As 2016 comes to a close, it’s time to look back on the companies and products that made this year unique.
Best hyped product — Springfield Armory, Saint
Was it a campaign for a new gun or Crossfit program? At first, no one knew, but in early November Springfield let the cat out of the bag and dropped the Saint — the company’s first foray into the AR-15 realm. Springfield Armory left nothing on the table when it came to aggressively yet vaguely marketing the rifle in the lead-up to the big reveal. Featuring sweaty, fit bodies and eventually lots of explosions in the desert. The advertising team gave it their all to ring in a new generation of guns with the Illinois-based manufacturer.
Best gun website — Concealed Carry Match
Lonely gunners looking for love found another alternative to traditional dating in the newly launched Concealed Carry Match dating website. Circumventing that awkward “Is that a gun in your pocket” talk, the website touts itself as a safe space for gun owners to meet and flirt online. Bridging the gap between the online and gun worlds, Concealed Carry Match gave 2A supporters another means to connect outside the glare of the anti-gun community.
Best gun-themed app — iTarget
Meshing real-life dry fire with laser targets, the iTarget system provided one more way for gun owners to practice their skills. Started as an Indiegogo campaign, the app utilizes a three part system of “laser bullet” cartridge, laser sled to hold a smartphone and the actual app that features three shooting games. The app allows shooters to use their real firearm to improve trigger control and reset as well as speed and accuracy. Available on both Apple and Android devices, the iTarget system serves up reliable firearm practice without the cost of the range.
Best in tech — smart guns
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, smart guns made a splash this year as engineers inched closer to putting the tech on store shelves. A 19-year-old Colorado native unveiled a working, biometric Glock-based prototype while Armatix announced its iP9 smart gun would be headed to the states in 2017. In addition, states like California attempted to introduce smart gun legislation while New Jersey lawmakers attempted to roll back previous legislation to encourage development. Even the White House got in on the smart gun buzz in April, outlining a strategy to deploy the technology. Whether smart guns will ever successfully make a run in the gun market is to be determined, but 2016 provided a glimpse into the future of smart gun weaponry.
Best facelift — Smith & Wesson
Keeping things fresh after over 100 years in the business isn’t easy but Smith & Wesson certainly tried shaking things up in 2016. Acquiring new companies like Crimson Trace and Battenfeld Technologies and creating new divisions to house the acquisitions, the Massachusetts-based gun maker also announced a name change to its holding corporation. No longer Smith & Wesson, investors opted for the all-encompassing American Outdoor Brands Corporation. Though the company will continue to make Smith & Wesson branded guns and gear, the new name and revamped look towards the rugged, outdoors market made Smith & Wesson (and its stock) the company to watch in 2016.