Thursday, January 19, 2012

SHOT Day Two

Spent most of my day on the second floor, which seems to be where SHOT's heavy hitters are.

I finally got a chance to look at a Ruger Scout rifle. Quality was good, and the action was smooth, but the sample I looked at had a noticeably canted front sight! From the looks of it, you might be able to fix it with the right tools, but for me it was a poor first impression.

Smith and Wesson's M&P .22 is now shipping. It has both a manual safety and a magazine safety. The former I can live with, but the latter is a deal breaker for a serious training handgun. This pistol also lacks the variable geometry grips available on the "real" M&Ps. Assuming the magazine safety can be disabled, this could be a still be useful for practice gun, at least until a conversion kit comes out for the full size M&P.

Ruger also has a new .22 pistol which is a departure in design from their very successful Mk1-Mk3 series. It's similar in appearance to the Walther P22.

Tactical Solution's .22 conversion for the Glock looks great. They are hoping to have others available in the future.

KelTec had an improved version of their KSG shotgun. The new KSG has two 7 round magazines which are manually selected. The pump mechanisms' tendency to pinch the shooter and short stroke have both been corrected. These are shipping now and have a lot of promise. I am making arrangements for a demo of this gun in Minnesota.

The neatest thing I saw in the shotgun market was Mossberg's new Flex system. Available for the 500 and 590 series, this system allows the user to change stocks and forends without tools. This is only available on new guns; unfortunately there are no plans to offer any retrofitting.

Mossberg also has a bolt action .223 varmint rifle which accepts AR15 magazines. I expect this will be extremely popular with coyote and prairie dog hunters.

At the Mossberg's booth I was assisted by none other than world record holder Jerry Miculek.

Safariland finally took my advice and is making a kydex shoulder holster for the J-Frame Smith & Wesson. Demonstrating this was the legendary Bill Rogers. While the holster was well designed, the harness left a lot to be desired. Hopefully this is corrected in the final product.

Speaking of holsters, Hogue, known for their handgun grips, has entered the holster market with a simple plastic design.

I met the folks from Mission First Tactical at Outbreak Omega last year, when most of their products were prototypes. Their line of AR15 accessories and furniture are now available and look great. Seems like like everyone is making AR15 adjustable stocks now. I saw new designs from Ace gunstocks, Safariland, ATI, Tapco, CAA, and many others. Most of them are clearly inspired by the Magpul CTR design.

I'll have some pics up on our Facebook page when I get back to Minnesota.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

SHOT Show, Day One

I spent all day today at the SHOT Show and got to see a lot of new stuff.Troy Industries has improved versions of their TRX Xtreme style rail, and is seeing competition in the lightweight modular rail market. Daniel Defense, Midwest Industries, and Samson offering similar designs.

In addition to their AR15 rails, Midwest Industries has a new modular rail system for the AK platform. I can see this becoming very popular with AK owners.

Speaking of AKs, US Palm has a prototype AK which breaks down into two pieces for transport or storage. The design uses a custom trunion block with a locking mechanism. US Palm plans to offer complete guns as well as conversions.

Also available from US Palm are quad-stack AK magazines. The 45 round version is the same length as a regular AK mag and about twice as thick. They are also offering a 30 round version which is about as long as the AR15 magazine (but thicker). These would make going prone with an AK a lot easier.

Last bit of news for AK fans - Saigas will now be available with the standard military forend. I know a lot of my students have been hoping for this.

For shotgun fans, Mesa tactical has a new stock for the 870 which is similar to the factory pistol grip stocks available on the Benelli. It's by far the nicest stock of it's type I have seen.

Magpul has an MOE stock and forend for the shotgun, and I expect this will be popular as well.

EOTech had a cool integrated flashlight forend for the Mossberg and Remington shotguns. It has dual pressure switches, lockout capability and strobe features. I fully intend to get one of these for my Mossberg 590.

Speaking of shotguns, I got to look again at KelTec's new design at the Mesa booth. Mesa will be offering accessories for this gun. Looked pretty neat, I am hoping to meet up with the KelTec reps tomorrow to find out more about it.

