So much for my Pressure is Better article.
Being curious about Target, which used to carry one of the best selection of Super Soaker and Water Warriors brand products, now stocks their seasonal shelving with Nerf Super Soaker and Flood Force-brand water guns.
For 2015, Nerf Super Soaker appears focused solely on style and pump-action-type water blasters. The Flood Force brand, made by SwimWays Corp., offers some fairly decent-sized water guns that actually use air pressure to create their streams! Might this be another good alternative brand to check out?
While pressurized, the products, themselves, just had a cheap vibe about them. Though perhaps subjective on my part, the packaging looks cheap and the plastic on the Flood Force models felt lacking. Moreover, while untested at the store, I noted how the trigger on these pressurized blasters move in an arcing motion (not sliding), suggesting to me that these may use a pinch-trigger valve (this has not been confirmed). Nevertheless, the early Super Soakers did well with their pinch-trigger systems so I picked up the two largest Flood Force water blasters for testing.
Above is a picture of the Flood Force Hurricane. Retailing for $19.99 USD, this is a good-sized blaster. Slightly longer and definitely taller than a Water Warriors Renegade and Super Soaker Max-D 6000, the Hurricane feels somewhat light for its size (the older blasters weight at least ~750g while the Hurricane weighs in a 604g).
Trying to allay my suspicions, after taking pictures and measuring some stats, I headed over to fill this blaster and test it out. Its rather opaque reservoir made it tricky to determine the optimal level to fill, but I figured as long as I left a reasonable amount of air space in the reservoir, I could test this baby out. Noting this was a pressurized reservoir system, I ensured the reservoir cap was fastened securely (but not overtightened).
Then I started pumping…
Was I pumping?
Well, I was moving the pump rod. That was certain. However, each pump stroke offered so little resistance, I feared the seal was broken. I loosened the reservoir cap slightly to see if I had built any pressure. It hissed so I re-tightened it. Ok, I was building pressure, but the Hurricane’s short pump stroke would mean it would take awhile to build good pressure for testing.
Just need to pump it up a little more, right?
Well, as I continued to pump, I began to hear more hissing. Did I not tighten the cap properly? The cap was fine – the hissing was emanating from the body of the blaster. The heck? But no water was coming out, yet. And, of course, the more I pumped, the more hissing occurred. Was the pressure release valve already activating?
Heck with that, I pulled the trigger. It took a moment for the internal tubing to fill, then the stream emerged. To say I was underwhelmed by what I saw next would be an understatement. While the box says the Hurricane can blast up to 28′, I felt I could already see a downward arc in the stream within a few feet. Given the minimal amount of pressure this water gun could build, I am uncertain the stream would reach 20′ on a good day. I will do range testing on this blaster, but am not holding my breath that this would be a spectacular performing item. In fact, this is the sort of pressurized water gun that makes the 2015 Nerf Super Soaker line look good!
And I am still in disbelief I just typed that last line.
Do I think the Hurricane I’m testing is merely defective? Hard to say for certain, but its mechanisms do appear to be working consistently. Once pressure in the reservoir had dropped enough, the internal hissing stopped, suggesting that it was from some pressure release valve. However, the reservoir still had pressure since, unscrewing the reservoir cap, more pressurized air hissed out. Depressurizing, then repressurizing the system, the internal hissing began again as I pumped frantically trying to increase its operating pressure. Of course, at that point, the blaster also began dripping water from its body, also indicative of a pressure release valve.
While I do plan to finish testing the Flood Force Hurricane, this item showed me I was wrong in my “Pressure is Better” statement. A pressurized water gun is only better when it can achieve enough pressure and is designed well enough to use its pressure well. As for the Flood Force brand? I picked up both the Flood Force Hurricane and Flood Force Tsunami. I’ll test both, but have no desire to test any more of these water guns unless they make some MAJOR improvements.