Nerf Rival Finisher
Two balls per second
Slightly off on comfort, but very much on point for utility.
Nerf Rival Finisher ReviewMay 27, 2020
The Rival Finisher was an interesting entry at the Hasbro Toy Fair event. A mag-fed Rival pistol for only $15, with a new kind of magazine? It makes for an interesting alternative to the current staple of Rival collections, the Kronos. The magazine itself isn’t as revolutionary as one would hope, but the blaster (while somewhat bare bones in nature) is a solid addition on the cheaper end of the Rival line.
The Solution is Always More Balls
For $15, the Finisher gives the user a basic pistol-type platform. And I do mean basic. There’s a lot less detail and plastic bulk on this blaster than on, say, a Kronos or Apollo. The plunger tube is exposed (the orange on the sides), the priming slide is small (though adequate and grippy), the paint is gone, and many things internally are simplified (read further to see). That’s not to say all of this is bad; a Rival blaster this large and this functional at this price is nice. It’s just a notice that Hasbro has, in this case, put less stock in form and focused on function. (And some people do prefer a “functional” aesthetic)
The blaster is, admittedly, a little less comfortable to use than a Kronos. This is noticeable in the grip and trigger; hand contours are gone, while the trigger features a flat surface and a stiff pull. Limited use, you won’t mind a lot. Extended use in a war or Humans v Zombies, event, however, could be an issue in that regard.
The loading mechanism itself is similar to the Apollo and Helios; the barrel moves forward, making space for a Rival ball, then closes on completion of the priming action. Obviously, the placement is different – the magazine is at the front of the blaster, and not sitting within a handle. But the mechanism itself is essentially the same.
One difference? The shallow magazine well. It does eliminate the need for a jam door. The release button being in front is a bit different. Even so, given that we’re talking about Rival magazines, it’s still easy to press the button and pull out the magazine with one hand. At least, a lot easier than it would be with a dart magazine (like Buzz Bee tends to do).
There is a single tactical rail on top, and a priming indicator at the rear. The safety lever and jam release button both sit on the left side, above the trigger.
A New Magazine
Speaking of magazines, the Finisher comes with a special 7-ball magazine with a side-loading door. You can slide the door open to load up to three balls at a time! However, expectations should be tempered. I don’t find it that much easier to load, personally. For those hoping this enables side-loading…nope. You can kinda make it happen, but it’s so time-consuming so as to be useless. And it depends on a tab not getting recessed into the magazine well. Just assume you won’t be reloading like an Xshot Meteor during gameplay.
This magazine also doesn’t seem to want to load into my Apollo and Helios. Do note, though, that all Rival mags will work in the Finisher.
My Finisher averaged 91fps over about 80 shots, with standard Nerf Rival ammo, just above the 90fps claims on the box. Firing fast, you can do roughly two shots per second (there is no slamfire).
The Finisher illustrates a recent trend for Nerf: where possible, replace metal compression springs with flexing plastic. In this case, the trigger and the magazine release are affected. It does allow cheaper manufacturing!
Otherwise, the internals are as we expect. The loading system of the Apollo/Helios has been mated with a simple priming mechanism.
The Finisher is a good entry-level Rival blaster. In terms of comfort, it’s not perfect. The new magazine also doesn’t really add much in terms of utility. Even so, the blaster performs well, and provides a solid magazine-fed option for just $15. The Kronos might be the gold standard for Rival pistols, but if you need the capacity provided by magazines, the Finisher is a viable option.