Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Zecong Toys Photon Storm Review

IMPORTANT NOTE: The black foregrip seen on the Photon Storm IS NOT INCLUDED and IS NOT PART OF THE PHOTON STORM. It is a custom foregrip glued onto the Photon Storm.
Second NOTE: Any reference of "China-brand" is not a racial slur, rather a reference to the company's relative obscurity in Western countries, as well as its Chinese printed box art, bad English box art, and presumed location of the company in China.

The Photon Storm is a unique blaster from Zecong Toys (a China-brand). Unlike most other blasters, it is modeled seemingly after an M4 (or maybe an M16 or something, I don't know). It first started making waves in the NIC when SG Nerf got his hands on one, and from there has become highly sought after among those looking for awesome looking blasters. It is a semi auto flywheeler, and an incredibly simple one at that.

Out of the box, the Photon Storm comes with itself, a no-lens scope, a 12 dart mag, 10 mag compatible suctions and 10 no-hole shorter Streamlines. For the ordinary Nerfer 20 darts for a 12 dart mag is a little strange, and 10 of each type for a 12 dart mag even stranger. But hey, spare darts.
Assembled the Photon Storm looks extremely cool. Anyone who likes the design of the M4 will like the Photon Storm. Although it's not quite an M4 replica, to the ordinary person it strongly resembles an M4, and for the ordinary person that's good enough. You can also see that like the M4, the Photon Storm is not identical on both sides. Of important note is the faux shell ejection port thingy on the right side which doesn't open.
The stock is a somewhat reasonable length, and is solid-ish. It is not actually a part of the Photon Storm shell, and simply slots in. As a result it wobbles a little, but with the help of a screwdriver, can be removed, as with the barrel and flywheel area. It is approximately the length of a Raider stock on one or two notches out, but is not a solid and stable.
The Photon Storm takes 5 AA batteries, which is more than usual, and also means you have to purchase a larger battery pack than usual (they normally come in packs of 4). The battery door is held in by an obligatory screw.
The trigger area of the Photon Storm. Here you can see the indent made for the mag release (the strange curvy orange thing on the left). The mag release is only on the right hand side, and thus the Photon Storm has been designed for right handers. The switch on the right below the faux safety switch is the on-off switch which locks the trigger. There are no locks in the blaster besides the on-off switch trigger lock, unlike Nerf flywheelers.
The barrel is a lot shorter than M4s I've seen in COD games and Google Images, but of important note here are the 4 tactical rails around the barrel, which from what I can tell are actual picatinny rails. Also of important note is the muzzle thingy, which is too wide to have an actual effect on darts, but looks cool.
Here a close up on the right side, with the tiny mag release button. Pressing it pretty much releases the mag which is then held in only by friction. It can be easily removed.
My index finger can reach the mag release comfortably, with my third finger on the trigger for stability.
The 12 dart mag is a lot sharper and more rectangular than a Nerf 12 dart mag.
You can see here it uses a similar design to Nerf clips (mags), but the 'arm' type things which hold the darts in are tighter on the dart. It is also wider than ordinary Nerf clips (mags) and a tiny bit shorter.
A comparison between the Photon Storm 12 dart mag and a Nerf Elite 12 dart clip (mag). The Nerf clip (mag) is a little thinner and shorter, and still fits in the Photon Storm with a little force.
Elite darts (and thus Streamlines) fit perfectly in the Photon Storm mag, so no need to go scrounging around for the Photon Storm's darts.
The scope is a more fancy scope than that you find from Nerf, but just as useless. It doesn't fit comfortably on all Nerf rails, but slots on to the wider ones somewhat OK. The thinner Nerf rails will not support the scope because it will just fall off.
Down the hole. From this distance you can barely see inside, and you can see a portion of the reticule on the front lens. This is more useful than the Longshot scope because the viewing hole is much smaller, thus simply looking down the scope has a greater chance of hitting a target.
The other side of the scope. The reticule is just bits plastic in a target shape.
The three yellow pieces come off easily. The scope itself is still held together by screws, but there's literally nothing inside, so there's no point in opening it.
The on-off switch is reachable with my right thumb, although not particularly comfortably.
The trigger is a small stick, unlike the Nerf triggers which are all solid. This makes it more vulnerable to snapping after frequent and rough use.
Depressed completely, you can see that the trigger pivots around an axle, rather than Nerf triggers which slide backwards into the handle. For a Nerfer like me the trigger is a little strange.
Down the Photon Storm without the scope. There is no rear iron sight sadly, but the top rail is another picatinny that you can attach red dot sights and all that fancy stuff to.
Down the scope. You can see the front iron sight just below the reticule.

