There’s a stereotype that Americans are more business focused and Europeans tend to take life easier. And just like most stereotypes, its based on a grain of truth. Americans take fewer days off, get fewer vacation days, and tend to identify ourselves by what we do. Europeans, not so much. But while I subscribe to the American idea of working too hard and over-achieving, there is one tradition I’d love to see imported from the Eropean IWA to the American SHOT Show: the in-booth bar . . .
Your eyes don’t deceive you. This AR magwell doesn’t bear the standard of a rampant Colt, the crosshairs and lion of an ArmaLite, or the generic logo of a ‘Your Name Here’ parts-bin AR builder. That’s the FN logo, because this is a new FN-15 carbine . . .
You obviously liked Mossberg’s FLEX modular shotgun. So much so, you selected it for one of last year’s Readers Choice awards as best new scattergun. And we really liked the FLEX-equipped .22LR Plinksters we saw at the SHOT Show. I wondered how long it would be before they hit the shelves. Because a lot of SHOT Show debutantes (*cough* Arsenal Strike One *cough*) take a long time to really come out and dance. Not these rifles, though. They’re already here . . .
[ED: If you carry a gun - and even if you don't - you need to carry a knife for self-defense. As we've said many times, a gun is often unavailable to an armed self-defender in the heat of battle. A firearm can also malfunction (more probably you but that's another story) or go skittering across the floor. You need a plan B. This series is designed to help you find a suitable blade for backup.]
I got to play with this not-yet-released EDC knife at the SHOT Show last week. If you’re a knife guy, I already know what you’re thinking: So Ken Onion is plagiarizing his own designs now? Not quite: look again at that hollow grind blade and the missing assisted-opening safety bar near the lanyard hole . . . And jump over to The Truth About Knives for the rest of the details.
While at the SHOT show, I blogged about the technological bolt-action marvels from German marques such as Mauser, J.P. Sauer, Merkel, and Blaser. While restrictive European gun laws have pushed the Germans to focus on interchangeable barrels, caliber conversions and platform versatility, high-end American gun makers remain dedicated to old school designs focused on accuracy, workmanship, and value. So if you are looking for something that is truly “new” when it comes to bolt action hunting rifles, you probably aren’t going to find much from the domestic manufacturers. But companies such as Cooper Firearms of Montana, Inc. will provide you with dead-nuts accurate rifles with drop-dead gorgeous looks . . .
Until the supply of 22LR dried up, my metal-receiver GSG 522SD had become one of my favorite range toys. Accurate and reliable (if the chamber is periodically cleaned), the GSG 522 has sold like hot cakes. ATI followed up the success of the GSG 522 with a .22LR copy of the MP-44 Sturmgewehr, and is now going to market a new Teutonic plinker, the MP-40 “Schmeisser.” The MP -40 will be available as a carbine (underfolding stock and faux suppressor) and a pistol version (underfolding buttstock permanently retracted). Both 10- and 25-round mags will be available. Like the STG-44 that preceded it, the GSG MP-40 will come from ATI with a wood crate for storage. MSRP will be $539.95. So is the MP-40 really a Schmeisser? . . .
Last week’s SHOT Show was my third or fourth convention; in all the excitement I kinda lost track. It was definitely the first show where I made the trek to the Hard Rock Cafe to visit the annual AVN convention. That’s where adult entertainment actors meet and greet a Clorox of OFWGs who believe – quite rightly – that a picture of themselves posing next to a half-naked porn star will give their Facebook page a certain je ne sais quoi. As a man of the world, I can report that the main hall held few attractions. The real action was in the toy room . . .
Colt has teamed up with Cooper Firearms of Montana to add two more bolt guns to the M2012 family: the “M2012MT308T” and “M2012LT308G/M2012LT260G.” Made by Cooper for Colt, these new rifles feature the Cooper Arms repeater action with integral M1913 Picatinny rails, a 3-lug bolt, and 60° bolt throw. They also feature a custom fluted, match grade barrel and a single stage, adjustable Timney trigger. A signed, serial numbered and dated test target is included with each rifle. I fired both on range day and was very impressed with the overall feel, performance, and quality . . .
I’ve been shooting for around 36 years, but I had never a seen a break-open three-barreled rifle and shotgun combo. So when Chris Dumm and I stopped by the Merkel booth at SHOT Show, I thought I had stumbled upon something, um… “new.” Calling Chris over, I said: “Check this out.” He comes over and says: “Oh, cool, a drilling.” “A what?!”, I responded with a confused look on my face. Chris says “It’s a drilling: a three barreled rifle shotgun combination.” Surprised that Chris would know anything about high-end European rifles, I asked: “How did you know that?” He responded “There was an article on TTAG a while back, for one thing. They have been making these things for over one hundred years in Europe.” Hmmm. Ok, I’m feeling kinda stupid at this point . . .
There were two themes this year at SHOT Show: bullpups and 3D printing. With the insane success of the TAVOR, bullpup configuration rifles are popping up all over, and Desert Tech is no exception. We’ve reviewed their DTA SRS rifle last year and loved it, so I have no doubt that this will be just as good. But the models we saw at the show weren’t complete — they were just 3D printed pre-production mockups. Which brings me to theme #2: 3D printing. Every new gun, from the new BAR to the SIX12 is made (at least partially) out of 3D printed parts. I’ll go into that a little more in depth later, but it looks like 3D printing is the next big thing for the gun industry. Oh, and the MDT is pretty sweet too.
Why is the P320 my top pick from the 2014 SHOT Show? Three words: Striker. Fired. SIG. The fact that the SIG SAUER P320 comes in three interchangeable calibers and three different frame/barrel sizes and uses existing P250 frames and barrels and magazines and two different trigger styles is just icing on this deliciously-layered cake. Check out this video . . .
Bondhus Arms showed off their first product, the CL-380, a tiny (and bizarre) new idea for a pocket pistol. The CL-380 is literally no wider or longer than a credit card, weighs just eight ounces, and offers two shots of .380 ACP from its diminuitive 2.1″ twin barrels. Part of the design philosophy is that they wanted to make something that “didn’t look like a gun.” Well, they certainly succeeded there . . .