Firearms industry media from all over the world converged on Boulder City, NV to get their hands on the latest and greatest offerings the firearms industry has to offer.
SHOT Show 2014 is officially upon us. Monday just wrapped up with an eventful media day. Influential media, industry leaders and partners from all over the world converged on Boulder City, NV to get their hands on the latest and greatest offerings the firearms industry has to offer. The Guns & Tactics Team was there in full force to scope it all out. Here is a brief summary of some of the manufactures we visited…
Glock was represented by the one and only R. Lee Ermey (Gunny). They had two new offerings to shoot. The G41 and the G42. The G41 is chambered in .45 ACP while the G42 utilizes the smaller .380 round. The G41 is a G21 SF frame with a longer slide and fills the hand nicely. In contrast the G42 is significantly smaller and slimmer in the hand and would make for a very discreet carry gun. The G41 shoots very well thanks to the longer sight radius and recoil is tame due to the larger slide. The G42 is a bit snappier in the recoil department but is very manageable and controllable. The only issue I had with the G42 due to the small size of the frame is I constantly over rode the slide lock preventing the slide from locking to the rear after the last round was fired.
Caracal was represented by J.J. Racaza and had two offerings to look at. Surprisingly they didn’t have a pistol for media day. I spoke to them about this and asked about the recent recall of their C series of pistols. They assured me they have fixed the internal issues that caused the recall, while maintaining the same frame and the same ergonomics and everything that was desirable about the first one while increasing the safety measures and added features the end users wanted such as deeper serrations for a deeper more positive grip and a dove tail rear sight.
They also featured a new (sorta) offering called the CC10 which was unveiled last year at SHOT. During that time Caracal went through a merger that placed all ongoing projects on review. The CC10 was one of them. It is now ready for release. It’s a 9mm carbine that was designed to be a plinking gun. It has a nice trigger, cross bar safety and pic rail along the top and will use the same magazines as their pistol family. It comes in a 16 inch barrel as well as a 10 inch barrel. The entire gun is made of composite materials and is very light weight and almost feels toy like. It has a bead type front sight and a ring aperture rear. It is a very soft shooting gun and very fun to shoot.
Lastly for Caracal, they had their impressive CS 308 long range rifle. This thing was a beast, but a really good looking beast. It is a bolt action rifle that is made entirely by Caracal in the U.A.E. It isn’t a light gun and with the optic weighed around 14 lbs. It is a sub MOA rifle that has an effective range of 600 to 800 meters and is fed from a 5 round detachable magazine. The 2-stage trigger was crisp and clean that has an adjustable weight and length of pull. It was currently adjusted for about 3.5 lbs. The muzzle brake on the 26.5 inch 1:12 twist barrel was tuned to the rifle and it was extremely effective in reducing the recoil expected from a .308. The stock has and adjustable length of pull, comb height and rake that is extremely easy to adjust.
Lancer showcased their new .308 magazine. It is a unique design that incorporated their polymer body coupled with wrap around steel feed lips that are laser welded to the polymer. We didn’t have the chance to shoot it, but it felt very solid and durable.
Adams Arms was showing off their new, ultra-light weight piston driven AR15 C.O.R. ultra lite rifle chambered in 5.56x45mm. It weighs in at a svelte 7.2 lbs without the optics. It has a rifle length gas system and a very effective muzzle brake. The gun felt a little top heavy but this was entirely due to the face it was topped with a Leupold MK6 scope. It was also fitted with the unique Diamondhead offset 45 degree BUIS. It also features its VDI ultra-lite barrel and low mass bolt carrier. Recoil was minimal for a piston gun. It shot well and is sure to become a favorite for 3-gunners.
IWI had lots of Tavors at their table. Nothing that seemed to be new, other than their green model. They did however have one of their 9mm conversion kits available which I shot. It was very fun to shoot and knocking down targets 50-yards was laughable. I asked them about caliber conversions such as the 5.45×39. They informed me the Soviet cartridge was put on hold in favor of the more desirable .300 blackout cartridge which will be available shortly. I tried to get them to spill the beans on a .308 Tavor and their X95 coming to our shores. They smiled and said they have some things in the works but would not confirm any of my questions regarding the .308 or X95. I also asked them about their trigger and if they would welcome the soon to be released trigger pack from Geissele Automatics. While they acknowledged Geissele as a fine manufacture, they said there is no plans to revise their trigger and that the installation of any aftermarket trigger or modification to the existing trigger would void the warranty.
HK had their MR556 SD and MR726A1 SD available to shoot. The HK booth was packed with folks wanting to get their hands on these guns. After a long wait, I finally had the chance to shoot the MR556 SD with the outstanding OSS suppressor. After shooting the MR556 I totally forgot it was a piston gun. The recoil felt more like a DI rifle and I think a lot of that had to do with the unique OSS suppressor. After talking to OSS owner Johnny Primiano he explained how the suppressor doesn’t trap the gasses, rather it captures and then releases them in a controlled fashion. The polygon shaped suppressor also reduces the mirage signature by over 80 percent. It also fits under the keymod rail which is a nice feature and reduces all muzzle flash. This system was one of my top highlights of the day.
