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Author Topic: Give 'em the Hose: The Magstrike Tenets  (Read 16547 times)
The Red Scare


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« on: June 08, 2010, 02:48:31 PM »

When it comes to the late-game and you're sitting inside of your safe-zone wondering exactly how many steps you might just make it toward the next building, it's time to seriously reconsider your armament.  For my squad, I am quite insistent that we have a number of automatics for times where things get too nasty for standard arms to suffice....

Thus, I'm going to ask all of you to reconsider the popular stance on this site regarding the Magstrike AS-10 blaster.  While their pump-up to fire nature seems an incredible liability in the common HvZ environment, I am living proof that this is not necessarily the case.  An amount of training is required, and fire-discipline is key... but when you round a corner into a horde you're going to be sooooo happy that you packed that Magstrike............

So, in the same vein as my former housemate Capt. NSSB (see his topic on Vulcans), I present the Magstrike Tenets.

1. Know Your Magstrikes!!!!

The Magstrike wasn't always the "AS-10", as it's been out long before N-Strike nomenclature became the norm.  It first appeared in Dart Tag sets in both blue and red colors, and showed-up again as an Ironman movie promotional.  The latest versions have gained the N-Strike logo and naming schema, appearing in yellow/black coloring (Target exclusive).  However, there are TWO DIFFERENT VERSIONS of these, and that difference is important.

Regardless of the history lesson, what you need to know about different MS bundles (other than to keep your bloody receipt for return!) is this:

Blue Dart Tag: Has a pretty good track-record.  Comes with two clips.  Next to impossible to find on store shelves.  (Product Overview   @Amazon   @Ebay)

Red Dart Tag: Has a VERY BAD track-record regarding post-trigger air leaks.  However, most leaks are merely due to a poorly sized O-ring in the upper part of the blaster, which can be replaced/fixed.  Comes with two clips.  Next to impossible to find on store shelves.  (Product Overview  @Amazon  @Ebay)

Ironman Model: Has the most number of reported defects out-of-box, but can at-times be found for low prices (like $10.00 in some clearance outlets).  Only comes with one clip.  (Product Overview  @Amazon  @Ebay  @Kmart  @SEARS)

Yellow N-Strike Model #1: Is indeed faster and stronger than its predecessors (what the box claims).  Only comes with one clip.  This model was Target exclusive, and was discontinued in-favor of a new model with slightly-updated internals.  The only way that I can think of to tell the difference between the two yellow blaster models (before purchase, anyway) is by their boxes.  The newer model, described below, will come in a box that is long and slim, while the box for the older model of the two is bulkier.  As there is no way to differentiate box differences online, any links that might apply to this model will also apply to the next model... and will thusly be listed there.

Yellow N-Strike Model #2: This is the current model on store shelves at Target (still exclusively).  It is ludicrously fast, thanks to a newly designed mechanism between the sliding clip and the firing apparatus (it's orange plastic with a spring behind it, instead of a fitted black felt piece like previous Magstrikes).  The speed is amazing, but can be limiting if players want precise fire-control.  Only comes with 1 clip.  (Product Overview  @Amazon  @Ebay  @Target)

Last bit that you need to know here, the older the Magstrike, the slower it tends to fire.  Some of this is due to time-degraded lubricants on the internals, which can be re-applied manually.  Some of this is due to an age-hardening of the rubber from the bladder, which doesn't allow it to contract quite as quickly as it once did.  HOWEVER, don't lament.  This downgrade in rate of fire actually increases the usefulness of the blaster!!!!  We'll come to that next.

2. Know your Magstrike mods!

There are a number of interesting mods out there for the Magstrike, but many of them aren't allowed in most HvZ games (like attaching pressure tanks where the air-bladder would normally be).  There are a few notable mods that are great for HvZ games, though....

However, rather than take-up the ridiculous amount of space that it would take to list/explain these mods, I'll just link to the only Magstrike modding thread that you'll probably ever need (read it all thoroughly though, as some parts of the original modifications package were revised in later posts!).  Kudos to Forsaken_angel24 over at NerfHaven for this amazing MS mod package!

