Back in 2014, Nerf decided to revamp the Elite line, starting with increased range claims of 90 feet (22 metres for us grey trigger countries). The Demolisher was a new blaster to get the XD treatment, while a lot of older Elite blasters were getting the same. Naturally a lot of us were dubious, Nerf’s claims have often been highly optimistic. Is the Demolisher really improved over the old Elite blasters, or is it yet another case of marketing?
Apologies for the quality of these box photos, it was getting dark and I was in a rush and quite excited.
The Elite Missile:
A quick look at the Elite Missile, the Demolisher is the first Nerf blaster since the Titan to include and fire Missiles. The Elite Missile is much smaller than the Titan’s, even slightly smaller than Buzz Bee’s rockets. The main body of the missile is made of a relatively light, airy foam, while the head is very dense and quite tough. The fins are fairly rigid foam sheeting, and are actually on slight angles, causing the missile to spin in flight. This spin does help to keep the missile flying straight, and damaging the fins does impact on accuracy.
The Demolisher Blaster:
The Demolisher is a bulky, brash and very orange blaster. It retains the sharp N-Strike/Elite styling and combines it with rectangular bulk. The orange isn’t nearly as bad as it looked originally, while there is a lot of the bright safety orange, the main body is more of a pumpkin orange. It does work a lot better in person, though I still prefer Elite blue.
The Demolisher has all the features you’d expect from an Elite blaster, sling loops, tactical rails, a jam door, etc. The battery tray is rather interesting, due to the bulk of the shell, the square battery tray sits flush with the outside of the shell. In contrast with say the Stryfe, where the battery tray bulges out quite significantly.
When the Demolisher was first revealed, I was quite excited at the potential of having a modular underbarrel missile launcher. At the time, preliminary information sometimes mentioned having an underbarrel tac rail, and the earliest images we had appeared to show a clear split between the missile launcher and the main blaster. Unfortunately this is not the case, and the missile launcher is an integral part of the Demo. This results in a significant amount of extra front weight and bulk.
The handle is a little straighter than usual, though I find it reasonable comfortable regardless. I particularly like the Demo’s trigger group. The main trigger is relatively smooth and solid, and both the rev trigger and clip (mag) release are nicely shaped. Since the Demo is a semi-auto flywheeler, firing is simply a case of pressing the rev trigger to rev up, then pulling the trigger for every shot.
Rather disappointingly, the missile launcher is a pump-to-fire, meaning that how hard you pump determines how hard the missile fires. This is particularly a practical issue as it ruins any chance of a properly accurate missile shot as well as consistency. The missile pump grip is quite large and easy to grip, though it is very low for a foregrip.
Overall the Demolisher is quite front heavy and somewhat unbalanced. This is mostly mitigated by a stock, however the awkwardly low pump position is still a little awkward.
Naturally as part of the Elite line, the Demo is compatible with all sorts of attachments and accessories. Naturally it’s compatible with all clip (mag) sizes, pictured with a 12 clip (mag) and a 25 drum. It accepts all detachable stocks, such as the LightningStorm stock. It also accepts all barrels, including the Retal and Longstrike barrels. The Demo has two tac rails, one on the right side and one up front on the top. A lack of tac rail on top above the handle is weird, as that’s the most common and best looking place for sights. Naturally since the missile launcher is an integral part of the Demo, it has no underbarrel rail that most other blasters have.
Here’s the Demo next to a Stryfe and Rapidstrike, probably the two most similar blasters. While perhaps not full apparent in the photo, the Demolisher is larger and bulkier than the Stryfe in just about every way. It’s longer, taller and fatter, and the significant extra bulk of the missile launcher is a contributor as well. Compared to the Rapidstrike, the Demo is less balanced, the missile launcher really does stick out quite a lot. However the two are similarly front heavy, the Rapidstrike from its 4 C batteries in the fore-end.
The Demo with stock is only a little shorter than a Rapidstrike with extended stock, and this is primarily due to the Demo stock being a little short. I think the Demo is a little lighter than the Rapidstrike, though this banks mainly on the 4 Cs in the Rapidstrike.
The Demo stock is a new design, it has an odd skeletonised style and is completely grey, which is rather boring. Its key special feature is its ability to hold a spare missile. It holds the spare missile quite well, tightly enough that the missile won’t fall out, but loose enough to be pulled out easily. Length wise the Demo stock is in between the Retal and Stockade stocks, which I find a little shorter than I would like. Still, it is nice to have a new stock design.
The Banana Clip (Mag):
The 10 dart banana clip (mag) is a new thing for Nerf, all previous clips (mags) have been either straight clips (mags) or drums. The banana mag is especially prevalent in real steel firearms due to the tapered shape of real steel rounds, but Nerf darts are for the most part cylindrical. As such, a Nerf banana clip (mag) is purely for aesthetics, a straight clip (mag) will typically be more reliable, stackable and space efficient. This is especially true for Nerf’s 10 dart banana clip (mag). As shown in the pictures above, it is slightly longer than a 12 dart straight clip (mag), yet holds less darts as the curve is purely for aesthetics and is non-functional. The banana clip (mag) can in fact be modified to use the curve, at which point it can hold 12 darts. Regardless, the introduction of a 10 dart banana clip (mag) is good for variety and aesthetics.
