There really isn’t any other show out there like SHOT. And I love attending whether it’s as an exhibitor or media (I’ve had the opportunity to do both in the past). 2015 was no exception. But having said that, this wasn’t a groundbreaking year for the firearms industry. Although there were a lot of very cool things, this was a year of little tweaks and smaller debuts from the major players. The innovation seemed to be coming from smaller companies rather than the usual suspects like Glock or Springfield. Although HK’s VP9 would surely have made a splash had it been released at the show, it’s been about six months since that release and (although I absolutely love the gun) I don’t associate it with SHOT 2015, which is the reason it isn’t included here. Similarly, if I covered something in the recent Media Day article (here), it probably isn’t featured again.
This week was full of awesome new gear, great food, and cool people, but here are some of the things that really grabbed my attention (the order is made up and the points don’t matter):
Korth Sky Marshal
Since this was originally supposed to be #7 on the Media Day list, I’ll lead off with the Sky Marshal. Korth puts out some of the best revolvers you’ve probably never heard of, but they tend to be a little pricey (like $3k). This model is unique not just because it’s a 9mm with a spring loaded extractor that doesn’t require moon clips, but also because its debuting at an MSRP of $975. The machining is great, the trigger is smooth and clean, and the overall feel of the gun is very good. I’m not sure how common these are going to be, but it’s definitely on my short list for reviews this year. I want to get some rounds through one, so keep your eyes open for that later this year (I hope).
For more info, visit: http://www.korth-waffen.de/index.php?id=94&L=1
A lot of companies have tried to put out polymer lowers and I’ve not been impressed by them in the past, to be honest. But I think Robar has gotten it right on this one. With over 50,000 rounds through one of the test guns, it would be hard to say they got it wrong. The PolymAR-15 carbine weighs in at less than six pounds, with the newly-unveiled pistol variant coming in even lighter. The receivers are reinforced with 7075 aluminum in critical areas to prevent any breakages, and the BCG, trigger, and small parts are finished in Robar’s legendary NP3 coating. The current models are spec’d with a Diamondhead rail, which has a great feel to it, but the next round of them are going to come stock with a polymer handguard that handles heat well and brings the weight down to about 5 pounds. We’ll get some rounds through one as soon as possible and follow up on this one.
For more info, visit: www.robarguns.com
Primary Weapons Systems Enhanced Duty Slide (EDS) for Glock 17/19
Set to retail for $450 with Glock sights or $550 with the Trijicon HD night sights from the factory, I am really excited to get my hands on one of the EDS models later this year. And I’m not even a Glock fanboy. These 1704 billet stainless slides are finished in Ionbond DLC and feature front cocking serrations. But the real reason you should be interested is because they also provide an instantaneous trigger upgrade to ~4 pounds (with the standard Glock 5.5 pound connector) and are compatible with the factory barrel and spring.
For more info, visit: www.primaryweapons.com (more info on this should be up soon)
Wilson Combat BCM Gunfighter 1911
For those of you who know Wilson Combat, you’ll recognize this as a railed X-Tac with Wilson’s fantastic one-piece magwell. The finish is black Armor Tuff, and the grips are being manufactured especially for this gun by VZ Grips (the background is there for a reason). Overall, the gun handles extremely well and lines up with everything I’ve come to expect from Wilson Combat. BCM did a nice job with the specs, and I’m sure these will be gone pretty quickly. It’s available exclusively through BCM, though, so be sure to check their site if you’re interested.
For more info, visit: http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/category-s/198.htm
SilencerCo has obviously put a lot into their lineup for 2015, and it shows. These reviews will be some of the most fun we have in 2015, so keep your eye out for that. In the meantime, check out the Osprey series for your handgun calibers and the new Omega .30 cal suppressor (pictured above) for your 300 Blackout builds. These cans have some of the most innovative features out there, and they should sell quite well this year.
For more info, visit: http://www.silencerco.com/
Magpul has a lot coming for 2015. AK furniture, Glock magazines, a 60-round drum for 5.56, and a Remington 700 chassis and magazine setup. The AK furniture has a great feel and promises to be a hit (judging by the 5 million people who were in the booth at all times this week, it looks like it already is). The 700 stock is set to retail at roughly $260, and the magazines hold five rounds, but feature a score-able line on the follower that can be permanently modified to add one extra round of capacity. The magazine and everything needed to upgrade your existing 700 will also be available for roughly $70.
10-rounders are also “quite possibly” coming sooner rather than later. The magazines are AI compatible and will work with any 700 clones as well (Surgeon, etc.). So for all you bolt gun fans, keep your eyes peeled for this!
And there was a lot more from some other companies as well:
- Speer’s new Gold Dot G2 was finally unveiled officially, and it will be available in .45 ACP and .40 S&W very shortly as well (LE-“only” for now). Both are heavy-for-caliber bullet weights (like the 147 grain 9mm). The .45 will be a 230 grain projectile, and the .40 will weigh in at 180 grains.
- Taurus unveiled the Curve, which is an interesting concept. It’s a clip-on .380 that doesn’t require a holster and includes a laser and light up front. As the name implies, the Curve is rounded to prevent obvious printing when pocket-carried, and might be a decent option for people who have trouble hiding a carry gun.
- Colt is putting out their LE6920 AR’s in new camo patterns like ATAC, which is a little something different from the normal attire that “black guns” wear. The finish is hydro dipped, and looks nice if you want something in your safe that isn’t black. Just be sure not to drop it in the woods…
- Palmetto State Armory is now branching into the AK market. The prototypes appeared to be well-built and one of these might pair pretty well with some of the new Magpul furniture (which is also coming in some new colors, by the way…). The action on these guns felt good by AK standards, and the expected retail is somewhere in the neighborhood of the mid-$600s.
- Polycase ammo has an interesting concept for self-defense rounds that is a novel idea. Dubbed the Interceptor series, it features a solid ARX bullet with a “twist” profile that purportedly has a NASTY terminal effect on impact with a soft target. We’ll be testing some as soon as we have a chance, and we’ll see how it does against some industry standbys.
- Winchester Ammunition has expanded the Train & Defend lineup to encompass a .45 offering now, which I’m excited about. Gel testing and comparisons with Defend 9mm (and hopefully .45 as well) are in the works and will be up soon. With .45 Auto already being such a low-velocity round, the advertised velocity of 850 fps is right on par with standard 230 grain offerings, but the load was soft-shooting (for .45) and accurate.
- Sig Sauer’s lineup of silencers might be a hit as well. Everyone who went to Sig’s range day spoke really highly of them. The ones on display appeared to be built well, but I can’t fit anymore tax stamps into the review budget for this year…maybe next time!
- (Addition): Beretta is putting out a couple of cool things this year on the handgun side. Notably, the recent collaboration with Wilson Combat on the Brigadier Tactical is a gun that Beretta fans have been waiting on for years. And the new M9A3 (shown, at right) which includes a threaded barrel and a new tan finish, should be a very popular option when it hits the civilian market later in 2015.
Overall, SHOT 2015 was great, even without any huge releases. This promises to be a great year for Handgun Planet and the industry in general. And I am very lucky to be a part of it. Thank you for reading and making it possible. HP
Photos by author