Tuesday, 19 August 2014

"Koosh" Darts Review and Testing

 
The "Koosh" dart is one of the few aftermarket non-homemade darts that is popular and recommended in many Nerf circles. It has gained popularity in many groups that use stock darts. So should you use Koosh darts over your stock of Elite darts?

Just as a quick note, "Koosh" is not their actual name. These darts have no "official" name and have no known company producing them. The name "Koosh" was given to it by members of the NIC for reasons I do not know.
 
As you can see, the Koosh's head is unlike anything Nerf has released before. Unlike the normally solid heads (with the exception of the velcroed Dart Tag darts), the Koosh head has very small finger like protrusions. This has led them to be described as "fuzzy". It's extremely soft to touch.

Whoops, you can't see the Elite weight reading, sorry about that, but it should say about 2.9g.
In any case, it shows that Kooshes are a little heavier than Elites. Obviously there would be some variation between each dart, but I'm not looking for an exact weight, just a comparison. This is one of the features of the Koosh that contributes to its performance.

The quality and consistency of Koosh gluing is pretty bad. In the case of the upper picture, the adhesive had not properly cured, so the tip came off very easily. In the case of the lower picture, the middle dart had an excess of adhesive around the tip.
Koosh darts are pretty much (but not exactly) the same length as Elites. They work fine in just about every blaster tha accepts Elites.
Here's a close up of the difference in tips. Left is the Koosh, clearly evident by the "fuzzy" tip. The right is the flatter headed Elite dart. The aerodynamic difference is rather significant, though I'm not sufficiently educated to say exactly how so.
In this picture I believe the Koosh is the right dart. Its foam is wider than (used, worn out) Elite dart foam, which gives it quite a tight fit in a lot of blasters.

But that's all meaningless if the Koosh dart doesn't perform acceptably in blasters where Elites perform fine.
How does the Koosh dart perform in Nerf blasters? Here's my testing results.
Note that the below results are from using blue Kooshes.
Blaster: Rebelle Sweet Revenge
Mods: None
Original Ammo: Rebelle/Elite darts
Original Power/Accuracy: 13m range, not good accuracy
Koosh Power/Accuracy: 13m range, great accuracy
Kooshes Recommended? Yes

Blaster: Rebelle Sweet Revenge
Mods: Spring precompression, AR removed
Original Ammo: Rebelle/Elite darts
Original Power/Accuracy: 15+m range, bad accuracy beyond 8m
Koosh Power/Accuracy: 15m range, good accuracy
Kooshes Recommended? Yes, extra Elite range is useless without accuracy
Blaster: N-Strike Scout IX-3
Mods: None
Original Ammo: Whistler darts, tested with Elite darts (perform very similarly)
Original Power/Accuracy: 8m range, decent accuracy
Koosh Power/Accuracy: 9m range, good accuracy
Kooshes Recommended? Yes
Blaster: Dart Tag Snapfire 8
Mods: AR removed; Power mode
Original Ammo: Dart Tag Whistler darts
Original Power/Accuracy: 12-14m, decent accuracy
Koosh Power/Accuracy: 14m, good accuracy
Kooshes Recommended? Yes
Blaster: Rebelle Pink Crush
Mods: None
Original Ammo: Rebelle/Elite darts
Original Power/Accuracy: 14m, good accuracy on most shots but some shots veer off
Koosh Power/Accuracy: 14m, good accuracy
Kooshes Recommended? Yes
Blaster: Elite Roughcut 2x4
Mods: 4x2 mod, spring precompression
Original Ammo: Elite darts
Original Power/Accuracy: 9m, decent spread
Koosh Power/Accuracy: 11m, narrow spread
Kooshes Recommended? If you want range, yes. If you want spread, no.
Blaster: Dart Tag Furyfire
Mods: None
Original Ammo: Dart Tag darts
Original Power/Accuracy: 9-11m, good accuracy
Koosh Power/Accuracy: 9-11m, good accuracy
Kooshes Recommended? No, no difference in performance, blue Kooshes can misfire
Blaster: Elite Rayven CS-18
Mods: Barricade motors, 2xIMR 14500
Original Ammo: Elite darts
Original Power/Accuracy: 15+m, awful accuracy
Koosh Power/Accuracy: 15+m, incredible accuracy
Kooshes Recommended? VERY YES
Blaster: Elite Alpha Trooper CS-12
Mods: None
Original Ammo: Elite darts
Original Power/Accuracy: 9-10m, ok accuracy
Koosh Power/Accuracy: 7-9m, excellent accuracy; occasional jamming on blue Kooshes
Kooshes Recommended? No, accuracy difference isn't that great, jamming is a major issue

