Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Nerf Alpha Trooper CS-18 Review & Usage Tips

The Alpha Trooper is one of Nerf's 2010 new blasters, along with the Spectre REV-5, Barrel Break IX-2, Barricade RV-10 and the Stampede ECS. In my opinion, it is also the most awesome. It is often said that the Alpha Trooper combines the Recon CS-6 and Raider CS-35 into something better. It features the Raider's slam-fire function, exclusive drum magazine (in a smaller package) and lack of barrel attachment capability, while it sports the Recon's looks, weight, vertical clip (mag) dock system, stock attachment system, tactical rail and yellow colouring. ie This combines the Recon and Raider into something more awesome. This also holds the title of being my favourite blaster for two and a half years (since X-mas 2010)

The Alpha Trooper comes with a small 18 (although it holds 20) dart drum and 18 streamlines. Sadly, it doesn't come with its own stock, which is why it might be worthwhile investing in a Recon. The Alpha Trooper functions from a pump-action grip (the big grey bit on the front of the AT), which, despite having a sling hole, is surprisingly comfortable. This makes it very easy to use, no matter what age you are. (well, being 6+ is a good start, but that's it)

In terms of aesthetics, the AT isn't revolutionary, butit makes up for this in its functionality.

The 18 dart drum is a welcome downsize of the Raider's huge 35 dart drum, because it is a quarter of the size, yet still has half the capacity. Some have commented that the drum is quite 'cute'. It complements the AT well, considering the AT's low profile and low weight.
As a CS drum however, the 18 dart drum has an inherent chance of misfeeding and jamming higher than that of straight clips (mags), due to the drum mechanism. For the first few months this is not apparent, but after a year or so the drum mechanism also weakens, further increasing the chance of misfeeding and jamming, at which point its drastically increased misfeed and jam rate is apparent even when simply loading it up.

In combining the Recon with the Raider, Nerf has also given the AT the ability to 'slam-fire'. What this essentially means is that you can hold the trigger down, and slide the pump back and forth very fast, increasing the rate-of-fire drastically. In some cases, people can fire faster than Stampedes and Vulcans, firing at up to nearly 5 darts per second. This ROF is generally only heard of in voltage increases for full-auto blasters, semi-auto blasters and Magstrikes/RF20 etc.

The grip handle of the Alpha Trooper is extremely comfortable. The curves are perfectly carved and fit my hand almost exactly. It's almost as if they carved the handle just for me (which they didn't). The pump handle is also very comfortable, although I find it a bit short. Even though there is a sling point at the back of the pump handle, I still find it comfortable.

However, many people complain about the AT that the pump keeps locking up. This is often due to the person not using enough force when sliding the pump back and forth. Some others complain that, when single-firing, it doesn't shoot all the time. Often the problem is that the pump is not all the way forward. Because of the slam-fire, the AT only fires when the pump is pushed and held forward. Jamming shouldn't occur either if you follow the above tips.

The AT sports surprising power, being able to out-range all the blasters I have previously reviewed (except perhaps the Reflex on a good shot). The AT does use a 'reverse plunger', like the Recon and Maverick, but the Air Restrictor is different, alowing more air and therefore more power into the chamber. This gives it drastically more range, despite having a long barrel. It is possible that this also affects the accuracy, with the AT being surprisingly accurate, despite using Streamlines. This means that the various sights that Nerf offers can actually be useful.

The AT gets about 10m flat, which is generally unheard of from of reverse plunger blaster of the N-Strike range. This range also means that it can compete against Longshots and NF's. At the price of $30, which is as much as a Magstrike, Recon or Barricade, the Alpha Trooper is also excellent value for money, with the drum being worth around $20 itself (possibly more).

I highly recommend this blaster, no matter what you've already gotten. Any Nerf enthusiast in this era MUST use this at some point in their life.
Even with the Elite Alpha out, the AT is still a competitive performing blaster and with its unique 18 drum it still has above average capacity.

General performance is excellent for a CS blaster - range, accuracy and ROF are all above average, cheap, 18 drum is useful in all (E)CS blasters, 18 drum is much smaller than 35 drum making it far less clumsy and bulky, AT can be upgraded with a stock and a sight/scope
AT does not include it's own stock or sight/scope, accuracy is still bad compared to most other blasters due to use of Streamlines

Power: 5/7
Accuracy: 4/5
Value for Money: 5/5
Usefulness: 5/5
Rate of fire: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.41/5

Personal Rating: 5/5 - Awesome blaster and was my go-to favourite for two and a half years.

Completely epic. One of the best blasters ever. MUST BUY.

Usage Tips:
1) Pull the handle all the way back, hard, and push it forward, hard to make sure it doesn't jam. Use even more force when slam-firing.
2) Hold the handle forward when single firing to ensure that it fires. This is because of the slam fire mech.
3) Have many more clips (mags) and a sidearm - the slam fire can eat up your darts really quick, making your AT dart impotent and requiring either a switch of weapon or a reload.
4) Have a stock of some sort. It'll help aiming, and in the case of the Recon stock, hold an extra clip (mag) for you.
5) Make sure to use good quality Streamlines, and make sure to load clips (mags)/drums carefully. You don't want it jamming on you.
That's about it. the AT is pretty fool-proof.


  1. I own two and it is my favorite as well I'm currently modding mine as a side note the power stock mod for the recon stock makes it a lot less flimsy

  2. Powerstock mod for the Recon?
    I'm familiar with a powerstock with the Raider's stock, but the Recon's?
    Do you have a link for it?
    And you could just glue wooden dowels to the stock to hold it more firmly.

  3. If you could have a raider or a AT for equal price what would you buy?

    1. I'd get the AT because the drum is much smaller, despite being only half the capacity. The AT also has generally better performance.
      On the other hand, the Raider does have double the capacity and a very sturdy stock, and the foregrip is much more comfortable.
      IMO, AT is better overall, but the Raider is better for spamming.


  5. hey does any one know if it jams

  6. Using good darts, and used properly, not often. Out of 500+ shot darts, about 10 have jammed, and that was with damaged darts, and using the ever jam-prone drum.

  7. mine came w/18 darts? is min diff?

  8. Where can you buy the Alpha Trooper in NZ?

  9. I have no idea, sorry. I'm in Aus,

  10. The AT is awesome

  11. You can buy the Aplha trooper in NZ at Farmers, mine's on it's way :)

  12. what does IMO mean!?

    1. 'In My Opinion'. Also seen as IMHO
      'In My Honest Opinion)

  13. can you buy the drum separately at target in Australia, or used to?

    1. Sadly the drum retail package never came to Australia.

  14. Is there anything better than this gun ? I don't think so.

  15. Are ATs still usable for nerf wars even though it's outclassed by the EAT, Elite Rayven, or Rapidstrike. (My modded AT is starting to show less range compared to my other fellow nerfers blasters.)

    1. You pretty much just answered your own question. Most blasters are still "usable", it's just a matter of how much effort you'll need to put in to make it effective and whether it is worth the effort or not. There is no disadvantage to using an EAT over an AT, so unless you're low on blasters, there's no real reason to use your old AT.

  16. Replies
    1. (I meant the EAT) Although, is a AT5K related to an alpha trooper with a 5 kilogram spring? Or is it something else

    2. No, although from a quick search, I don't think the AT5K exists. There is the Air Tech line, with blasters having 4-digit numbers after the Air Tech title, e.g. Air Tech 2000 is commonly abbreviated to AT2K. However as far as I'm aware there is no Air Tech 5000.