Released in the fall of 2013, the RapidStrike has been around for a while now, but it is still massively popular. Featuring full auto capability, multiple tactical rails, a well-designed body and stock plus a barrel attachment, it offered plenty of scope for customisation even before the modders got hold of it.
However, time marches on and newer, faster fully auto fly-wheelers like the Hyperfire have been launched since.
So, is the RapidStrike still the draw it once was?
- Really well designed body – comfortable, balanced and easy to use
- 3 Darts per second in full auto
- Pretty reliable for a flywheel blaster
- Impressive value for money these days
- Huge scope for customization and modding
- Rate of fire and accuraccy have been surpassed by newer blasters
- It is pretty noisy – you aren’t going to be very stealthy!
- Classic design and ergonomics, that just work
- 18 dart magazines supplied but also works with drums
- With the possible exception of the Stryfe, it has the biggest range of mods and customization options
- Needs four “C” batteries to operate – not supplied
NERF RapidStrike Review
When the RapidStrike was released in 2013 it was considered the spiritual successor to the popular Stampede ECS, but with one major improvement – full auto!
It was immediately hugely popular and has seen a ton of upgrade and customization kits appear on the market, ensuring that if anything was not quite right for you, you could fix it in no time.
It was updated in 2014 with Elite XD internals but since then it has remained pretty much unchanged. Several years down the line it is still an excellent blaster, but newer blasters have emerged to challenge for its crown.
Unboxing & Getting Started
Unpacking the RapidStrike you will find, the blaster itself, a clear, 18 round magazine and 18 darts to feed it with. Oh yes, and the instructions!
The four “C” batteries required to power the flywheels are mounted in the front grip. These can be accessed from just below the muzzle with the help of a Phillip’s screwdriver. These are not supplied so if this is a gift, make sure you order those too.
Changing the magazine is done by holding down a release button and removing the magazine with your free hand. This button can be held down by either extending your middle finger on your trigger hand or reaching around with your free hand. Either way, it is easy and fast.
Design & Ergonomics
The RapidStrike is about two feet in length but longer once you extend the stock. The stock only has two positions – fully in or fully out. Unlike many other extendible stocks, it is pretty solid. I have not had any problems with it giving way even in the heat of battle.
The batteries are located under the barrel which actually creates a slightly front heavy balance. However, the positioning of the grip means that the balance always feels just right.
The RapidStrike features more tactical rails than you can really use – pretty much anywhere they can fit one in fact! It also has several sling mounting points – one behind the carry handle, one on top of the muzzle and another on the butt of the grip. You can also add barrels if you like reducing your range and making it more unwieldy…
The final flourish is an iron site that you flip up at the end of the barrel and aim by looking through the handle. This looks cool, but I found it next to useless from a practical point of view. Since Elite darts fly off all over the place, you can have the best sight in the world and still get nowhere near the target.
But this is not the point of an auto blaster – its high rate of fire is to lay down cover. Luckily this blaster feels good both pulled into your shoulder throwing controlled bursts at the opposition, but is also light enough to wave around a corner and spray, depending on what you want to achieve.
Loading & Firing
Just like other flywheel blasters, you need spin up the flywheels first, using a button on the grip. It takes a short while for the flywheels to spin up to full speed (especially with the stock batteries/motors) You can fire before it is up to speed but you will not get the best range unless you let them spin up before firing.
Once spinning, pull the trigger and away go your darts. The RapidStrike was the first to use a dual speed flywheel where it goes half speed when you pull the spin button, then accelerates up when you pull the trigger to minimise the battery drain and lower the time to spin up.
Single shot can be achieved by holding down the flywheel trigger, then squeezing the main trigger briefly. If you hold it down, then you will fire until all the darts are gone – a full magazine of 18 darts will be gone in around 6 seconds.
Flywheel blasters are never as reliable as their springer cousins, but the RapidStrike is pretty good. It copes with older darts pretty well, but as the batteries start getting weaker it does become more of an issue.
Rate of Fire
A few years ago, three rounds per second was a stunning performance, but this is now pretty meh for full auto. However, full auto eats your ammo fast. In a NERF war, it is way too easy to hold the trigger that bit too long. Suddenly you find all your ammo went tagging someone you have already tagged and you have nothing left for their teammates. So I don’t really consider a few darts per second slower much of an issue.
The rifling in the RapidStrike does make it more accurate than many other blasters. The fly in this ointment is that newer models like the Hyperfire are a notch better for accuracy. The Hyperfire has canted (angled) the flywheels spinning the darts faster than the RapidStrike. This means the grouping of your shots is much tighter with the newer blasters.
The RapidStrike’s muzzle velocity was pretty much what you would expect, with an average just under 73 feet per second, around the N-STRIKE ELITE average.
This means that if you angle the barrel up to give the darts a good arc, you can rain foam down on an unsuspecting crowd at about 20m.
If you fire it flat, the useful range is approximately 40ft/12m, but this is more limited by the terrible accuracy of Elite darts than the blaster.
In case you hadn’t already worked it out, I am a big fan of this it is my go-to primary blaster in many games. There are times when I prefer my Alpha Trooper for its stealth (which I pair with a Stryfe as my secondary weapon) but for more chaotic engagements, the RapidStrike is my go-to full auto.
If 3 darts per second and Elite range is not good enough for you there are countless options to upgrade it, but even a standard one is an excellent blaster. It is well balanced, has a good rate of fire and enough range to ensure the darts are the limiting factor, not the blaster.
If you need some covering fire, this will provide it. If you need it to fire short bursts, it will do this too. It is also comfortable and relatively reliable.
Overall it has few weaknesses and a lot of strengths.