So if you haven’t guessed it yet, the whole Guns.com crew left a note for the milkman and headed to the SHOT show in Las Vegas, Nevada to get you, our faithful readers, the skinny on what’s soon to be new in the gun world for 2012. Well, that and shoot some mind blowing firearms before the general public has a chance to get their fingerprints on them. Here’s what we saw today, gunnies:
Thursday January 19 2012- Day 3
Ruger American Rifle
Last year Ruger brought out the Gunsite Scout Rifle, which is a cross between the M77 and a M1. And this year one of the highlights of Ruger’s booth was the Ruger American. Ruger put the word out about it not too long ago and after taking a look at it, it’s actually a pretty big package for not a whole lot of money. MSRP on it is $449.
What’s different about it is the tubular receiver and full diameter bolt. David Pienar, a Ruger spokesman at the booth, said that this new design limits wobble and will prevent binding. The bolt itself has a granite color and feels pretty solid.
The first thing you’ll notice is how incredibly light and comfortable it is to hold, but then, if you’re familiar with the M77, you see what distinguishes the American Rifle from the M77. Just to name a few, it has a tang safety that’s felt really comfortable (I’m a fan of tang safeties), a trigger safety that blocks the trigger instead of the sear, and molded bedding blocks, which limits risk of the barrel loosening on you. Of course, these are the first few that jump out.
It’ll be available in .30-06, .243, .270, and .308. Ruger ship the first batch by the end of the month.
Reintroduction of the Kahr PM9
What’s different about the PM9 that it deserves a spotlight? After numerous requests to do so, Kahr Arms enhanced the trigger. It’s still a double-action only trigger, but it’s now set for seven to 7.5 pounds and 30 percent of trigger travel has been removed.
Also, because of the shortened trigger, they added a manual safety. Granted you may say, “Hey that seems counterintuitive for a pocket gun.” Well, the safety is incredibly small, so there’s really no chance of it snagging and hey the trigger has been shortened, so it makes sense.
The folks from the booth also said expect the PM40 and the P9 to be getting the enhanced treatment soon.
MSRP will be $828 and it’ll start shipping in 30 days.
We reported, not too long ago, that SIG is coming out with more than 60 new products in 2012. Granted a lot of those models are upgraded features and caliber changes.
There’s a few they’re really wanted folks to know about and the SIG P938, a 9mm version of the P238, is one of the biggest (or smallest) products they’re bringing out this year. It’s a tiny thing, not much bigger than the Colt Mustang. It resembles a tiny 1911 minus the grip safety, but instead of shooting .380 it shoots 9mm. Of course if you want a nice pocket in 9mm this’ll be a great gun or if you have tiny hands.
Unfortunately friends I didn’t get to shoot it at media day, so I have to take the SIG spokesman’s word for it that recoil is minimal.
Rock River Arms New Series of Left handed LARs
Rock River Arms have been some good Illinois neighbors to Guns.com this past year but what makes their new LAR truly worthy of applause has less to do with the A and the R and more to do the L. The LAR is an entire series of AR style rifles (with all the variants you’ve come to know and love, i.e. varminter, marksmen, hunter, defender etc.) that has been designed from the bottom up, specifically for lefties—and we think that’s pretty cool.
In a world dominated by right handers, lefties tend to get shafted when it comes to just about any product, and with all the barking about gun customization equating to more accurate shooting, an unapologetically left leaning option is a good thing for once. By way of anecdote, Stag Arms makes a handful of south paw friendly ARs, including their new Stag 3G and when we asked a representative how they sell compared to the market dominating rightie models, they told us they can’t keep them on the shelves.
Kel-Tec Short Barreled KSG
We had some issues with the KSG, which you can read about here. Their new Short Barreled KSG seems to address the problem head on with a new trigger actuator that shifts between tubes automatically rather than require you to do it with a manual switch (which we’re guessing was the root of a lot of cycling issues).
The changes seem to be working. Right now the KSG has the tacti-hungry gun buying public at its knees to start shipping these and it’s mostly because they’re not giving up on a truly innovative concept and design. And that, friends is the key to life, love and guns—don’t let a win get to your head or a loss to your heart.
