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The Nerf Vortex Vigilon (starting at $16) is one of the newest additions to Nerf's arsenal of foam weaponry. This blaster launches green foam discs using long-range technology that sends them flying up to 50 feet, according to one user who posted a Nerf Vortex review at Toys R Us. The Vortex Vigilon features a drop-down clip that accommodates five discs at a time and a disc eject for clearing jams.
Our tester, an 8-year-old girl, initially seemed intimidated by the Vortex Vigilon, wondering aloud if it would be "weird" for a girl to play with it. At 14 inches long, the blaster was a bit unwieldy, and she needed both hands to cock the gun before firing. She quickly got over her trepidation once she started a round of target practice, aiming at outdoor cushions on patio chairs. Soon she was hunting down discs all over the yard and pleading for "one more try" until, with a cheer of jubilation, she hit her target dead-center.
Both the size and the nature of the Vortex Vigilon make it inappropriate for smaller kids. Despite the vibrant color scheme, which screams toy, this is a sophisticated piece of faux artillery. Nearly every Nerf Vortex review we found on the Amazon and Toys R Us websites was written by an adult male -- either a man who regularly engaged in organized Nerf warfare or a father who had appropriated his child's toy. One such user posting on Amazon likes the range of the gun but notes that it fires on the slow side and the trajectory of the discharged ammo is erratic. Our child tester couldn't have cared less about the firing speed but did comment that the discs flew everywhere and could be hard to track down.
The Nerf Vortex Vigilon is an impressive toy designed as much for grown-ups as it is for children 8 and up. It can be plenty of fun, especially when used in groups and in conjunction with other Nerf weapons. If you are uncomfortable with the idea of letting children play with toy guns, this will not be your cup of tea. That said, it is a good choice for active tweens who enjoy marksmanship and the strategy of war games.