The countdown is over and Dart Zone Pro Line has finally launched! Dart Zone is the first toy company willing to put their faith into the foam flinging hobby and have developed products that are marketed for the nerf mod hobby specifically. Dart Zone has attended FoamCon on multiple occasions, and use the event as an opportunity to engage with their market and learn about the types of products we want. This company has listened to their audience on multiple occasions and has been willing to invest into the products we would like to see.
Dart Zone takes our requests and criticisms to heart and they work to satisfy the community. Let’s finally take a look at what Dart Zone Pro has to offer after a long wait filled with many teasers. The first product to be released is the Dart Zone Pro Mk-1’s Collector’s Edition. The Collector’s Edition is a starter set into the hobby with a limited release run of 1000 units. There are multiple components in the kit that makes it a great starter for nerfers new and old.
First impressions of the blaster is that we have a pump-action, Retaliator style blaster with the ability to break down into a front and back end. The blaster has two take down pins and two thumb screws that allow for the blaster to separate into two parts. Looking at the blaster it very strongly resembles the prophecy and CEDA with the body and the angled foregrip, and uses picatinny rails for the grip and the top rail. Both the angled foregrip, blaster grip, and the stock has a very nice rubber grip. The stock has an AR-15 buffer tube that comes with its own rubberized, adjustable stock and is compatible with other AR stocks. Furthermore, the DZP blaster magwell is designed to be compatible with other Nerf magazines and comes with a half-length compatible magwell.
The blaster contains an internal pump grip and a pusher breach that can use both full-length and half-length darts. The darts feed into a metal barrel forming a strong air seal. Just like the Prophecy, the spring used is put into the stock and is longer than standard nerf springs for better performance. With the blaster using a spring this powerful, the internals of the blaster are considerably strong. The Dart Zone Pro blaster is built to be much stronger in general; being injection molded with high-quality plastic and using partially metal internals this blaster is super tough. The internal pump grip and the catch are both made of metal with a very reasonable thickness meaning that there is no chance of it breaking and can use even much stronger springs.
With these internals, the performance has been higher than anything that has ever been sold by a large toy company. There are two types of darts that come with this starter set. We have the normal full length or elite size darts, and half-length darts. Right out of the box the blaster is hitting between 160 and 170 feet per second with full length darts. Then switching to the half-length darts, we are getting a pretty consistent 170-175 feet per second. Very solid performance out of the box.
Now the big thing that needs to be addressed is the price of the Dart Zone Pro Mk-1’s Collector’s Edition of $180 USD (DZP is only currently being sold online and shipping only in the US). Before the blaster had been released, many people like myself had speculated that it would be around $50. Given Dart Zone’s history with pricing blasters at more than reasonable price, no one expected the blaster to exceed more than $120. at the most. Initially there has been a fair amount of disapproval and backlash stating how expensive the starter kit is.
However, considering what is included in the box, $180. is a very fair price. In the kit we are getting a full blaster with great performance of easily over 160fps out of the box, full length and half-length magazines and darts. Those who pre-order the Mk-1’s Collector Edition will receive a bonus offer worth $30. This pre-order bonus contains 120 full-length darts and 120 half-length darts. So for the $180 pre-order, in October you will receive a blaster and 270 total darts. The new Dart Zone Pro darts perform well and have very good adhesive on them as seen on Drac’s twitch livestream.
The New Nerfer
Is this the definitive starter set for someone trying to get into the hobby or someone trying to get into higher-level games? Honestly, I think it is. For $180USD for a blaster, this blaster requires no modifications and is viable for pretty much any type of game. The set also comes with two magazines and 270 darts with the bonus offer from Dart Zone. Moving on, for the new nerfer there will be magazines and darts available separately after the release in October. The DZP blaster is able to use other half-length magazines. All kinds of half-length magazines will work, some just need the appropriate magazine adapter. Since the blaster is designed to perform at these high velocities, the internals and the shell are built for the kind of abuse that is required to get the performance that it puts out. For someone who is on the fence about investing into the hobby and is looking to purchase their first “competitive” blaster, this is a great pick up. This is an awesome opportunity to to get into the hobby with no extra work needed.
Other Springer Platforms
There are three popular springer platforms that people use. There are is the Expanded Plungertube Retaliator, Longshot, and the Caliburn. The Expanded Plungertube Retaliator is our smaller carbine-esque springer blaster. Other than the Nerf Retaliator Shell, there is the JET CEDA and the Worker Prophecy. All use the same type of internaIs with many using power stock springs for higher performance. Expt Retals need heavier springs to reach higher velocities. Next we move on to the Longshot, the Longshot is able to utilize their larger plungertube for high velocities on a lighter spring compared to the Expt Retal. There are many aftermarket kits for the Longshot, but these kits can bring up the price of a build significantly. Next is the very popular Caliburn platform designed by Captain Slug; with many different variations. The Caliburn, designed by a member of the community, is made for competitive play and sold at a reasonable price. The Caliburn has a lot of potential given its modularity with the blaster being 3D printed. But because the shell is 3D printed it is vulnerable to breaking and warping if left exposed in the heat. Each of these three springer platforms all require some form of assembly, fine tuning, and a lot of maintenance.
Interested in a blog where I compare these popular springer platforms? Let OOD know!
The Dart Zone Pro Mk-1’s Collector’s Edition is an excellent starter set for anyone trying to get into the dart blasting hobby. The cost is fair for what you receive; a durable and high performing blaster that requires no fine tuning to have viable performance that is fit for any game. It comes with 270 darts providing a war-ready arsenal directly out of the box. If you are interested in this blaster, I would recommend jumping on this as soon as possible. Dart Zone is taking a risk offering niche products for a small (but ever-growing) target market of modders. By supporting the line by Dart Zone Pro we could see more products like this from them in the future. Let's keep them interested in making solid blasters like this!
Take advantage of this opportunity to get yourself a solid blaster and to support a company that is supporting us! - FoamShepherd
Photos by Dart Zone Pro*