Dart Zone upgraded their most popular springer, but is it any good?: Adventure Force Tactical Strike Nexus Pro X Review

Dart Zone upgraded their most popular springer, but is it any good?: Adventure Force Tactical Strike Nexus Pro X Review

Before we delve into the Nexus Pro X, let's take a moment to appreciate its predecessor, the original Adventure Force Nexus Pro. This blaster was a game-changer in our hobby, offering super-stock performance, a talon-compatible magwell, and (after removing one screw) toolless spring tuning, all at an affordable price of around $50. The compromises Dart Zone made to create a “budget DZP Mk-1” were more than reasonable, and the Nexus Pro played a pivotal role in the rapid growth of our beloved hobby.

Fast-forward nearly four years, and the blaster tag hobby has flourished in every aspect, from 3D designs to competitive play. Even the integration scene has seen a resurgence with the return of Merge Masters earlier this year. Dart Zone’s success in the hobby has spurred other name brands to enter the market with their own pro-series offerings. X-Shot has lowered the barrier to entry with their $30 Skins Pro Longshot, and Nerf has introduced a solid beginner-friendly flywheeler. This article begins with a snapshot of the hobby's growth to underscore the significance of a successor to the Nexus Pro.

With this in mind, let's explore the Adventure Force Tactical Strike Nexus Pro X, a blaster similar in name and some of its features, but almost completely overhauled inside and out:

  • Pump-action primary-class blaster
  • Slam-fire capable
  • Short dart-only magwell with skinny style ramcore
  • 2, 12-round Standard-Talon-compatible short dart magazines
  • 1.5 x 360mm 15mm OD spring
  • ~200mm barrel
  • Picatinny Angled Foregrip
  • Airsoft / AR style Trigger grip
  • Buffer Tube stock with M4 threaded sling point
  • Picatinny and M-Lok attachment rails
  • Picatinny sights
  • 2 Rifling Attachments
    • 10-degree, 6-line injection-molded PCAR
    • 15-degree, 3x3 Nylon Bushing BCAR

Muzzle Attachments With A Twist

Starting at the front, the Nexus Pro X retains the 19mm ID Pro-Max muzzle for barrel attachments. In the past, Dart Zone has only included a removable plastic “muzzle break” that was purely cosmetic, and had no impact on the blaster’s performance. However, the Nexus Pro X is one of the first Dart Zone blasters to include rifling attachments as standard. It comes with two “SCAR barrel tubes:” a 10-degree, 6-line Injection Molded PCAR and a 15-degree, 3x3 Nylon Bushing BCAR. These rifling attachments are also compatible with 16mm OD exposed metal barrels, opening up possibilities for barrel upgrades (and using Dart Zone’s CARs on other blasters).

Rails + Attachments

Across the top of the blaster is a Picatinny-spec tactical rail, and this time it isn’t staggered. While the combination of the included range-finder sights and the staggered tactical rail on the original Nexus did help account for dart drop, it remained a controversial feature; many hobbyists and companies (including Out of Darts) started selling rail riser extensions to unify the rail height. Given its absence in the Nexus X and other releases since the original Nexus, it doesn’t seem this feature will return.

To pair with that unified rail, the blaster includes iron sights and a faux scope similar to the ones included with the Dart Zone Max Stryker. Apart from saying they are included in the box and increasing the piece count, these sights are not very useful to the average hobbyist. Should you still have them floating around, the OG Nexus’ range-finder sights would be a more practical choice of inexpensive sight. Nevertheless, especially once you add a rifling attachment, like the included BCAR, you might want to invest in a good sight or optic instead of using what’s included.


Magwell Updates

Unlike its predecessor, this blaster is half-length-only, removing the extra slop in the prime that was necessary to accept two different lengths of magazines. The magwell is still in Dart Zone’s wild-card style, so virtually every non-angled mag that’s existed in the last five years fits and catches on one of the two releases.

Dart Zone themselves have moved entirely to standard Talon geometry magazines with the Nexus Pro X’s included mags. Especially since Hasbro’s entry into short dart blasting with their Nerf Pro Stryfe X, Talons are the standard for hobbyist short dart blasters (with slim-angled “Nightingale” magazines quickly becoming the de-facto standard for mag-in-grip blasters). However, Dart Zone hasn’t seemed to test the blaster with non-Dart Zone magazines.

While every magazine we tested fit, caught, and successfully loaded a dart at least once, most magazines tended to have more of a detent-style grip on the magazine. On a few occasions, when I accidentally bumped the magazine forward, Worker Talon, OOD Koda mags, amd others tended to fall out of the magwell. We haven’t investigated further, but it’s apparent that some collision or extra space in the front of the magwell prevents most magazines from seating properly. No doubt we will find a fix for this soon.


