The Alpha Strike: “All or One” weapons

Alpha Strike – a label I took from Battletech. Some mechs had the ability to fire all their weapons (lasers, machine guns, missiles, etc.) at once. There are a group of foam blasters that do the same thing. At the press of a button, they will unleash all darts at once.

There are only three foam blasters that fit the bill: the Hornet, from the N-strike Unity Power System™ (Hasbro), the Blastfire, and the Big Salvo. The Hornet and the Blastfire have six and five shots respectively, while the Big Salvo has only four. Each one though has the option of unleashing all shots at once.

FIRING:Granted, the mechanism for firing are different as shown below:Hornet/Blastfire: A single “blast” button. The Blastfire’s is located on top of the gun; the Hornet has its located on the side. By pulling the trigger it is just a semi-automatic shot.

The Big Salvo: The mechanism is a little bit different. You have to pull the trigger quickly. If you pull VERY slowly, it releases the air in each barrel one at a time, in a semi-automatic fashion. It releases the air very quickly even if you do one shot at a time, which means you may only get two shots off if you pull slowly.

TACTICS:There are advantages to using these guns over fully automatic weapons like the Rf20 or the Wildfire. For one, the air leak isn’t as bad between times holding down the trigger, with the exception of the Big Salvo which leaks as you press the trigger. (I have never held a PC so I cannot include it.)

The Hornet requires 20-30 pumps but at a bigger range for a higher rate of fire (six shots which is the most in this group of weapons), while the Blastfire needs six for five shots and the Big Salvo 8-10. (This is without overpressure plugging.) The rate of fire is good too because there is no recocking mechanism and you don’t have to repump between shots. Just one shot after the other if you choose without the craziness of the larger weapons.

However, the ammo is different between all three. I choose to not do barrel replacements (lack of time and material) so the stock barrels remain on the Hornet and the Blastfire. Therefore I use stock ammo, normally Dart Tag darts. The Big Salvo barrels are a little larger so I can use Mega Stefans in them after removing the air restrictor. The arrows the Salvo comes with are worthless, IMO. The fins are not sturdy at all and are reminiscent of dollar store missile launchers. Mega Stefans crammed down the barrel are a better option. Big Salvo barrel do not hold stock ammo tightly at all.

The Blast button is a key option to have. It can be used to clear a room or a last ditch shot against someone who is really good at dodging. At close range, the option to Blast your target can be a key moment in any confrontation on the field.

However, all three guns are sizable. The Hornet is about the size of the Firefly and the Blastfire is just as wide, but not as long as the Hornet. None of the barrels are centered though either which can make aiming difficult. But still, no reloading as with a single-shot and faster than the reload time of a Maverick (one of the fastest multi-shot guns out there to reload right now, IMO).

I have not had the opportunity to go akimbo with these guns yet, but I do plan to in the future. More to add as I am able to do that.


I play with Nerf and Nerf-related products. More specifically, Nerf guns. I’ve been playing with Nerf blasters for a little under 10 years, my first being the Missilestorm (a picture of it can be found at if you really care). I never really played seriously though; maybe a random fight would break out once my friends were all in my room hanging out and someone grabbed a gun, then another, and another, next thing you know it’s a standoff.

Anyway, recently I’ve stumbled onto a whole internet community full of people from many different ages that play with Nerf guns and other foam shooting blasters as well.,, the aforementioned nerf center, and a few others I’m neglecting to mention are all out there chock full of discussions about Nerf guns. They talk about modifications, tactics, “war” announcements, game rules, etc. They have taken their respective firearms and made them perform more effectively, either increasing firing ranges to 100+’, or adding a clip or minimizing the frame. They play with their Nerf toys in a whole different way.

Back to the point. I have lately taken to organizing my own Nerf fights with my friends and myself. Since July, I’ve been in about 3 games of Capture the Flag. With winter coming on it looks like the guns go into storage but once the snow melts I plan to begin again.

But why do it? Why Nerf and not airsoft or paintball?

1) It’s more accessible. Experientially, economically, geographically, whatever. You don’t need heavy knowledge of military tactics (though I’m sure it helps), you don’t need a huge bankroll (at most $40 for a Nerf gun, while airsoft and paintball guns go for well over $100+heavier maintenance+added materials+gadgetry. And with airsoft or paintball it can be a lot harder to play, especially in a city like Chicago. No forests, too many people that can get caught in the crossfire, etc. Nerf is a bit more portable in that respect because we can just play in a park.

And the police. We stand less of a chance getting shot by cops holding something colored like Nerf guns are colored. That alone is a pretty good reason, along with the others I’ve mentioned.

The tactics are also a lot closer in perspective. You have to be able to see your enemy before popping them, and even then they have a pretty good chance at dodging as well. The day I can backbend out of the way of a dart shot at me is a day I pick up Nerf. And I did. And I have.

To me, Nerf is just easier. And I’ll do it as long as I can.