Friday, 25 July 2014

Review: Nerf Elite Rapidstrike CS-18 (20m grey trigger Aus)

The Rapidstrike CS-18 was one of the most exciting Nerf releases of 2013 for many. Since the Stampede of 2010, there weren't any other similar "assault rifle" styled full auto blasters, and some people were modding their N-Strike Rayvens to be full auto. And of course, even from the initial leaked pictures, the Rapidstrike looked like a beast.
So does the Rapidstrike live up to all of its hype?
 Here's the flattened box to start off with.

 And here's the Rapidstrike out of box. Not pictured: a manual.

And fully assembled, pretty ordinary fare except for the clear clip (mag).

The Rapidstrike with stock retracted. It's a fantastic looking blaster, even with the orange stripe that should be white. It works both as a modern or sci fi carbine/assault rifle, and many have likened it to the M41A Pulse Rifle.
Down the front, the barrel has the same faux rifling as all the other Elite things. Doesn't do anything naturally. Note how wide the battery tray beneath the muzzle is.
Top view, pretty normal stuff. Note how wide the cheek rest type grey part is , and how squared it is compared to the rest of the blaster. Two tac rails here, one on top of the carry handle, and one at the front.
Bottom of the front part, note the width of the battery tray, the sole tac rail, and the design of the angled grip section (grey part). This angled grip part is not something I've seen before on any other blaster, so it's a nice touch.
Side tac rail, there's one on each side.
Down the iron sight through the carry handle. This is with the front sight flipped up (see the above muzzle picture).
And with the front sight flipped down. Honestly just like all other iron sights on Nerf blasters, these iron sights are pretty useless.

Here's a closer look at the stock retracted and extended. There's no in-between lock-in point, it's just in or out. It's extremely sturdy in either position though.
Here's a look at the handle and all the functional bits and pieces. Top trigger is the main trigger of course, it cycles the dart pusher and allows maximum power to the flywheels, and can only be pulled when the acceleration/rev trigger is active.
Bottom right trigger is the rev trigger. This gets the flywheels spinning up, and allows the main trigger to be pulled.
Bottom left button is the clip (mag) release. It lets you pull out the clip (mag) (howls of amazement).
Here's the Rapidstrike handle compared to the Stryfe. I personally find the Rapidstrike's a little too squared and too heavily angled, making it uncomfortable compared to the much more progressively tapered Stryfe handle. Maybe it's just me.
Here's a look at the thickness of the Stryfe compared to Rapidstrike. As you can see, the Stryfe is barely 2/3rds the thickness of the Rapidstrike. I personally find the Stryfe a little thin, and the Rapidstrike a little thick.
A better look at the battery tray screw ports. There are three screws holding it in.
Here's my hand on the Rapidstrike handle.
The Rapidstrike has multiple sling points. One just behind the muzzle...
...two in front of the the cheek stock, protecting the rear iron sight...
...and the traditional one at the bottom of the handle.

Here's me gripping the front of the Rapidstrike in two distinct ways.
The top one showcases the angled grip in front of the magwell. This reduces first shot recoil by 33%...or since it's a Nerf blaster is purely to account for personal grip preference.
The bottom showcases a "normal" underbarrel grip.
Both are reasonable comfortable, though because of the width of the battery tray, those with smaller hands may have trouble getting a solid grip.

Like the Stampede before it, the Rapidstrike is a heavy blaster. Though not quite the level of the Stampede and its 6 D batteries, the Rapidstrike still uses 4 C batteries which add a fair bit of weight. Not to mention the Rapidstrike is naturally fairly bulky and heavy, resulting in a blaster that weighs a little over 1kg.

So without a clip (mag) loaded, a Rapidstrike weighs 1.2209kg, which is much heavier than any of the Elites I've got.

