November 26, 2015

Nxt Generation M1-X Crossbow Review

Nxt Generation LLC is a toy company based out of my home state of Ohio, with its products on the shelves of stores ranging from ToysRUs to Dunham's Sports. However, the M1-X Crossbow is, to my knowledge, something you will only find at Cabela's. It's a shame, because it's a fun and powerful product, despite some design flaws.

Note that for this review, I have a sample that is over a year old. I came across this by accident at Cabelas, and it was only available for a few weeks before being pulled for months, then being made available again. I do not know why, so keep in mind that if you buy one today, it might differ from my own crossbow. That being said, let's take a look!

The box is lacking in "fun" design, instead opting for a no-nonsense layout. It also shows a black clip on the box, when in reality the clip is bright orange.


After assembly, the crossbow is easy to operate. The arms provide the power, and the crossbow string is thicker in the middle.


The stock folds forward, and can be easily put back. The front grip can also be folded up or down, depending on your preference.


The "scope" is just a plastic tube, although it looks cool.


This is the ammo clip, which holds six of the large Nxt Gen crossbow darts. These measure around 9/16", making them incompatible with other blaster brands.


The catch mechanism is an integral part of the clip, sitting behind the dart to be fired. When the string is pulled back, the catch piece moves forward, engaging the two spring-loaded lips on either side of the clip. This lets the next dart pop up into the "barrel". When the string is released, the catch mechanism pops back, letting the lips close to prevent another dart from popping up until you prime the crossbow again.


The clip sits low in the crossbow, requiring a rather large follower to push out the darts. When the clip is empty, the follower blocks the barrel, preventing you from priming the crossbow until you reload and reinsert the clip.


In theory, this is a great way to solve the issue of using a dart clip with a crossbow without lots of moving parts, a la the Nerf Crossbolt. In practice, though, the "lips" don't always close upon firing, leading to a dart blocking the barrel and forcing the user to remove and reset the clip.


Fixes? Well, first thing: my crossbow's trigger doesn't return to its forward position unless you push down the mechanism with the string on priming, or put your finger behind the trigger to push it forward. These issues can lead to not setting the string all the way down into its slot, leading to misfires. Simply remove these screws on the shell, and you'll find a tab meant for a small extension spring.


Next, the torsion springs pushing on the lips need to be stronger. They're actually pretty stiff, but due to the clip design, and the strong pusher spring under the follower, it doesn't take much to push the lips apart. You know, torque and stuff. The easy solution is to have the visible spring arm sit farther out from its current position. I used some small washers for proof of concept. It works well enough that you can now use actual Nerf darts! Due to their smaller size, the lips end up letting a dart sit on top of the clip before closing. The smaller dart size, though, leaves enough room to still prime the blaster, making the clip removal and resetting unnecessary.


Performance? With the stock darts, I only got 60' ranges angled, and 35-40' flat. With Elite streamlines, however, the real power in this crossbow became apparent. Firing flat resulted in 60-70' shots, while firing at an angle could easily pass the 100' mark. Other .50" dart brands also worked, to varying degrees. Darts with visible glue on their heads showed reduced ranges, due to the extra friction within the barrel, although 90' is still nothing to sneeze at.

The M1-X is a sturdy and powerful dart blaster. As a crossbow, it does suffer from low RoF due to the need to manually pull back and seat the string. But the clip helps in that regard. Furthermore, the clip itself has issues, although they are easily repaired. With work, this would be a great off-brand blaster to add to your collection. And currently, it's on sale at Cabela's for $30.

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