3. Repeat after me... "FUNCTION CHECK."

To start, check your Magstrike's functions every time before you go out on patrol/mission/escort/extraction.  Listen closely to your Magstrike after you pump it, as leaks could happen at any time.  Then, ensure that it's firing properly.  If you can't fire the blaster in your current location, consider an empty bathroom, stairwell, or even an unused classroom.  Unless it's dead quiet in the building, nobody should hear you... even with the Magstrike's ruckus (but, it would still behoove you to be mindful of who MIGHT hear you).

Also, keep in mind that many Magstrikes will leak small amounts of air over time as they remain primed during patrol.  If you have a blaster that hasn't been crazily sealed-up like the ones on the above NerfHaven thread, then you'll want to be giving it a few pumps every five to ten minutes.  If you haven't modded it at all, then just pump it until you hear that overpressure switch engage with a hiss.  If you have modded it, then you probably had the good sense to seal it at the same time (I hope Tongue).

Further, with older darts, slippage inside the mag-well can occur.  If you've removed the air-restrictor pins in the mag, then this is even more likely.  This slippage can cause the magazine to jam during firing, which can obviously end with a one-way trip to brain-nomming... so check your mag every now and then for darts that are slipping forward.  This problem can be remedied easily by using brand new darts each game, but not all HvZers can (or want to) afford that expense.

4. Repeat after me... "I WILL NOT go full-auto unless absolutely necessary."

Sure, it's hella-fun to scare the wits out of a zed by sending ten darts his direction in under two seconds... but it's still a waste of ammo and pressure.  As a Magstrike wielder, fire discipline is your very best friend.  So many HvZers look at the Magstrike as a ten-round SMG, and that's all well and good, but the Magstrike can actually be much more.  Think about it... where else can you get a ten-shot blaster that doesn't require recocking (the answer is a heavily modified Tommy 20, but that takes more effort Tongue)?

"But all of those shots are gone in seconds," my detractors may well say... but they only have half of the story.  The best part about a full-auto blaster that isn't electronic (the big thing holding the Vulcan back other than its sheer size/heft) is that you can stop pulling the bloody trigger whenever you want to.  If you actually spend about twenty to thirty minutes training, you can single-fire older (as-in NOT the newest one) Magstrikes with little effort, effectively rendering them as semi-auto blasters that don't jam.

The newest model is too fast for a truly guaranteed single-shot firing pattern, but it does do two-round burst firing quite effectively.  Further training with any model will allow the user to know how to cut-off firing at virtually any number of darts.  Just get the timing of your trigger-pulls down, and you can essentially choose the exact amount of darts that you're willing to spew at any given target(s).

5. Repeat after me... "I AM NOT a one-man army."

The one thing that gets Magstrike wielders killed more than anything else (including reloading) is overconfidence.  Yes, you have ten rounds and you've been training on your bursts and single-shots... but you still aren't a match for 10 zeds on your own unless you're also faster than a bat out of hell.  Basically, remember that the Magstrike, like any other blaster, doesn't watch your back or make you otherwise invincible.  Keep a fellow human, OR MORE, on-hand at all times.

6. Repeat after me... "I AM the front."

You've got the blaster that can do it all.  You can dump ten shots in seconds or carefully over the course of a minute, all without reloading/repriming.  This means that you are going to help your squad best by being up-front in any serious engagement.  Quick Magstrikers make great skirmishers, rushing the horde at full-auto to thin their numbers and fading back through human lines for a reload/reprime.  If the zeds are rushing you, then the Magstrike has just become your "fire-and-forget" weapon.  Dump the ammo to thin their numbers, DROP IT (or put it on your back if you've got a sling on it), and switch to your secondary for the up-close and personal stuff.

7. Repeat after me... "I WILL NOT stand still."

This is a good rule to follow regardless of your blaster selection, but it's truly critical for Magstrikers.  As I mentioned before, by the very virtue of your blaster's nature, you fit into the battlefield concept of a skirmisher quite well.  Further, when you are going full-auto, it's better to be strafing across a zed group than firing straight at it, as you'll increase the likelihood of your shots landing upon targets that way.  If you're standing still, you're not strafing, and that means that you can only hit the zeds in the front of the charge....

