When the original Super Soaker debuted in 1989, it changed backyard water wars forever. With a pressurized reservoir system, it could hold more water and shoot farther and more accurately than its dime-store squirt-gun competition. As the rest of the field played catch-up, Super Soaker tanks grew larger—the biggest topping one gallon—which made for more soaking but also long refill times. With a recent Super Soaker refresh, which includes the Switch Shot, designers worked to speed things up, ditching the tank for water-filled magazines.
The Switch Shot works like a syringe. Users snap a 20-ounce cartridge into the bottom of the gun and pull back the handle. This creates a vacuum that draws water from the cartridge. Pushing the handle forward closes a valve over the cartridge and sends water out the nozzle. The design makes for lighter, more easily refilled guns, the Nerf designers say. Is that enough for Super Soaker to remain king of the backyard? The results are mixed.
We pitted the Super Soaker against two powerful competitors: the Water Warriors Python 2 ($15), which uses a reservoir, and the Stream Machine TL-750 ($18), which uses a piston to draw water from a bucket or pool and fire it. To assess range, we fired each over concrete and noted the furthest drop. To test output, we shot into a bucket for three seconds. To determine accuracy, we counted how many tries it took to shoot a cup from 20 feet away.
Nerf Super Soaker Switch Shot
Clip capacity: 20 ounces
This article originally appeared in the July 2013 issue of Popular Science. See the rest of the magazine here.
Buzz Bee has put out several good blasters in the last few years, the highlights being the Orca, Vindicator, Vanquisher, Gorgon, and Colossus. (Not the Colossus 2, that one's fairly mediocre.) At the same time, Nerf has turned the Super Soaker brand from Hasbro's post-CPS medium pressurized blasters, to pre-Super Soaker motorized squirters and piston pumpers. Those magazines are worth dirt when they hold less than a pressure chamber's worth of water; you don't even have to "switch mags" on normal blasters since they hold 3 or 4 mags' worth of water in their reservoirs. In this case, the Python 2 holds 3 times the capacity of a Switch Shot mag. It is far faster to refill all this at once than to have to constantly swap mags.
Python 2 is on the weaker side of Buzz Bees' water guns, but could easily take out any of the garbage Nerf SS is putting out these days. Stream Machines are generally useless until you're at the lake/pool, where they are one of the best things to have.
Super Soaker lost it when they stopped bothering with the whole point of the Super Soaker brand: pressurization. They don't have a single pressurized blaster on shelves these days. Of course, if you have the money and buy water guns because they look cool instead of to actually drench people or play 1-hit-scores, CTF, etc. games with, then it doesn't really matter.
I don't see what is "mixed" about these results. Pretty clearly the SS is twice the cost and half the accuracy of its competitors. All other metrics show it is inferior to the .
Is there a possible conflict of interest or lack of disclosure here?
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