The jam door is a nice transparent orange, and slides open simply. The jam door acts as an emergency kill switch, instantly stopping all of the Rapidstrike's motors. Of course, this means you could catch the dart pusher half way out if you open the jam door during a firing cycle. As a remedy to this potential problem, as soon as you close the jam door, the dart pusher will retract to rest position.
Here's a look at the rubber skirt that supposedly helps to centre darts. It was seen on the Rayven as well, but the Stryfe replaced it with 2 small spring loaded arms, which was far superior.
Here's a look through the jam door opening with a clip (mag) loaded. There's ample space to get your fingers in to clear a jam.
Here's a look inside the magwell, and all of the safeties.
The right most white/grey part is the clip (mag) retention piece, so without it clips (mags) would just fall out.
The second from the right white/grey piece is a safety that prevents pulling the main trigger if a clip (mag) is not loaded.
The (removed) safety where the red circle is is an electrical safety that prevents revving up the flywheels if a clip (mag) is not loaded.

Some time back, Basic Nerf reported that he was getting strange jams, in which the dart seemingly wasn't pushed forward fully into the flywheels. Unfortunately, I am experiencing the same problem. It seems that the pusher begins to retract before the dart has reached the flywheels, and so the pusher is stuck cycling, while the dart is stuck just before the flywheels, and nothing is happening.
 The cause of this problem seems to be the rubber skirt, which is causing darts to get stuck. This is very disappointing to see, since the same skirt was seen on the N-Strike Rayven, and was replaced with two spring loaded doors on the Stryfe which did not have this problem. This forces me to deduct points from the Usability rating.

Annoyingly, like the Stryfe, the Rapidstrike has some compatability issues with the Longstrike barrel. In the above really bad muzzle shot, you can see small pieces which prevent the Longstrike barrel from being inserted all the way. This picture shows how far a Longstrike barrel will fit, and it will not lock on.
All other barrel extensions, including the Spectre's silencer, will fit on just fine. This is really irritating for me because I like decking out blasters with as many attachments as possible just for fun.
The Rapidstrike isn't the only new thing in the box though, it comes with an exclusive clear 18 dart clip (mag). Functionally it works exactly the same as any other 18 dart clip (mag). It is fun to watch it advance darts though, and is easier to keep track of your ammo than any other clip (mag). There is the problem that at close range opponents can see your ammo count too, but that's minor.
EDIT 10/8/14: My clear 18 clip (mag) seems to be a little sticky compared to my other 18s, in that the dart feeder would occasionally stick in position for a short time. I'm not sure exactly why, but it doesn't like being compressed, similar to how a drum fails to feed if you apply enough pressure to the neck.
Loading an orange 18 clip (mag), it matches a bit better than the clear clip (mag) because of the orange stripe.
One odd thing I noticed after a bit off use, the darts seem to have a light scrape on the tip, presumably where the flywheels contacted with the darts. I'm not sure if this affects performance, but as far as I can tell, not significantly.

And now of course, performance.
Range is honestly not very good, and not particularly consistent. With TRU branded C batteries that have been lightly used, I'm getting 10m average ranges at true flat. Some darts dip down at as little as 6m, while some fly a little further to 11 or 12m. Even by N-Strike standards that isn't great. Do remember that this is the grey trigger version. An interesting result from the Rapidstrike's circuit design is that the flywheels only rev up to maximum when the main trigger is pulled, making idling flywheels much quieter. Additionally, because the flywheels are fed max power when firing, there is no range loss in rapid fire.
Accuracy, like with the Stampede, is awful and is pretty much non-existent. Not unexpected, but still fairly disappointing. Even at a 5m range, it's very difficult to get solid hits on a smallish targets, where most other blasters would score easy hits. Thankfully, it is still possible to score hits on a human sized target at 9m away because of the Rapidstrike's ROF.
Rate of fire is where the Rapidstrike makes its name. Nerf claims that it empties the included 18 clip (mag) in 5.62 seconds, which is a ROF of 3.025dps. My testing shows that the Rapidstrike will empty an 18 clip (mag) in 4.923 seconds, giving a ROF of 3.45dps, which for once is a stat superior to that claimed by Nerf. In fairness, it's possible that they began timing as soon as they started revving up the Rapidstrike, while I started timing once the first dart shot out. This ROF is fast enough to partially counteract the awful accuracy, but you will still end up wasting a lot of darts.

