The Rough Cut 2x4's priming mechanism.

A priming mechanism (sometimes shortened as priming mech) is a mechanism seen on all non-electric blasters.


Priming mechanisms differ from blaster to blaster. Many earlier blasters like N-Strike blasters use a spring-based priming mechanism on non-clip system blasters. These spring-based priming mechanisms use a return spring to pull the priming mechanism back into place, however, in non-clip system blasters, this means that the user can pull the priming mechanism back after priming, except that it is not going to pull back a plunger, meaning that it moves faster. Newer blasters, use either a priming mechanism with a lock that locks the priming mechanism in place or a gear and rack system, where a set of gears and gear racks move back a plunger.


Modification of priming mechanisms sometimes involves attaching some sort of material such as cloth or higher-grit sandpaper for easy gripping. This is especially useful when the prime weight has been increased via modification and the blaster is harder to prime.

Some modifications use a 3D-printed pump that connects to the slide, and makes the plunger pump-action, something usually done on slide/bolt-action blasters such as the Retaliator and Longshot CS-6.

There are metal aftermarket replacement hammers that can replace the stock hammer, and usually come with a replacement catch as well. They are more ergonomic and durable than the original plastic hammers.




The SledgeFire, an example of a break-action blaster.

Break-action, also known as hinge-action, is a style of priming where the blaster is either two halves, or the barrel can open; Darts are loaded inside, and the half or barrel is moved back into place. Some blasters, such as the Alpha Strike Lynx SD-1, ShellStrike DS-6, and X-Shot Vigilante feature break-action but have a separate means of priming. These blasters actually use a pump-action or slide-action priming mechanism, while the break-action part of the blaster is simply for chambering darts/shells and not actually for priming the blaster's plunger.


Elite Longshot

The Longshot CS-6 (Elite Repaint variant), an example of a bolt-action blaster.

Bolt-action is a style of priming where a bolt, usually located on both sides of a blaster, is pulled back and forth, similar to a "straight-pull" bolt-action firearm. Many blasters that are bolt-action are "sniper"-like blasters. Most bolts arrive with the blaster disassembled to save packaging space and are not usually designed to be detachable without modification, although there are some exceptions. For example, blasters such as the Helios XVIII-700 may have bolts that can be swapped from one side to the other.



The Jupiter XIX-1000, an example of a turn-bolt-action blaster.

Turn-bolt, also known as turn-pull, is a variant of bolt-action that is akin to the more common "turn-bolt" design used on most bolt-action firearms. When it comes to blasters, however, it is not as common as straight-pull bolt-action. It requires the bolt to be flipped upwards before priming, and locked back down after priming. Additionally, these blasters are more likely to have the bolt on only one side of the blaster. When compared to "regular' bolt-action, turn-bolt-action blasters usually are more cumbersome to cycle and have slower manual rates of fire. One small benefit, however, is that by collapsing the bolt down, the blaster's width can be decreased slightly, although this is not always the case. The only turn-bolt style Nerf blaster is the Jupiter XIX-1000. Turn-bolt blasters are more common in other brands such as the Buzz Bee Predator or the Adventure Force Alpha Rogue.


Dude Perfect Bow

The Signature Bow, an example of a bow-action blaster.

Bow-action is a style of priming that works like a bow. Some bow actions are similar to crossbows, while others are similar to normal bows and do not have a trigger. Bow action blasters are usually string-powered or plunger operated.


Nerf Rebelle Diamondista blaster

The Diamondista, an example of a crossbow-action blaster.

As its name suggests, crossbow-action is a style of priming found on many crossbow-esque blasters. Similar to bow-action, the user has to manually pull back the blaster's string to prime it. The main difference is that the string runs horizontally instead of vertically.



The SlingStrike, an example of a slingshot-action blaster.

Slingshot-action is a style of bow-action that functions more like a slingshot than a bow, in that a string or elastic must be pulled back and released. Unlike traditional bow-action, slingshot-action usually requires pulling on a tab attached to the string instead of pulling the string itself. Slingshot-action blasters are mostly string-powered.



The Voidcaster, an example of a dual-action blaster.

Dual-action, or double-action is a style of priming where the trigger pulls back the plunger, and releases it. As a result, there is a lot of force required to pull the trigger, and has a low muzzle velocity, which is around 50 to 60 FPS. Additionally, most dual-action blasters have larger or longer triggers to facilitate the trigger pull required. Dual-action blasters are often marketed as "no-prime" blasters, since priming is automatically done while pulling the trigger. Due to the relatively heavy trigger weight, some blasters, such as the Snapfire 8, allow the user to manually adjust the spring's length to make the trigger pull lighter, with the cost of the blaster being less powerful. Like hammer-action, dual-action blasters can be easily dual-wielded, since an individual blaster only requires one hand to prime and operate (reloading, however, is a different story). The priming mechanism has only been seen on four Nerf blasters: the Snapfire 8, the DartFire, the Nailbiter and the Voidcaster.



The Negotiator, an example of a hammer-action blaster.

