Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Comparison: Nerf N-Strike Alpha Trooper CS-18 vs Raider CS-35

A long overdue post.
This is a comparison of the two first slam-firing Nerf blasters ever.

The Alpha Trooper is slim and minimalist, as I've said numerous times before. It doesn't have a heap of fancy styling, but it makes up for this in performance.
The Raider is a lot more fancy and stylish, with completely gratuitous features all over.
As usual, no score here.
The Alpha Trooper comes with itself, an 18 dart drum and 18 Streamlines.
The Raider comes with itself, a 35 dart drum, 35 Streamlines and an awesome adjustable and sturdy stock.
Obviously the Raider wins here.
The Alpha Trooper can get pretty decent ranges (at least, for its time). I've used more than 6 different ATs in my life, and all of them are capable of breaking 10m pretty easily.
The Raider on the other hand is not so great. Ranges are at best 8-9m with a slight angle.
Obviously the AT wins.
The Alpha Trooper is surprisingly accurate for a clip (mag) system blaster, presumably because of its new AR design and long barrel.
The Raider, despite its long barrel, is not very accurate, and struggles to hit specific targets even at closer ranges.
Again, the AT wins.
Both the AT and Raider have slam fire and a drum. I find that both drums deteriorate over time, increasing misfeed and jam rates. While the 35 drum does hold twice the capacity of the 18, it is a lot larger and bulkier.
The slam fire on the AT is extremely smooth and easy, and jam rates on an AT are incredibly low. On the other hand, Raider slam fire is not particularly smooth, and jam rates are quite high. Additionally, while the AT uses a conventional bottom loaded clip (mag) well, the Raider uses an awkward side loaded clip (mag) well, which leads to an imbalance in weight and asymmetry in design, as well as a harder to access jam door on the right side.
These factors all add up to give the AT the edge over the Raider.
Rate of Fire:
Given both blasters have slam fire, their internals can handle a roughly equal ROF. Whether you yourself can get that ROF is up to how comfortable you are with the priming handle. I myself prefer the AT shotgun grip, but there are others who prefer the Raider foregrip.
This round is a draw, because technically you can get the same ROF from the Raider and AT.
The AT 18 drum holds 18 (duh) and the Raider 35 drum 35 (again, duh).
Who do you think wins this round?
Value for Money/Availability:
During its peak season, the Alpha Trooper was available en masse from Target for $30. For the time it was extremely good value, being a great performing blaster and a decent capacity for a low price. It was so good I bought 4 of them. The Raider is more expensive, being at the time as much as $80, but could be found for as little as $40 in a lot of major retailers. Although the AT is a better performing blaster, the Raider comes with so much more stuff that it equalises this round.

Overall, the Alpha Trooper has won 3 rounds, and the Raider 2, with 2 ties. Therefore, I deem the Alpha Trooper CS-18 the superior blaster. If you're looking for a booster pack for other blasters, the Raider is a great choice due to its great stock and huge capacity drum, but for an actual useful all round blaster, I'd have to go with the Alpha Trooper.

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