Holding onto classic designs is nothing new – for example, the Nerf NStrike elite Strongarm came out in 2013, but it is still sold is some stores (and even has Amazon exclusive variants release in late 2018 / early 2019). Dart Zone has its own holdovers from the previous “design generation”, including the Quickfire 8. The original version of this, the Renegade, released on ToysRUs shelves under the Air Zone brand. When I reviewed it then, it was good compared to other pistols on shelves. Now, however, it seems antiquated, especially when Dart Zone has superior revolvers readily available. Is it still useful? Yes. Are the weaknesses more apparent? Also yes.
Slight Changes from the Younger Years
The Quickfire 8, in its original form, fired Super Darts. These were slightly shorter than Nerf Elite darts, which made compatibility an issue. Those of us who (at the time) liked to fire short darts out of everything didn’t care. The average consumer, however, would find that an issue. Later Dart Zone products would use standard length darts; blasters like this one were thus lengthened in the cylinder area to accommodate the change. Now, in 2021, you can find the newest waffle darts (“chili darts” seems to be the community consensus) packaged with the blasters.
Blaster operation is largely the same as before. Pull back the slide to prime, and the plunger rod will stick out the back. Press the trigger, and you will first fire the dart, then rotate the cylinder.
Here is where an old weakness rears its ugly head. Like the original, the cylinder advances using a pawl to engage the ratchet teeth on the back of the cylinder. This mechanism is still in use in blasters like the Blitzfire. However, on the Quickfire 8, the cylinder has enough mass (and the arm enough motion) that quick trigger pulls can make you skip a barrel. If you don’t pay attention, it’s quite possible that you could fire only four out of eight darts! That would be unfortunate to react to targets and opponents around you, only to find that after a few shots, you were shooting blanks (metaphorically speaking).
The original, at least from memory, wasn’t as prone to this, though it was still possible. Both versions had the plastic flap at the front of the cylinder; in addition to preventing kids from loading things that weren’t darts, it provided a bit extra resistance to over-rotating. However, this iteration is missing something. We’ll get into that in a bit.
There is an extended barrel attachment, purely for aesthetics. Given that it’s an older blaster, don’t expect compatibility with attachments on anything newer. Two triangular, plastic targets are also included.
Dart velocity, on the other hand, averaged just 65fps with the included darts. Firing at an extreme angle, you can just graze the 80′ mark for ranges. But seeing as newer revolvers average much higher, it’s nothing too exciting. That’s the peril of keeping an old design around! Newer things will do better.
The original version had an extra dart detection mechanism mounted within the plunger tube. If a dart was loaded, the valve would be pushed aside, opening the airway. That valve, meanwhile, was mounted on a rotating axis, connecting to another lever. The lever would, in turn, align the trigger and the catch mechanism, allowing you to actually fire the blaster. It was a unique (and patented system) that also saw a hidden benefit: that’s an extra thing the cylinder had to push past when rotating.
Without that complicated safety mechanism, the cylinder over-rotates much easier than before. At least that’s my current hypothesis. In any case, it’s a rare time when simplifying internals possibly makes things worse.
The Quickfire 8 is still a decent blaster, should you find it cheaply ($8 at Ross Dress for Less is good, $13 on Amazon not so much). But when that $13 could also buy you a two pack of Blitzfires at Target, it becomes a lot less appealing. Barring some kind of future update or redesign…sometimes it’s best to let old things go.