Saturday, 17 September 2011

Nerf Vortex Proton Review

After months of relative quietness, I have something interesting to say!
That's right, I now have a Proton!
Quick background on the new Vortex series.

Vortex is a series of Nerf blasters (officially released on 10/9/11, or 9/10/11 to you Americans) which fires discs, not darts. This is not a one-off set of blasters, due to the advertising of 'N-Strike vs Vortex'. Vortex was initially heavily criticised for its use of discs (despite the accuracy at 40ft range and range of up to 60ft) because people wanted darts. A fewmonths before the official release date, Nerf released several short videos showing off the Vortex range and accuracy, as well as showing off the Proton and Praxis in extra detail. Vortex blasters hit the shelf a little early (I think August) and the 10/9/11 (or 9/10/11) kind of failed. Nevertheless, they recieved generally good reviews.

Anyways...the Proton is the single shot blaster of the family. Pull back the large slide at the top, place a disc in it, flick a switch and fire. Being single shot, it can only be jammed by over-eagerness and experimentation or pure stupidity. It has a jam button on the slide, although I highly doubt its need given most of us have fully functioning brains.
The Proton is FAT. This is to allow for the discs to fit inside it. It is approx the width of 4 tac rails lined up side by side. Ignoring its obesity, the Proton is damn good looking. While not like any conventional weapon (the way N-Strike blasters are), the Proton looks rather like a laser or energy pistol in a sci-fi movie. Expect ample use of repainted Protons as props.
All the Vortex blasters have curved grips. I was at first dubious about these, as they detracted from the looks of the blaster. Once I picked up the Proton, however, all this dubious-ness disappeared instantly. It is incredibly comfortable, and does not actually feel curved. It follows the curves of a human hand gripping an object, so you can't really feel any bumps or uncomfortableness.

The large grey/red structure in front of the trigger is, weirdly enough, the perfect size and shape for me to grip. I'm not sure if this holds for all users (after all, some are big, some are small). Personally though, I prefer gripping this like a pistol - both hands on the handle.

The Proton has a tac rail on the top! And you should attach absolutely nothing! It adds unecessary bulk and probably won't help.

The large green slide at the back which you load with looks rather ugly and out of place, in my opinion. The Proton looks very sharp and accurate, and then here comes a long a nice curved slide with a circle in the middle. I don't blame Nerf though, it's an ideal shape for a loading sled.
The sled is retracted by the use of one of two small switchs on either side of the blaster, just above the trigger. This springs (literally) the sled back into its normal position, loading in the disc.

Should you forget to load a disc (derp), you can freely pull the sled back out to put a disc in. You will notice that it is a lot easier than the first time. This is because the first pull of the sled cocks the spring, and subsequent pulls do not. The Proton cannot be de-cocked without firing a disc, thanks to a massive array of various safety locks and that rubbish. Dry firing is impossible without excessive effort and extra materials. Actually, I've found a way to dry fire it but given it has no AR's or the like, I wouldn't recommend it. Usage tips here.

Now lets get onto the discs themselves. As UT stated, they are plastic frisbees with foam glued around the outside. The foam is very soft, Nerf dart style. The plastic is...well...plasticky. HOWEVER, the middle of the disc is very, very thin plastic and is prone to warping and breakages. Thankfully, it is very unlikely a disc will have its centre hit when fired.

Note that for whatever reason, around 30-45ft or so into a flight (depends on disc), the disc curves towards the right. According to ever helpful Oznerf, they say it's because the firing mech puts spin on the disc to make it glide properly, like a frisbee. Either way, it's annoying.

And now, the moment some have been waiting for, and others will probably skip.
Depending on disc, with slight wind. In other words, the Proton holds up to expectations and official claims of 60ft (18m) ranges.
For around 10-15m, the disc should travel very straight, depending on the disc. After that, the disc will begin to curve towards the right, hence ruining long range accuracy. However, general accuracy is fine, so this only slightly detracts its score.

Potential rate of fire is around 1 disc per 2 seconds. ie standard for a single shot
The Proton only holds one disc - the one it's about to fire. Some people hoped that the grey-red structure would be disc storage, but sadly it's not.

Overall, the Proton is a good buy at $12.84AU, although rather expensive for a single shot. I recommend it to those sceptical about Vortex (like me). Unfortunately, it does not fit in the Tac Vest holster.
Unlike other single shots it doesn't have much modding potential, so while the Proton is very suited to stock wars, it is inferior to plungered single shots in mod wars.

Range and accuracy typical of Vortex, snap load sled allowing for relatively quick reloads (for a single shot), looks awesome, various locks and safeties to prevent damage to blaster or misuse
Very large for a single shot meaning difficult holstering, too fat for Tactical Vest, generic single shot cons, no storage for extra discs

Power: 7/7
Accuracy: 4/5
Value for Money: 3.5/5
Usefulness: 4/5
Rate of fire: 1/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Personal Rating: 3.5/5 - another good single shot blaster.

Good looks, good performance, good change.


  1. Replies
    1. i have the praxis and proton

  2. i can imagine a Longshot scope on the Proton.