High Caliber: Spurs and NERF

UPDATED 7/8/10

Spurs and NERF are both the class of what they do. The Spurs are the gold standard in basketball, and NERF (owned by Hasbro) is the gold standard of dart guns. I'm a huge Spurs fan and a casual toy gun (airsoft, dart, water, cap, rubberband, whatever) collector. As a mechanical engineer, I appreciate the ergonomic design that goes into most toy guns and also the mechanical design into making them work. Plus they are a symbol of my childhood and are super cool to play with. My dogs enjoy fetching darts for me too.

After the Spurs were ousted in the playoffs, I found myself getting addicted to rating things on Amazon to improve the site's recommendations to me. That is what happens when there is a drought in Spurs coverage online! This lead to me buying a lot of NERF guns I was missing over the past two months. I also bought a ton of music as I added 428 songs to Itunes in May and June (possibly the only stat of this post!). Stupid Spurs playoff exit .... grumble ... mumble ... void to fill ... grumble.....

After the jump, you will find my comparisons of Spurs players to NERF gun models. read that right....

This is PTR, Take Your Musical Medicine!

I've added 800 some odd songs to iTunes in 2010, and here are my first 2 five star songs so far. I'm only saying that because I really want you to listen to them.

Circa Survive - Frozen Creek (Album Version W/ Lyrics) (via dainykins)

we were owls lovedrug (via gothireful1)

I lied, another stat. Only 1.4% of all my songs have 5 star ratings. That's 132 songs right now. My iTunes playlist of all my 5's is called "Centers Only" if you came here to hear about basketball.

Origin Story: Refs Don't Get Adamantium Skeletons

This is pretty nerdy, like me, and like PTR, but I still think I have some explaining to do. CapHill, who is now a "player", but was once a "ref", chose to use a NERF gun as her avatar to show us that she meant business in her law-lay-downing role. She chose the NERF Reactor.


Are you intimidated yet?

Last week, I finally broke down and told her that I found that NERF model the worst. Disclaimer: I've never owned it, which as you read further down, is a huge indictment of what I think of its aesthetic appeal. I pleaded with her to get a new NERF avatar. She made points about what made the Reactor useful. The major problem is that NERF guns aren't exactly cheap and from what I could gather, CapHill doesn't want to appear the part (by brandishing a new avatar all over the place) without the firepower to back it up. She seemed to need a buyer's guide. That made me think that if I was going to give her a post full of recommendations on NERF guns, I should do it in a common language to us all: Spurs. When I suggested the idea, jrw said he would bother me about it like he was for the Lexicon. Who wants that? Then today, he said he was dying in anticipation. Apparently, that is all the motivation I needed this time.

Well, let's get to the Spurs arsenal (I hope I get some google hits for people looking up info on the Arsenal and Tottenham football clubs by putting those words adjacent).

The Spurs Arsenal Expressed in Dart Guns: A Yet to Be Written Graduate Thesis By a Bigger Nerd than Me (Abridged Version)

Tim Duncan as the Maverick Blaster

The name of the gun is actually the Maverick, but Amazon lists it as the Maverick Blaster, and I can't write it the real way so yes, Duncan as the Maverick Blaster. It is the gun that saved NERF. If you told me, "I own no NERF guns. Where do I start?" I'd say, "you build your collection around a Maverick." If you asked me who to build an NBA team around, I'd say Tim "greatest PF of all time" Duncan. It is your fundamental excellence. 6 years ago, it was one of only a few options at stores, and now there are tons of models because this gun turned the brand around. This was a very tough one since it is a handgun but the impact parallels would not be denied. Unlike Duncan, these are a dime a dozen though. They are relatively cheap and can be bought everywhere (CVS even). Additional note, if I were to assign David Robinson a gun, he would also be a Maverick Blaster. They are just that important. They are your rookies of the year and your MVP's and your #1 picks. Plus, that makes the Twin Towers a set of revolvers. That is pretty cool....for nerds like me.