On the gear front, SOE has a neat little IFAK that comes with its own pouch that has a magnetic closure. They are also selling a very simple bandoleer that holds AR15 or similar mags in discreet zippered pouches.

TABGear is a relatively new company offering gear for precision rifle shooters. They have two new slings. Both are quick adjustable and very well designed. Definitely worth checking them out.

Those of us with larger belt sizes will be happy to know that Kitannica pants will soon be available in larger sizes. Contrary to rumor, they are looking forward to providing pants for "larger" operators. They also have is new low-profile knee pad/elbow pad combo that is worth looking at. These should fit in any gear with pad pockets.

The most interesting new gun was Robinson Arms' new .308 version of the XCR. It looks very well designed like the original XCR and has a SCAR style folding stock. As with the original, many modular options and calibers are available.

The other interesting gun was an upper receiver conversion from CMMG which converts the AR15 into a .50 muzzleloader. Spare powder and bullets are stored in a detachable magazine insert. The gun is still a single shot muzzle gun.

CMMG is also now selling dedicated .22 uppers.

Looking forward to seeing more tomorrow!

Monday, January 16, 2012


Well, I've been up since about 3am traveling to Vegas for the 2011 SHOT Show.

The show begins tomorrow, but one event I missed today was a low-light shooting semianr sponsored by Surefire. Unfortunately SHOT did not have any details on their website or planning app and I was not able to find out how where to go or how to register unit it was too late.

On that issue, I think SHOT could have done better. No contacts available when you have events going on? C'mon.

On the plus side, we've got a great room at the MGM Signature.

Tomorrow morning I'll be heading out bright and early to check out the vendors and newest products. Stay tuned!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

SHOT Show!

2012 SHOT Show

 We'll be spending this week in sunny Las Vegas, Nevada for the 2012 Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trades (SHOT) Show.  I'll be sending out updates on interesting products and news from the show on this blog and via my Twitter feed.

Handgun Fundamentals for Women

We ran our first Handgun Fundamentals for Women class last week, and it went great.  Due to a couple of last-minute cancellations, we wound up with four students and four instructors.  You really can't do much better than that.  All of our shooters did a great job and we're looking forward to seeing them in future classes.

If you missed that class and you (or a woman you know) are interested, we're running it again on March 1, 2012 from 6:00-8:00pm in Robbinsdale.  For more information check our Facebook page or email


If you've never shot in low-light before, it can be a real eye-opening experience.  Statistics show that over 80% of armed encounters occur in low-light.  Unfortunately, shooting after dark is prohibited at most shooting ranges.  We solve this problem in a novel way: we rent an indoor range and shut off the lights.

Our low-light class is designed for shooters who have some experience with their firearms.  We teach a series of techniques for using night sights, shooting with and without a flashlight in low-light, and using weapon mounted lights.  We also teach methods for clearing stoppages and reloading while carrying a light.  If you don't have your own flashlights, night sight equipped gun, or weapon-mounted lights we have some you can try out.

If you are interested, check out our check our Facebook page or email

Both classes are filling up fast, so let us know if you are interested.  If there is sufficient interest we'll add some additional classes.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Seven Rounds?

I ran into one of my permit-to-carry students at a New Year's Eve party this weekend. As we caught up, the topic turned to guns (of course). I asked him how much shooting he'd been doing.

“Not as much as I'd like to.” he admitted. “In fact, I don't think I've fired more than 100 rounds through my gun since I bought it.”

Sadly, 100 rounds is a generous amount of use for a pistol. According to a statistic attributed to an executive for Colt Firearms, the average pistol is fired just 7 times over its lifetime.

How do we define “average”? Remembering high school math, we take the total number of rounds fired, and divide it by the number of handguns.

Nobody's sure how many handguns there are in the USA. In 2009 a survey extrapolated there were 57,000,000 people in the US who owned “at least one” handgun.

People like me screw those numbers up; I own way more than one handgun, and most of the people I know own at least two. In addition to that, we shoot a little more than average. My M&P, purchased in 2008, has more than 5000 rounds through it.

The point here is that there are an awful lot of people out there who own guns and aren't shooting them. And that's a perplexing shame.