One of the biggest trends in toy blasters these days is customization. Anyone can buy a blaster off the shelf, but it takes a little bit of ingenuity to turn that blaster into something unique. Nerf products from Hasbro have often come with accessories, sometimes grouped into packages called "Mission Kits," which combine a core blaster with a number of snap-on shoulder stocks, sights, barrel extensions, and other doodads.
But recently, Hasbro has gotten serious about the concept of blaster customization and introduced the "Modulus" line of products designed specifically to allow for the easier purchase of specific accessories to create a higher degree of personalization. However, Hasbro isn't the only one to have considered how a blaster might be made unique with the addition of a few accessories. And the Toys "R" Us exclusive Stats Blast Destroyer XL from Prime Time Toys is one such example.
For those who may not be familiar with the name, Prime Time Toys makes the powerful Dart Zone Covert Ops Scorpion, as well as the handsomely styled Dart Zone Covert Ops Powerbolt. But they’ve also been a supplier of first-party toys for Toys “R” Us under various brand names, most recently under the “Stats Blast” sub-brand. Older blaster fans may remember a product that bears more than a passing resemblance to the Stats Blast Destroyer XL called the Quickfire Sniper Rifle, which was also manufactured by Prime Time Toys.
Indeed, the Destroyer XL is an updated version of the Quickfire, with a new color scheme and–most importantly–more than twice the claimed firing range of the original. Using Prime Time’s Super Darts, the Destroyer XL is said to propel darts up to 70 feet, which would be competitive with most Nerf products.
And then there's the all important customization mentioned earlier. The Destroyer XL comes with modular components that allow it to act as 3 different blasters in various "modes" of assembly: Assault mode, Rifle mode, or Long Range mode. Assemble all three sections and the Destroyer XL clocks in at a record-breaking length of more than 3 feet! But how does it perform? We're glad you asked.
Using our all-important chronograph to measure dart velocities, the Destroyer XL clocks in at an average of 68 feet-per-second with the barrel extension in place, and a very strong 72 feet-per-second with the barrel extension removed. That last figure is several FPS faster than most Nerf blasters which, combined with the included Prime Time Toys Superdart (at an average of about 0.12g less mass than Nerf Elite darts), allow the Destroyer XL to be quite a fine sniper rifle in distance, if perhaps not so much in accuracy. Lower weight darts help with distance, but not with stable flight--especially at these velocities. And if you didn't take note, adding that cool-looking, sniper-style barrel extension only lowers the dart velocity, which has the ironic side-effect of lowering shot range, as well. Oh, and make sure to get the darts in all the way when loading--they tend to bend and squirm, but that tight fit no-doubt helps velocities and prevents jamming (of which we experienced none).
So the Destroyer XL isn't a bad performer, at least, but it does have some ergonomic eccentricities. For starters, that black ammo clip at the bottom isn't really a clip--it's completely non-removable and is only used for dart storage (what...?). In addition, darts need to be removed from the clip and loaded one-at-a-time via a side-loading chamber that pops-out when the priming handle is pulled back (again, that clip isn't doing anything except keeping darts handy). But wait, there's more! The priming handle only has a bar on the right-hand side of the blaster, so if you're holding the blaster handle with your right hand, you have to awkwardly maneuver your left hand over the top of the blaster and over to the right-hand side of the blaster to prime it. So for all you lefties out there, this set-up should work great.
For everyone else, it's definitely an inconvenience. We should also note that even though the Destroyer XL is rated for children 6+, it's a very large blaster with large features, and we don't see it being a good choice for children under even 8 years of age, simply due to how large everything is sized.
And what about those awesome accessories that give the Destroyer its "XL" name? Well, they're kind of pointless, really. The barrel extension fits loosely, and as we noted above, only detracts from overall performance. And the shoulder stock has a visible, internal "spine" with a clip that, for the life of us, doesn't appear to do anything. The add-on scope is nice, but it doesn't really do anything and is actually kind of hard to see through. For its part, the core blaster is ok, but it looks a bit odd without the other pieces attached, and the horizontally-oriented main handle is somewhat awkward to grip compared to most blasters.
At the usual $39.99 MSRP, the Destroyer XL is a tough sell. It performs well for a single-shot model in terms of dart velocities and range, but it has a lot of odd character traits (side-loading, non-functional clip, useless accessories, strange ergonomics) that recall its somewhat dated origins. Fortunately, savvy shoppers may be able to find the Destroyer XL on sale (Black Friday, for instance) for as low as $19.99. At that lower price-point, especially, it's a worthy consideration for its intimidation factor and solid performance. But what we'd really like to see is what Prime Time could do with a modern, re-thought version designed to fit with their much newer Covert Ops line of products. We have a feeling that would truly Destroy the competition.
- Impressive size that gets attention
- Strong dart velocities and range
- Unique, modular aesthetic
- Add-on components don't actually help performance
- Large size may hinder use by younger children
- Awkward ergonomics emphasize aging design