Also, it's worth noting that it's quicker to start hauling-ass in any given direction when you're already in a state of motion....

8. If you've gotten good with the Magstrike, consider a second one.

What's better than a well-trained and ballsy HvZer with a Magstrike?  Two of them?  Hell yeah!  Oh, wait... you meant two of the HvZers.  Yeah, that works, too... but consider the worth of a primary MS combined with a secondary MS.  It's the exact setup that I run with, and small numbers of zeds (Z < 10) tend to leave me alone for a reason.

Remember those different Magstrikes I was referring to earlier in #1?  Well, if a player uses a new yellow model as a primary "first-strike" blaster, and an older model as a secondary, that player becomes more than just twice as deadly.  If a group of zeds rush, the first (and faster) Magstrike can be sprayed across their charge to thin them out... then dropped (don't worry, you can come back for it).  At this point, the Magstriker will switch to his/her secondary blaster.  If that blaster is an older Magstrike, then the shot variability that I spoke of earlier comes into play.  Rather than having a 6-shot Recon/Longshot/etc., the Magstriker has another 10-shot semi-auto blaster to peg individual zeds with at close range.

9. String 'em out and rack 'em up.

Another good tactic for overall human use, this one very much favors the Magstrike's single-shot capabilities.  If a Magstriker finds him/herself heavily outnumbered (think 10:1 or so), the best thing to do IS NOT necessarily to dump the Magstrike's clip.  While that may thin the number of zeds out, it'll also leave a number of zeds rushing to avenge their fallen comrades while the Magstriker is down to their secondary and whatever tertiary arms (like socks or a sidearm) that they may or may not have.

Instead, consider the following philosophy of engagement.  RUN LIKE HELL away from the zeds and get a sock into your off-hand.  As you run, they will likely give chase, which is just fine (and if they don't, their loss).  As they run, their horde will string-out into more of a line as the faster zeds out-speed the slower ones.  This is exactly what you want, as you'll then STOP, PIVOT, and counter-charge.

The fast zeds are going to be the closest, so it's all downhill after you chew through them.  If those fast zeds are close, they won't be able to dodge well at their high speeds.  Also, if they aren't close, your sudden counter-charge will often leave them in that awkward state of slow-down where a fast-running person is trying to regain side-to-side maneuverability.  Single-fire your way through each zed, firing at almost point-blank range to their torsos to ensure contact, and use the sock in your off-hand if you need to ever hit two at once, or if you run out of ammo before you've blasted your way down the whole zed column....

10. Repeat after me... "THREE PUMPS PER CHUMP."

If one uses a Magstrike in battle often enough, one will come-across times where a full reload and priming are impossible.  At these times, it's good to make use of those legs that the gods so kindly gave you, or to make use of the way that pump blasters function.  Practice with your Magstrike in your off-time, finding how many pumps it takes to DEFINITELY fire only one dart.  If your Magstrike is in good shape, that number should be three.  Then, during your continued training, learn to pump your blaster the required number of times and fire off a dart as quickly & accurately as possible.  If you can master the technique, then you'll almost never truly be out of ammo/pressure.  As long as you have darts in your mag, just remember that it's three pumps per dart that must be flung upon the horde.

Please note that this technique will probably require your Magstrike clips to be modded with the "no-drop magazine" modification.  This common and ludicrously simple mod uses layered strips of electrical tape along the belt-clip side of the MS mags to keep them from slipping back into the mag-well of the blaster between shots, thus allowing you to take full advantage of the Magstrike's single-fire and burst-fire capabilities.  Essentially all Magstrikes will require this modification at some point in their lives, as the mechanism that keeps the clips from dropping into the mag-well uses a small, pathetically weak, and short-lived spring.

11. Treat her nicely, gents.

Magstrikes, more so than many Nerf blasters, can be finicky pieces of plastic tech.  My advice regarding these blasters is to treat them similarly to women that may come into your love-life (if you're a straight gal or gay guy, you probably still have enough societal conditioning to get what I'm saying here Wink ).  Some of them don't work at all straight out of the chute, and you should part ways with these ladies for other fish in the sea.  Others have their own quirks and foibles, but still do a fine job in the categories that count... and a rare clutch of 'em are perfectly matched to their counterpart (that's you, hot-shot).

