The Summer of Dart Zone

I don’t care who you are or where you live, dart blasters are just fun.  You know what makes them really fun? When you get a box of review units bigger than your preschooler. Seriously, we’re talking bigger than a mini fridge. That’s what the fine folks at Dart Zone sent us. I wasn’t home at the time, but gave my kids permission to open and test without me.

There exists no better test then to aim at your sibling's head.
There exists no better test than to shoot your sibling. Source: My daughter, seconds before the headshot.

The first thing they noticed was these all take the same exact darts as the Nerf Elite line, which is handy as I have over 100 of those darts, and they are very cheap on Amazon. I actually found the Dart Zone tips a drop softer than the generics or Nerfs, which is good, as the blasters tend to fire with a bit more force.

Before I begin, let me note that all of these blasters are rated age eight and up. My son is not yet six, and while he used several of these easily, some models were heavy for him or too hard to load but would be fine for your older child.

With that said, let’s see what was in the box!

Covert Ops Tri-Fire
A three-pack of basic “pistols,” these blasters actually have a little kick. I’d go so far to say they have recoil, even. The mechanism that you pull back snaps with a sharp retort when released, a very loud toy that does not seem to match the “covert” labeling.

But I guess "Overt Ops" would sound silly. Photo: Dart Zone.
But I guess “Overt Ops” would sound silly.
Photo: Dart Zone.

Despite being small, they get decent range, and unlike other “starter” blasters, they auto-advance.  At $9.99 for three you would think this a good investment, but I would respectfully disagree. Read on.

Covert Ops Blitzfire
This six-shooting revolver was my almost-six-year-old’s second favorite, to the point that he slept with it at night for two days.

He's never happier than when he's blasting.
He’s never happier than when he’s blasting. Source: My daughter.

When I tested it myself, I found that it almost always fired “high”—which may be why my son liked it. When you’re less than four feet, that’s a plus. The Blitzfire actually comes in a two pack, which you can only get at Target for $14.99, making this an insane value. Honestly, I would skip the Tri-Fire and go right for these.

Green blue vs blue green! Source: Dart Zone.
Green blue vs blue green!
Source: Dart Zone.

 

Adventure Force Havoc
The Havoc has a unique slide-loading mechanism for advancing the cartridge, and comes with two cartridges. You can actually buy additional magazines, which I find very handy. Between the slide and the firing, I found this to be the loudest blaster of the set. I also found it to be fairly accurate. I almost always hit my target. It did have a nagging tendency to jam at first, as I learned how to get a rhythm. Still, for a mere $10, this is a solid deal.

Covert Ops Magnum Superdrum
Designed to look like an old school tommy-gun, the Magum is huge. They have this funky arm rest thing that makes me think it would work very well in a defensive position, resting with good cover.

Urge to call someone a "dirty Rat" rising... Source: Dart Zone.
Urge to call someone a “dirty Rat” rising…
Source: Dart Zone.

I actually found this hard to fire at times, jammed more than I want to admit, and set it aside. My son picked it right up and nailed me with it more than once. Which is funny, considering the drum that holds the (forty!) darts is bigger than his head. At $20, this is the weapon of a committed blaster enthusiast.

Covert Ops Legendfire
This thing looks scary, almost like a Decepticon fusion cannon.

Give me ALL your Energon. Source: Dart Zone.
Give me ALL your Energon.
Source: Dart Zone.

Coming with 18 darts and two cartridges to put them in (one stores on the back, which gets in the way of using the sight), the Legendfire is a long, pump-action blaster. There is a trigger, but it’s just for show. Instead, you pump out your shots as they auto-advance. Each cartridge holds 9 darts, and to re-load you snap it open like a shotgun.

And yes, you can sort of snap it shut with a gesture. Source: Dart Zone.
And yes, you can sort of snap it shut with a gesture.
Source: Dart Zone.

The Legendfire was both the quietest to use as well as the most accurate. Once I adjusted for the placement of the spare cartridge, I almost always hit my target. It is absolutely my favorite of the bunch. This feels like a sniper’s blaster, or it would if not for the pump. If you want quiet and accuracy, spend your $15 here.

Covert Ops Enforcer
Speaking of scary, check this monster out.

"This is mah boomstick!"
“This is mah boomstick!”

Fully automatic and belt-fed, the Enforcer fires 40 darts in *half a minute*. My son and I took it on a walk and he quickly emptied the belt, smiling in wonder at just how fast it was. Taking 6 AA batteries and having serious heft, this is the blaster of shock and awe. Also, so you’re not shocked by the price, be aware it costs $30. Is it worth it? Think of it this way: bring this to a blaster battle and you’re going to dominate; assuming you have the upper body strength and use it tactically. Do not, for example, keep shooting one spot in the sidewalk while your dad tries to find all the darts that have bounced away.

I need to teach him to say "YO JOE!" Source: Dart Zone.
I need to teach him to say “YO JOE!”
Source: Dart Zone.

All of the above blasters are new as of August 2016, and are available at Target, Walmart, and online retailers (or will be soon). With low prices and a wide variety, Dart Zone has upped the blaster game.

As mentioned above, these units were supplied by Dart Zone for review purposes. My son wants me to send them a thank you note.

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