Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Review: Lightake/NFstrike 15-Dart Mags

With the recent rise of Lightake/NFstrike, there is yet another way to source various aftermarket Nerf parts from China. On top of reselling many products from other manufacturers (including Worker and Artifact), Lightake/NFstrike also produce their own Nerf-compatible mags. This review will be covering their two 15-dart mags.
Disclaimer: Lightake has sent me a package of products to review, however the mags in this review were purchased with my own money.

Lengthwise, the mags are about as expected. The banana mag is roughly comparable in length to the F10555 Pmag, with the straight mag in between Nerf's 12 and 18 straights.

First a look at the banana mag. It has a very shallow curve, with a design similar to that of the Blasterparts banana mag, or the Worker 22 mag. Like most Nerf-compatible mags, it uses a dart diagram and arrow to indicate the direction darts should be loaded, and a "15" to indicate its intended capacity. As far as I am aware, there is no other branding or labelling on the mag. The plastic used for this mag is quite different to the typical shiny plastic, as this one has more of a matte, "frosting" type finish.

In fact, the claimed 15 dart capacity is actually slightly underselling this banana mag, as it has a true capacity of around 17 darts. The curve is utilised, and is shallow enough that feeding is not significantly impacted, at least as far as I've experienced.

I chose to go with the solid orange colour as I prefer the look of them compared to other colours or transparent mags, however this prevents you from check on your remaining dart count.

The 15 straight mag is a lot more similar to Nerf mags. It features much of the same styling, particularly with the lines down the mag and the "15" embossed in the side like with Elite mags. The angled bottom of the mag is very similar to that of the Rebelle Rapid Red's 12 dart mag, and the Accustrike Raptorstrike's 6 dart mag. The plastic is much more similar to that used for Nerf mags, particularly in shine and texture.
Unlike the banana mag, the straight 15 mag has "nfstrike" embossed along the side of it, in a similar place to where 18 mags have "18 max" printed.

Also unlike the banana mag, the straight 15 mag actually holds only 15 darts, with the angled bottom being purely cosmetic, and largely a waste of plastic and space.

I tested the mags in four blasters, my pump Retal, Thermal Hunter, Stryfe and Bullpup RS.

The banana 15 mag worked flawlessly in the blasters I tried it in, and fit just fine in some of my other mag-fed blasters. I had no issues at all with feeding, and it was very smooth to insert and remove.

The straight 15 mag on the other hand was a bit hit and miss. Once in a blaster, it fed just fine, however it was inserting and removing it that proved to be an issue. This mag seems to be particularly wide, and as such has a very tight fit in many magwells. Where most mags (including the banana 15) have a fairly loose fit in most blasters, and can be gravity-dropped out of some of them, the straight 15 has a tight friction fit in most. The above pictured blasters all had a tight but tolerable friction fit, and the mag could be inserted and removed without excessive force. The Retaliator and Thermal Hunter had the loosest (though still fairly tight) fits.
The above pictured blasters are blasters I had significant trouble with, with the friction fit being tight enough to requisite significant force just to insert or remove the mag. Note that this is more of a problem for the Stryfe with the Jase3D flared magwell. I would definitely not use the straight 15 mag with any of these blasters.
The remaining pictured blasters are ones that had a tolerable and looser (though still quite tight) fit. The Cam ECS should also be in this (short) list of blasters, and is notable for being the only blaster of mine that actually had a loose fit on the straight 15s.

In general, I find the straight 15 mag to fit prohibitively tight in magwells. Even in most of the loosest magwells, it requires a significant amount of force to insert or remove. This takes more time and effort compared to most other mags, which have a relatively loose fit, and becomes significantly worse in the stresses of combat. On top of that, the extra length of the mag is completely unused and results in it holding less darts than other mags of comparable size.

Depending on any sale active and your patience, you can obtain the Lightake/NFstrike banana 15 mag for around 5-8USD before shipping, and the straight 15 mag for around 4-5USD before shipping. As the shipping is not usually a large sum if you're willing to use the cheaper methods, this offers a rather affordable source of Nerf mags, that for the most part, work just fine. I personally would recommend staying away from the straight 15s as a drop-in solution as the fit in most blasters is very tight, and makes quick mag changes nearly impossible. The banana 15s on the other hand are quite reasonable and have no notable issues as far as I can tell, and I would certainly recommend giving them a look or a try if you're in the market for such mags.

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