That huge carry handle, pump-action underbarrel grenade launcher, and digital ammo counter on the side: is there a more iconic sci-fi weapon than the Aliens M41A Pulse Rifle? Now, it’s about to become an iconic Nerf blaster as well, because Hasbro has just announced a $95 version that flingsfoam darts — enough of them that it might actually be viable in a stock Nerf war!
You see, unlike Nerf’s $130 blaster rifle from The Mandalorian or most of its Overwatch toys, this 28-inch long blaster isn’t just a prop with a few token foam projectiles inside: it’s a fully-automatic blaster that takes Nerf Elite-sized dart magazines a la the fan-favorite RapidStrike, powered by four C batteries, plus “movie-inspired blast sounds.”
Oh, and Hasbro tells me that’s a genuine digital ammo counter on the side: it actually counts darts even if you hold the trigger down! The standard mag contains 10 darts, but it should fit less screen-accurate aftermarket ones to increase your capacity, and you can set the ammo counter as high as 99.
That underbarrel grenade launcher actually fires Nerf Mega darts (one at a time) and has a genuine spring-loaded plunger tube inside connected to a secondary trigger you can actually pull — unlike, say, the pitiful underbarrel rocket launcher on Nerf’s old Demolisher or similar blasters where you had to pull hard on a manual plunger to pop a rocket out. There doesn’t seem to be an internal magazine for additional Mega darts, though, so you might have to keep those in a pocket.
For years, toy blaster fans have been trying to replicate the features and functionality of the iconic Aliens Pulse Rifle, converting their Thompson airsoft replicas and Nerf blasters into full-scale props. They’d often zip-tie or meld Nerf’s own blasters beneath their RapidStrikes or Stryfes to get an underbarrel blaster like this. My favorite so far is Campbell Nerf Works’ Stryfle, a 3D-printed set of parts you can use to combine a Stryfe and a handleless Magnus to great effect:
I’m actually working on a “Vitamin C Edition” of the Stryfle myself, as Campbell dubbed his orange version in a Reddit post.
But now, you don’t need to be a modder to have a fully functioning Aliens Pulse Rifle that fires Nerf darts and looks far more the part. Well, at least you don’t once October 2022 rolls around, because today’s preorders aren’t expected to ship for a very long while.
While $95 is a lot, it’s a good bit less than many of Hasbro’s other licensed collectibles, like the $130 Soldier 76 pulse rifle from Overwatch. It’s not every day Hasbro gets a licensed blaster right (I lay out some examples here), but this feels like it might be one of them. You can find preorders at Hasbro Pulse and GameStop, with EB Games Canada to come.