February 18, 2015

Prime Time Toys Double Feature: Backyard Cross Bow / Power Strike 9 Review

After being sick and postponing posting for the New York Toy Fair (plenty of pictures are available; do I really need an opinion post when we already have so many?), I have lots of things to write. Starting with two new blasters in Prime Time Toys' arsenal!

The Power Strike 9, available under the ToysRUs "Stats Blast" label for $18, is a faux crossbow with pump action and a 9-dart turret. Meanwhile, the Backyard Cross Bow is a small pull and release blaster that I discovered at Target for $8. In the backyard toy section, not Nerf, for some reason.

Both claim 70' ranges, which would be competitive versus the current ranges of Nerf blasters. But do they live up to the package art?
First things first, let's disassemble these blasters and see what drives them!

The Backyard Cross Bow is styled after its larger, foam arrow shooting cousin. A sturdy, two-finger priming handle is used for priming. The plunger tube measures 1.05" diameter, with a plunger draw of 1.75". Each decorative arm can be used to store an additional dart.

Conveniently, the dart barrel has no extra air restrictions, aside from the normal ones for keeping the dart out of the plunger tube. Since it's possible to vacuum load darts, this is a bit important!

In stock form, I found it hard to get consistent results via chronograph, After much practice and data parsing, though, I can say that under perfect operation (sliding your fingers off the top of the priming handle to fire) the average result was 59 fps. Outdoors, darts averaged 68' in range - in line with the box claims. This blaster has a virtually perfect seal, and upon priming will suck the dart into the barrel before the plunger o-ring moves enough to allow air to enter the chamber.

Now for the Power Strike 9! It's a relatively small blaster, with an odd handle. You're supposed to place your thumb on the top side, and hold it below the shoulder for best comfort. Which makes aiming a bit difficult, but nothing you can't accomplish with practice.

The priming grip is relatively large and easy to grip, albeit without a return spring. You have to push it all the way forward in order to fire the blaster.

On the inside, the Power Strike 9 sports a large plunger tube (again, about 1.05" in diameter) with 2" of draw. The plunger is stiff, the spring is strong, and there is another dry-fire lock (like the Air Zone Renegade), although this one only restricts half of the airway. That in itself is a nice improvement in design.

The plunger tube has a tiny ridge on the bottom, towards its rear. The reason? It turns out that while priming, the plunger tube is retracted slightly, so as to help turret rotation and reduce wear and tear on the foam turret seal.

And here's a closer look at the plunger and its tube.

While awkward to hold and use, the performance of the Power Strike 9 surpassed all expectations, giving an average initial dart velocity of 67 fps and average range of 79'. Its only downside is ergonomics, which may be a turnoff for many people.

Overall, however, both of these blasters are solid editions to the Prime Time Toys collection. It's great to see that the folks at Hasbro aren't the only ones with high performing blasters!


  1. I picked up one of these just to do a cosmetic mod. I felt the strange hand grip and the angle at which it is held, reminded me of a musketeer'rs pistol or old flintlock. Along those lines I plan on removing the bow arms and doing a steampirate type cosmetic on it. I did find its performance good as well but I am having a bit of trouble with the firing consistancy. full priming has been tricky and that little flap is getting hung up on misfires. Got any suggestions?

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