First things first, let’s talk about the Mauler. Then we’ll go into BlasterPro, more after the jump —->
X2 Xploderz Mauler 1000. What can I say about it? I wasn’t a fan of Xploderz before, and I will admit that this goes a long way to address some of the problems that I had with the original run.
– No jiggly side handle to load ammo before each shot. Yay!
– The thing actually shoots. The XGround Pounder was terrible with misfires and barely had a round clear the barrel. I was firing consistently with the Mauler.
What’s still there:
– Still no trigger. Word has it something to do with using stored energy (such as a trigger) makes it a toy safety regulation issue. Not totally sure on the phrasing , but that’s what they say.
– Gel-ammo. It’s fun! No colors, no splotches, no getting soaked. It breaks apart and dries up. Pickup not necessary.
– Hopper sits on top of the blaster…. so… sights… there are none.
– High ranges. It does get pretty close to 100′, but hitting that range with accuracy is the real issue.
– Still grow your ammo in the included ammo depot, then link that up with you hopper when you want to reload.
1000 rounds of ammo
Ok, now to get to it. If the Mauler is any indicator about the X2 line, the Maya Group got some things right with this. They have range and output. However, the triggerless system feels a bit awkward for me to use, and the design of the blaster, while futuristic, is uncomfortable to wield.
The Mauler works like this: You pull the handle back which causes ammo to load into the barrel (before you had to jiggle a handle to open the loading door that dropped ammo in), hold the handle, and release it when ready to fire. A little simpler, a lot easier to shoot. And more relable! Definitely better than the Ground Pounder.
|A bit more focused picture of the trigger guard|
The trigger-guard’s square shape was a bit uncomfortable to hold for extended usage not to mention trying to hold the blaster steady while shooting was difficult because of the pull and release. Trying to stiffen my arm holding the blaster, like a bow and aroow, was less than effective because the pull arm is sized for the target market, kids. It’s like trying to shoot something that’s a hybrid bow and arrow and gun. The smooth knob of the handle on the “power arm” doesn’t lend itself well to consistent pull; my hand did slip off now and again from test-firing it. Unfortunately, my aim was kind of all over the place because of this.
The Bow N Mallow shooter has a good example of a form that works. I would have liked a rounder grip to fit my hands, and once again… the ability to aim down the sights. The power arm makes me want to the position the blaster along my arm already, (again, the bow and arrow comparison) so aiming right down the top of the blaster happens naturally for me. Trying to fire from the waist is just a little more awkward with the power arm and where my arm gets positioned to use it.
NEXT UP: BlasterPro S2500 (manual pump-action shooter)
Ah, the new stuff! The smaller-ammoed, harder hitting, less-time growing entry to more advanced tactical blastersports from Maya Group. It sells a paintball and/or airsoft experience with none of the mess and splatter. At approx. $30 for the S2500 and approx. $50 for the electric (Es5000) version, it is certainly cost-effective compared to a day on a paintball field.
It comes with a zombie color-change target, 170 rounds ready-grown, the S2500, 5 bags of 500 pieces of dry ammo (grows in 90 mins with water) and the box.
It works by pumping the handle, pushing down a safety button (and keeping it pushed when you want to fire), and pulling the trigger. The video below demonstrates.
First off, the thing definitely gets near the 100′ mark angled, and hits around 70′ flat. Maya Group isn’t kidding though about the ages on this thing, it hits pretty hard. Here’s a shot I took from a little more than 10′ away –
A little too close at range? Maybe. But this is what the thing can do. Having played paintball before, the welt is nothing but wanted to share for anyone who was curious. 14+ is definitely the market this sits in.
It does have range, output, a triggered experience, and the aesthetics of a shotgun. While it may be a bit too dark-colored for some folks, make sure you are responsible with it.
A couple of notes about the design: the pump-handle is a bit herky-jerky when popping off shots, I think to ensure the ammo drops in and to prime the gun. There was this consistent point in the motion that I really had to pull on the handle to move it, and you can hear it in the video I think. Additionally, the pump-handle struck me as a little undersized, I really felt like my hands wrapped around it and even pinched my hand a couple of times when it went flush with the rest of the gun. It could stand to be a bit bigger, but at that point I’m being nitpicky.
Unlike Xploderz, the hopper can be reloaded via a door at the top of the ammo container:
And a closer look at that zombie target:
You’ll most likely find this in the paintball/airsoft section of your local stores, and if you feel like you want to paintball but don’t have the time/money to hit a field, give these a try. Definitely less cleanup and cheaper than a paintball field, but remember these aren’t toys and should be respected as such. Watch your eyes, your aim, and most importantly the other side 🙂
Thanks to the Maya Group for the samples!