Author note: after purchasing one, a free sample did get sent in the mail from Hasbro. Thanks!
We’ve had several “Rival shotgun” platforms come out this past year. The Adventure Force Liberator appeared online at Walmart, and then the Xshot Chaos Orbit became available in the fall. Now, Nerf puts out the Takedown at the end of the year. It’s a solid, Kronos-based blaster, As such, it’s a fun, reliable option for running light – as long as you have a good grip on it.
The Takedown, like the Rival Charger, is a fairly plain shell with smooth surfaces. It’s surprisingly comfortable to hold; the angled main grip is wide, but not too wide. The pump grip, meanwhile, is wide and can handle an entire adult hand. This, however, is the one real weak point of the design; being smooth, and only having a small ridge at the back, it’s easy for sweaty hands to slip on if you’re not careful.
The blaster has all the things you’d expect from a Rival blaster: a stiff spring, a nice trigger pull, and a nearby safety switch and repriming tab, in case of jams. There is an extended tactical rail on top of the blaster, in case you want to mount something like a red dot sight. However, that may interfere with normal operations like reloading, if improperly placed. Use the space at your own leisure, and be mindful.
Speaking of reloading, the blaster holds (and comes with) eight Rival balls. It loads in the same fashion as the Kronos, Jupiter, Heracles, and other blasters. It’s essentially a pump-action Overwatch Reaper blaster, just without the styling and expense. As with recent blaster releases, there is no loading door to move out of the way (an improvement from the Kronos). You simply have to prime the blaster to open access to the internal magazine.
The Rival Takedown performs rather well – my Takedowns averaged 96fps, better than the advertised 90fps. The rate of fire is, at best, two balls per second; the blaster has no “slam-fire” feature for faster firing.
The Takedown looks largely as expected on the inside. The plunger tube and magazine act as a single unit, moving back and forth within the shell a small distance to allow reloading. I would expect the blaster to be able to take similar spring upgrades to the Kronos, However, do be mindful that the blaster is already under some stress due to the spring being pre-compressed. You may need to prime the blaster first prior to reassembly.
The Takedown is a fun, easy-to-use platform for running light at a war. It’s simple to operate and reload, and at $20 is a nice deal as well. It doesn’t have quite the capacity of other blasters at its price point, but it does a fine job regardless. Presumably, blue ones will be available in the future – at the moment, only red is available.