Friday, March 2, 2012

Humans vs Zombies: To "Mod" or not to "Mod"

Hey guys and gals Snake here.  I came across this article as posted in the NC State newspaper, Technician Online.  The full article can be found here: College Students Build Better Blasters

Here is an excerpt from the article:
"Really the only tools I need are a screwdriver and a hand-drill," Collins said. "Typically I crack [the blasters] open and there's this thing inside called an air-restrictor… I drill it right out."

The air restrictor is a part of a Nerf blaster added to slow down air flow, and according to Collins it should be the first thing to go.

"The air restrictor is something that virtually every Nerf [blaster] has," Michael Ramos, a junior in human biology and an owner of a Nerf Raider Collins has modified, said. "It restricts the air coming inside so that if you're a child… it keeps the [velocity of the dart] very low."

Other optional modifications include spring compression or replacements, jam door removals and replacement of the internals. However, according to Collins, the modification that improves blasters most is a spring replacement.
Even in our TTAGS Chicago outings, we run into a lot of modifications.  Most of these are simple, involving simply removing the air restrictor, or rebarreling a blaster.  My personal Secret Shot I (SS1) has been modified to be able to use the current darts.  When the SS1 came out, the darts used at the time were different sized.  I rebarreled my blaster using a bit of CPVC piping to make it useable.  However, I did not modify my blaster to shoot further, but to make it more reliable and able use all the darts available today.

A Secret Shot I in all its beauty!
Here at TTAGS Chicago, our rules concerning all modifications are that they need to be safe for the user as well as safe for those on the receiving end of the blaster.  A quick side-note here, we always use eye protection regardless of the blaster being used.  Eye protection is mandatory at all our events, you only get one pair of eyes!  Back to the discussion at hand...The majority of our members modify blasters not so much to gain range as they are about making blasters more reliable.

Modifying a blaster with more power presents a whole new challenge.  The internals were only meant to handle a certain power load.  By overloading it, you can break the fragile parts like the plunger tube on a raider, recon, or alpha trooper.  Using drop in kits from other companies will give you ranges of 100 feet or more.  But they carry a price tag of $60 plus the cost of the blaster, and darts.  Additionally you'll need to install it yourself which can present its own problems.  

Let's think about what we're doing for a minute.  Modifying a toy blaster to make it shoot as far as what? an airsoft gun? a paintball gun? Any modifications that breaks 50', can become hurtful at close range.  Launching a soft foam dart with accuracy at that distance is very difficult.  Most darts are so unbalanced, they spiral and loop through the air when used.  If I want extreme range and accuracy, I'll paintball.  When I play HvZ I'm there to have fun, not to win at all costs by having the most uber-modded blaster than can snipe people 100 feet away.  

The TL;DR version: Modify at your own risk.  Soft foam blasters should be fun and safe, anything done to a toy to make it even the slightest bit dangerous should be banned from events.  HvZ is about having fun, not showing off who can shoot a dart the furthest!

Feel free to post comments here or email me (Snake) at ttagschicago(at) 


  1. lol, this is Michael Ramos, the guy mentioned in this article

    I def. agree with modifying at your own risk and do so with a sense of responsibility. Understand that these blasters can become harmful to others and users alike so please consider all those factors.

    That said, my blasters have never failed on me and are within acceptable rules and bounds in our game. Our mods (like me), ensure that the game is played safely.

    Best wishes to everyone! :)

  2. Agreed, we definitely need limits, but it really takes a blaster hitting over 90' flat to start making the sting level unreasonable to the common citizen 15yrs+. In combat sports, a bit of sting lasting up to 5 or so seconds from a point blank shot is only to be expected, but is really the least of our problems as long as it's just that minor while we accumulate bruises and scrapes from diving and rolling into and out of cover crashing into things.

    Play to have fun. Feel free to mod, just don't go too crazy, don't cater to crybabies - just keep it reasonable.

  3. Mods really are not that expensive. I myself run a nerf raider with the Orange Mod Works kit which is like 30 bucks and is quite a bit of fun installing because it is something relatively cheap to tinker with. For most nerf guns, the stock locks and the such actually impair the funtionality and cause alot more jams because they are put in after the fact and poorly.