Beretta U22 Neos Carbine Kit
The U22 Neos isn’t new but this was the first time we saw it stretched out with Beretta’s carbine kit. This crazy measure and harmony just looks Italian. Bellissimo.
Wednesday January 18 2012- Day 2
Mossberg 464 SP4
The gentleman at the Mossberg booth explained it like this, “It’s the tactical craze, what can I say.” We’re crying bull; the Mossberg 464 SP4 tactical lever action rifle was clearly made for when and we find ourselves in WWIII and we’re forced to unfreeze John Wayne.
Available calibrations are .30-30 and .22 LR. The stock is adjustable in every sense: extend it, shorten it, shift the cheek rest, whatever. And its tubular magazine holds seven rounds. It’s shipping out this month, so expect it in the stores sometime in February. Price is around $599.
Guns.com fancies itself a realist and as such, we’re ready to concede that every man from time to time is tempted to hoist the black flag, spit on his hands and let them do his talking for him. If that day ever comes, this is the gun we picture ourselves carrying.
Windham Weaponry SRC
Since then, we have been almost unbearably curious about what Windham would be turning out and if it would match the quality we’ve come to expect from Bushmaster. The SCR didn’t disappoint us. Simple, unassuming, unadorned, beautiful sans airs; these are all the things we loved about Bushmaster (clean machining, balanced, compatible parts, no frills) and we’re thrilled to see this philosophy continued. It’s a rifle—why complicate that?
And let’s be clear here; in our humble opinion Bushmaster the 1st made the AR-15 platform the staple it is today for civilian shooters (evidenced by the fact that Bushmaster is the best selling brand of any AR-15 style rifle). Throughout the Machine Gun ban 90s, their Maine plant shoveled out semi-automatic AR-15s to a fervent, ready and waiting gun buying public while the rest of the rifle industry was still ringing its hands about the purpose/potential of “black guns”. Without pause, Bushmaster 1.0 is largely responsible for the AR boom in this country and the fact that they are reassembling a labor force all with 20+ years of experience in the gun industry sends Guns.com over the moon.
Here’s the skinny on Windham Weaponry’s successful attempt to keep their workforce employed and their manufacturing facility humming, straight from the horses mouth. It’s a story of redemption that brings a tear to our eye and warmth to our heart (that’s right. Strong men also cry… strong men also cry):
Pierce Munitions Ted Nugent Approved Hunting Ammunition
Guns.com was literally the cutoff point in line to meet shooting and music legend Ted Nugent and with the Motor City Madman himself plus his surly looking entourage eyeing us up, we figured a temper tantrum would likely earn us a punch on the chin rather than an audience with Uncle Ted, so we didn’t push the issue.
Shame. We really wanted to ask him about his new line of hunting ammunition he was hocking at the Pierce Munitions booth.
O yeah, and we got some sneaky photos because we were so close. Sorry about the quality.
Mossberg 500 Chainsaw Shotgun
File it under Z, for zombie. We shot a conceptually similar lever action 12-gauge sawed off shotgun from Chiappa at Media day. Chris said it almost snapped his fingers off. Mossberg’s “chainsaw” design looks like it would be a little easier to subdue (though, at only 18 and half inches, you could never tame it).
The cost? About $320. The purpose? Well, we’ve told you this one before, but not today: “Sometimes you just need a cool gun.”
Remington 700 BDL
It’s been 50 years since the Remington 700 was first introduced and since then Remington has made the 700 available in practically every flavor. But how are they going to celebrate its birthday? By going back to its roots.
During 2012 Remington will offer the 700 with its original design. Granted there’s been subtle changes to the rifle over the years, so what’s noticeably different compared to the contemporary model will be the flat fore-end, the scroll pattern at the edges of the checkered grips, a blued barrel with a satin finish and it’ll only be offered in 7mm. Remington will have a limited run of these rifles in 2012, so they’ll ship only what’s ordered.
Remington 597 HB
Also Remington will offer an economical rimfire rifle. It’s called the Model 597HB, “HB” meaning heavy barrel. It’s a short semi-auto .22. It’ll be available with an OD green or black synthetic stock. It doesn’t have any sights, but it is equipped with a weaver rail for mounting some type of optics.
