Monday, 8 December 2014

Review: Nerf Elite Strongarm (15/20m Aus grey trigger)

The Strongarm is the Elite line's cheap revolver blaster, taking the price point, role and shelf spot of the N-Strike Maverick. Many of the Elite blasters are greatly improved from the original N-Strike blasters. With the disappointment of the breakage prone Elite Spectre, how does the Strongarm stack up?
The Strongarm comes with just itself and 6 Elite darts. Pretty standard for a pistol sized blaster.
All loaded up, unlike the Maverick the Strongarm's laoded darts poke out of the cylinder.

The Strongarm is similar in many ways to the Maverick, however it is a much more streamlined blaster. Where the Maverick was bulky and bold, the Strongarm is more sleek and curved, and is also slimmer.
Note the small cutout on the right side of the muzzle, just in front of the cylinder. This helps to reduce the severity of misfires, as a misfired dart can still be rotated out of firing position.
Down the muzzle, straight into one of the barrels.
Down the top, pretty standard with the tac rail, though the iron sights aren't a particularly common feature.
Here are the iron sights lined up. There's two on the slide, and the front orange post is on the muzzle. Naturally like most Nerf sights these iron sights are pretty useless, but they look decent.
The handle is pretty standard for an Elite style handle, much more curved than the old N-Strike handles. It's also very large, one of the largest handles on any Elite blaster.
You can see here my hand wraps around the handle to a much smaller degree than most other Elite blasters. Also note the significant amout of space below my hand, perfect if your hands are particularly large.
The Strongarm is a slide primed blaster like the Maverick. Pull it back to prime the blaster, and then release, just like the Maverick. Unlike the Maverick though, the Strongarm has slam fire which allows rapid priming while holding down the trigger.
The slide travel is pretty standard, and it is quite easy to pull back. Unlike most other slam fire blasters, the Strongarm does not fire on the slide's return to rest position. Instead, it fires when the slide reaches the rear most position. This means it is possible to fire the Strongarm with the slide in the rear most position, unlike almost every other blaster.

The Strongarm also has a primed indicator, through a slot in the back of the slide. Having only the small orange strip and blue surrounding it indicates unprimed, while having it full orange indicates primed.
The Strongarm is a revolver blaster, with a 6 dart pop-out cylinder. The cylinder is released by pressing the orange button just behind the cylinder.
Without popping out the cylinder, there is not much space to reload darts. The cylinder sits flush with the raised section behind it, maintaining its sleek look.

Popping out the cylinder releases it quite a fair distance, more so than the Maverick. It's possible to expose 4 of the barrels at any one time. As made clear from the rear shot, removal of the dart pegs will allow the rear loading of the cylinder.

After loading the cylinder, it's a simple case of pushing the cylinder back in, priming and firing. The Strongarm's firing sequence is fire then rotate clockwise from the perspective of the user. Rotation occurs on return of the plunger to rest position. Because it fires before rotating, it is possible to cause accidental dry fire with the AR open by inserting the cylinder and lining up the plunger outlet with a space between two barrels. The blaster will dry fire, however the rotation is very likely to engage the cylinder and rotate into a barrel, so repeat dry firing is very rare.
The Strongarm has just a single tac rail above the cylinder, in front of the slide. A great improvement from the Maverick, which had its tac rail on its slide.

The Strongarm has 2 sling loops, one on the handle as per usual, and one on the back of the slide over the priming indicator.

And now for performance.
Range wise the Strongarm is respectable, but not fantastic. A grey trigger model averages about 11-12m with Elite darts. In my range test though I was getting quite a variance in range, with some shots dropping at 9m, and some soaring to 13-14m.
Accuracy isn't great, partly thanks to the Strongarm's use of Elite darts, which are inherently inaccurate.
Rate of fire is fantastic for a revolver. The Strongarm is the first pistol sized revolver to have Slam Fire, giving it a great advantage over other pistol revolvers. I've managed a ROF of 5dps, and any faster seems to cause the Strongarm to over rotate and skip darts.
 Is the Strongarm a blaster worth getting? Very much so.
The Strongarm fills the role of backup revolver that the Maverick and Spectre also filled. It's much more reliable and better performing than the Maverick, and has an extra dart and a higher rate of fire compared to the Spectre.
The Strongarm has competition in the form of the Hammershot/Sweet Revenge, as both are well performing blasters suitable for the role of backup revolver. Both fill slightly different roles though. The Strongarm is a superior two hand revolver, with a faster prime and a higher rate of fire, as well as the extra dart. The HS/SR is a superior one hand revolver (as the Strongarm can't be one-handed), and is also much better for dual wielding because they can be one handed.
For the "just for fun" blaster, the Strongarm is a good option. It's cheap and performs quite well. Even if you end up not liking the Strongarm, since it's cheap and fairly easy to use, you could easily sell it off and get much of your money back.

The Strongarm is very common, and readily available for as little as 10AUD. It's a decent performing blaster and for such a low price, it's a great deal. The Strongarm is a great blaster to start off with, as well as bolster your collection. I personally prefer using the Sweet Revenge to the Strongarm, so do consider those, but the Strongarm is always a solid choice.

NOTE: I have heard multiple reports of Strongarms failing to rotate over time, however I haven't seen this occur with any of my Uni group's yet.

EDIT 30/1/15: My uni group has purchased a second hand Strongarm that has had issues rotating, and I believe I've found the problem. The piece that links the cylinder to the rotation mech gets worn down and does not engage with the cylinder, thus causing no rotation. Because there have been several reports of this issue, I'm downgrading the Strongarm's Usability score.

Pros: High rate of fire thanks to slam fire, much more reliable than the Maverick, tac rail is on blaster body rather than slide
Cons: Range not as good as high end Elites, accuracy is lacking, multiple reports of Strongarms failing to rotate

Power: 5.5/7
Accuracy: 3/5
Value for Money: 5/5
Usability: 3/5
Rate of Fire: 4/5
Overall: 3.78/5

Personal Rating: 4/5 - it's an excellent all round pistol blaster, though I personally prefer the Sweet Revenge. The rotation mech issue can be problematic if you somehow get the Strongarm into that state, but it doesn't seem to be too common. Regardless, new Strongarms are pretty cheap so replacement is not an issue.


  1. My Strongarm has problem with the catch spring. I opened the blaster to mod once, the catch spring jumped out. It was really hard to put it back to it's place. After I finished assemble, I tested the trigger and OMG it sounds *click* like a computer mouse, i can't slam fire, sometimes it can't even prime!! Are there any ways to fix it?

    1. I've had trouble with the catch spring as well, it's really quite annoying. My suggestion would be to go back into the Strongarm and make sure everything is in the correct place, especially the catch and catch spring since it pops out so easily.

    2. Thanks for suggestion, I've just figured it out. The catch spring was fall down about half of it length. So, I took it out from the catch and put it back carefully. It stopped click now and I WON'T open my Strongarm again.

  2. I Traded mine with for friend's Rapidstrike