First released in 2013, the Alpha Trooper CS-12 and CS-6 are essentially the same blasters. They both feature the highly reliable firing mechanism found in the Retaliator, but slam fire capable.
They do not require batteries and are easy to modify with no electrical work required, so they have been a hit with both modders and more casual NERFers alike.
However, NERF has discontinued it in many markets. So, should you be looking to buy one before they disappear?
- Very reliable, it doesn’t jam easily
- Fires up to three darts per second in slam fire
- Has space for an additional spare dart in the grip
- Easy to mod with a great range of kits
- Range and accuracy drop when slam firing
- Does not come with a stock unless you get the Elite XD CS-6 version, which comes with a bad stock!
- It has an internal lock that sometimes jams (very rare though)
- It is being phased out (no idea why!) so it can be hard to find
- This is an excellent blaster, which has everything I want in a spring powered primary blaster
- The CS-6 is easier to find than the CS-12 now, but with both of them add a good stock (the one with the CS-6 is terrible!) and add 18 dart mags and you will have an excellent primary blaster.
Probably my go-to primary. Reliable, silent and once you have fitted it with a stock to your size, it feels great too.
I still cannot believe they are on the way out – buy one (or three) while you still can!
NERF Elite Alpha Trooper CS-12 and CS-6 Review
The NERF Elite Alpha Trooper (often called the EAT) has been in the NERF range since 2013 as the Nerf N-Strike Elite Alpha Trooper CS-12. This replaced the N-Strike Alpha Trooper CS-18, which along with changing the 18 round drum for a 12 round magazine, it also swapped the reverse plunger system for the direct plunger also found in the Retaliator.
Elite XD Alpha Trooper CS-6 was released in 2015, but apart from the orange paint scheme, it really only seems to be there to get rid of some spare parts. The 6 round magazines are too small and are N-Strike, ie non-Elite spec. The stock also comes from the discontinued Spectre REV-5 and seems to be made from Jello.
Having said that, the basic blaster is all still there. All it needs is a quick upgrade to the spring and some bigger magazines to create a great primary.
The upgrades are very simple to fit. There are no fiddly batteries or motors to fit, you can pretty much do it with a screwdriver. It’s a great place to start if you’ve never modded a blaster before.
Unboxing & Getting Started
The blaster itself is pretty compact, but with a longer barrel that the Retaliator, which houses the priming handle.
It comes with 12 darts and a 12 dart magazine for the CS-12 or two 6 dart magazines for the CS-6. The CS-6 also comes with a stock, but if you put this on and try priming the blaster with it up to your shoulder it bends all over the place! Don’t bother, just add a Worker stock if you need one.
There are no batteries needed with either of these, you just prime it and fire.
Changing the magazine is done by pulling back the priming handle, then hold down the release button and remove the magazine with your free hand. There is a release catch on either side so it works for left or right-handers. All pretty standard for magazine-fed NERF guns.
Once you have the mag in, you pull the priming handle back, push it forward and you are ready to go.
Design & Ergonomics
There is no attachment on the barrel, but it doesn’t really need it. To the rear is the stock attachment point. Across the top is a tactical rail and the jam door, which you can open to free any stuck darts (this rarely happens!) Out of the box it is also very light, it weighs just over two pounds, and is only 19.7 inches long, making it easy to carry around with you all day.
The grip is standard Elite and so a nice and comfortable. The priming handle has a lip, which makes pulling it back very easy, and almost no grip required. The trigger feel is excellent as seems to be the norm with direct plunger blasters. It also has a sling mounting points on the butt of the grip, along with a slot to hold an extra dart….just in case.
Loading & Firing
To fire the Alpha Trooper, you just pull back the priming handle then push it forward again and it is ready to go, you just squeeze the trigger to fire. To slam fire, you simply hold down the trigger and pull the priming handle back and each time you push it forward again, it will fire. You can get rates of fire around 3 darts per second, but the range and accuracy do drop off. It will get you out of a jam in HvZ though!
This mechanism is also really reliable, even when feeding it worn darts, you rarely get a jam. The only problem is the internal lock if you half prime. Most people take this lock out
It comes with a 12 round magazine which is probably fine for this rate of fire, but you can fit the 18 dart magazines of drums if you like (the original CS-18 had a drum as standard)
The EAT’s ergonomics mean that firing does not require you to loosen your grip to prime. When the handle is forward it is a good position for your hand, which makes aiming easy. The darts are still the limiting factor, but the way this blaster has been designed make it much better than others
Out of the box we were getting pretty good muzzle velocities and ranges, as you would expect of an Elite Series blaster. The Alpha Trooper’s muzzle velocity was around 71 fps, pretty standard for Elite series blasters.
This means that if you angle the barrel up to give the darts a good arc, you can usually reach about 20m. If you fire it flat, the useful range is around 10-12m or about 35ft, but this is perfectly acceptable as the Elite darts are not accurate at that range, so you probably don’t need more.
Ever since I got an Elite Alpha Trooper I have loved it. I currently have three – I have one in pretty much standard spec and two with internal mods.
The reason is that while a full-auto barrage looks incredible when you see a hail of foam spewing towards your foe, I am not entirely bought in. They always seem to jam up or run low on charge at the wrong moment and the noise makes it impossible to sneak around.
So the EAT is more often than not what I use as a primary, usually with a Stryfe for back-up so I have a flywheeler around that I can fire one-handed if needed.
So I would suggest that you go and grab one before they go away as NERF don’t look to have found an adequate replacement for it yet.