The Maverick: Tim Duncan (shudder)

Manu Ginobili as The Recon CS-6

With the Maverick and it's success, more guns came out with the Nerf attachment gun rails. As the N-Strike line developed, they added the Longshot with a removable barrel and eventually the Recon with a removable barrell and stock. Later models have added more swappable stocks and more swappable barrels. The Recon is the most versatile and flexible NERF blaster. It is the gun you want it to be. Manu is a master of all trades. He can do anything and he makes everything and everyone better just like the Recon. The stock is a little flimsy like Manu's legs....damn's a cool gun, just pay for it and we'll hope for the best. It's just so underrated in its value and awesomeness. The 6 in the part number refers to the clip size but we could also call this gun the CS-6th man (rimshot). It can also use the ammo drum from the Raider CS-35. A spare clip can be placed in the stock which helps stiffen it up a little bit and give you some extra ammo. The under mount light that comes with the gun could be analogous to Manu's beyond conceivable court vision.


The Recon CS-6: Manu

Tony Parker as the Element EX-6 and George Hill as the Nite Finder EX-3

Our set of point guards are best represented by the EX series of handguns. The old EX-3 without the track is my oldest NERF gun (still owned). I'm using the updated Nite Finder EX-3 model to represent Hill. These guns are small in stature, but don't let that fool you because these are probably the most accurate NERF guns available (from my personal testing). They also have surprising range. The special thing about the EX-3 that makes it particularly neat is the red light under the barrell, hence the name. The cool thing about the light is the trigger activates the it. If you pull the trigger slightly, the light comes on.


The Nite Finder EX-3: George Hill

Tony Parker has a little more firepower than Hill, and holds more ammo to help out his teammates. Tony Parker is the Element EX-6. This model basically replaces the court vision (no light) for more firepower. In Tony's defense, it comes with a light (and scope) for the rails, but the gun looks cooler without it and it's optional.


The Element EX-6 (Imagine it without that scope....): Tony Parker

Bonner as the Longshot CS-6

Bonner is big, bulky, and somewhat awkward. That was a somewhat understatement. He can also drain the longball especially when he camps out at the 3 point line. Lately, we have all been witness to his newly crafted "shyhook". It is ugly, but effective in its own limited way. That is exactly like the Longshot CS-6. For long shots, it has a fixed bipod that folds down so you can just sit wherever your're comfortable shooting. The tricky part comes into play when the barrel detaches for an awkward and ugly handgun. This was an easier one. Sadly this gun is currently out of production so it costs more than double retail on Amazon from third party vendors. You might be able to get one at Target still. I'd be careful buying it online though.


The Longshot CS-6: Matt Bonner

DeJuan Blair as the Vulcan EB-25

The Vulcan is a beast. DeJuan Blair is a beast. Mine came with a broken tripod. Blair came without ACL's. Yeah, the Vulcan is about volume of shots and not accuracy which doesn't quite fit, but this is about the essence of these things. Blair is definitely the Vulcan EB-25. This is about the intimidation of the Grizzly Blair!

More on the gun: It takes a ton of batteries but they add weight to the gun and make it feel better. There are rails all over the thing so you can put attachments on it and make it a full on atrocity. The trigger feels really lame. It is the worst reviewed NERF gun on Amazon probably, mostly because people claim it jams. Mine has never jammed, and it was absolutely worth the money. The thing is awesome to shoot, but a pain in the ass to load all the darts into the belt. Hey NERF, I got a brilliant idea, why can't you make connectors at the end of the belts so people can snap longer chains together???


The Vulcan EB-25: DeJuan "The Beast" Blair

Richard Jefferson as the Raider CS-35

This is a tough one. RJ gets a lot of criticism for disappearing. Most of this stems from him having the freedom to be a volume shooter in the past. He was a little lost this season and he didn't shoot enough which I don't think any of us saw happening when we traded for him. Didn't you think he was a bigger risk to take shots away from the Big-3? The Raider is an awesome gun with great design. RJ is a great athlete who has amazing moments and is a prototypical SF on a roster without any depth there. The Raider CS-35 is a one of a kind. There isn't a another gun like it in the NERF lineup. It has an interchangeable stock with the Recon (Manu, see above) similar to how RJ prefers to play with Manu. With the removable stock and option to put in a normal 6 shot clip, the Raider is pretty versatile. You can also hold down the trigger to fire by pumping the forward handle giving it a lot of offensive firepower.


