Remember sitting in class, chewing up a piece of paper to then blow through a straw? Essentially, this is the same thing. The Max Force Shadow Hawk 100 is a blot operated pump action sniper spitball gun.
Lifting the Max Force Shadow Hawk 100 from the packaging is a little like that scene in every thriller when someone flips open a case and starts assembling their sniper rifle.
The main body of the rifle comes in one piece, with an optional barrel extender and stock in the box. The parts twist together to make the rifle complete and we have to say that putting it together is pretty cool.
Having seen the success of Nerf, Max Force are using the tagline "graduate from foam", as their range of toys uses paper pellets. You don't just stuff them with a ream of A4 paper, but use special paper ammunition that you have to soak in water prior to use.
Of course, bolt and pump action sounds a little confusing. The bolt action loads the pellets from the magazine, whilst the pump action does the firing.
There is an 8-round magazine that you have to load with pellets. You can put them in dry and soak the whole thing in a bowl of water, or use the pellet holder and soak a whole load, so you can recharge your magazine while out of the house.
It's a simple enough process, but rather than being able to pickup and reuse the ammunition like you can with foam, you basically only get to use each pellet once. Hopefully when it hits the target it splats anyway.
So, once assembled and loaded, it’s time to put the Shadow Hawk 100 into action. You have to slide the blot forward and lock it down to ready the weapon. The pump slider is on the underside of the body of the rifle and firing the weapon involves pulling it back and releasing.
That's right, there is no way of storing that compressed air inside the rifle, so there is no trigger, it's just a case of pumping to fire. Being bolt operated, however, you need to work the bolt for each shot too, so this isn't the most rapid fire of weapons out there.
With a bolt action, bipod legs and a pretend scope, it has all the makings of a sniper rifle, but it's a little difficult to keep stable whilst pumping the slider on the bottom. We found that we were able to get a nice comfortable position, hold the slider back, aim and fire reasonably well though.
The great thing about the Shadow Hawk 100 is that you don't need the barrel extender on it if you don't want it. This makes for a much more compact toy, better suited for running around the place.
You also get a pair of yellow shooting glasses in the box and plenty of warnings not to fire it at people. You know that once you have this, firing it at your friends is pretty much all you'll do with it...
Max Force boasts a range of 100ft on the box, but in reality we struggled to get a pellet to travel this far in a straight line. Aiming through the sight is a little hit and miss and we had better success when we lined up the target looking along the top of the rifle.
Still, it's great fun, but you will have to buy plenty of ammo to keep yourself entertained and we suspect that the reusability of Nerf will see it as the more popular option.
Yours for £49.99.