But the best part about it is the price—MSRP is $249 and it’s shipping now, so expect it in stores by February at the latest.
When you walk through Beretta’s booth, you walk through Beretta’s history. On two different walls they spotlighted the 92/M9—every variant—so you could see the changes made overtime. Sectioned off and inside a glass case was the SO10, a beautifully engraved over-under shotgun. Although it is a lovely piece of art and engineering, it’s probably best known for it’s hefty price tag: $130,000.
But also sharing the spotlight was a row of Beretta Nanos. The Nano might be the most popular new concealed carry gun on the market right now. It has a handful of innovative features like an internal slide catch and modular design. The folks at the Beretta booth are saying production is going well and they’re shipping as many as they can, but retail stores just keep selling out, so keep your eyes peeled. MSRP is $475.
Tuesday January 17 2012- Day 1
Sig Sauer M400 Tactical Rifle
We think Sig’s demonstrator put it best in the video—their most basic M400 might look like a Plain Jane rifle, but underneath that glasses/librarian’s blouse combo exterior, there is one sexy rifle that was turning heads and breaking hearts when we caught up with this new series of M4 style rifles at the SHOT show. In terms of variants, this is one hefty line of rifles (there had to be at least 15 variants) with the usual line-up of hunting models, shortened barrels, etc.
It’s a double barrel gun that disappears in you pocket in .45 ACP and one of the most (if not the most) ingenious design we’ve seen at this here SHOT Show show. A pocket pistol in .45 ACP? His will be done.
Titanium (non-ported)- $729
Titanium (ported)- $799
Coonan Semi-automatic Handgun in .357 Magnum
Daniel has a bit of a crush on Coonan and was afraid he might get flustered talking to them, so, like any kid with a crush, he sent his buddies in to lay the groundwork. Three Fifty-Seven is a gold star all purpose round and a personal favorite of the Guns.com writer’s stable. Add in the fact that semi’s in .357 Magnum are as scarce as hen’s teeth and Coonan gets high marks from us for stepping into the gap (or is it cornering the market?).
The Stag 3G is good-to-go as a competition, self-defense, or law enforcement rifle (get it, three!). It has an 18-inch stainless steel fluted heavy barrel, chambered in .223, and has sweet aluminum handguards. It comes with optional Rapid Transition Sights, which are intended to be used as secondary sights. So when you have a scope mounted to the rail along with the RTS, which sits along the edge. To use them just cant the rifle, align the sites and bam. You’d use them when the scope is unnecessary or difficult to use.
Stag Arms Team member and professional shooter Kalani Laker explained that the 3G is effective up to 835 yards. He said it’s not only good for a competition gun, but also hunting prairie dogs.
MSRP is $1459 and left-handed models are available as well. And if you don’t want the whole package, uppers are available as well for about half the price. $775.
New Smith & Wesson M&P15 designs and Uppers
We know how popular M&P15 rifles are and as Shot Show we caught wind from S&W that they’re now shipping M&P15 uppers. There are several models available too: tactical, sporter, tactical sporter, competition, and a .300 Whisper. So similar to the 3G, if you don’t want to buy the whole package, get an upper. MSRP is $819 to $1119.
Now they’re also offering them in different configurations. They now have a co-brand with Magpul, so it’s an M&P15 decked out with Magpul gear like a fore-grip and a mag well fitted for Magpul mags. But probably the neatest feature on it is the elongated flash hider. It’s just a new flash hider. Patent is still pending, so we’ll see if S&W is on to something.
Monday January 16 2012- Media Range Day
We’re not (too) embarrassed to admit we’ve got a chub for H&K and their MR762A1 precision rifle proved no exception. Simply put, this 7.62 x 51 mm, 39 and a half inch carbine fit (and hit—all ten times) in all the right places. Instantly customizable (yeah, we’ve got a team of lawyers working on the copyright for that one) we couldn’t see why every LEO department in the country wouldn’t be begging their powers that be to splurge on one these SWAT support marvels. But guess what? It was developed specifically for civilian shooters so if you’ve an extra $4,000 dollars lying around, your time is soon to come.
