One of our most memorable visits at the American International Toy Fair was with the folks from Tech 4 Kids, where we got some brief hands-on time with the all-new Tek Recon Predator—the most aspirational blaster in the Tek Recon line-up, with a claimed range “exceeding 100 feet” and a maximum ammo capacity of 100 rounds. Interest in this new blaster has been strong, so with the generous support of Tek Recon’s PR folks, we’re pleased to now be able to provide some additional details about the Predator, along with a closer look at what makes it so unique.
First, the news: the Predator will ship with a fully packed, 100 round magazine standard for $49.99. These will be the current, standard-velocity NRG rounds, though the Predator is capable of firing any type of NRG round, including the new shorter and longer range types. We are also pleased to confirm that, according to Tech 4 Kids, the Predator will hit the claimed 100’ ranges on the max distance setting using the original NRG rounds.
As reported previously, Tech 4 Kids is listening to feedback from fans and critics alike by equipping the Predator with a newly designed magazine (that will purportedly allow for easier loading), a slew of new tactical rail accessories, and an improved smartphone mount to facilitate use of the free iOS and Android companion app that uses Wi-Fi and GPS to more fully immerse players in the experience. Let’s take a look at the variety of new and interesting features the Predator will offer fans this fall:
- Front handle provides “rapid slam firing” with every pull.
- Trigger reserved for operation of the front-mount LED.
- Front-mount LED targeting accessory is battery-powered.
- All-new, two-sided ammo clip holds up to 100 NRG rounds—more than twice the highest capacity of other reusable ammo blasters. A redesigned feed system is promised to allow for more rapid loading.
- New shoulder stock is removable.
- Improved, heavy-duty, screw-down, fiberglass-reinforced smartphone mount. Tek Recon app has had nearly 100,000 downloads.
- Foldable front post and rear peep iron sights are provided.
- View port allows user to easily estimate remaining ammo level.
- Tactical rail mountable reflex (reflector) sight.
- Ranges are claimed to exceed 100 feet with standard NRG rounds. Distances with the new, long-range rounds remain unknown.
- Molded rear handle is comfortable, solid-feeling.
- New butt plate in the shoulder stock.
- Multiple mil-spec (MIL-STD-1913) Picatinny tactical rails.
If it’s not already apparent by the “100 feet, 100 rounds” mantra and the aim to improve the user experience through improved ammo loading and a variety of NRG ammo types, the Predator is clearly looking to take a larger bite out of the toy blaster category. Whether or not superior distances and ammo loads will be enough to overcome many users’ complaints about ammo-related issues—such as the lack of tactile feedback and a tendency toward invisibility—remain to be seen.
But here’s what we can say right now: Tech 4 Kids has been good at listening to the blaster community in the past, and seems open to new ideas that will improve both their products specifically, and the category at-large. While the NRG rounds may be the Achilles’ heel of the current generation, we think the Predator will still win more than a few new converts. It’s got the look, it’s got the feel, and it’s actively looking to address some of the shortcomings of last year’s models. If nothing else, there’s one thing we can say for certain after having spent some time with the Predator recently—“fall 2014” can’t come fast enough!