Grip Gripes

Below the muzzle is an angled foregrip somewhat akin to the Game Face Trion’s AFG and halfway between the OG Nexus and Stryker’s foregrips. Depending on your ergonomic preferences and hand size, this prime grip may or may not be adequate. When we primed back the blaster, Luke and I experienced a problem where we couldn’t wrap our thumbs around the grip the way we wanted without hitting our wrists on the magwell. However, if you don’t like the foregrip, a standard Picatinny rail sits underneath and can be used with most of the foregrip options we carry on the shop.

The main trigger grip is perhaps my biggest gripe about this blaster. While slim and, overall, pretty ergonomic for a wide range of hand sizes, the “X” Pattern becomes irritating after repeated use. After over 300 shots over the chronograph at various spring loads, I can confidently say, “I want an alternative.”

There’s good news on that front. Like with the Picatinny under the foregrip, under the trigger grip, you will find mounting holes seemingly able to receive an airsoft AR-style grip of your choice. There’s a hole that seems to require a heat-set insert to secure an updated grip properly, but other than that hurdle, it seems to be ready for an upgraded grip out of the box.


Unlike their last conventional pro-level springer, the Dart Zone Pro Mk-1.2, the rear of the blaster features a welcome return to a proper buffer tube stock attachment point, and it’s better reinforced compared to previous offerings that were more prone to collapse. This is a welcome sight, given the higher performance levels the Nexus Pro X promises.

The included stock is just as unassuming as the original Nexus', with an ABS construction and no rubber over-covering to make it more comfortable. Given the $50 price point, that may be forgivable. Still, after seeing it on the DZP Mk-3 and other blasters, I would appreciate more rubberization on included stocks, especially ones that will take a lot of abuse.

The Stock also features an M4 thread to accept a sling point. Depending on your preferences, this may be adequate. However, we are still planning to modify our buffer tube sling mount design to be compatible, adding a better balanced and more secure sling option. Check back soon for more updates!

Function + Performance

The Nexus Pro X shares its lineage with previous Pro-Max offerings, including the OG Nexus Pro, by using a 15mm OD spring. However, this is the longest spring in its diameter class by far, measuring 360mm out of the box. Additionally, the spring is under quite a bit of pre-compression in its unmodified stock form. That spring, combined with its fixed 200mm barrel, allows the blaster to perform at an average of 190 FPS and a standard deviation of 6 FPS.

Check out our full performance average spreadsheet!

The performance only gets better with higher spring loads and pre-compression. In our testing, we reached 228 FPS with an extremely tight standard deviation of 3 FPS using all four 3D-printed spring-tuning spacers we sell on the shop. We also achieved up to 240 FPS with the spacers and a 0.527 x 16in barrel installed using RedCowl’s Nexus X collet. More springs and spacer options will be tested with time.

I was shocked at how consistently the blaster achieved different performance levels with single-digit standard deviations. I have to assume that some of that optimization comes from their unique plunger tube system, which removes some of the dead space present in conventional springer designs. I have to say, despite being skeptical when I first heard about it, I’m intrigued, and I want to hear more about the behind-the-scenes process.

However, these performance numbers should be noted with a big asterisk. After a day of testing with and without spring spacers installed, the stock spring took a set (or found a new resting length) about 20mm shorter. Due to its pre-compression in stock form, we believe the stock spring is susceptible to losing performance even without using spring spacers, and we’d recommend storing the spring outside of the blaster to maintain performance longevity. Additionally, some have reported that the higher power spring Dart Zone offers on their webstore for “up to 250 FPS” has an absurdly high prime strength requirement, perhaps because they’re trying to achieve that FPS with the stock barrel. Once again, more testing will be coming soon to confirm the best spring and barrel combination for practical, repeatable, competitive-level performance.


In many respects, the Nexus Pro X is a culmination of what brands like Dart Zone, Game Face, and even X-Shot have gotten right in the last few years. I think they’ve nailed nearly every part of this new release similarly to how they nailed the Original Nexus Pro: By ditching the unnecessary complexity of variations on the Jet Ceda and simplifying everything else to offer a sleek, high-powered blaster at an affordable price. You cannot do much to “fix” a blaster like this out of the box without using higher-quality internals. This blaster is a wicked value at its price of only $50. Performance per dollar: Even with its spring and ergonomic idiosyncrasies, the Nexus X is hard to beat. Check back soon, though, because we have a blog coming up all about the best springers currently on the market.
- J Perry Heun

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