UPDATE 7/8/14:
One thing that's very important to note is how sensitive the Rapidstrike is to dart quality. I had a few darts that were the slightest bit bent at the neck, and fired fine from my EAT and Elite Rayven. And yet in the Rapidstrike they would get stuck on something and jam up. This forces me to further reduce the Rapidstrike's Usability, since the other blasters I tested worked fine, hence so should the Rapidstrike.
Note that this jamming is happening without the rubber skirt in place.

Everything considered, is the Rapidstrike a blaster you should get?
If you're looking for a precise, powerful blaster then no, obviously. That is basically the complete opposite of the Rapidstrike.
If you're looking for a compact, lightweight blaster then again no, obviously. If you want a compact, lightweight, clip (mag) fed flywheeler get a Stryfe or an Elite Rayven.
If you're looking for a suppressive fire type blaster, then the Rapidstrike is certainly a good option. While it doesn't have as much capacity as the Rampage, the Rapidstrike's full auto makes it easier to spray out a burst of darts. While the Rampage does have better single shot ability as well as a higher capacity, the Rapidstrike's ease of bursting as well as full spraying making it a great suppression blaster.
If you're looking for just an all-round primary, then the Rapidstrike is certainly a good option. The rate of fire and ease of spamming at a semi-decent range (10ish metres) give you great power in close quarters and close range. It's definitely not the outright best primary blaster though, because others, particularly the springer clip (mag) fed blasters, are more accurate and have a greater range. Additionally the rev time can be extremely irritating and potentially game-losing if you aren't vigilant on the trigger.
If you're looking for just an all round fun blaster, the Rapidstrike is definitely an option, but I personally wouldn't label it as one of the best. Sure the rate of fire is pretty fun, it looks beast, and watching the clip (mag) advance is pretty cool, but the Rapidstrike's battery requirements, weight and high price break the dea for me. While they don't have as high a capacity, blasters like the Triad, Sweet Revenge/Hammershot and the Retaliator or EAT are all great fun, and cost half or less than the Rapidstrike.

The Rapidstrike is available for as "cheap" as $60 without sales, at BigW and Kmart. Sales bring Rapidstrike prices down to as little as $40. I personally got mine for $45 at TRU down from $65. Sure it might be a little expensive for what you get, but it's certainly quite a fun blaster. Though I'm still sticking to my EAT as my primary (for now), I definitely understand why so many people use Rapidstrikes as primaries (as well as secondaries when cut down). Rapidstrikes make pretty scary blasters when rewired, motor replaced and LiPo'd.

Pros: ROF is superior to Stampede, looks awesome, rapid fire doesn't reduce range, easily spammable, stock is extremely solid, lots of tacticool rails and sling points, iron sights are super tacticool, clear clip (mag) allows easy checking of ammo, burst fire is quite easy
Cons: Range is not very good, accuracy is awful, ROF is still inferior to air powered full autos, slam fire and some semi autos, heavy when using Cs, iron sights block off a lot of vision, at close range opponents can see your ammo level (if they're not ducking for cover), rev up time, rather expensive

Power: 4/7
Accuracy: 2/5
Value for Money: 3.5/5
Usability: 2.5/5
Rate of Fire: 4/5
Overall: 2.97/6

Personal Rating: 4/5 - The Rapidstrike is awesome when overhauled, but in stock form is not worth using IMO.


  1. is there a review for the strongarm because i wanted to ask you a question. When i fire it the barrel doesn't rotate.

    1. I don't have a Strongarm so I haven't done a reivew. However, if what you're saying is true, then there's someting fundamentally wrong with your Strongarm, as the barrel should rotate just after firing.
      I'd say return it and get a new one as that's easiest, or if that's not possible, open it up and make sure everything is aligned correctly. You'll find heaps of Strongarm internals pictures on the net, use those as a guide.

    2. i searched up this problem up on the net and many people have this problem. all of them have taken the blaster apart but cannot fix it. i'll probably just keep trying to fix it because i bought the gun last year. (3 month policy).

    3. Huh that's weird, maybe I should do more research on Strongarms then. I'm sort of surprised such an issue is so common considering its importance to the blaster's function.

