Author’s Note: This got sent to me as a free sample, and will soon be going off for free to a good home. Thanks, Prime Time Toys!
The Dart Zone Pro Mk.1 was released in limited numbers, with only 1000 of the orange units being sold. Given the fact that all of them sold, however, it was reasonable to expect more Dart Zone Pro products in the future. Suddenly, at Toy Fair 2020, Prime Time Toys announced that the Mk1.1, an updated (but not limited edition) version, would be available at Target starting that weekend. Issues with Target’s inventory system have, admittedly, made purchasing one a chore; every time it comes back up for sale, the units on hand sell out, and the system isn’t handling it very well.
Even so, it’s a great blaster, with a few small changes from the original, and it’s worth a look if you want a high performance blaster you can simply pick up and use without modification. (Also, note the $10 coupon for a dart refill with proof of purchase)
Naturally, with the Mk1.1 being a Target exclusive, it’s going to come in a distinctive red color. It also comes in a relatively plain box. Of course, it does have the Dart Zone Pro and other information on the side, but it’s clearly a box for ease of shipping, not for display like the Mk.1. Inside, all of the included parts are neatly stacked, with the main body and stock sitting on the bottom. It’s actually really nice, and I prefer this to the Mk.1 box for storage!
This version still has all the bells and whistles, from the sights and picatinny rails to the jam tool that can also be used to swap out the spring. Most notably, the stock has been revised to fully lock in place; the previous version wasn’t quite right, and could collapse when pressure was applied. This was the largest gripe for many owners, and it’s a good thing that something got fixed with the update. If you don’t like the stock, any M4 stock of your choosing will also fit.
I’m still of the opinion that this is one of the best blasters in terms of feel and comfort.
As before, the Mk1.1 comes with two 15-dart magazines, one for short darts, and one for long darts. A short dart magazine adapter is also in the box. The blaster comes with enough darts to fill each mag – and with proof of purchase, you can get a $10 coupon for the 240 dart refill box from Dart Zone. And, as before, the “bamboo” darts are the preferred ammunition. If you’ll recall, many of the original Dart Zone Pros didn’t like wider short darts, like Worker Gen1 and Gen2 darts. Quite simply, it’s not a perfectly sealed breech mechanism, and darts with slightly wider foam can get pinched in the mechanism. Sometimes this causes a jam, and sometimes it results in the dart not firing until the breech is opened a tiny bit to “unpinch” the dart. I wish they had improved compatibility with other darts, but at least the coupon takes a bit of the burn off of ordering more darts.
As before, the 150fps claims on the box are an understatement. Using the included metal barrel, short darts averaged 172fps, and long darts 164fps. This was actually slightly better than my Mk.1! With the plastic barrel, the lowest speed I could get was 139fps average with the long darts. And the darts are extremely accurate, to boot.
Rate of fire is the same as before…as is the compatibility issue with some magazines (the mags with wide “bumps” on the back, like 18-round straights, can press against the shell and cause alignment issues).
Target inventory issues notwithstanding, the Dart Zone Pro Mk1.1 is worth a look if you didn’t grab a blaster in the original run. It’s a solid blaster, it hits harder than advertised, and (with the included darts) hits where you point it at. It’s very much a blaster designed for picking up and playing at high fps games without the need for much maintenance or modification – other platforms can get higher performance for less, but at the cost of time and upgrading.
If you just want a high fps blaster that works, the Dart Zone Pro Mk1.1 is a perfect fit.
It would be remiss of me to not mention that I’ll also be reviewing a Jet Blasters Ceda S in the near future. It’s very much positioned as a competitor, considering the lower price and superstock performance. I’ll also be comparing the two blasters after some usage – whether it be at a war, or with a few friends. Stay tuned!