Monday, January 28, 2019

Reflections On The SHOT Show

This year's SHOT Show felt different than in years gone by. It may have been because I have attended a few of them and the mystique is gone. It could also be because there didn't seem to great excitement about new introductions which were few and far between.

If anything, this year's SHOT Show could be characterized as the year of the line extension. This was a common theme I heard from multiple people and sources. For example, CZ-USA has expanded their striker fired line of pistols from just the compact P-10C to add a full size P-10F. Conversely, FN expanded their FN 509 line to include a compact model. Even Hi-Point came in with a more compact version of their pistol.

Industry Day at the Range could be called the year of high winds. While not cold, there was a constant wind that increased throughout the day. Wind speeds were in the 20 MPH and higher. Other than shooting a bolt action Savage in .224 Valkyrie early in the day, I really didn't shoot anything at longer ranges. I will say the .224 Valkyrie seemed to do OK in the wind as I was on target at 780 yards.

I did get to shoot the new Mossberg MC1sc pistol. They said distributors had already purchased their entire first run of these subcompact 9mm pistols. The distinctive feature of the Mossberg is the take-down. Unlike some striker fired pistols, you don't pull the trigger for take-down but rather first remove the back plate and then the striker. Once you've done this, you can remove the slide and barrel. The MC1sc is meant to compete with the S&W Shield, the Glock 43, the Springfield XD-S, and the Ruger LC9s. Retail is in the $425 range with lower prices probably available. The Mossberg was a decent gun. However, my feeling is that most people would rather go with a pistol at the same or lower price from a company that has been making pistols for years.

I also got to shoot the Seismic 180 grain 9mm cartridge. The rep had me fire three rounds of regular 115 grain ammo followed by three rounds of the new Seismic 180 grain ammo. Despite the difference in weight, they felt about the same. The 180 grain cartridge is subsonic so I'm sure it will have a market from those who want to shoot 9mm suppressed. Tam has a good review of the round at RecoilWeb.

Paul Lathrop of the Polite Society Podcast had asked me to check out the new Kel-Tec KS7 bullpup shotgun. I did and wasn't wowed by it. The loading gate on the shotgun has such sharp edges that it cut my finger while I was loading it. The supposed advantage is the length. For the price of $475, I thing you could do much better with a new or used Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 with an 18-20 inch slug barrel. Kel-Tec also introduced their CP-33 .22 LR pistol. The key feature is that it has a quad stack magazine. The CP-33 is a large pistol but was easy to shoot, accurate, and the quad stack magazine fed flawlessly.

The Supplier Showcase was on Monday and Tuesday. It featured suppliers to the industry ranging from raw materials to parts to subcontractors. The raw materials included everything from nylon webbing to steel barrel blanks. A couple of vendors caught my eye for different reasons. Toolcraft makes high quality AR bolt carrier groups. I didn't realize until I talked with them that their plant is about 30 miles away from home. The other vendor that caught my eye was RCC Brass. They manufacture brass using CNC machines and can make any obsolete, wildcat, or bench rest grade brass that you desire. If you have the measurements, they can make it. It is not cheap - about $5 per piece - but it might be the only option for some guns. Moreover, if you want brass made to the exact chamber dimensions of your firearm, they can do it.

Finally, NSSF and the SHOT Show are making a great effort to give new vendors a chance to show their wares. They had what they called the Pop-Up Preview on Wednesday in a separate ballroom. Vendors had small booths compared to the regular show but they were larger than the Next Level booths. The SHOT Show will also be adding two new exhibit locations over the next two years - MGM Grand in 2020 and the new Caesars expo in 2021.

The SHOT Show gave me a chance to see a lot of old friends from both industry and media. I also made new friends such as Lara of the Liberal Gun Club and Craig of C4 Defense. I was fortunate to have David Yamane of the GunCulture 2.0 blog as my roommate. I couldn't have asked for a better roommate as we had a lot of good times together. Ultimately, for me, the SHOT Show is about the people and not the product and there were a lot of good people in Las Vegas this past week.

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