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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Simple Drumming Truth: Sticks Beat Drums

Pictured: 126 Darts worth of CS-18, 105 Darts worth CS-35.
Greetings Nerfers of all stripes.  It's been a while but I hope you all still remember where to sit for story time.

Today we are talking about magazines, N-strike magazines in particular.  What I carry, why I carry it, and why I don't carry something else.

My standard loadout includes five CS-18 magazines, one in the blaster, four in my rig.  This totals up to right at 90 darts for my Stampede, ready to use.  I could carry a great deal more by adding pouches onto the PALS space on my rig, but I find that five mags was plenty at the church we used to play at.  And so far the same has held true in the little yard wars we hold in our community, even with the higher hit count.

Back at the church wars however, I ran a CS-35 drum and three CS-18 mags.  It didn't make much difference, but I've had time to tinker and refine my loadout since then.  And I have found that drums are horribly inefficient, and unreliable due to the nature of the spring used in them.  They are also both heavy and bulky for the amount of darts that they make available to the player using them.

The bulk is a problem both in game and in storage.  A pair of drum mags, in their most efficient arrangement in a storage box, take up the same storage space as seven CS-18 mags.  That's not space on a rig, that's space in storage or in a backpack on the field.  72 darts vs 126 darts.  It's not just a problem of storing them either, integrating them into your loadout can also be a pain.  In its thinnest dimension (front to back) the drum is as thick as a stack of four CS-18's.  If the player were willing to carry that bulk on their thigh, they could be carrying a stack or two of four mags, or carry the same darts in half the bulk.

CS-18's are quite simply the better bet.  Drums are big impressive and intimidating, but until somehting better comes along the CS-18 mag is king of the battlefield.


  1. Hey, you give drums too little credit. If you've got smaller darts, they feed better than anything else and have much higher capacity, meaning you can have 2x sustained fire as compared to 18s. That isn't always necessary, but it is situationally useful.

    1. Funny, the worst feed problems I've ever had have been from drum mags. Carrying multiple drums is neccesarily far more bulk than any amount of sticks, since you can stack at most two in a pouch ans still be able to reasonable get to them, which is at a minimum four times as thick as a stick, and nearly twice as wide. I could carry 4 mags, in slightly more than twice the vest real estate, and not be as bulky.

  2. Seconded on the drums. I have 6, they are fit only for static defence positions, I like the new 25, it's very smart, but even with mega maintainance, they are not as reliable as sticks. There is a reason that stick mags are the norm in firearms, even with their robust ammunition!
    I too have plenty of storage on my rig, I have capped myself at 6.



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