We’re reaching the tail end of the year, with lots of items to still appear on shelves. We have, of course, big ticket items like the Perses that were introduced at Toy Fair. However, there are other items filling in the remaining shelf space. Come October, one of those items will be the Rival Knockout XX-100. Hasbro was kind enough to send me a blaster as part of the public reveal – and after having the blaster for a week, I’m impressed with how much power can come out of a $10 package!
The Nerf Rival Knockout XX-100 will be available Oct. 1 at most major toy retailers.
EVERYTHING IS A JOLT RESKIN
All joking aside, the Rival Knockout finally brings the “Rival Jolt” to the table. It’s a single shot blaster, with the plunger within the grip. Balls are loaded one at a time, with storage for extra ammo sitting underneath the barrel on both sides. Yep, while the blaster itself only comes with two balls, you can store up to four on the sides of the blaster, while holding another in the breech. They hold ammo securely, just like the Heracles, but the balls are easy to remove by hand for reloading.
On that topic: this blaster is breech-loaded! The orange lever above the trigger is not a safety; it actually releases the spring-loaded breech. This is a separate action from priming the blaster; it doesn’t matter which one you do first. It would, however, be wise to close the breech prior to firing the blaster. The real “safety switch” is a tiny tab under the trigger.
The barrel, of course, has all the hallmarks of a Rival spring-powered blaster – tight restriction for initially loading the ball, a hop-up tab, etc. However, there’s one key difference: the “safety valve” that we like to call an air restrictor isn’t really a safety valve, at least in the traditional sense. It does assist in loading ammo into the barrel at the right spacing, but it doesn’t really block the air when the ball isn’t loaded. It’s preferable that you don’t dry fire blasters, but especially not this one.
Overall, the blaster feels as sturdy as other Rival entries. If you really want to use it, there’s a rail on top for accessories.
Firing the Blaster
The Knockout has a particularly large priming handle, which helps with priming the spring. However, that’s also extra mass that would otherwise need to be moved by the spring. Hasbro engineers elected to walk a different path; it turns out the plunger is free-floating to a certain degree. Once you prime the blaster, you push the priming rod and handle back up, and small tabs will hold it in place. There is a built-in safety mechanism that prevents you from firing until the handle is pushed up again. It’s a bit annoying at first, simply because we’re all used to Jolts, but you get used to it. We have to return the priming handle on every other Rival spring-powered blaster, after all!
Even with the plunger tube within the grip, it’s no larger than that of, say, a Helios. Most older hands will find it comfortable to hold.
As expected, the rate of fire for a single shot, breech loading blaster is somewhat slow (who knew???). At best, with ammo on hand (or stored on the blaster), I could prime the blaster, load the breech, and fire at a target once every three seconds. Of course, that’s assuming reasonable aiming and not just firing for the sake of firing.
It should be noted that, in my sample size of one, that while the ball stays in the air for an appreciable time due to the imparted spin, it doesn’t seem to float as long as other Rival blasters. It’s still very usable, but I had to adjust my aim slightly.
It took long enough for a single shot Rival blaster to finally happen. It’s obviously not going to be your primary blaster (unless you’re a strange person like me, where ANYTHING can be your primary blaster). But the Rival Knockout fills a nice role as a sidearm or backup blaster, with plenty of power to spare.
On a personal note, thanks to the guys down at the Ohio University Urban Gaming League for having conveniently-timed Nerf wars! It made evaluating the blaster a lot easier – especially since I’m known to use anything, so no one really questions what blaster I’m using. Which comes in handy when no one is supposed to know you have this new blaster. Thanks, guys 🙂