The Raider CS-35: Richard Jefferson (This picture must be of a prototype before they made the drum official as it is labeled as a never released CS-6)

Antonio McDyess as the Firefly REV-8

This is an older model, but it has some unique features that make it worth the relatively low price. The unique thing about this gun is that it has an internal bright LED light and glow in the dark bullets. As you shoot, the light flashes charging the dart with light. The dart then shoots a light tracer. Similarly, McDyess has bright flashes of his younger, super athletic self. The gun is an absolute pain to load and is only really cool in dark situations. Similarly, we have to keep Dice on limited minutes and he is only good in certain situations. McDyess is the Firefly REV-8.


The Firefly REV-8: Antonio McDyess

Ian Mahinmi as the Deploy CS-6

The Deploy is a crazy gun that you really want to like, but ultimately is just a little too weird. The same things that make it really unique and give it potential to be awesome are its downfall. The Deploy compacts into a smaller box version with a handle. You press a button on the handle, and the gun handle swings down, the stocks flies back and clip with light folds down. Watch the video below if that was confusing. Then you shoot it or mess with the stock and realize it sounds terrible and the collapsible stock gives the gun a very cheap feeling. The gun also comes with a barrel attachment point but no barrel accessory. It is like you are buying an incomplete gun. You have to take a barrel from one of your other guns. Why couldn't they have at least packaged the Recon barrel? Ian is a young big full of potential but is awkward and incomplete most of the time, but you really want to like him at the same time. There is just something really cool about him. Ian Mahinmi is the Deploy CS-6.

The Deploy CS-6: Ian Mahinmi

James Anderson as the Magstrike AS-10

I'm not ready to give a rookie who I haven't seen shoot the NBA 3 a long shot gun, because the Longstrike was an option. I am confident to say James Anderson will be an offensive weapon. The Magstrike AS-10 is an incredibly fun unique gun. It is air pump powered which made me shy away from it for awhile. Huge mistake. This gun is one of the most fun you can buy. The magazine design is cool. The rapid fire is cool. It's strong and just an offensive force like James Anderson. He is the Magstrike AS-10. Hey, NERF, me again, why in the world would you design the Magstrike magazine with a belt clip when it only comes with one clip and you don't offer them separately? Major idiot move there. They also sell the Magstrike in Iron Man and Dart Tag versions if that is your thing. Also know that this gun and the Rapid Fire 20 are Target exclusives so watch for insane prices from third parties online. Target sells it through Amazon if you want to buy it online.


The Magstrike AS-10: James Anderson

Garrett Temple, Malik Hairston, and Marcus Williams as the Unity Power System

Most retailers list this gun as the N Strike which is the line of guns, and not this model. I'm guessing they do this because Unity Power System is the worst name I've ever heard. This gun is a three part oddity. Each player listed above is going to be assigned a part. I think you need to see a picture before I go any further though.


The Unity Power System: Garrett Temple, Malik Hairston, and Marcus Williams

First up, Garrett Temple is the handgun to go with our PG's as handguns theme. This handgun is very simple and has limited ammo capacity, but is one of the most awesome ergonomic NERF gun designs. The gun feels great. If they sold it separately, I'd recommend it.

Second up, Malik Hairston is the thunderous bazooka. He is the most exciting dunker on the Spurs. I have dreams about reliving those amazing dunks he did on the Cavs two seasons ago. The bazooka is kind of weird. You stand on those stock/shoulder-rest things and pump it until a gauge says its full. You pull the trigger and the giant dart fires. The giant dart has a hollow tip making it pretty soft even though it fires with a ton of force.

Third up, we have Marcus Williams as the Hornet AS-6. It is the only part that is sold separately, Toys R Us only, and comes in blue instead of the red version in the Unity Power System. It has six darts that fire independent or all at once. The design is very weird and an inferior design to the Magstrike and Rapid Fire.

The interesting thing about the three pieces is that they all attach and can fire by a single trigger on the bazooka core. Similarly, I hope we can get some combined firepower from our SG-SF team. They are our terribly named Unity Power System. This is a Toys R Us exclusive now and has some really bloated prices online. There is also a Hulk version called the Abomination based off the horrific Ed Norton movie version. Ang Lee, don't listen to those haters, your version is a masterpiece. Idiots wanting Hulk Smash instead of a great character story.

