So the Nerf Maverick is basically the gold standard of office warfare. Sure, you have your little hold-out guns, and you have your big belt-fed tripod-mounted joint, but the Maverick is really the best possible blend of capacity (6 shots before reloading), portability (fits easily under a coat or in a backpack), and rate of fire (single-action, slide-cocked reviolver; can empty the cylinder in ~3 sec). If somebody comes charging into your cubicle, you don’t want to be shooting back with some muzzle-fed trick, especially if it has to be air-pumped.
The Maverick is the standard loadout for the Alabama nephews, so naturally I have one and am well familiar with it. What I didn’t realize is that it is also the standard sidearm of my new work group. Turns out the other half of the team actually *has* the battery-powered belt-fed super-donkey-collider trick. Which means that if the balloon goes up, your boy needs an edge.
Thing is, though, the Maverick uses Nerf mini-darts with suction-cup tips. If you throw down $4 plus tax at Target, though, you can get a 10-pack of “Sonic Micro Darts,” a.k.a. whistletips. And unlike Bubb Rubb’s famous automotive modification, these are definitely not for decoration. Instead of a concave suction cup maximizing your air resistance, these are rounded at the front and have much more of their weight at the front, presumably to maximize the whistling.
Well, I loaded alternating standards and whistletips and did some test shooting* and made some interesting discoveries:
* The whistles go “WOOOOOO” but only about 15 feet from the muzzle.
* From a distance of approximately 6 feet, the Maverick shoots a standard dart about six inches below point of aim. Every slide-step backwards is good for another 4 inches drift and drop, which means that from more than 10 feet away you’re going to have to fire your darts in an arc like some sort of Elvish archer holding off the Orcs at Helm’s Deep* if you want any chance of hitting center of mass on a Tier I-technician-sized target.
* From about 20 feet, the whistletips can be shot more or less to point of aim with negligible drift or drop. I am willing to bet that if you were to tip the muzzle, you could probably put a dart on a technician across the full length of my office, which is 50 feet if it’s an inch.
The standard suction-cup darts are going in the bottom drawer for last-resort backup. From now on, I’m loading out with the whistletips, and anybody who snipes at me from a distance is in for a shock. So really, the question you have to ask yourself is…do you feel lucky, punk? Well do ya?
*Yes, I am a huge, huge, huge geek. I know it, I admit it, and I might as well be good at it.
** Meticulously observing the Four Rules: all guns are always loaded and are treated as such***, never point the muzzle at anything you don’t want to put a bullet through, never put your finger on the trigger unless you are firing, and always know what’s behind your target. Nobody on television – with the conspicuous exceptions of Battlestar Galactica and Torchwood – appears to have any clue about this.
*** If you say “treat it as if it were loaded,” you will invariably get lazy and assume that something isn’t loaded. Assume that every gun, everywhere, all the time, is ready to fire and you’ll be a lot safer, as will everyone around you. It’s amazing how much of this you are made to internalize before your dad will let you handle the BB gun.