The complete Demolisher package is quite a good looking one, it finally fills the quintessential assault-rifle-with-underslung-grenade-launcher that was previously unfilled. Though the full grey stock is a bit dull compared to the rest of the blaster, the colours overall work reasonably well. The black stripes on the missile launcher help break up the orange as well.
Strangely, the Demo has a few issues firing darts that are not specifically Elite darts. I had trouble firing both Koosh darts and Streamlines, both of which work flawlessly in every other Elite flywheeler. This is a trigger/pusher issue, as the pusher extends only the exact length required to feed an Elite dart – Koosh darts are marginally shorter, and Streamlines shorter still. As a result, neither Kooshes nor Streamlines get pushed consistently into the flywheels, resulting in frequent jams. This is very irritating as Kooshes are an extremely popular dart type (and are my preferred type).
Range wise the grey trigger Demolisher is hilariously poor. I was getting 7-8 metre shots with fully charged AAs at full revs. This does’t appear to be a lemon unit, as I’ve seen another completely unrelated grey trigger Demo achieve similar ranges, and heard about at least two further grey trigger Demos being similarly disappointing. Missile range is a different story, though it depends entirely on arm strength and technique, a good shot can launch a missile over 12 metres.
Accuracy is not awful, though this is probably because of how pathetically weak the Demo is. Being that it fires Elite darts though, accuracy isn’t great either. Even with the exceptionally poor power of the grey trigger Demo, some shots do like to veer about, and straight shots tend to list slightly towards the right. Missile accuracy is similarly not great, primarily because it’s a pump-to-fire. A good technique with a good brace position does help, but a trigger would have done wonders for accuracy.
Rate of Fire is thankfully very good. Running stock motors on 4 AAs, I can fire off about 5 darts per second, which is about the limit before the flywheels will completely stop. Obviously fast enough rapid fire will reduce the range of consecutive shots, as is standard for a stock flywheeler. Upgrading the motors and/or power source will allow a ROF of nearly 10 darts per second, though practical ROF stops at about 4dps, since getting 10dps requires a particular technique unsuited to combat. Missile ROF is naturally terrible, shoving the missile onto the missile post can take an agonisingly long time as the post is quite tight.
Assuming through whatever means (whether it be an orange trigger model, through modding, etc) your Demolisher has a respectable range, it serves much the same role as a bulked up Stryfe – a decent all round blaster with an emphasis on ROF. The missile launcher gives you a last resort panic shot which works very well for suppression (though would be even better if it whistled). If your game modes give missiles special abilities (e.g. breaking shields) then the Demolisher does have that advantage over a regular dart blaster.
The extra overall bulk plus the missile launcher do make the Demolisher a fair bit less maneuverable than the Stryfe, and do necessitate the use of a stock especially if you’re going to use the missile launcher.
Value and Summary:
Back when the Demolisher was widely available, it could be typically found for around 60 AUD, usually dropping down to 45AUD or less during sales. If it worked well as a dart blaster then it would have been pretty decent value for money, but as is it’s very difficult to recommend a grey trigger model unless you’re going to mod it. In grey trigger stock form the dart blaster part is nearly unusable, nullifying just about everything else about the Demo that is good. The missile launcher part works just fine, and the Demo looks pretty cool, but what’s the point of buying a 2 in 1 blaster where half of it (the arguably more important part) doesn’t work? You might as well just buy a Thunderblast or a Buzz Bee Blastzooka, both of which are significantly cheaper.
If you don’t plan on modifying the Demolisher, I’d say give the grey trigger model a pass. It is pretty much unusable as a dart blaster in stock form, and is not worth the disappointment. If you’re fine with electrical modification, then the Demolisher is just another Stryfe-like semi-auto dart blaster with its own gimmick. It will perform pretty much the same as a similarly modified Stryfe, so Stryfe vs Demolisher comes down to how much money you want to spend and whether you like the Demo’s gimmicks. I personally enjoy the missile launcher even if it is very limited in practical use.
As previously mentioned, the Demolisher is basically a bulked up Stryfe, and so has much the same modification potential. New motors, new wiring and switches and a proper power source will push muzzle velocities up to 110 feet per second, possible a little more. Rev-time is pretty much eliminated, and a high ROF can be sustained without issue. An overhauled Demo is a perfectly viable and effective primary blaster in “superstock” level games.
The Demolisher’s underslung missile launcher is also worth a mention. Being that it packs enough air displacement to launch a missile a fair distance, it can also be used to launch darts quite effectively. One particular mod I like (but have yet to do myself) is changing the missile post out for a multi-barrel dart launcher, allowing you to fire off a small burst of darts a decent distance. Obviously since the missile launcher is a pump-to-fire, stability and accuracy are somewhat compromised and consistency goes out the window, but as a panic shot, a burst of 4 darts at close range is quite effective.
A link to the review I posted on my own blog: link