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On my son's 7th birthday we ended up with a number of disasters, including a gun that didn't work. In a rush, my husband bought this for him instead. It had been on his Christmas list but with a price tag of nearly £50, I felt it was just too expensive. At £32.99, I still felt it was too high, but in rush to make sure he did have a good working gun on the day - I gave in. Neither my husband nor myself thought of batteries until the girl at checkout asked him if he wanted batteries with the purchase. Obviously wanting this to work, he agreed, not realising batteries were going to cost roughly £10 extra. This requires 2 AAA batteries and 6 size c batteries.
As a parent - and the one who must buy the batteries, I do feel Nerf is going too far with batteries. I don't see why we can't have simple pump action toy guns, or if we must have batteries, at least a more reasonable number. For this reason - I really do not like this toy. Had I known the battery requirements - I never would have asked my husband to buy this, but of course that is my fault for not researching this better before our purchase. I had glanced at Amazon's description when in the short technical bit mentions 2 AA batteries, but this is to be expected for the light up scope. Had I read the more detailed description though, I would have known, so this oversight is my fault.
But all my whinging aside - my son really loves this. His whole face lit up when he got it and he has had so much fun with it. As it has now been almost 3 months, and at least it still going with the original batteries I mellowed towards this toy a bit. I've even bought one for my youngest son - although he won't be getting it until his birthday. It didn't seem fair to allow one for one child and not the other.
So what exactly makes this toy special? Well for starters it is green. That doesn't seem like a big plus - I could care less if a toy is green or yellow, but it was a plus to my son, who prefers everything green. The next issue is that this fires vortex discs rather than the standard nerf darts. My sons think these are an improvement, and they do sail nicely, even in non battery powered guns. It may also be the novelty factor, but the boys do think these discs are really the bee's knee's.
This comes with an orange plastic clip with 20 discs. Extra clips can be purchased which allow for quick reloading. This would come in handy as they do fire fairly rapidly, but to date, I have not bought extras. In fact I can not find an extra 20 disc clip, even on Amazon. There is a place for an extra clip to be added to the gun though, and it would look nice. The manufacturer claims these can shoot up to 60 feet. I have never tried this as I am afraid we would never find the small green discs if this were used outdoors, and replacements are expensive. This is one area in which I feel green was not the best colour choice, as it would not making finding these in the grass any easier.Twenty discs without a clip will cost you £7.01 from Amazon, and was considerably higher in the shops we checked. It does look as if it would fire some distance though, has more than enough fire power for indoor use. I can easily believe that under the right circumstances it might reach 60 feet outdoors.
Another feature which my son's feel is brilliant is the targeting system on the scope. This is really just a series of green lights inside the scope. How this is meant to help you hit a target is beyond me - and the flashing lights give me a sore head, but the children do like this. This scope slides on and off easily and can be used on standard Nerf guns as well. Or if you wish, you can put a torch from an older Nerf gun onto this one in place of this scope.
Nerf does include the standard safety warning about not shooting anyone in the face. I have found the discs are extremely soft and do not hurt, even at close range, but of course you do not want a child shot in the eye with anything, so this seems like good advice. You could let the children wear plastic safety goggles though if they wish to have a no holds barred free for all. I have no problem with my sons using this indoors. It will not do any harm if it hits the TV, glass display cabinet, or anything else we own. I suspect it could be dangerous with very delicate glass ornaments that are easily knocked over - but then we don't have anything like that in out house anyway. What ornaments we do own are heavy enough not to fall over if struck by a stray dart or disc.
The price on these has dropped a bit further since our purchase. This is now on for sale at both Smyth's and Amazon for £26.99. This reduction is likely due to an even newer product in the Nerf arsenal: Nerf Vortex Lumitron. This is a Nerf vortex system with glow in the dark discs and a built in ( battery powered) charging system to expose the discs to light. The discs are available separately though, and I do expect to buy some with my Amazon voucher after the next one ( my next one already being earmarked for one last birthday gift). Of course our guns will not charge the discs, but I find the idea of using battery power to shine a light on them silly anyway. We will just lay ours out under a light.
I am quite tempted to knock a few stars off my rating for the amount of batteries this requires. But in all fairness - I really should have researched it further before purchasing. In retrospect, I am glad I did go ahead and buy this. I'm sure I'll be whinging again when it is time to replace the batteries, but I do appreciate that this toy was such a huge hit with my son on his birthday and is still well loved. He does say it is his very best Nerf gun ( and he has quite a few). When he got this, he was absolutely over the moon and gushed that this was his best birthday ever - in spite of all but one of his friends having to pull out on his birthday party due to illness and a custody/ visitation dispute. Of course my son is the type for whom everything is the best ever, but all the same I suppose the battery issue was a small price to pay for an item that really made his birthday. It has only been 3 months, but this toy is still used quite a lot, and I do expect it will be in use for years to come. My son has come in and mentioned that I just have to give this 5 stars, so I'll let him set the rating on this one.