21 June 2013

REVIEW: Nerf Vortex Diatron

Disk jockey.

As you read the following paragraph please imagine a brass band playing in the background:
Eee it was hard in our youth. All we had to play with was a battered old Commodore Amiga 500 and a pirated copy of Lemmings. With no internet we were forced to 'telephone' our friends, hoping they were in to get the call, and arrange to meet up and go out to play. And when we were out in the open air, cold wind blowing our exposed knees, all we had to play with was a Nerf football. You threw it and it whistled. Eee, it was hard back then...

Not so these days. Not only can kids tweet their mums to tell them what they want for dinner, but they can also text each other to meet up and then blast the crap out of each other with a whole new generation of Nerf products. One such weapon from the masters of the foam dart is the Nerf Vortex Diatron. We locked, loaded and hit the streets.

Then came home and wrote this review.

In the modern world the Nerf brand is no longer simply associated with soft footballs and large foam arrows. Instead they are world renowned for being producers of really effective toy weaponry, utilising air pressure and springs to rain down foam bullets upon your friends. An impressive catalogue of guns is the company's legacy, including the Vortex range which launch small spinning foam disks as opposed to the standard bullets. The Diatron belongs to this disk shooting sub-group and good golly does it pack a punch!

Sitting comfortably in one hand, the Diatron can easily be wielded like an oversized pistol, being light enough to lift and aim without support. There is the option to fit a Nerf shoulder stock to the back of the Diatron – something that we really liked as it creates opportunities to customise your gun. There is also a 'tactical rail' on top for sights and the like.

Simply flick the switch by the trigger and the magazine will slide open, and in there you can load your ammunition that comes with the Diatron. Eight disks are supplied with the gun, although it states that it can actually accommodate ten. Why they haven't popped in two more to make a full magazine we don't know, particularly because the Diatron shoots two disks at once. With only eight disks provided you'll get just four shoots before having to reload. We were a little disappointed at that and were hoping for not only more included ammo, but also a larger capacity. Still, game on!

To cock the Diatron you must crank forward a loading arm and then pull it back. At first it felt like an odd thing to do, and the crank arm certainly adds a bit of bulk to the top of the gun, but soon it become second nature to push and pull with your off hand to load.

Getting the disks into the loading chamber was a little less pleasurable however, especially during a frantic battle. We found we had to carefully place the ammo two disks at a time to get them in straight – nowhere near as easy as some other Nerf guns, one of which we'll be reviewing soon.

Having said that, once the Diatron is stocked up and ready to rock the smaller pistol-like size is a bonus. Unlike other larger guns that require two hands to carry and aim, the Diatron feels light and compact and is a breeze to swing around and quickly aim at a target. Or your gran. We thought the Diatron would be at home as either a main weapon to do most of your blasting, or as a backup pistol hanging from your hip for the time when your larger weapon runs dry.

In terms of ballistics we discovered that, on average and depending on the wind, the Diatron achieves a range of around fifty feet. We were impressed at how accurate the shots were, with both fired disks staying close together for most of that distance. Because two disks are fired at once it actually increased the chance of you hitting your target and certainly makes it harder for your gran to duck out of the way.

So in summery, the Nerf Vortex Diatron certainly isn't our favourite blaster in terms of both looks and operation, but as a uniquely looking, uniquely loading and certainly uniquely firing weapon, you're sure to turn more than a few heads out there on the streets.

£15-20 Depending where you buy.

© The Test Pit

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