Friday, January 17, 2014

SHOT Thoughts From Afar

SHOT Show 2014 is nearly over, and it seems to have been a fairly mellow year. Following news and blogs from the gun universe, it seems as if the show was rather business-as-usual (which ain't a bad thing).

Last year, the tone of the event was weird, down, and peppered with FUD. We had just started the fight against the ridiculous legislative efforts against the lawful firearms culture in America following the spree shootings in Aurora and Sandy Hook months before. The President had vocally come out against our industry, and the country had already launched into a full-blown buying panic over magazines, firearms, and ammunition.

Today, many states successfully passed laws against our lawful ownership, possession, and use of handguns, rifles, and shotguns but largely failed at the national level.

Black rifles are back in inventory, as are pistols, magazines, and accessories. Ammunition is coming back, but at even more exorbitant prices than before.

And gone is the day of the earth-shattering world changing industry-on-its-ear product launch.

The overall broadening of the gun industry has brought forward more options than ever for the recreational, hunting, and self-defense shooter. There is now, literally, something out there for every person and every budget.

Despite a number of big shakeups with companies moving out of states hostile to our culture and our corporate friends, things feel like they're moving forward rather than backward this year.

It feels like the "tactical" (grrr) market is maturing, firearm manufacturers are expanding their lines of carry-friendly pistols and revolvers, and the ├╝ber-hotness now is starting to orbit precision rifle chassis systems and AR-platform rifles in new and different calibers.

I'm happy to see Keymod handguards starting to pop up everywhere. That will be the next improvement to my "house" rifle and I'm rather excited for that.

I can think of four new pistols which aught to be interesting to hold, shoot, and talk about with friends as clients:

• The Glock 42 brings .380 ACP into the US for that manufacturer and will certainly add some pep in the caliber's acceptance over here. Overall reception of the diminutive Glock have been positive.

• The Remington R51 gained a lot of attention for resurrecting a decades-old design and modernizing it for the 21st Century, and doing so at a price most can afford if they choose to go that route. It also helps to validate 9mm as a viable "carry" caliber for civilian personal protection.

• The Springfield XDs-9 4.0 expands that manufacturer's already-popular lineup with a modern alternative to carrying a Commander-length 1911. I expect I'll see a fair number of these in class later this year.

• Smith & Wesson's Bodyguard .380 slots itself somewhere between the LCP and the new Glock, and improvements to the gun largely seem to be focused on adding "M&P" aesthetics (to leverage a popular internal brand) and removing the gimmicky built-in laser that seemed to be more problematic than useful.

The competitive and target shooting worlds seem to be getting more and more attention, as well. Several AR-platform rifle manufacturers are now offering dedicated 3-Gun ready rifles and shotguns at reasonable price points, and the sport has exploded in popularity. This is great for all of us as it will invariably turn more gun owners and Internet ninjas into actual shooters, helping to normalize sporting firearms use and gun ownership in general.

As previously reported, a big part of me wishes I could have been there. There were dozens of newsworthy and interesting developments in the biz revealed at SHOT this year I don't have time to fit into this post, so keep your ears to the ground and don't forget to tune in here for thoughts and opinion on local, national, and industry news!

- Posted from somewhere on this big blue marble.

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