Originally released in 2013, the Stryfe was immediately popular and was re-released as the Elite XD Stryfe in 2014 with an orange paint-job and reportedly uprated internals.
The internals also lend themselves well to modding and so there is a thriving after-market for mod kits too.
However, NERF have decided to pull the plug on the Stryfe, so, should you get one before they go?
- Compact, comfortable, balanced and easy to use
- 3 Darts per second in full auto
- Does not jam much for a flywheel blaster
- Huge scope for customization and modding
- 6 round clip supplied is too small and seems to jam more with 18 round mag – get some 12s
- It is pretty noisy, especially if you upgrade the batteries & motors!
- As batteries run down, it jams more
- Getting hard to find new
- Classic design and ergonomics, that just work
- Makes a great secondary or primary – very versatile
- So many options to upgrade
- Needs four “AA” batteries to operate – not supplied
The Stryfe is being discontinued, which is a crying shame.
The Stryfe is probably the best all around blaster on the market. Semi-auto, compact and powerful with a ton of upgrade kits.
Buy one before the only option is trawling eBay and thrift shops
NERF Stryfe Elite XD Review
When the Stryfe was released in 2013 it was another big hit (2013 was a good year for NERF blasters!) For a mere $20 you got a semi-auto flywheel pistol with plenty of scope to turn it into a bigger blaster with its stock and barrel extension points.
Out of the box the performance was good and it was reliable but did struggle with some older clips and darts. This issue was addressed in later models (if yours is a pre-XD model then just check whether the serial number ends with an “A”)
Seemingly overnight you couldn’t find a NERF war where you weren’t getting tagged by these things.
Hot on the heels of a big selling blaster comes a tonne of upgrade and customization kits, allowing you to uprate the internals or cut your Stryfe right down or make it look like a full-on assault rifle
It was updated in 2014 with Elite XD internals and a new paint scheme, but since then it has remained pretty much unchanged. A few other flywheel pistols have come along, but none have got it quite as right as the Stryfe.
Unboxing & Getting Started
Unpacking the Stryfe you will find, the blaster itself, a pair of 6 round magazines and 12 darts to feed it with. Oh yes, and the instructions!
The four “AA” batteries required to power the flywheels are mounted just above the trigger. The little compartment can be accessed with the help of a screwdriver. The batteries are not supplied so if this is a gift, make sure you order those too.
Changing the magazine is done by pressing the 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.
Design & Ergonomics
The basic Stryfe is a very compact blaster, but it comes with plenty of ways to customize it. Without a stock you can easily holster it as it is not too long and fairly narrow – much easier than something like a Strongarm for example. However, if you want to use it as your primary weapon, you can add in larger magazines and a stock and you have a good semi-auto blaster.
The batteries are located under a hatch just above the trigger. This creates a nice, neutral balance that feels just right.
It doesn’t have too many tactical rails – just one in fact – and sling mounting points on the butt of the grip and on top of the muzzle. You can also add barrels if you like reducing your range and making it more unwieldy…
Overall it is a well-designed blaster that keeps things to a minimum and a price around $20, so you can add your choice of accessories to fit your needs rather than giving you a ton of useless ones!
Loading & Firing
Just like other flywheel blasters, you need spin up the flywheels before you can fire. You do this with your middle finger 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) If you fire too soon, the darts will only make it a pitiful distance…
The Stryfe uses 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.
Once once up to speed, pull the trigger and you fire a dart. This is a semi-auto blaster so one pull of the trigger fires one dart. You need to pull it repeatedly to fire more darts.
Flywheel blasters are never as reliable as their direct plunger cousins, but the Stryfe is pretty good. It copes with used darts pretty well, but as the batteries start getting weaker it does become more of an issue.
In fact, I find the Stryfe is actually more reliable than several of the newer blasters are with older darts
Rate of Fire
The Stryfe is a semi-auto blaster. This means that for each pull of the trigger, one dart is fired. So the rate of fire is partly limited by how fast you can pull your trigger.
The other limiting factor is that each time a dart hits the flywheels, they are slowed slightly. If you pull the trigger several times quickly, the flywheel slows down enough to reduce your range and consistency noticeably.
This means that while the Stryfe can fire off 3 darts per second, I wouldn’t advise it. If you do this you will see the 6 round magazine empty in 2 seconds and the darts make less and less progress.
This can be partly addressed by increasing the power of the battery pack, but in un-modified form, it is the main reason why I use a Stryfe as a secondary.
This is not all bad though as full auto eats your ammo fast and suddenly you find all your ammo on the floor and you have nothing left.
The expression, “less haste, more speed” is very true in NERF wars, so I find the Stryfe’s rate of fire to be about the level I want.
Adding sights or a stock doesn’t really help much on this front, what you need is your blaster to deliver the darts consistently. The Stryfe is pretty accurate and more consistent than most other pistols and full-size blasters come to that!
The Stryfe’s muzzle velocity was pretty much what you would expect, with an average just under 72 feet per second. My old N-Strike Elite Stryfe only managed 69 fps, so there seems to be a slight improvement with this Elite XD one, but I wouldn’t necessarily upgrade.
This means that if you angle the barrel up to give the darts a good arc, you can rain foam down on an unsuspecting at about 20m with some degree of certainty. There are a few darts that will fly off further and some that will drop short.
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 love the Stryfe. If I was told I could only have one blaster it would probably be the Stryfe for most NERF wars.
My default loadout is an Alpha Trooper (for its stealth) and a Stryfe as my secondary blaster.
The Stryfe sits easily in a holster, uses the same magazines I put through my EAT and can be fired one-handed and isn’t too put off by using darts scavenged from the battlefield.
With the batteries mounted centrally, it is well balanced, has a good rate of fire and enough range to ensure the darts are the limiting factor, not the blaster.
I still cannot believe NERF are killing it off…