Blaster: Elite Alpha Trooper CS-12
Mods: AR removed, 5kg spring replacement
Original Ammo: Elite darts
Original Power/Accuracy: Beyond 15m, horrid accuracy beyond 12ish metres
Koosh Power/Accuracy: Beyond 15m, great accuracy; occasional helicoptering on Kooshes with excess glue
Kooshes Recommended? Yes, accuracy is incredibly good, helicoptering reduced by cleaning all Kooshes; no if you don't want to clean your Kooshes
Blaster: N-Strike Longshot CS-6 (blue)
Mods: None
Original Ammo: Streamline darts, tested with Elite darts
Original Power/Accuracy: 10-13m, inaccurate
Koosh Power/Accuracy: 13m, quite accurate
Kooshes Recommended? Yes

Blaster: N-Strike Longshot CS-6 (yellow)
Mods: AR removed, Raider spring added
Original Ammo: Streamline darts, tested with Elite darts
Original Power/Accuracy: Beyond 15m usually, very inaccurate
Koosh Power/Accuracy: Beyond 15m usually, quite inaccurate
Kooshes Recommended? It's too hard to determine just how the dart types compare as they're so inconsistent.
Blaster: Zombie Strike Sledgefire
Mods: None
Original Ammo: Zombie Strike/Elite darts
Original Power/Accuracy: 8-10m, fairly accurate
Koosh Power/Accuracy: 7-12m, quite accurate/straight flying, inconsistent due to difference in foam and thus dart fit
Kooshes Recommended? No, too much variability in range in each burst.
Blaster: Elite Retaliator
Mods: None
Original Ammo: Elite darts
Original Power/Accuracy: 10-15m, quite inaccurate
Koosh Power/Accuracy: 9-11m, fairly accurate
Kooshes Recommended? No, huge range loss for not great accuracy gain

Blaster: Elite Retaliator
Mods: 5kg spring replacement
Original Ammo: Elite darts
Original Power/Accuracy: Beyond 15m, quite inaccurate
Koosh Power/Accuracy: Beyond 15m, usually quite accurate
Kooshes Recommended? Yes
Blaster: Elite Spectre REV-5
Mods: None
Original Ammo: Elite darts
Original Power/Accuracy: 10-12m, not very accurate
Koosh Power/Accuracy: 11-12m, fairly accurate
Kooshes Recommended? Yes
Blaster: Elite Rapidstrike CS-18
Mods: 3xTrustfire 14500
Original Ammo: Elite darts
Original Power/Accuracy: Beyond 15m, very inaccurate
Koosh Power/Accuracy: Beyond 15m, slightly accurate
Kooshes Recommended? Yes
Blaster: N-Strike Longstrike CS-6
Mods: AR removal
Original Ammo: Streamline darts, tested with Elite darts
Original Power/Accuracy: 10-14m, quite inaccurate
Koosh Power/Accuracy: 10-14m, fairly inaccurate
Kooshes Recommended? Yes, though small difference
Blaster: X-Shot Angel Fire Bow
Mods: Rebarrel
Original Ammo: X-Shot arrows, tested with Elite darts
Original Power/Accuracy: Well beyond 15m, fairly inaccurate
Koosh Power/Accuracy: Well beyond 15m, quite accurate
Kooshes Recommended? Yes
Blaster: Elite Stryfe
Mods: Barricade motors, 2xIMR 14500
Original Ammo: Elite darts
Original Power/Accuracy: Beyond 15m, fairly inaccurate
Koosh Power/Accuracy: Beyond 15m, very accurate
Kooshes Recommended? VERY YES
Blaster: N-Strike Rayven
Mods: Unknown motors
Original Ammo: Elite darts
Original Power/Accuracy: 10-13m, fairly inaccurate
Koosh Power/Accuracy: 12m, quite accurate
Kooshes Recommended? Yes
Blaster: Elite Triad EX-3
Mods: 6kg spring replacement
Original Ammo: Elite darts
Original Power/Accuracy: Beyond 15m, not accurate
Koosh Power/Accuracy: Beyond 15m, laser straight accurate
Kooshes Recommended? MUCH YES; it's so accurate it's scary
Blaster: "Elite" Jolt EX-1
Mods: None
Original Ammo: Elite darts
Original Power/Accuracy: Up to 15m, fairly inaccurate
Koosh Power/Accuracy: 15m, very accurate
Kooshes Recommended? Yes

