Sure everyone's got lists of rifles, pistols and ARs that debuted at SHOT. But we dig a little deeper to find some of the products you might not have seen or heard of that you just might not be able to live without in 2016.
Courtesy of the National Shooting Sports Foundation
I mean, with 60,000 visitors and 1,600 vendors packing three floors of exhibit space at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas, it is next to impossible to see everything at the annual SHOT Show in January. But hey man, that’s why we’re there — we can troll the halls and pop into some of the more out-of-the-way booths to find the proverbial diamonds in the rough that could make a difference in your shooting day.
So take a look at some of those awesome items you never saw at this year’s SHOT and decide whether it’s time to do a little shopping (tax refund anyone?).
Midland USA makes some pretty awesome communications equipment — stuff you think should come in bulky, government-spec’d packaging that could only fit in a Humvee. What Midland excels at is putting together the comms gear you need in a pinch, while making sure it doesn’t make you look like some kind of tinfoil hat wearing prepper. This year Midland has packaged together a few basic items for when the world goes pear shaped, you have a one-stop emergency kit to get back on the net with your family and find out what’s going on. The new E+Ready Kit leverages the list of essentials outlined by FEMA for use in an emergency and includes two of the company’s proven X-Talker EX37VP two-way radios, an emergency flashlight and a whistle-compass combo — all packaged up in a zippered case that can be stored easily in a closet or car. All of this for $49.
SureFire has always excelled at creating innovative ways to solve little problems in shooting that can sometimes have outsized consequences. This year the company is showcasing its new Warcomp. The cool thing about the Warcomp is that it not only eliminates flash by up to 99 percent (according to SureFire), but it also has ports drilled into it keeping the muzzle from rising during multiple shots. There are a lot of muzzle brakes and compensators out there, but not a lot that do both hide flash and defeat muzzle rise. The Warcomp also works as a mounting adaptor for SureFire’s SOCOM series of 5.56 suppressors, so make that three things the Warcomp can do in one small package. There’s also a 7.62 version for you bigger bore shooters. You can pick one of these up for your AR for around $150.
Gorilla Ammunition has made a name for itself in the world of 300 Blackout shooters who want quality loads optimized for shorter barrels and running suppressors. But new for SHOT, the company introduced its line of Silverback self-defense ammo in popular calibers, including .380, .45 ACP and 9mm. And don’t worry, you home-defense rifle shooters will have your 300BLK rounds as well. The key to the Silverback line is its copper construction and patented design that expands on impact into a star shape, creating a vicious wound cavity and a shock that kinda turns your stomach when you see it shot into jelly. The cool thing is that the 300BLK rounds not only work well for self-defense scenarios, but also retain their shape at longer ranges to make it an effective hunting round. Gorilla offers its Silverback line in a variety of bullet weights and prices, so check out the site to learn more.
Make one of the world’s first polymer 1911s, throw in just about everything a modern shooter could want in a self-defense or competition gun and make it cheap enough to sneak into the family “budget” so divorce papers aren’t served. That’s what American Tactical did with its newly released FXH-45. Featuring a polymer frame with two metal inserts for strength and durability, the FXH-45 has a lot of curb appeal with its stainless steel match barrel, adjustable skeletonized trigger, ported 416 slide and being red dot sight compatible. All of this for under $700.
Elite Survival Systems might be one of the best pack makers you’ve never heard of. While the company has a full lineup of tactical gear like pouches and soft holsters, it’s also made a swing into the discreet carry and transport trend. One of the more interesting packs they showcased at SHOT is the Covert Operations rifle backpack. Others have tried this before, but the thing that sets the Elite Survival offering apart is its sheer modesty. This thing looks like a slightly larger school book bag, but has all the attachments inside to secure and carry a broken down AR and all the goods that go with it. A company rep told us they’d gotten a request from a few law enforcement officers who live in condos in the suburbs of Saint Louis who didn’t want their tree-huggin’ neighbors eyeballing them when they took their long guns to the range. Given the post-Ferguson environment, Elite Survival responded and produced an awesome option for shooters who don’t want to scream “tactical” when they go for a little steel banging. The Covert Operations bag comes in at around $225.
Last year Sig Sauer launched its line of optics with great fanfare. The company promised to dominate the firearms market with everything from handguns, rifles and subguns with the ammo and sights to go along with them. Heck, they even made production-realistic airguns! But the company admittedly oversold its production capability on some of these lines, leaving retailers a bit short on stock. So at this year’s SHOT, Sig re-debuted its optics with many cool new options, including the Romeo 4C rifle red dot — this thing just drips cool. Featuring a 2 MOA center dot and a 65 MOA outer ring with hash marks, the Romeo 4C comes with a low-profile Torx mount. The Romeo 4C also has the added benefit of being both battery and solar powered, and it’s motion sensitive; meaning when you pick up your rifle to aim, the dot comes on. And at just under $500, how can you go wrong?
I know, don’t roll your eyes and click to another story. Another “grippy” inside the waistband holster that dispenses with Kydex and leather? Well, let’s just say the honcho of tactical product development at Blackhawk! was just as skeptical as you are when he first learned of this. But after trying it out for a week in the muggy summer of Virginia Beach, he was sold. Now Blackhawk! introduces the TecGrip holster that uses a specially designed material that grips to just about any surface and stays put. Tuck this into your waistband and work all day and your iron won’t move an inch. The TecGrip holster features a high-density closed-cell foam inner layer for comfort and fits a lot of different guns right off of the shelf. Blackhawk! also offers a model for pocket pistols — but be careful, when you take the holster out it’ll bring all of your pocket change with you. The TecGrip holsters are so new we don’t even have a price yet, but Blackhawk! has always brought a lot of bang for the buck, so it most likely won’t break the bank.