Toy Review: Nerf Vortex Vigilon
I’d describe myself as being a casual Nerf blaster enthusiast. I enjoy shooting them at things, of course, and I’ll occasionally engage in small scale Nerf battles with my friends. But I limit myself to the lower end of the price points so I’ve never had the ridiculous sniper rifles or belt-fed turrets, and I’ve never participated in official Assassins or Zombies VS. Humans games. So you can understand that I’m a little bit late to the party with regards to the Vortex series, a new line of Nerf blasters which shoot small foam discs as opposed to darts, which dropped about a month and a half ago.
Upon discovery of the Vortex line, I immediately picked up the Vigilon, the second tier blaster of the four that Nerf has released so far. It’s a handgun which hold five discs before needing a reload, making it roughly equivalent to the N-Strike line’s REV-6 Maverick, a revolver that your friends probably all bought because it looks cool. The Maverick will be the major comparison point for the purposes of this review, since they’re roughly the same price and size.
The Vigilon is slightly larger than the Maverick, meaning it’s comically oversized. It loads via an internal magazine on the left side of the blaster. Flipping a switch opens the breech, where five small discs are inserted. Like all but the most expensive blasters, the Vigilon requires manual cocking between shots. The discs fly noticeably farther than Nerf darts, and seem to be at least as accurate. They also possess the ability to ricochet off of walls, which works very well in enclosed spaces. The one major downside to the discs is that they don’t stick the targets the way suction darts do, making it easier for less than honest players to claim “they dodged it,” but that’s unavoidable. The Vigilon, at least, also seems marginally quicker than the Maverick.
But reloading is where the true brilliance of the Vigilon lies. While it only gets five shots to a Maverick’s six, reloading it is as simple as opening the breech and shoving a handful of discs in. Contrast this to the Maverick, which with its front-loading six chamber is nearly impossible to reload entirely on the fly. The higher price points in the Vortex line use clips of ammo and the basic blaster requires external manual ammo storage, but the Vigilon exists in this magical middle ground where it has all of the benefits of the ammo system at a low price. This is a game changer.
From an aesthetic standpoint, the Vigilon is pretty fun. The orange, grey and lime green color scheme is pretty, and it neatly sidesteps the orange “safety tip” requirement by coloring the entire front half orange. The design of the internal magazine and catch is nothing short of inspired, and the eject function, designed to free up jams, also works as a nice rapid-cancel after an unnecessary cocking. There’s a lot of nice detail work on the barrel, although the orange plastic makes it a little more difficult to see. But in terms of outright coolness, it’s pretty hard to beat the Maverick, which has kind of become the definitive “badass gun” of the N-Strike series. Maverick has a superior grip, and the barrel and color scheme are top notch.
All in all, though, I think the Vigilon is a superior blaster. It shoots farther, faster and at least as accurately, and it’s extraordinarily simple to reload. I’d recommend anyone interested in Nerf blasters, especially in competitive events, to pick one up. It runs for about $15 and includes five discs (packs of 10 discs cost $5). One other issue which may arise is that the discs are easier to lose that the bright orange darts, so it’s a good idea to pick up some spare packs, but it’s still a great blaster.