Savage Model 25 in .17 Hornet
Savage had a number of guns that caught our fancy including a covetable new polymer Model 11 in .308 that was so light, and exhibited so little recoil, one Guns.com employee swore all the way home it would be the perfect addition to his next years season of hiking all over mountains hunting deer.
But their Model 25 chambered in .17 hornet was the only one that caught us by surprise. The Guns.com crew smacked targets over 200 yards away (we’re gonna repeat that for you—hit, not tapped, targets over two football fields away), proving to us that in 2012 this “dinky little bullet” really ain’t so dinky.
Some of us (i.e. Aaron) had a difficult time adjusting to the Eotech reminiscent sight on the AR-12. Luckily, our resident shotgunner (i.e Chris) had no trouble transitioning from classic to awesome. The video speaks for itself. The MKA1919, the self proclaimed AR-12 gauge was as simple to operate as well… an AR-15, but with all the piece of mind only a shotgun can afford you. It’s a freaking AR (well kind of. More on that later) that shoots shotshells. Wild.
Imported by Russian American Armory, these shotguns are made in Turkey but Akdal (the Turkish company) needs to change just about everything about them once their stateside to make it 922R compliant. More on that next week…
If you were to make a list of all the guns that enthusiasts would ever want to see made, and it would have to be a pretty incredible list, a single-stack Springfield XD would be pretty high up on the list. The demands have been clear: all the the great features of the XD, or more specifically, XD(m) series of handguns; safeties, ergonomics, backstraps, trouble-free and accurate shooting… just in a thin and handy package. Oh, and in a real caliber, nothing short of the big- bore .45 ACP.
And then Springfield went and made it happen. Although this gun is more than cosmetically different from other XD(m)s, the spirit’s all there and then some. The trigger is 100% XD(m), and the texture’s more than familiar. The slide’s thin and light, but the gun balances almost exactly like the double-stack sub-compacts, just having shed a few tenths and a few ounces.
There’s a kick though. Heads up. 9mm and .40 S&W to follow.
The FNS and the Caracal F
We got to shoot two particularly interesting service pistols, FNS and the Caraca Fl. Both are extremely modern handguns, but they could not be anything alike, striker notwithstanding. The FNS will be a very popular handgun, we can say that for certain. While some people won’t take to the bristly grip texture, the grip angle and shape are almost 100% 1911, and the backstraps dramatically affect how the gun feels. The high grip makes it a soft shooter, that’s for true.
The Caracal’s Steyr roots are thick. But it isn’t just some clone; it’s an exceptionally simple handgun with a total of 28 parts. Not assemblies, parts, pins, and springs. It also has a massive one-peice rail set into the polymer frame, and it runs almost the entire length of the frame. The simplicity is nothing short of remarkable. We got to shoot both the standard, figure-8 sight model as well as the “Fast” sights, which are integral to the slide and run from the muzzle to the ejection port; the rear is just a slate.
But what really sets these guns so far apart from the rest of the polymer pack is their triggers. They’re both extremely short, positive, and clean-breaking. They’re more like single-action triggers than anything else. The FNS had a very nice break to it, but the Caracal’s reset is practically a form of telepathy.
Parabellum Armament’s AK Accessories
We got to spend some quality time with Parabellum Armament’s AK rails, and they’re glorious. Hands down. Not having the luxury of using other people’s rifles as emergency sledge hammers, we can’t speak too much to the durability of this rail system, but we can say it’s damn solid. The rear sight block mount is incredibly solid, and doesn’t have the slightest amount of play to it. You can literally open the dust cover, flip up the top rail 90 degrees, and pound it with a magazine and there is zero side-to-side wobble.
Their non-reciprocating left side charging handle system is also tops; anyone could, and some people did, burn themselves on the barrel of the AK, but the charging handle was just as cool as the handguard.
Charter Arms Pitbull in .40 S&W and Soon 9mm
Charter Arms was there with their technicolor revolvers, and even though the powder had turned them roughly the same shade of filth, they all spun like tops. The .40 S&W Pitbull ate cartridges and spat out cases like the forty was an old revolver chambering, and their .44 Bulldog is still just as fun to shoot now as it was when they first introduced it. We asked after a Pitbull in 9mm, and they said soon; as in, they’re making it happen as you read this.
