the outright best primary blaster though, because others, particularly the springer clip (mag) fed blasters, are more accurate and have a greater range. Additionally the rev time can be extremely irritating and potentially game-losing if you aren't vigilant on the trigger.
If you're looking for just an all round fun blaster, the Rapidstrike is definitely an option, but I personally wouldn't label it as one of the best. Sure the rate of fire is pretty fun, it looks beast, and watching the clip (mag) advance is pretty cool, but the Rapidstrike's battery requirements, weight and high price break the dea for me. While they don't have as high a capacity, blasters like the Triad, Sweet Revenge/Hammershot and the Retaliator or EAT are all great fun, and cost half or less than the Rapidstrike.
The Rapidstrike is available for as "cheap" as $60 without sales, at BigW and Kmart. Sales bring Rapidstrike prices down to as little as $40. I personally got mine for $45 at TRU down from $65. Sure it might be a little expensive for what you get, but it's certainly quite a fun blaster. Though I'm still sticking to my EAT as my primary (for now), I definitely understand why so many people use Rapidstrikes as primaries (as well as secondaries when cut down). Rapidstrikes make pretty scary blasters when rewired, motor replaced and LiPo'd.
Pros: ROF is superior to Stampede, looks awesome, rapid fire doesn't reduce range, easily spammable, stock is extremely solid, lots of tacticool rails and sling points, iron sights are super tacticool, clear clip (mag) allows easy checking of ammo, burst fire is quite easy
Cons: Range is not very good, accuracy is awful, ROF is still inferior to air powered full autos, slam fire and some semi autos, heavy when using Cs, iron sights block off a lot of vision, at close range opponents can see your ammo level (if they're not ducking for cover), rev up time, rather expensive
Value for Money: 3.5/5
Rate of Fire: 4/5
Personal Rating: 4/5 - The Rapidstrike is awesome when overhauled, but in stock form is not worth using IMO.