Have you ever wondered at what distance most of the hits occur in our engagements? I have. If you're like me, you've also noticed that there's an inherent dilemma in the way we (hydrowar, isoaker, most submissions and forum posts) measure the range of a blaster. We eyeball where it hits the ground and then measure the distance from the blaster's nozzle to this point which we hopefully got right.
But can you actually hit someone this far away from you? After all, hitting the ground would be akin to hitting someone's shoes, at best enough to push someone back but not enough to hit someone or soak them. There are other factors which influence how far away you can hit someone, such as blaster length and ergonomics. I think these two factors are often overlooked, so I decided to do some tests.
My goal in this was to actually see how far away from yourself you could actually hit someone. I want to reiterate that, the focus here is how far away from the player you can make hits, not how far away from the nozzle. Hits on your chest, head, and shoulders count, while hits on your gun do not, so the key here is to be able to hit someone as far away from the body as possible, not the nozzle.
So, I did some tests.
XP 310 large nozzle fired at 45 degrees, fired with 2 hands nozzle
shot sailed overhead 30 ft/9.14m
head shot 34 ft/10.36m
chest shot 37 ft/11.28m
thigh shot 38 ft/11.58m
shins/ankes 39 ft/11.89m
XP 310 large nozzle fired at 45 degrees, fired one handed with arm extended
shot sailed overhead 32ft/9.75m
head shot 35 ft/10.67m
chest shot 39 ft/11.89m
thigh shot 40 ft/12.19m
shins/ankles 41 ft/12.5m
Extending the arm and firing with only one hand does seem to increase the distance at which you can hit someone. If your opponent was 11-12m away there's a good chance they could dodge your shot by simply stepping back if you're firing with 2 hands, but if you extend your arm they will not be able to do this and must dodge left or right. I have seen Rob get lots of kills this way with the 150 and I think it's why he's so elite with the 150; although the blaster itself doesn't shoot nearly as far as a CPS he can easily make up for that range by firing with one arm (he seems to push off or lunge and then step back as well). This technique would be much more difficult to do with a Vindicator, Gorgon, due to the ergonomics or with a mostly filled mid-heavy cps due to the weight. I seem to have more problems doing this with the 150 than Rob does, something about the weight all being on top throws me off, which brings us to another lesson, ergonomics matter, but they differ from person to person.
We tested a Water Warriors Blazer also.
Blazer second largest nozzle fired at 45 degrees, fired one handed with arm extended
shot sailed overhead 33ft/10m
head shot 36 ft/11m
chest shot 40.5 ft/12.34m
thigh shot 42 ft/12.8m
just shins 43 ft/13.1m
The Blazer can make hits at generally 2 feet further than the 310 which is no surprise considering the normal range test yielded about the same results. What is interesting, however, is that the drop off in range was not as steep with the Blazer (16% less), probably due to the larger nozzle size and more constant pressure. With that being said, there is one thing that these stats do not show, and that gets us back to the previous paragraph - ergonomics. At 36 ft/11m 2 shots completely missed me before one was even landed. The Blazer's center of gravity is much closer to the front of the blaster than the 310's. The Vindicator is like this as well, but the effect is even more extreme due to the location of the handle/pistol grip. What this means when it comes to battle use is that your control over the Blazer is much less than your control over the 310 when you fire with only one hand. Moving your arm right or left will cause the Blazer to swing right or left more severely than with the 310, thus your shots will be less accurate. My opponent found a way around this in battling by simply holding down the trigger and firing short streams or bursts rather than tap shots. Since the Blazer is HP you can get away with this and the end result was more hits than when firing tap shots. This technique was not as effective with the 310 which lost pressure quicker so tap shots still seemed the way to go. It would be interesting to see if someone with good arm strength, like say SEAL, was more accurate than someone with less arm strength, like me. Accuracy has a number of contributing factors, but against a stationary target at max range I would assume that someone with a stronger arm would be able to score more hits (tap shots only) due to being able to hold the blaster steadier.
One last demonstration involved seeing if a longer blaster really gave you an advantage. I already basically knew the answer to this, but the difference between blaster range and "combat range," or how far away from you you could hit someone was directly related to the length of the weapon. For instance, the Arctic Blast has a stock range of 35 feet/10.67m on the stream setting. This was only extended to 38.5 feet/11.73m "combat range." The XP Pool Pumper Blaster, on the other hand, had a stock range of 39 feet/11.89m and a "combat range" of 44.5 feet or 13.72m. The length of the arm showed no real difference in the "combat range" of a blaster between someone 5'8 testing and someone 6'1 testing.
Anyway, just wanted to share this. There's a lot to think about.