Blaster: N-Strike Stampede ECS
Mods: AR removal, Minimisation
Original Ammo: Streamline darts, tested with Elite darts
Original Power/Accuracy: 8-14m, no consistency or accuracy at all
Koosh Power/Accuracy: 10-12m, slightly accurate
Kooshes Recommended? Yes if you want accuracy, no if you want maximum range
The Koosh dart comes in two colours, blue and green. While the tips are the same, the foam is very different. Blue Kooshes are a little thicker than green Kooshes, and this is very apparent when loading them into blasters. This difference in width results in some interesting effects.
The green Kooshes perform quite differently to blue ones. In flywheelers such as my Elite Rayven, the Kooshes were a lot less accurate and sprayed more like Elites (though still not as bad). They still flew straight once they had stabilised, but they flew less straight more of the time.
On the other hand, green Kooshes worked normally in my brass-barreled Sweet Revenge, which plopped out blue Kooshes as they were too tight. Conversely, blasters with extremely loose barrels benefit from the extra tight fit of the blue Kooshes, not so much the loose fit of the green Kooshes.
Likewise, where my modded EAT helicoptered and jammed several times with the blue Kooshes, I've seen very few green Kooshes helicopter, and I've had no green Koosh jams. They tend to fishtail a lot, but they don't jam or helicopter as often.
After removing all the excess glue on my Kooshes, I've had basically no helicopters or jams in my modded EAT, and it fires them out like a beast. I'm still experiencing jams with my stock EAT, in which the thickest blue Kooshes get stuck in the breech and don't fire.
The green Koosh seems to perform similarly to the blue Koosh otherwise, though I've heard that the green is less sturdy. We'll have to wait and see how true that is, since I've actually found that the blue Kooshes have worse tip gluing.
Also take note that because green Kooshes are thinner than blue Kooshes, they don't seem to misfire from the weaker springer blasters (such as stock EAT and Furyfire), however conversely from more powerful blasters they're not as accurate as blue Kooshes, and flywheels in particular aren't as good with green Kooshes as with blue.

It's also useful to note that the batch of blue Kooshes I sourced from eBayer beautifulwoman2012 have two different foam sizes, with one fitting decently well in stock barrels and one fitting very tightly (twist fit) in stock barrels. I've heard this isn't a problem with other sellers such as yutoys, which I may investigate when I buy more Kooshes.