The Photon Storm darts are slightly shorter than a Streamline, and significantly shorter than an Elite. They do not work in the Stryfe, and I assume also the Rayven and other Elite flywheelers. The Streamline like tips are solid rubber without the Streamline hole, and are thus surprisingly accurate in various blasters, even more so when filled with hot glue.
Down the barrel, you can see the dart pusher. The flywheels are in a top-bottom configuration. The barrel is wider than that of a Retaliator, and does not have any rifling.
The accessory you see above is a torch which fits on picatinny rails. As you can see here it fits perfectly on the Photon Storm, and quite comfortably and snugly.
The Streamline-like dart has a solid-ish tip, as mentioned earlier. The foam is very tough and may be useful for stefans.
The Streamline like dart comes apart quite easily, and is just like a Streamline in construction.
The suction dart is significantly shorter than a Nerf suction. It's more accurate than the Streamline-y dart, but doesn't fire as far. It's glued together much better.

The Photon Storm is a semi auto flywheeler, and revs up extremely quickly. Unlike Nerf flywheelers which take several seconds to rev up, the Photon Storm can rev to full speed in one second. This means that rapid fire is not as detrimental to the range as for Nerf flywheelers. The Photon Storm has an on-off switch rather than the usual Nerf flywheel accel trigger, so for someone like me who is used to Rayvens and Stryfes, having an on-off switch is very uncomfortable.
The noise emitted by the flywheels is louder than that of a Stryfe, likely due to the plastic.

The Photon Storm is not particularly comfortable to hold, because the handle is angular and not curved. Additionally the barrel is not comfortable to hold because of all the rails. This is why I glued on the foregrip, which is far more comfortable, despite being small and thin. The plastic of the Photon Storm is lighter and thinner than regular Nerf plastic, indicating it is not as good quality as Nerf blasters. It also feels less sturdy than most Nerf blasters. Considering its China-brand nature, this is not unexpected.

And now for performance, the important part of the review.
Ranges with 5 ordinary AAs aren't great, at around 9-10m with both dart types.
Accuracy with either dart type is decent, but not great. Better than normal CS blasters, especially with the suctions.
ROF isn't great due to the unusual trigger design, compared to Nerf blasters. About 3dps is achievable, any more may risk jamming the overly simple internals.

The Photon Storm is a fun and novel blaster due to its design as an M4, and its semi auto nature. I purchased it for $40 SGD, which is equivalent to ~$32.34 AUD, equivalent to that of an AT. Considering its mundane performance, I wouldn't recommend the Photon Storm for a war, but for novelty and fun factor the Photon Storm is fantastic. After all, what kind of toy gun liking child doesn't like an M4-ish blaster that fires?

Pros: Aesthetics, accuracy compared to CS Nerf blasters, accurate darts compatible in many other blasters
Cons: Everything else

Power: 3/7
Accuracy: 4/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Usability: 4/5
Rate of Fire: 4/5
Overall: 3.63/5

Personal Rating: 2.5/5 - if it performed decently and felt good quality it would rate much higher. The only thing giving it a score is it's M4-look.


  1. Where can u buy this blaster in oz and because of our strange gun control laws be able to attain them and get them to victoria. need at least two for dressup party.

    1. I haven't seen Photon Storms in Australia, sorry.