Nerf Alphahawk Blaster: Gizmodo's First Look

Image: Gizmodo

The N-Strike Elite Alphahawk is the first Nerf blaster that uses new, re-designed 'Accustrike' darts as ammo -- and those new darts make a significant difference when it comes to hitting your target from a distance.

Gizmodo is on a mission to to check out the best new blasters in Australia. The NEW Nerf AccuStrike series features darts designed for greater accuracy! Hit the mark with the precision of Nerf's most accurate dart.

What's New?

The N-Strike Elite Alphahawk is the first blaster to be released in Australia in Nerf's new 'Accustrike' series. Accustrike, Nerf says, uses newly redesigned darts with spiral, rifled tips for greater accuracy versus regular darts. The Alphahawk and other Accustrike blasters will work with Nerf's existing blue Elite darts, but won't have that improved accuracy.

The Alphahawk comes in a very bright orange colour scheme, with parts like the cylinder and the stock finished in a matte grey. There's also a bit of dark grey at the top of the stock, on the handgrip, and splashes of white along the barrel. It's a good look, without being gaudy or ugly or childish. There are a couple of tactical rails, which will mount Nerf accessories -- including some of the company's Modulus gear.

Assembling the Alphahawk couldn't be simpler. Inside its retail box the blaster is shipped as a single piece, with 10 Accustrike darts. Cut the four bits of twine holding the blaster in place inside the box, and you're almost ready to go. The only assembly required is to attach two small grey plastic bolts to the slide behind the Alphahawk's revolving 5-shot cylinder -- they only clip in one way, only require a small amount of force to push in, and are perfectly sturdy once they're in place.

The new Alphahawk will cost you around $42.99 in Australia, and a 12-pack refill of the new Accustrike darts will cost you around $7.50. Hasbro sells its Nerf blasters through a bunch of different stores in Australia like Toys 'R' Us, Target, KMart and Big W.

What's It Like?

The core of the Nerf Alphahawk is very similar to the smaller Strongarm blaster that we know and love already. It uses a five-dart cylinder, not a six-dart one, but that cylinder still swings out of the side of the Alphahawk when you push a button on the blaster's left side to make refilling darts easy. The Alphahawk itself is essentially a slightly redesigned Spectre with those new Accustrike darts.

Since it's a manual blaster rather than a powered one, you have to pull back the bolt after each shot to recharge the internal spring and rotate the cylinder. There are bolts on either side so it's equally suited to righties or lefties, and you can just install one if you want to keep the Alphahawk looking as sleek and streamlined as possible.

Nerf sells the Alphahawk on its accuracy versus regular Elite darts -- and there is a significant difference. We saw a big improvement in our accuracy using the Alphahawk with Accustrike darts instead of of regular blue Elite darts; with the same blaster, firing at the same target at the same distance, you can get an accurate shot more often. It's as simple as that.

That doesn't mean that the Alphahawk is a long-range Nerf blaster, though. It's not hugely powerful, so it's best suited to blasting targets no more than 10 metres away -- that's where you'll see the biggest improvement in the Accustrike's accuracy versus regular darts, too. It's best to think of it in the same class as the Strongarm, which is a pistol -- but just a bit bigger, with a stock and a longer barrel.

The ironsights on the end of the Alphahawk's barrel means that it's easier to aim than some other Nerf rifles, too, which use 'scopes' that are just plastic tubes and effectively useless. Anything around human-sized that you aim at within that 10 metres, you can be confident of hitting.

The Alphahawk isn't a hugely different blaster to what we've seen from Nerf in the past, but its new darts are a huge improvement from the old. And that's a very good thing.


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