Monday, 28 March 2016

Review: Nerf Elite Dual-Strike (grey trigger)

The Dual-Strike is one of the more unusual new blasters, a blaster capable of firing both Elites and Megas, and switch between them at will. Naturally this system, assuming it is relatively efficient and effective, is intruiging and present a lot of potential.

Note that this blaster belongs to a friend and I borrowed it for this review, so I may not be able to answer subsequent questions about it as accurately as I would like.
Box is pretty standard.

The Dual-Strike is quite big and chunky for a pistol style blaster, especially up front with the giant barrel block. Unfortunately, it isn't particularly well decorated, with very minimal extra colouring on the sides, making for a somewhat duller looking blaster than many Nerf blasters nowadays. Surprisingly, the Dual-Strike is not particularly heavy for its size.
Surprisingly, it's not the thickest blaster and maintains its width throughout its profile. There's not much of interest on top.
A look at the underside, not much here either.

The handle is decently sized, though not the most comfortable one I've handled.

Both the front and rear edges are perhaps sharper than ideal, which seems to be becoming a more common problem with more recent blasters.

The Dual-Strike uses a basic pullback priming mechanism, like that of a Firestrike. It has quite a long draw and a large plunger tube, allowing for it to get some decent power even without a strong spring.

The pullback handle is quite well designed and is fairly comfortable to grasp and pull.

Being that it fires both Elite darts and Megas, the Dual-Strike also has a MEGA logo embossed on the side, just behind the Mega barrels.

Switching between Elites and Megas is down by this switch, which rotates a valve within the blaster. This valve redirects airflow to go to either the Elite barrels on top, or the Mega barrels on the bottom. The switch has a good amount of friction and makes a nice audible click when it switches.

The Dual-Strike has 6 barrels, 3 for each dart type. The top barrels are for Elites, while the bottom ones are for Megas. Having all 6 barrels up front aligned vertically contributes much to the Dual-Strike's height - the removal of the Mega barrels would make for effectively a Messenger, which is far smaller.
A look down the barrels. The Dual-Strike uses Smart ARs to advance, which serves well to limit how bulky it has to be.

Barrels loaded up.

Being that the Dual-Strike uses Smart ARs, all that is necessary to fire all of its darts is to repeatedly prime and fire it. The Elite barrels fire the top right dart first (from user's perspective), while the Mega barrels the top dart first.
Next, the bottom Elite barrel and middle Mega barrel fire. Finally, the top left Elite barrel (from user's perspective) and bottom Mega barrel fire. Pretty simple, thanks to the magic of the Smart AR system.
Here's the Dual-Strike next to a base Retal, it's pretty darn big, especially for a pistol style blaster. Certainly not something I think can be (or should be) holstered easily.

Finally for performance. Has the ability to fire two different ammo types affected how well the Dual-Strike can fire?
Ranges with Elites are wildly erratic, ranging from 7m with nosedives to 14m+ with soarers, all fired at true flat. I don't think I've ever fired a stock blaster that is so variable in range. Ranges with Megas are somewhat more consistent, averaging about 9-10m at true flat, but still not the most consistent.
Accuracy is pretty poor. Though most of the Elites would pass through the usual testing doorway, from there a lot of them would veer off in every direction - at the end of my test firing, there were darts spread out pretty much everywhere. Likewise Megas are not particularly accurate, I had more of them hit the doorway, but generally had less spread at range.
Rate of Fire is a bit of an iffy subject given that you only have three shots before having to reload or switch ammo types, but regardless I got a similar ROF to a Triad, about 2 darts per second.

The only practical use I can think of for an ordinary Dual-Strike is use in a game where Megas have special power/abilities, but you still want to use Elites for combat. Maybe something like "Defend the Core", a gamemode where you get ammo into the enemy's box (core) to score points, and Megas are worth more than Elites. Perhaps a HvZ where there are special zombies that can only be taken out by Megas? These don't make perfect sense though, in most cases when you want to use both Elites and Megas, you'd probably just take two blasters or have one integrated into the other (like say a Stryfe and Bigshock). The only reason why you'd take a Dual-Strike instead is if you could only take one blaster, or you had a limited capacity of 6 darts total or something. Even then though, a Dual-Strike is only better than a Cycloneshock if Megas are too rare to use as a regular combat ammo type, but you still need to use Megas and you can only have one blaster.
In stock form I can't think of a non-super-specific situation in which a Dual-Strike is the best, or even a good option. For the most part just taking two blasters or even just a dedicated Mega blaster is likely a better option.

The Dual-Strike can be found for 29AUD at Kmart, and has dropped to 25AUD before on sale. Even then though, I think the Dual-Strike is slightly overpriced. Yes it is somewhat justified by being effectively two blasters in one, but even for its sale price you could get 2 Strongarms (plus something extra), 3 Triads or even a Cycloneshock or Flipfury, all of which I think are better value-for-money, or just better as blasters. The ability to switch between two ammo types is a neat gimmick that works well, and its plunger tube (as we'll see in a moment) is massive allowing for excellent mod potential, but overall the Dual-Strike is not a very practical blaster, and is quite expensive for what it is. Unless you have specific use for the switching ability or you like its massive plunger tube, I'd give the Dual-Strike a pass.

Pros: Incredible mod potential due to massive plunger tube, ammo type switching works well and is quite fun, Smart ARs work decently well
Cons: Pretty poor out-of-box performance, not very practical without modification

Power: 6/7
Accuracy: 1.5/5
Rate of Fire: 2.5/5
Usability: 4/5
Value for Money: 3/5
Overall: 3.06/5

Personal Rating: 3/5 - while it is fun plinking around and switching effortlessly between two different ammo types, I just have no use for such a blaster. It doesn't fit into my playstyle or most of the games I run/play, and the price is rather high for what is basically a big pistol.

The Dual-Strike's internals, besides the valve in the middle, are nothing new. The two barrel blocks use the now-well-established Smart AR which redirects air into the next barrel when a dart is not loaded. The Dual-Strike packs quite a big plunger tube, necessary for firing the Megas with decent power. To prevent the Elites from being too powerful, and to maintain consistency between subsequent barrels, there are many air release holes throughout the Dual-Strike - I counted at least 8 or 9. Plugging up all these holes and patching up the rather poor plunger seal boosts performance significantly - I was getting 15m+ ranges roughly flat with Elites, and about 12-13m ranges roughly flat with Megas.
Such a big plunger tube presents a tremendous amount of potential power, and the Dual-Strike could certainly be turned into an extremely powerful hand cannon without too much trouble. Even better, from what I can tell, the central valve is reasonably well sealed and redirects airflow quite well, giving the Dual-Strike potential to quickly switch between two different barrels/barrel sets/etc.

A link to the review I posted on BlasterHub: link


  1. Hmm. It looks like I might be able to get away running this bugger on RCSB's (Once I find a barrel material that fits my Elites), and shoving a sanded down length of 1/2" PVC into each of the Jumbo barrels to hold spare RCSB's. Then, I could add some sort of stock, and this might be good. Or would an RCSB put too much strain on this system?

    1. Considering the plunger volume, you probably could RSCB it provided those slots are sealed up properly. Why you'd want to RSCB Elites of all things is beyond me, but you may be able to get decent RSCB performance from the Dual-Strike. You probably won't be able to use standard lengh RSCBs though, it'll probably have to be shorter than usual.