Messing With Nerf's M41-A Pulse Blaster From Aliens

Messing With Nerf's M41-A Pulse Blaster From Aliens

At almost $100, is this limited replica from the James Cameron film worth your time and money?

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Photo: io9/Germain Lussier

Since I was a boy, I’ve always dreamed of blasting xenomorphs on LV-426 with the Colonial Marine Corps. That’s not just because the characters from James Cameron’s Aliens—like Hicks, Vasquez, and Hudson—were cool, it’s because the weapon they had was even cooler. The M41-A Pulse Blaster has always been one of my favorite weapons in all of cinema. And so when I saw Nerf made one, I purchased it so fast, it’s frankly embarrassing.

Since you don’t really get to open toys on Christmas in your 40s, though it was delivered a few weeks ago I waited until the holidays to actually open it up. Now that I’ve had a chance to test it out, I think the results are mixed. Follow along as we unbox and dive into Nerf Lmtd’s M41-A Pulse Blaster from Aliens.

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The Box

The Box

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Photo: io9/Germain Lussier

The box is super duper cool, with all the fake wear and tear.

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Open the box

Open the box

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Photo: io9/Germain Lussier

The symbol of the Colonial Marines protects the main part of the gun, and you get a nice blueprint.

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And there she is...

And there she is...

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Photo: io9/Germain Lussier

Behold, Nerf Lmtd’s M41-A Pulse Blaster.

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Comparison

Comparison

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Photo: io9/Germain Lussier

As I said, I’m a huge fan of this weapon, so I already have a prop replica in my collection. When seen side by side with the much more expensive, screen realistic version, you can see that Nerf did a very good job at getting all the little details and shapes right.

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Ammo

Ammo

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Photo: io9/Germain Lussier

The rifle comes with 10 normal rounds and three mega-rounds. If you know the movie, you know that the mega-rounds shoot out a larger barrel.

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The Counter

The Counter

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Photo: io9/Germain Lussier

One of the most distinguishing traits of the rifle in Aliens is its ammo counter, which is of course here. This one lights up too. But... well, you’ll see.

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The clip

The clip

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Photo: io9/Germain Lussier

The main ammo clip, complete with Weyland-Yutani logo, slides out with ease.

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Load it up

Load it up

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Photo: io9/Germain Lussier

The 10 rounds go into the clip incredibly easily. Time to shoot, with one small problem...

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It needs C batteries

It needs C batteries

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Photo: io9/Germain Lussier

The website, package, and instruction booklet all let you know C batteries are required—but what they don’t tell you is the main gun doesn’t fire without them. No one has C batteries laying around the house—this isn’t 1986—so I’d have to circle back.

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The big boys

The big boys

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Photo: io9/Germain Lussier

Without batteries you can, however, fire the mega rounds. You do so by pumping the black handle here and hitting the forward, secondary trigger.

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Empty barrel

Empty barrel

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Photo: io9/Germain Lussier

The front of the gun, ready to be loaded.

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Locked and Loaded!

Locked and Loaded!

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Photo: io9/Germain Lussier

Mega round loaded. It goes in easily but doesn’t really lock in or anything. You just have to kind of know that it’s in once the red tip is to the end.

FIRE!

The mega rounds are very satisfying and fly about 25-30 feet.

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A quick trip to the store...

A quick trip to the store...

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Photo: io9/Germain Lussier

After shooting some mega rounds, I headed out to 7-11 and grabbed four C batteries. The clerk looked at me like I was Marty McFly in 1955.

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Power on

Power on

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Photo: io9/Germain Lussier

Once the batteries are in, the display turns on. Lock in the ammo clip and the number changes to 10. Very, very cool. It’s time to fire.

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Jammed

Jammed

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Photo: io9/Germain Lussier

To fire, you must first hold what’s almost a safety button. That powers up the gun and makes a satisfying rumbling sound. You then pull the main trigger to fire.

Unfortunately, on my first try, the counter went down but nothing fired out. It had jammed.

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Reload

Reload

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Photo: io9/Germain Lussier

Cleaned the jam, reloaded, and here we go.

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Destruction

Destruction

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Photo: io9/Germain Lussier

Probably should have shot these on a surface that was a different color, but you get the idea. You can fire one round at a time or, the only real option, hold the trigger down and fire all 10 in rapid succession. Above is where the 10 rounds, plus a mega round, landed when I shot them at the side of my house.

Here’s the big question, how long does it take to fire 10 rounds?

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This long...

This long...

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Photo: io9/Germain Lussier

Yup. It takes three seconds to unload all 10 rounds. And that’s with me hitting stop and start. So it might be less. It’s insanely cool but over very, very soon.

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Reload time

Reload time

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Photo: io9/Germain Lussier

I also timed myself in a reload of all 10 rounds. It took almost 18 seconds. Not bad, but not great.

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The verdict

The verdict

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Photo: io9/Germain Lussier

Nerf’s Pulse Rifle is definitely cool. That the display works, and that it has awesome sounds and two types of ammo, totally made me feel like a Colonial Marine, even for a short amount of time.

But at almost $100, this isn’t really a toy you’re going to run around and play with. It’s a display piece. A once in a while thing. And for that, I think it’s less successful. It should come with some kind of easy display stand. And C batteries? That’s very, very annoying. Why not AA or AAA? Something people have around the house.

But the worst part is—there’s no power button (that at least I could find). So when you’re done, the display just stays on, like above. You have to take the batteries out to get it to go off. Which means every time you want to play with it, you need to grab the screwdriver and batteries. Very annoying.

Nevertheless, for those three seconds of glory, it’s almost worth it.

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