Brent Barry and Steve Kerr as the Longstrike CS-6

This is something we really need. I could add first year Mason up there, but he has been a little weird lately and I'm still bothered by that first year playoff performance. I wanted to give this to James Anderson, but I haven't seen him make the NBA threes yet. I'm hoping this is in his future though. Anyways, this is the sniper rifle of the NERF arsenal. It is an awesome gun with a removable barrel which is a nice piece to use on your other guns. You can put two extra clips in the stock which is a cool feature. So our sharpshooters of the past and future are the Longstrike CS-6. Additional note if you buy this gun: the stock comes separate in the box and cannot be removed once snapped in. The gun looks really awesome without the stock so consider it before you snap it in. Dumb move, NERF.


The Longstrike CS-6: Brent Barry and Steve Kerr

Avery Johnson as the Buzzsaw

This gun is insanely loud, but great fun. I don't know how you couldn't like this gun. It is also mechanically unique in that it fires by a rack and pinion mechanism. You pull back the rack spinning the pinion which spins a firing wheel at higher speeds. The trigger drops a ball into the wheel and the wheel launches it. You could say the buzzsaw does some internal assisting. It shoots the ball ammo like Caphill's Reactor which my dogs absolutely love to play with. The noise of the gun gets them really excited too. Our retired to the rafters vocal general is the Buzzsaw. Horry gets an honorable mention on this one....and probably the one before it too...what an awesome role player he was to have.


The Buzzsaw: Avery Johnson

Stephen Jackson as the Rapid Fire 20

Stephen Jackson was a super offensive force for us. The Rapid Fire 20 is a bulky, yet great designed gun that can be a hit or miss depending on how much work you put into it. It is another air powered pump device. This gun is all about volume shooting, hits and misses. The hand guard and size give it some defensive ability too. Stephen Jackson is the Rapid Fire 20.


The Rapid Fire 20: Stephen Jackson

7-8-10 UPDATES

Bruce Bowen as the Stonewall Shield and Sword

Bruce Bowen was our defensive specialist and the short sword represents his limited offense and "in your jersey" defense. Of course the shield is a symbol of defense. The Stonewall Shield and Sword were just announced on June 24th and Amazon is taking orders but they aren't available yet. I don't own any of this N-Force stuff yet.


The Stonewall Shield and Sword: Bruce Bowen

Coach Pop, RC Buford, and the Spurs' Front Office as the Secret Shot

This is the Secret Shot made in 1994 by Kenner, and not the Secret Strike AS-1 keychain made by Hasbro that is currently available. The Secret Shot is an old model. It had an amazing commercial that I haven't been able to find online to show you why it is our FO. Basically, the gun has a main barrel and another hidden barrel in the handle. There is an ammo holder on top of the gun that can be rotated 90 degrees to switch a valve to the lower barrel. The point was you could surrender if caught by either raising your hands up (aiming the handle at your opponent) or by spinning the handle at the opponent in a sort of western surrender style. Then you fire the secret dart in the handle claiming victory. It is under the radar and spy shit just like our FO. I never owned this gun.



Secret Shot: Coach Pop RC Buford, and the Spurs' FO


Final Thoughts

There are a few more guns I didn't use. There is the AS-1 keychain gun that is well worth your 3 or 4 dollars. There are the small little pistol ones I don't want to look up the part number to. They are alright. There is also the NERF bow and arrow. I don't own it so I didn't use it for any of our players. It looks cool.

I mentioned how the Maverick revitalized the NERF brand. Super Soaker has been super sucking recently. They kept doing gimmick after gimmick summer after summer with awkward lame design after awkward lame design. Hasbro brought in the A team like Portland and OKC did when they pilfered our FO. This summer, Super Soaker has a Soaker Wars line of guns that carry the NERF sticker of approval. Two very awesome models, the Shotblast and Rattler are both great designs with rails that work with NERF attachments. I recommend the Rattler if you are looking for a great water gun. The Shotblast is not quite as good but it comes with a stock that is compatible with your NERF Recon and Raider and a neat mini-scope rail attachment for most of your other N-Strike guns.

There are also a line of N-Force swords, axes, maces, and shields. I don't own any of this...yet...but my girlfriend and I had a blast beating each other up in the toy aisle at Target one day.

So the solution to this proof: I am a huge nerd. Hopefully, you found this some combination of lighthearted, informative, and entertaining. It was a challenge to write, but fun at the same time. Please tell me what I got right and wrong in the comments.

If someone centers my pictures for me, LD and I will be eternally grateful....unless LD does it. Then he will be annoyed and I will be eternally grateful.

This is fan-created content on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff at Pounding the Rock.

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