The Gear: Vortex Proton
That basic pistol was the perfunctionary single shot Vortex disc spinner. Armed with three discs, and a single shot mechanism, I managed to reduce my ammo count to two within minutes of firing the thing in a closed space the size of a shoe box (couches, the eternal nemesis of the nerf pistol). In all honesty, for the first few matches, I’d roll up with the Proton for the express purpose of returning fire at the disc using players with their own ammo. It was a case of sporting behaviour – I felt it was polite to give the enemy their limited edition ammunition back as conveniently as possible. Once the modding started, I was able to do a spring load switch – moving the firing spring back, getting a little extra punch, and generally adding some distance to a mid level blaster.
That said, I wasn’t that impressed by the performance of the blaster until we had a lot more players running Vortex, and a lot more Vortex ammunition in the field during a match. At that point, the blaster suddenly turns from mild annoyance to serious support. Although it’s a single shot, it’s a very easy prime and fire mechanism, which means you can advance down a CTF field picking up stray discs, and firing from kneeling or crouched stances. The Proton has a shallow curve to the shot (see the video), so you can either lead a target slightly, or fire a slight decoy shot to distract your target, and let the faster firing N-strike darts of your team mate get the tag.
For a pistol round, bring a 10 or 20 clip, and just sweep a single disc off the top of the clip to load and fire. It’s not a solo weapon, and you need a Praxis or Nitron to get real value from it.
Modded: Adding a new spring from Black Tactical gives it significant punch, whereas winding the spring back inside also makes a nice shift to the speed (if not the range)
Summary: Limited value if you’re the only Vortex player. As a pick-up and fire blaster for pistol rounds, or late in a big Nerf match where there’s discs all over the map, it’s a handy support weapon, although holstering is proving difficult – leave it by the flag or at a safe capture point and come back when it’s low-ammo clip or pick up and fire time.