Due to what can only be assumed is a Walmart stocking mixup, the Rival Curve Shot Sideswipe is already out more than a month before the official release date! To that end, I’ve been testing and making parts for it. The verdict? It’s a good blaster that fires well and does in fact curve your shots; just don’t expect miracles to happen!
Look at Those Curves!
The Curve Shot line seems to have fully embraced the name in the new releases; the Sideswipe has a long, sweeping body which contains a twelve round internal magazine. It gives off the “alien weaponry” vibe you’d expect from a video game. In any case, it’s a nice, stylistic departure from the rather utilitarian Rival blasters before it.
The front of the blaster features a rotating hop-up assembly. Firing straight just requires the sights to line up. Turning 45° in either direction will curve shots in that direction, and rotating 180° will cause the ball to careen downward in a severe arc. That last feature will find great use in arenas with cover, as you can drop rounds behind barriers.
Reloading the magazine is easy – the loading port sits on the left side, and has a door/follower assembly that can be pulled down. Firing the blaster, meanwhile, consists of priming the blaster via a removable (and ambidextrous) bolt mechanism. It’s a short, strong motion, and it works.
Finally, how comfortable is it? The grip and trigger feel great in hand, and the front grip is comfortable enough (it’s a simple addition that works). The stock, however, is a bit of a letdown. In my opinion, it’s both a bit too short and too narrow. With the rear being smooth, it’s relatively easy for the blaster to slip off your shoulder when you try to use the stock.
The blaster averaged 93fps in my testing, which pleasantly exceeds the box claims of 90fps a tiny bit. The bolt-action mechanism results in a somewhat slow rate of fire, but one shot per second is still plenty to work with.
As for curving the shots? Expect balls to drift 10-12′ in the chosen direction. It’s a relatively shallow curve, so expect to be curving to hit behind a pillar, not to turn corners in tight quarters. Given enough vertical space, however, the downward shots can be easily placed behind cover, resulting in what amounts to aerial bombardment.
Internals and Modification
The Sideswipe works largely as expected; it shares traits with the Rival Finisher in terms of the firing mechanism and breech loading. Be careful with the magazine spring, however, as it wants to pop out when you have the blaster apart. Although that fact makes me wonder how easy or hard it would be to expand the magazine back into the lower orange protrusion.
As for the stock, I’m already working on that, with a 3d printed piece you can just slap over the existing stock. Hopefully more things will be on the way, given time.
Curving shots isn’t new; Rival users figured this out with their blasters a long time ago. However, it’s nice to not need to turn your entire blaster to do so, and the Sideswipe gives reasonable performance to boot. I do wish the stock were different, though, so that tinkering wasn’t needed. Even so, for the first “primary” of the new line, it’s a great start.