Nerf N-Strike Elite Retaliator Blaster Review

nerf n strike elite retaliator blaster review
Review Summary

Product Type:

4 in 1 Nerf Blaster


The Nerf Retaliator is the direct successor to - and redesign of - the N-Strike Recon CS-6 from 2008. The Retaliator is a very impressive and robust Nerf blaster made up of different components that allow you to create different types of guns. The improved firing range is also a welcome bonus.

Since the very first Nerf gun, we have seen many new models and ranges come out on the market. One of the more popular Nerf guns is the Nerf N-Strike Elite Retaliator blaster.

This is our review of the Retaliator and its main features.

Check out our list of best Nerf guns ever made.

The Nerf N-Strike Elite Series

The Retaliator is part of the current Nerf N-Strike Elite range which was introduced to the market in 2012 and is the "elite" version of the Nerf N-Strike series that was first released in 2003.

Most of the blasters in the N-Strike Elite series are simply upgraded versions of blasters in the older N-Strike series. The Elite range was introduced to give the blasters a more robust and firm feel and improved firing ranges.

The main differences between the N-Strike Elite and the N-Strike series:

  • Range:
    N-Strike Elite blasters feature ranges up to 75 feet (35 feet for N-Strike blasters).
  • Darts:
    N-Strike Elite has new and improved Elite darts.
  • Firing system:
    N-Strike Elite blasters have a direct plunger firing system as opposed to a reverse plunger firing system.

Nerf N-Strike Elite Retaliator Features

Let's walk through the main features of the Nerf N-Strike Elite Retaliator blaster.

Overall Design

The first thing you'll notice with the Retaliator is the awesome design, especially compared to the Recon. The blaster simply looks a lot more professional and robust than its predecessor and this also reflects in the grip and handling.

The blaster is very comfortable in the hands - for both kids and adults - and allows you to shoot like a pro. The handling and firing mechanism is awesome (and also sounds great), but some may consider the slight delay between firing shots a bit cumbersome.

Nerf N-Strike Elite Retaliator blaster in box

Firing Range

The box claims the Retaliator can shoot darts up to 75 feet far, which equates to around 22 meters. Under the right circumstances, with a bit of wind advantage and so on, that distance is perhaps achievable, but it's a stretch.

Does it matter much? Not really, 50-55 feet is still pretty impressive and a good improvement, although it is a bit disappointing that the advertised range is hardly achievable.

Nerf N-Strike Elite Retaliator Blaster review - cover photo

Four Blasters in One

One of the advertising draw-cards of the Retaliator is that you can build 4 different configurations with the one and the same blaster. For example, you can choose to use a pistol, a sub machine gun or perhaps a long-barrel rifle. So you essentially get four blasters for the price of one.

The different components of the Retaliator are very easy to remove or to attach to the gun, and we personally love how that sounds too. So what are these different components and what do they do?

Shoulder Stock

The shoulder stock can be attached (or removed) at the rear of the gun to make your shots more steady. It allows you to rest the blaster on your shoulder so you can aim better. What we didn't like as much is that this stock attachment is actually quite small. It may just be to small for bigger children, definitely for adults.

12-Darts Quick Reload Clip

The darts clip can be attached at the bottom of the blaster and fits no less than 12 Elite darts. The darts are compatible with all N-Strike Elite blasters.

The 12 Elite darts are also included in the box.

Assault Grip (Stability Handle)

The assault grip is an extra light grip that you can attach to the front of the blaster. With the shoulder stock at the back and the stability handle at the front you will have the perfect grip.

Barrel Extension

Adding the barrel attachment as an extension to the actual gun greatly improves your firing accuracy. The barrel extension certainly isn't a luxury item because without it the accuracy is somewhat lacking.

This video gives a good impression of what the N-Strike Elite Retaliator looks like and how it performs:


We absolutely love the firm grip this blaster offers, and the overall robust feel to this model. We like it that we can easily take this blaster apart and create 4 different types of guns with the components available. Although it must be said they are not really different blasters, they just have one or more components attached or removed.

The Retaliator is definitely a big step up from the Recon in terms of robustness and features. And at a very affordable price, this blaster is great value for money.


The Good Stuff:
  • Firm and comfortable grip
  • Different components that lets you build 4 different blasters
  • Big improvement compared to the Recon
  • Doesn't seem to jam much
  • 12 Dart flip
  • Overall a very robust blaster
  • Very affordable price
The Bad Stuff:
  • The max range of 75 feet is very hard to achieve
  • The firing mechanism may feel a bit slow
  • The shoulder stock at the back is too small for adults and teenagers
  • Accuracy, especially without the barrel extension, is lacking a bit
  • Many users report issues with the gun jamming


There are some very awesome alternatives to the Nerf N-Strike Elite Retaliator, some cheaper and some more expensive. Here are some of these alternatives that are similar to the Retaliator.

Nerf N-Strike Elite Rampage

As its name suggests, you can create an absolute rampage with this model, featuring a Nerf 25-dart drum, a direct plunger system and a 3 dart-per-second firing rate. Check out our review of the Nerf Rampage.

Nerf N-Strike Elite Rapidstrike CS-18 Blaster

The RapidStrike CS-18 is a bit more sophisticated automatic blaster. It comes with five tactical rails - one on each side of the blaster, one on top, one on the carrying handle and one underneath.

Nerf N-Strike Elite Hyperfire Blaster

The newer Hyperfire directly competes with the Rapidstrike and has an interesting design with a 25 dart drum. Check out our review of the Nerf Hyperfire.

Game on!

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