    4. I have the same problem with my Strongarm.

    5. but then I swapped it with a frend who gave me 5 bucks. he wanted it just fr practice painting and didn't care abot performance

    6. Just to let you know ( I am the person who wrote 1st and 3rd comment), When I first bought the gun it worked superb but after some months, things changed, barrel not working.

    7. this problem bugged me so much I smashed my strongarm. long live the hammershot, at least it worked out for me.

    8. The first batch of nerf guns almost is always duds.

  2. well well, strongarm would turn the cylinder after you prime it not firing it.

    1. Um, the Spectres, Sweet Revenge and Hammershot rotate on prime. The Strongarm has no rotation mech directly linked to the priming handle, it rotates on plunger return. I've used them and seen them in action.

  3. hey, would you say I get the rapidstrike, stryfe, alpha trooper 12 or the reataliator for a primary. I heard they are all high performance blasters

    1. It depends what you're looking for in a blaster, and what your playstyle is, as well as what you already own.
      The Rapidstrike is superior in its spammability, that is, its ability to empty its darts at opponents. It's full auto and flywheel, so you'll go through a fair few sets of 4 C batteries if you use it a lot. The Rapidstrike lacks range and accuracy though, and will chew through ammo quite quickly, so it's a good thing it comes with an 18 clip. It's also by far the most expensive.
      The Stryfe is a small, compact flywheeler, and is all round decent. It gets better range and accuracy than the Rapidstrike, and can be fired faster, but unlike the Rapidstrike you do lose range from rapid fire. It's significantly cheaper, but you only get a measly 6 clip. The Stryfe really benefits if you already own a few clips and attachments, since it's pretty bare right out of the box. It also only takes 4 AAs, which are pretty common around the house.
      The Alpha Trooper is pretty good all round, just like the Stryfe, but the plunger system gives it a bit better shot consistency. It's my personal favourite blaster. It comes with a nice 12 clip, which is decent but not the best. The EAT uses a pump action prime. Some people find the grip uncomfortable, I personally don't. The EAT can be fired very rapidly with slam fire, but it's extremely taxing. I find a rhythm of about 3dps works really well.
      The Retaliator is more expensive than the EAT, but is just as good except for rate of fire. The Retal gets great ranges and good accuracy, and comes with a 12 clip as well. Unlike any of the other blasters though, the Retal comes with a bunch of attachments which are useful across all the blasters. The slide prime does mean you lose out a little in rate of fire, but it does seem to fire a bit better than the EAT.

      Hopefully that helps a little. Ultimately, it's what you want from a blaster.

  4. The RS is crappy when stock, but modded is simply the best electric primary Nerf have ever made, you can get huge ROF, easily hit 100ft with a 20-30 degree angle and it will run all day on a good battery pack that costs less than the hopeless C batteries in the stocker.

    1. That's very true. I've just thrown 4 trustfires in mine and its already really scary.
      It's kind of like the Longshot, pretty terrible when stock, yet incredible when modded.

  5. the rapidstrike just looks weird with the grey triggers, but hey, so do all the other blasters. I especially hate the grey alpha trooper jam door, wish it was orange.

  6. Hey everyone,
    I'm going to pick my very first primary weapon.I want a weapon that's good in firefights,A decent ROF (2-3 dps), a decent range (20-40 ft), and can be an all arounder. Is the Retaliator better or the Stryfe. I've been researching the Retaliator and it looks like a pretty good blaster except for the cocking mech.I've got a limited budget so I can't get pricey stuff like the RapidStrike.

    1. An Elite Alpha Trooper would be superior to the Retaliator if you need the ROF. I personally would go with the EAT, but if you have to choose between the Retal and Stryfe I'd probably go Stryfe, because of the rate of fire. A Retal isn't very easy to rapid fire.

  7. What if im looking for a 'precise, and powerful blaster.

    1. Then you'd be looking for something like a Buzz Bee Range Master (or any of the air max blasters for that matter). Because Nerf blasters universally use Elite darts, they are all inherently inaccurate.