If the NERF N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster looks a lot like the classic Maverick REV-6, but While it does share some features with the Maverick, there are significant differences and improvements as well.
In replacing the Maverick, the Strongarm has a lot to live up to, but an updated, Elite N-Strike version of a classic NERF blaster sounds good, but what is the performance like?
We were curious too which is why we decided to get a Strongarm for ourselves to try out. Let’s break the features down one by one and explain what the Strongarm can do and how it rates as a secondary blaster.
- Has Slam Fire capability
- Elite spec range, which is good for a secondary
- Reliable firing mechanism, so few jams
- Excellent trigger action
- It is a classic!
- Only holds 6 darts at a time
- Some effort is needed to pull the spring back to prime
- The Strongarm Slam Fire allows you to fire the darts in quick succession
- The improved rotating cylinder mechanism allows the Strongarm to keep up with slam-fire without jamming
- But only 6 darts in the cylinder, so careful how you use it!
- Realistic range of up to 60ft/18m flat and 90ft/27m if you angle your shots to about 30 degrees
- Slam-fire accuraccy and range isn’t great but pretty good accuracy and range single shot
- It features one tactical rail for adding accessories and two strap points if you want to sling rather than holster it
Full NERF N-Strike Elite Strongarm Review
The basic design of the Strongarm is very similar to the Maverick. The color scheme is different and it is longer by an inch, but features many of the same design cues with the large, front heavy style. However, under the skin, it is significantly different.
I still love the looks of the Strongarm, even though it has now been around for a while. It updated the Maverick and now defines the shape of a NERF revolver. It looks chunky and heavy (even though it isn’t) giving it that air of menace….as much as a bright orange blaster can!
It features a tactical rail on the top for slights or ammo holders and two sling mounting points. One of these is on the butt of the grip and the other on the end of the priming handle. This one has caused a few people to comment on the wisdom of a mounting point on a moving piece of the blaster, but most people will holster it rather than sling it anyway.
The more recently introduced Disruptor is essentially a re-bodied Strongarm, but I still prefer the looks of this over the newer model.
Loading & Firing
In the Maverick when you pulled the trigger, this span the cylinder and fired the dart. This lead to a very woolly feeling trigger action and it jammed quite frequently. The Strongarm has solved this by using the priming action to rotate the cylinder, so when you pull the trigger, the dart is already in the chamber and ready to go.
To load the Strongarm, you flick the release catch on the side of the blaster and the cylinder slides out allowing you free access to all of the chambers. It is a lovely piece of engineering and many have said that the cost of this is why the Disruptor was introduced – not for the faster front loading, but simply to reduce costs and drive profit.
Either way, there is something very satisfying about filling up the last chamber and flicking the cylinder back in, even if it costs you a little more time that reloading a Hammershot or Disruptor.
The biggest issue with loading is the typical revolver issue of ensuring you push the darts in the right amount – too much and they can jam, too little and they can come out or foul the mechanism although, in reality, these issues are rarely a problem.
Once loaded you prime it by pulling the slider back and the primed warning appears on the end of the blaster. To use slam fire, you simply hold the trigger and pull the priming handle back as fast as you can – this was another first in a springer side arm….as we said, the Strongarm is a true classic!
The Strongarm gave an average muzzle velocity of around 72 feet per second, which is what you would expect for an N-STRIKE ELITE blaster. The ranges were also as you would expect for an Elite blaster.
This means you can get somewhere close to the claimed 90ft/27m if you angle the barrel up to give the darts a good arc, but in reality, most will not make it past the 80ft mark without modification.
If you want to point your blaster directly at the target (ie no upward arc), the range is only about 50ft/15m. This is less of an issue than it sounds as the Elite NERF darts are ludicrously inaccurate, it is almost impossible to consistently hit anything human sized at more than about 35ft/10m so this is perfectly adequate.
The Strongarm fits nicely in your hand and is not as front heavy as it looks, but the balance isn’t ideal.
It is essentially the same size as a Disruptor, which means it can be holstered but it is a little bit larger than you might like for holstering as it can get in the way a bit.
The NERF Maverick is a true classic and finding a replacement was never going to be easy, however, the Strongarm did it admirably.
While NERF usually makes big changes to the mechanisms and capabilities when it looks to replace a blaster, the simple fact that the Disruptor is so similar shows how good the original Strongarm design was.
Whether you prefer the Disruptor over the Strongarm is down to which one you prefer looks-wise and whether you want the front loading design of the Disruptor, but either way they both make excellent secondary blasters.
This isn’t just the Maverick that has been given a facelift as it has a lot of features that make it one of the top NERF secondary blasters you can buy today. However things have moved on, even if only slightly, and there are a lot of quality secondary blasters from NERF, so while still an excellent choice, it is not the clearcut winner it onc was.