(Edit: apparently WordPress has smilies. I have to use a dash here to stop them. No being pedantic, please.)
Nerf Elite X-D: the next big thing, right? Well, unfortunately not. We’re all waiting for white versions of our favorite blasters, but I have a hunch that you’re going to be as disappointed as I was tonight. After Facebook user Justin Chase pointed out to a corner of the community that the new X-D Triad was available at Kohl’s (for an inflated price), my initial thought was “that’s not worth it.” I wish I had listened to this initial thought, but nope. I frenzied. I rushed out and picked one up, juuust missing sun-down and having to play with it in the dark, retrieving darts and measuring distances by flashlight. Scientific? Surely not. Still, this is allegedly a mod page, so precision measurement is more the Blaster Labs shtick, and they’re better at it.
What did I find, though? Disappointment. White, plastic disappointment. Somehow, the “new” X-D Triad with its longer range claims performed far worse than my “old” blue warhorse of a Triad. I was shocked and disappointed. How I came to this conclusion is simple: I fired six shots out of both with the W-code darts the X-D came with. They were fired level at shoulder-height out in to my yard, and the data is pretty saddening.
Dart 1, Original: Approximately 33 feet.
Dart 2, Original: Approximately 43 feet.
Dart 3, Original: Approximately 49 feet.
Dart 4, Original: Approximately 36 feet.
Dart 5, Original: Approximately 46.5 feet.
Dart 6, Original: Approximately 54 feet.
Original Triad Average: Approximately 43.6 feet.
Dart 1, X-D: Approximately 28 feet.
Dart 2, X-D: Approximately 35 feet.
Dart 3, X-D: Approximately 35.3 feet.
Dart 4, X-D: Approximately 38 feet.
Dart 5, X-D: Approximately 26 feet.
Dart 6, X-D: Approximately 34 feet.
X-D Triad Average: Approximately 32.7 feet.
Both baffling and saddening. The “improved” Triad fires a whopping ten feet less than its predecessor out of the box, at least with mine. I was curious to find out why, so in to the garage I went with very crude experimental methods. Basically, “I yanked shit apart.” Let’s get this out of the way: I was not very scientific. Layman’s observations, at best.
As you see in this picture, they’re just about the same measurements. The “flare” on the front of the original Triad looks longer, but it’s just the angle. They’re the same. The. Same. They weigh the same as well. Why, then, was there a much heartier “pop!” with the original, and a stronger trigger pull? It must be the plunger assembly!
….Nnnnnnooooope. I’m actually quite baffled here. The plunger tubes (and plunger assemblies themselves) are practically identical in every way, including the springs. Same diameters, same thicknesses, same tension strengths. Nothing has changed. Peering down in to the AR assemblies (didn’t feel like busting out the drill at the present time), everything looked the same there as well. Different colors to the plastic, but same construction as far as I can tell.
If that’s the case, then the X-D Triad should at least perform the same as the “O.G. Triad,” but as you saw that wasn’t what I found. It’s pitch black out or I’d conduct some more tests, but I have a few hypotheses as to why:
1.) Maybe my shots weren’t as level as I thought. Accidents occur, and 1-10 degrees make just the slightest difference sometimes.
2.) The fit on the darts was more snug with the original Triad than with the X-D. This leads me to think my X-D’s barrels are just slightly larger in circumference, but I don’t have adequate calipers to find out.
3.) When I dry-fire the two (and wince), there’s a very noticeable difference: The plunger retracts nearly right away with the original, but the X-D slowly “hisses” back in to place like we see with stock Hammershot hammers. Interesting. Perhaps Hasbro did something to the AR chamber we can’t see with a flashlight?
Working off of the third hypothesis, I don’t really want to brick my eleven dollar Triad messing with the AR assembly, but I’m concerned all the same. I’m hoping we’re just seeing part of a “dud batch” of blasters (41701) like we did with the Slingfires and Doublestrikes, but I have my doubts. As it stands right now, I’m unimpressed with the “X-D” gimmick and have serious buyer’s remorse. The only way I’m getting more range out of this thing is if I throw it as hard as I can.