In summary, blasters that prefer blue Kooshes are:
  • Flywheel blasters
  • Blasters with very loose barrels
  • More powerful modded blasters (particularly ones with spring upgrades)
And blasters that prefer green Kooshes are:
  • Blasters with very tight barrels
  • Stock Elite Alpha Troopers
  • Particularly weak or stock blasters
So we've run through all the aspects of Kooshes and how they compare to Elite darts. But Elite darts do have areas where they are in fact superior to Kooshes.
As you'd expect from such a low cost ammo source, the quality control for Kooshes is pretty awful. About a third of the darts had excess glue around the tips, which often hindered performance.
Several of the darts that had excess glue removed also had their tips pop off at some point. Luckily none of them have caused a jam yet, but it's still irritating. It seems that the glue bonds better to the green foam than the blue foam, as I've seen more blue foam with uncured glue than green. It's easy to just super glue them back, but Nerf made darts pretty much never have this problem in the first place.
Additionally, many of the darts had off centre tips. This would be much more pronounced with the thinner green darts, often to the point that the dart tip would sometimes protrude past the foam body. Naturally with Nerf darts this is not a problem, and just about every dart I've seen has had acceptable tip centering.
As the lighter dart, Elites also get slightly better ranges from particularly weak blasters. But since I don't use such weak blasters, this isn't relevant to me. If you still use older blasters such as old Dart Tag or N-Strike stuff, Elites may perform better than Kooshes for you.
Elites also don't suffer from the problem of having distinct foam sizes like my batch of blue Kooshes, they're all relatively consistent.

In summary, Koosh darts are in my opinion and for my purposes far better than Elites. Their performance in the majority of blasters was as good as, or better than, Elites, and more often than not had superior accuracy regardless. While their quality is lacking and an irritatingly large amount will need their heads reglued, I personally feel that the price difference more than makes up for it. Where I could get a 30 pack of Elites for $10, I can get 200 Kooshes for just $20. I'd rather get over 3 times more darts for the same price and have to reglue some of them, than get the measly small amount of less accurate and consistent darts.
If you don't want to have to check every single dart for imperfections and be regluing tips, then you probably want to stick to using Elites or Elite Suctions (haven't tried Elite Suctions, but I will if they ever get down here for a reasonable price).

Koosh darts can be purchased from eBay at this link (beautifulwoman2012). They are not available in any brick-and-mortar stores, only online.

EDIT 24/9/14: Apparently other eBay sellers of Koosh darts don't have the same glue issues.
This link (yutoys) is apparently one of those who have better glue than the first one I linked, and also has more consistent foam.

EDIT 11/1/15: BW12 has updated all of their Koosh listings to include new colours and more importantly, supposedly improved adhesive.

13 comments:

  1. This is why they are called Koosh darts.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koosh_ball
    The tips look similar to the stringy things on Koosh balls.

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    Replies
    1. Ohhhh THOSE things. Thanks for that.

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  2. if i clean the blue kooshes are they get jam in stock alpha trooper

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    Replies
    1. That will reduce jamming, but not stop it.

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    2. so how can i stop it ?

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    3. They stop jamming when I upgrade the spring. My stock spring is of course the grey trigger weakling one, so I'm not sure how an orange trigger EAT will fare.
      Basically increasing the power of the EAT will stop the jamming, since the Kooshes jam because they fit too tightly into the breech.

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    4. thank you i now realized this jam alot because the au version (the spring is weaker than the us version) now i can be calm and get the eat and the koosh dart thank you and its a good review

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  3. Do Kooshes compare to buzz bee darts? (standard darts)

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    Replies
    1. What do you mean by do they compare, and which Buzz Bee darts in particular? Buzz Bee has released a few different "standard" darts.

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  4. I meant to compare the darts that come with buzz bee air warriors blasters with kooshes in accuracy.

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    Replies
    1. As in the Extreme darts? Well they're super dense and have a suction cup, and so are typically more accurate than Kooshes, though obviously that hasn't been tested much. Flywheelers can't take Extremes because they're a large head suction cup dart, most Nerf blasters can't take Extremes due to the foam being too thick and dense, and Buzz Bee blasters typically have a very different barrel/barrel post/AR system to Nerf blasters, which are specially suited to the tougher, denser Extremes.

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  5. for the rough cut isn't a narrow spread supposed to be good?

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    Replies
    1. That depends what you're using it for. If you're using it to try and double-tap targets, then yes a narrower spread is more helpful. If you're going for high volume suppressive fire or trying to take out as many targets as possible, a narrow spread may not give you the coverage desired, and might multi-tap targets where you only need to hit them once each.

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