With these more reliable ladies, I would advise you to take good care of them.  Even a match made in heaven won't last long if you treat your partner like a heap of plastic and springs.  You don't always have to pamper them, either... but real quality time and a little TLC can go a long way.  If she starts having personal problems, don't just ignore them and allow them to get worse; treat them seriously and help her get back into action.  Believe me, if you take care of her, she'll take care of you... likely by splattering zed chunks across your local campus Grin!

Well, that's it for now.  Questions, comments, and etc. are all welcome.  Cheesy

Edit 6/16/10: Grammar & spelling edits were made before this point, but this is the first "content" change.  Descriptions of the different Magstrike models were edited for clarity, and links were added regarding places where each of these models may be found/purchased on the internet (please inform me by PM if you notice that a link goes dead).  A new tenet from later in this thread was added to this initial listing, and most of the tenets' original numbers were rearranged to conceptually flow better.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2010, 05:14:27 AM by The Red Scare » Logged
Cmdrmack

The Kilted Nerfer

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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2010, 03:01:41 PM »

Well done. Easy to read, very informative, all in all a great article.
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ModgePodge


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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2010, 03:07:47 PM »

I 100% agree to the amazingness of this gun.  I contemplated getting it, but I figured I would stick to my raider for my previous game.  One of my friends did use it for a (supposed suicide) mission and we all made it out a live and him especially because of that gun.  He is very calm with his shots and very precise and he used the 10 shots very well.  Along with my raider, we took out the entire horde that came after us with only the two of us.  He fell to the ground and the gun was all shaken up and the clip and all the darts stayed in there without any problems too, so from what I've seen it's a pretty stable and reliable gun in that sense.  

When I was playing around with it early that day though, I did notice that it's really hard to shoot just 1 dart out every single time.  I had trouble releasing quick enough and it usually shot 2 darts.  As you said though, it probably helps if you can practice and learn the gun.

I don't really have too much experience with either of these guns, but wouldn't the RF20 be a similar match-up to the Magstrike?  The RF20 is technically capable of firing single shots (even though it's really hard) but it holds 20 darts.  Then again, the Magstrike does have the clip which can be switched out, except it requires more pumping after that.
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The Red Scare


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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2010, 03:16:55 PM »

I don't really have too much experience with either of these guns, but wouldn't the RF20 be a similar match-up to the Magstrike?  The RF20 is technically capable of firing single shots (even though it's really hard) but it holds 20 darts.  Then again, the Magstrike does have the clip which can be switched out, except it requires more pumping after that.
I'll give you one solid reason here and now for why one should choose the Magstrike over the RF-20 any day of the week.  The RF-20 cannot be repaired in most instances where it breaks-down.

Other reasons for why I choose the MS are its clip that you mentioned, the relative weight/bulk when compared to the RF-20, the Magstrike's modding capabilities, and the slightly lower price tag at the store.
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Ozymandias
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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2010, 03:24:59 PM »

There is, however, one noticeable problem with the magstrike (besides getting spare clips): it is going out of production.

Good article, though.
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ModgePodge


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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2010, 03:54:56 PM »

I'll give you one solid reason here and now for why one should choose the Magstrike over the RF-20 any day of the week.  The RF-20 cannot be repaired in most instances where it breaks-down.

Other reasons for why I choose the MS are its clip that you mentioned, the relative weight/bulk when compared to the RF-20, the Magstrike's modding capabilities, and the slightly lower price tag at the store.

Ah I see.  I think the clips are much easier to reload than the RF-20 too.  I didn't know that it was hard to repair the RF-20 though.
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Vonpoppm
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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2010, 04:20:10 PM »

I'd like to say that with the old red Magstrike, that as long as you give your gun some "TLC" you can make it a feared weapon against the Z'eds. I usually go with my raider, but if I bring out "der Scharfrichter" (The Headsman) then I know I'm probably good against a small horde with only a little backup.
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"The Captain"
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