I had a chance to shoot the Springfield XDs 9mm in both 3.3 and 4 inch options. Both were really nice to shoot and the red fiber optic really made picking up targets in the sunny desert landscape easy. They feed off a single stack magazine and would be ideal for deep concealment in an IWB holder. Like with the G42 I constantly over rode the slide lock which was a bit frustrating, but seems to be SOP for me when shooting smaller handguns. The 4 inch gun was easier to shoot as would be expected and the 3.5 inch version was still able to ring steel quickly.
One of the most well organized groups were the folks from Sphinx/Kriss Arms. They had a slew of Sphinx pistols and Kriss Vector .45 sub machine guns. Yes, you heard me, sub machine guns. As I had shot the Sphinx pistol prior to SHOT I was more interested in the Kriss Vector. I finally was able to get trigger time with a suppressed submachine gun and it was a treat. The recoil is very different thanks to its proprietary recoil mitigation system. I had the opportunity to do four mag dumps. While it isn’t as controllable as the bar setting MP5, it is still manageable when the fun switch is flipped.
I have been waiting to shoot a ARX100 for some time now. With its completely ambidextrous features to include magazine and bolt release, right or left handed eject and charging handle configurations and super-fast change barrels, it has a lot going for it. It has been a tease for the past couple years but now they promise it will be released this year. I also hand a chance to shoot it. While I only got about 20 rounds downrange, it felt good in the pocket. The recoil was sharp for a 5.56 but I am convinced if it had a good muzzle brake it would help significantly. They are also working a bunch of different calibers to include the 7.62×39 AK round and have the option to potentially use the AK magazine which of course would require a modified lower. Overall, I would like to spend more time with it, but I see this being very popular if it comes in at a reasonable price point.
I ran into Bob Faxon who was manning the Faxon Firearms booth and while he didn’t have a shooting range for media day, he will be available for buyers day. We talked extensively and discussed the changes for the ARAK21 in 2014. First, they will now be offering a complete rifle for 2014. The upper and lower will both be made out of 7075 billet aluminum. They have also upgraded their bolt to have duel ejectors which really throws the brass away from the gun. They are also working on getting their full auto upper to the market this year and are working on the upcoming ARAK31 which will handle larger caliber’s such as the .308.
Trijicon didn’t have anything new this year with the exception of the VCOG, which quite frankly is what I was interested in. As I have gotten older, 4X magnification doesn’t always seem to cut it. The 1-6 magnification of the VCOG is much better for my eyes. It is rugged, can be adjusted very easily, has clear glass and a bullet drop compensator. I had a chance to shoot with it atop an AR and it was a pleasure to work with. It didn’t feel that heavy either, even though it is built like a tank. It will have an MSRP of $2700.00. Trijicon also had a handful of custom Salient and Zev blasters topped with RMRs that were awesome to shoot. The green dot version of the RMR was much better for my eyes and really increased my follow up shots. Trijicon is also offering Cerakote coatings on many of their optics and even some ACOGs and RMRs with nickel boron plating.
TAC-CON has been one of the most talked about triggers on the market for the past few months. It is a BATFE, Non-NFA approved trigger that actually allows the user to switch the selector the 3rd position for a “Positive Reset Characteristic.” This means the hammer contacts the reset lever during the firing cycle, resetting the trigger and pressing the shooters finger forward. If the shooter has the right amount of trigger control the follow up shots are very rapid. With practice it can be done successfully and I was able to get two solid mag dumps using the trigger. Keep in mind the trigger is pressed ones for every shot. The unit is very well built, has nickel Teflon coated components and comes with the proprietary safety selector as well as a credit card sized letter from the BATFE stating it is not a restricted part. MSRP puts this trigger in the high end range of just under $500.00.
American Tactical Imports
American Tactical’s new OMNI hybrid multi-caliber lower was getting lost of attention. It is a polymer lower that is steel reinforced. It has an inter-lock hammer and trigger pin retainment system which prevents movement of the hammer and trigger pins during the firing cycle. It is lighter than a standard aluminum AR lower, but still maintains the steel reinforcement in the critical points of the buffer tube housing and rear take down pins. I shot about 100 rounds on this lower without incident and the weight reduction is very apparent.
The Surefire booth was slammed. I ended up hitting them up last when the lines had gone away. They had huge assortment of custom ARs, a tricked out Accuracy International .308 and custom pistols by Salient and Zev. The pistols had new weapon mounted lights. First was the new X300V which brings all the capabilities of the original X300 but now incorporates the ability to switch to an IR mode by simple twisting the bezel. They also introduced a new X400 with a green laser and it was mentioned they are working on a version that will incorporate an IR laser/Illuminator for use with night vision equipment. On the suppressor side of the house they had an assortment of .30 cal cans, but what really caught my attention was their new .22 can dedicated specifically for the commercial market. I shot an .22 dedicated AR with their new .22 suppressor attached to the end. The suppressor weighs next to nothing and it is vewy, vewy quiet. I know it will be a big hit in the commercial market because it is so darn fun.
Media Day ended with a beautiful sunset and good friends. It is time to get some rest and get ready for the chaos that will be SHOT SHOW on the convention center floor. Stay Tuned…