And just to prove that we started out on the right foot, our first day included range time with none other than R. Lee Ermey. We can’t wait for more.
Remington 1911R1 Stainless
Sure the Remington 1911 R1 is last year’s news, but it’s a cool gun and Remington is expanding the line. Economically priced, solid in the grip and sturdy in construction. And now in stainless steel.
Glock 21, Glock 32, Glock 34
As Glock is slowly, but surely modifying all their guns with the Gen 4 design, meaning a more aggressive grip, interchangeable backstraps, and a captured guide rod and spring assembly (for recoil reduction). The new Gen 4s are the Glock 21 (.45 ACP), Glock 32 (.357 SIG) and Glock 34 (9mm competition model). And they felt like Glocks. Nice fat, comfortable grips, manageable recoil and the reliability of a Glock.
Winchester PDX Defender Ammo
We sat through a demo of Winchester’s PDX Defender ammo—meaning .410, .380, 9mm, .357, .40, .45 and 12 gauge. They showed us (in great detail) the perfect penetrating power of the Defender rounds. Not too deep, but not too shallow either.
Probably the most impressive performance of the day was Guns.com’s Aaron Samsel knocking around a metal plate from 1000 yards with the FNH Ballista, a multi-caliber precision rifle. We waited about 20 minutes to test it out, but O brothers, I tell you it was worth it. Four pings out of five. This particular model was chambered in .308. More to come.
Savage Model 11
Savage, savage, savage. Savage was so nice to us. Here try this, don’t forget about this. Shot it a little bit longer. I spent a lot of time with a friendly Savage—one by the name of 110. A .300 super cool Winchester Magnum rifle with a Leupold scope mounted to it.
Sure I had fun with the 110, but the bell of the ball was the new Model 11, a light, lightweight .308 hunting rifle, with a classy jeweled bolt, and nice soft recoil pad. Let me tell you, it had a recoil that shouldn’t be. For as light as it was, the recoil should be 9-1-1 abusive, but it wasn’t. It was tamed like a little lamb.
KRISS had another long line, but it was one of a handful of booths that had full-auto weapons. But as we stood in line we listened to a friendly Austrian who began to explain the brilliance of Kriss’s mechanics and as he was about to reveal the real secrets, it was our turn.
The 1877 Bulldog is a Gatling gun. I’m not sure why this gentleman was there, but he was and I’m glad. He allowed everyone to shoot .45-70 with a Bruce feeding system (which means our friend gravity feeds it) out of this deadly machine.
Ok. I have to be honest. When we headed over to the shotgun ranges the sex appeal died down, but it was the most fun we had. It was set up so we could skeet shoot. Semi-autos and classy over-unders all over, but they were more or less what you’ve seen before. Shotguns. And who doesn’t love them? Communists. Ok, maybe that’s not true.
Although Chris Callahan may have nailed most of his clays, but I won the Browning Prize! A fracking knife. Swag so nice, no one thought to touch it.
You might’ve heard that Chiappa is coming out with a Rhino chambered in .40. Well, it was cool. And the guys at Chiappa were cool, too. When we came up to their booth it was late in the day and they were shooting their own guns. O brothers, let me tell you, you can shoot anything at this demonstration, but these guys’ were shooting their own guns.
Chiappa Rhino .40 S&W
The Rhino in .38 was spectacular. The Rhino in .40 was noticeably different. The design of the Rhino is to redirect the recoil to push back instead of up and with the .40 it did jump up a little, but it’s not a .38. It was still awesome.
Chiappa Zombie Blaster
However, what was absolutely stunning was the single-shot shotgun. Stop. Stop. Stop. This was just so creative of a design and so interesting. A lever-action, no-stock 12 gauge shotgun. When asked what the Zombie Blaster was good for the gentleman replied, “Sometimes you just need a cool gun.”
Colt Mustang .380
Who around here we like .380 pocket pistols? Ok, put your hands down. We’ve been trying to get our hands on the Colt Mustang and we’ve been put on a list for it—a long list—but they made it available for testing. Easy to use, accurate, and, oddly enough, fun to shoot. Well worth $600.
That’s it for today. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you can all experience these marvels in the future.