Sunday, 13 August 2017

Review: Buzz Bee Stryker Force (15m) [Zenith]

The Stryker Force is the smallest new blaster in Buzz Bee's latest wave of releases. It is a manual action revolver somewhat reminiscent of the older Air Max 6, though of course being a conventional springer rather than an air blaster. In particular, this wave of releases also contains Buzz Bee's brand new darts. I will be reviewing Buzz Bee's new darts in a separate post. The Stryker Force includes 6 PrecisePro (PP) darts and 2 Long Distance (LD) darts.
Note that while the Stryker Force is not identical to the Zenith, they are very similar, both physically and functionally.
Disclaimer: This blaster was sent to me for review by Buzz Bee Toys. Despite their contribution, I will do my best to ensure that this review remains as objective and unbiased as possible.
The Box

Pretty standard Buzz Bee style box, nothing much to see here.

The Stryker Force Blaster

The Stryker Force is a pump action revolver seemingly meant to serve as the base model, at least for now, of Buzz Bee's newest releases. It is relatively bulky for its size, with significant bulge up front for the cylinder.
It has a single tac rail across the top, which is of Buzz Bee's now standard dimensions. This rail comfortably fits all current Buzz Bee attachments, and I believe some older ones as well, though I do not have the attachments on hand to confirm.
Here's the Heatseeking Scope from the Thermal Hunter (or Thermal Zenith), it fits nicely, though is a little loose as with most other Buzz Bee tac rails.
The Stryker Force has a single sling loop at the bottom of the handle.

Buzz Bee have been progressively stepping up the quality of their products, no longer featuring noticeably weak and flimsy plastics or cheap, tacky details. The name on the Stryker Force is printed/painted on, rather than being a sticker, and much of the bodywork of it has detail and features not found on older Buzz bee blasters.

I find the Stryker Force's handle to be rather small, certainly too small for my own comfort. The small hook at the bottom of the handle in particular is especially uncomfortable for me. This is in rather awkward contrast to the blaster's overall size.

I also find the trigger pull to be a little annoying. While the pull itself is nothing unusual, my issue with it is that with a slower trigger pull with my right hand, the blaster fires only at the very end of the trigger pull. With a fast trigger pull, or using my left hand, I encounter this issue less frequently. My main annoyance with this is that I personally find the trigger pull to end a little closer to my hand than ideal. As such, any full trigger pull feels a little uncomfortable for me.

In contrast, I quite like the Stryker Force's pump grip. It's a reasonable size and shape, and is easy to hold and prime. In particular, I like the front protrusion as it provides a good front surface to pull back on.

The travel of the pump grip is pretty standard for a blaster of this size. The pump grip is spring loaded so will return to rest position once the blaster is primed.

The Stryker Force's cylinder is a little odd compared to most others. It is completely open in front, held back by the rim of the muzzle. This allows for particularly easy reloading with no front arm to get in the way.

Here's the cylinder fully loaded. It leaves the end of the darts quite exposed, with them protruding past the end of the muzzle. I find the barrels of the muzzle to be rather tight, which can be an issue at lower power levels, in particular the Aus-spec model I received. Darts with particular thick foam will struggle to fire very far, if they manage to fire at all.
The blaster fires from the top barrel. The cylinder rotates on prime, and rotates clockwise from the user's perspective. It can be rotated multiple times by priming repeatedly without firing.

The Stryker Force is rather large compared to other similar revolvers, pictured here next to a Sweet Revenge. In particular, it is unusually long, which leads to it being comparably quite front heavy, and a little unwieldy.

The Flip Up Sight

The Stryker Force includes a flip up sight for Buzz Bee's tac rails. It's a small, very simple piece that flips up and down with ease.
The sight has a number of notches on it, akin to a "leaf" sight. These notches are meant to help the user gauge the appropriate angle to fire the blaster at, to achieve the desired range. In Nerf combat of course, the sight is more likely to be a distraction and hindrance than a help.

The sight fits on to Buzz Bee's tactical rails smoothly and is easy to flip up and down when attached.

Chrono data can be found here: link
The Stryker Force achieves muzzle velocity of around 50fps with both PrecisePro and Long Distance darts. This is roughly on par with similar spec Buzz Bee blasters, and typical grey trigger Nerf blasters. Range wise this translates to around 8-9m true flat with PrecisePro darts, and anywhere from 7-10m with Long Distance darts. PP darts are a lot more consistent, while LD darts, in their horrible inconsistency, are capable of higher maximum range. Since the Stryker Force primarily includes PP darts, I've used those for the final rating.
Accuracy depends on the darts used. PrecisePro darts, as their name suggests, are extremely accurate and consistent, while LD darts behave like Elites and veer all over the place. Again, as PP darts are the primary dart type included, I've based the rating on those.
Rate of fire is solid, but not exceptional. Although pump action, the Stryker Force does not have slam-fire, which limits it to around 3 darts per second with good technique. It's enough for this type of blaster, though blasters like the Strongarm and Disruptor have it beat.

Game Utility
The Stryker Force serves a similar role to most other small revolver blasters. It is reasonably compact, though significantly larger than most other 6-shot blasters. It can serve reasonably well as a sidearm blaster, and the open front end allows for very easy reloading. There isn't anything particularly special about it, although I've heard that the US-spec Zenith is quite powerful. Based purely on size, I would suggest that smaller blasters such as the Strongarm/Disruptor/Hammershot would serve as better sidearms, though the difference isn't that big.

Value and Summary
The Buzz Bee Zenith retails for around 13-16USD, and I'd assume the Stryker Force would retail for the same price, or at least price bracket. This price puts it in direct competition with the Elite Disruptor, which as a slightly improved Strongarm, is a very solid blaster. Unfortunately, I don't see any real place for the Stryker Force as a stock blaster. Compared to the Disruptor, it has very few advantages (the only one coming to mind being ease of reloading), and is at a disadvantage in ROF, ergonomics and size. While the US-spec Zenith, or the Walmart exclusive Adventure Force Exact Attack both pack substantial power (which of course gives them a noteworthy advantage), the toned down Stryker Force does not, which unfortunately means that I cannot give it a recommendation as a stock blaster.

Power: 3.5/7
Accuracy: 5/5
Rate of Fire: 4/5
Usability: 3.5/5
Value for Money: 2.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Personal Rating: 2.5/5 - while the semi-enclosed cylinder is pretty cool and the pump action is solid, the handle and trigger are both quite poor. Furthermore, at stock power the barrels are unnecessarily tight, and the blaster feels a little larger than it needs to be.

The Stryker Force in stock form is pretty weak, however its US-spec counterparts have been noted to be quite powerful. The source of this is a rather large plunger tube and a novel priming design that allows for high power and displacement with relatively low part fragility. A quick spring addition with some random stock spring I had lying around boosted power substantially, to what feels like at least 75fps. I have no doubt that a beefier upgrade spring coupled with some proper barrels could see some surprisingly good performance, provided the internals can survive it.

A link to the review I posted on BlasterHub: link

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