Hammer-action is a style of priming where a hammer is used. Hammer-action is most effective when dual-wielding, due to the fact that hammers are easier to use with one hand than other priming types. Most hammer-action blasters use a trigger that is the catch itself. Hammer-action was first used by the Hammershot.



The SlingFire, an example of a lever-action blaster.

Lever-action is a style of priming where the user pulls back a lever, and pushes it back. In some cases, it can be dual-wielded if the user pulls back the lever with one hand, while balancing the blaster as well. Levers are usually located under the grip, in the case of the SlingFire and the Scravenger, but blasters such as the Diatron have a lever mounted on the side. Most lever-action blasters do not feature slam fire, as the user's finger cannot press the trigger easily while working the lever. The Scravenger however, is an exception to this, as it features a switch that can toggle the slam fire on and off; when the switch is on, slam fire is achieved by rapidly priming the blaster without needing to press the trigger.



The Breakflip, an example of a flip-action blaster.

Flip-action is a type of priming very similar to lever-action, where the handle is pushed forward and back to prime the blaster. The only current flip action blasters are the Breakflip, the Flipbow and the Whipblast, all of which are BOOMco-branded blasters. There are no Nerf-brand flip-action blasters. Flip action blasters are easier to slam fire than lever-action blasters, as the user's finger can still stay on the trigger when priming. As a result, most flip-action blasters have slam-fire built into them. Depending on the design, flip-action blasters may be primed by rotating the handle clockwise or counter-clockwise first, and returning the handle to the original position.


Atlas red

The Atlas XVI-1200, an example of a pump-action blaster.

Pump-action is a style of priming where the user pulls back and forth a slide or a grip. It is easier to use than most priming types, as the hand can simply rest on a slide or grip, and will not block view if a hand is holding a slide and the user is attempting to look at a scope. As a result, pump-action is one of the fastest priming mechanisms. Most modern pump-action blasters have a slam fire feature. Pump-action is also common on HAMP-action blasters.

Pump grip

TwinShock new orange trigger

The TwinShock, an example of a pump-action blaster with grip.

A pump grip is a style of pump-action that has a vertical or otherwise-shaped grip. They are easier to slam fire because of their grip. Some pump grip blasters have adjustable grips, such as the Doominator.


Tristrike stock

The Missile Launcher Stock, an example of a stock-action blaster.

Stock-action is a type of pump-action where the priming handle is built into an extending and retracting stock (or otherwise rear-positioned priming-piece). While it has little in common with traditional pump-action, it still retains the "pump" movements required to prime the blaster, where the priming handle must be moved backwards and forwards. Additionally, it could be thought of as similar to pump-action, due to having to move the rest of the blaster instead of the stock in a pump-action manner. Stock-action is primarily used on air tank and HAMP blasters, such as the Titan AS-V.1 and the Missile Launcher Stock.



The Disruptor, an example of a slide-action blaster.

A slide is a style of slide-action priming that is is similar to pump-action. However, slides are usually located on the top of the blaster and not underneath. It is slightly less effective than pump-action, as there is usually no good place for the user to rest their hand on, however, it allows the blaster to have a more compact size.



The IonFire, an example of a breech-loaded and primed blaster.

A breech is a style of slide-action priming where the breech is opened by sliding it backwards, having a dart loaded or inserted, and sliding it back. Breech-priming has been criticized in some blasters, as most breech-loading blasters have a low rate of fire, and, in some breech-loading blasters like the IonFire, it forces the user to bend the dart to load in all the way. Breech-action blasters act very similar to the way clip system blasters chamber darts, as they feature a breech and a dart tooth. Some breech-action blasters have multiple chambers, like the DoubleBreach. Additionally, some breech-action blasters may have different priming mechanisms, such as pump-action, to open the breech.

Plunger rod


The Trilogy, an example of a plunger rod slide-action blaster.

A plunger rod is a style of slide-action priming where a blaster's priming handle is fixed to the blaster's plunger rod, and is pulled back and locked into place. It has only been seen on blasters with a direct plunger. All external mechanism blasters use this method of priming. Most plunger rods have a hole or hook to pull back with a single finger, while others have two small handles to prime with two fingers. Unlike other priming mechanisms, this type of priming does not slide forward, as the plunger rod is fixed with the plunger head. Thus, blasters with plunger rod styles of priming cannot slam fire, although they can be bow-fired. The plunger rod handle also serves as an effective priming indicator.


  • Flywheels can be considered the priming mechanism-equivalent of flywheel blasters.
  • The correct term for the action of priming a blaster would be to "cock" or "charge" the blaster. However, the term "prime" is technically not erroneous, because in blasters, the action of "priming" usually generates the power required to fire the projectile, rather than purely chambering a new projectile.
    • Some blasters' packaging refer to the method of priming as "cocking" as well. The Stockade's packaging markets the blaster as a blaster that does not require "cocking", as the blaster is semi-automatic.
  • In real firearms, slide-action and pump-action are used synonymously when referring to an underhand charging mechanism.
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