Monday, January 23, 2012

SHOT Show Media Day AAR

I wrote this while sitting on the plane on the last leg of my flight home, a 3+ hour flight from Denver to Boston. Figured I'd put down some more notes about SHOT while they were still fresh in my head (and to keep my mind off the concept of hurtling through the sky in a giant metal tube while lightning tries to strike us...) :) There's three days of walking the floor plus Media Day to cover, so I'll cover each day individually.

Monday: Media Day. The bus arrived at 8 AM to pick us up to bring us to Boulder Rifle & Pistol Club for SHOT Show Media Day. The line for registration was long, but moved quickly; we were signed in, given media badges, and sent off to forage amongst the exhibitors brave enough to set up shop for the ravenous writers, bloggers, and other media-type folks who had signed on for Media Day.

Most of the major firearms and ammunition manufacturers were represented at Media Day, as well as gear makers, optics companies, target manufacturers, and outdoor enthusiast organizations. From Smith & Wesson to the CMP, if the company has a stake in people getting outside and partaking in some outdoor activity, chances are there was someone there with something to sell them. Ah, sweet, sweet capitalism!

All of the companies had literature and media kits up for distribution; some had hats, keychains, shirts, lanyards, and various other promotional items which were snapped up by the ravenous hordes much appreciated by the attendees. Of particular note were several types of hearing protection and eye protection kindly offered by the SHOT Show organizers - while I had brought along my own eyes and ears, it's good to know that I would have been covered if I had left those items home.

There were three distinct sections set up once we cleared the exhibitors area: pistols and carbines, long distance rifles, and shotguns. The pistol and carbine areas had primarily steel plates set up for shooting fun (and some of Zombie Industries's new Zombie targets which are simply too much fun!); long distance rifles were primarily paper, with spotting scopes to track success. Shotguns, naturally, had clays for busting, with different trap and skeet setups for the truly brave...

I misspoke in my first Media Day write-up; SIG Sauer was at the Media Day but at a shooting position that I overlooked. It's too bad, as they had the P290 present for shooting as well as some of their other new firearms. I also missed the Chiappa display, which is a real shame as I've been very interested in trying the Rhino out to see if the under-barrel design really works as well as others have mentioned. Obviously, they're not on the Approved Firearms Roster, so it'll be a while before I get a chance to shoot one...

Springfield had a few 1911s and their new XDs; Remington brought both the blued and new stainless R1 1911s; Glock had their stalwart model 19, 21, and a 32 present - I got to shoot .357 Sig for once (Mike W. eat your heart out...) There was a Turkish manufacturer present with what appeared to be Beretta 92 clones and a 1911, unfortunately I didn't get a chance to try either out.


R1 Stainless



Ruger had their new LCR22 on the line, but it was too fouled up for general shooting when I got there. I tried out the new SR22, which seems pretty much like the Walther P22 and the SIG SAUER Mosquito - it's a scaled-down version of the SR series with a hammer and safety to differentiate it from the centerfire versions. They also had several SP101s (38 Special and .22LR) and an SR9 full size for review.

Charter Arms had several of their Undercover line of .38 Special revolvers, including the Pink Lady which Caleb was unable to bring himself to shoot... They had one of the new Pitbull .40 S&W revolvers, but it was not available for shooting when I arrived on the line. There was also a Bulldog on the line for getting your big bore revolver goodness on.

Colt. Oh, Colt. Colt brought a gorgeous blued Gold Cup National Match, a Commander, a SWEET New Frontier in .45 LC (WANT!!!), and one of the new Mustangs. I am not exaggerating when I say that every single handgun on the Colt bench was an absolute joy to shoot and made even my meager efforts look good. Hey, when *I* can ring a metal silhouette target at 25 yards with a Mustang under rapid fire, that's one helluva gun right there.

Colt 1911s

Colt Classics

Nice 'Stang!

Crimson Trace also had an area staked out, with several laser- and light-equipped firearms to try out. They had a Ruger SR22 with a trigger guard laser that was so accurate it was almost boring - any target you could see, you could hit. But then again, that's what we've come to expect from CT... They had a pretty smart idea: at about 50 feet they had a covered area with targets under it for the red laser sights, and the 25 yard line was clear for the green lasers. It was a simple yet very effective demonstration of the benefits of the green (while still showing that red could be effective at the closer distance).

Need a CT for the 57mm, Wally?

Nice setup!

Slide Fire had one of the biggest lines in the pistol/carbine area with their innovative stock that allows rapid fire of semi-automatic rifles. The design is simple, yet hard to master - in order to get the most out of the Slide Fire stock, you have to hold your trigger finger still while *gently* pulling forward on the forend. Both actions run counter to traditional rifle shooting, and it takes a couple of magazines to get the action down as a rule. Once you get the hang of how it works, though, you're making sweet, sweet noise out of currency...


Check that brass!

The biggest line of the day, though, was at the KRISS booth. They had not one but two of their subguns buzzing happily away on the line, resulting in staccato .45 ACP goodness echoing up and down the firing line while folks waited 20+ deep to try it out. There was so much wonderful shootie goodness to try out that every time I looked at the line for the KRISS carbines, I decided to go to another booth and try them out rather than waiting, and missed the opportunity to try one out.


The line stretched to Terra Haute!

On the rifle line were bolt action rifles from Ruger, Winchester, Browning, Savage, and Remington (who, along with Colt, had their AR-pattern rifles available in the pistol/carbine area). Winchester had several lever action rifles on the line, and Ruger had their new American bolt action rifle available. The rifle line was pretty busy, but it was clear that pistols and carbines were capturing the attention of the crowd.

I know him!

We broke for lunch mid-afternoon, although some folks continued to shoot even through lunchtime. It's always fun to sit down to a wonderful lunch (and they really put on a *fantastic* spread, with burgers, dogs, chicken, and steak tips as well as salad, chips, and pickles!) with the sound of gunfire for background music. More than one person commented that the "dinner music" was helping with digestion...

As the afternoon wore on, and we got closer to dusk and the close of media day, the shotgun field beckoned. I'm not by nature a trap shooter, but the Butler Arms XX12 that I had the good fortune to try out was simply amazing. I was hitting single birds and even doubles like an old pro, even though my experience has been limited to "redneck trap" and the occasional bird at a bloggershoot here and there.


The other *HUGE* buzz pertained to the AR-pattern 12 gauges by Akdal. They had classic A2-styled rifles, wild patterned zombie guns, and even one with a skull and crossbones pattern with a muzzle brake of DOOOOM. They were by far the most popular attraction on the shotgun field, which is no small feat considering that there were some serious dedicated guns for shooting on that line.

AR... Shotties?

There was one highlight of the day that had nothing to do with shooting. Yamaha brought some of their four wheelers for folks to try out, and after a brief safety briefing, the standard legal waiver, and being outfitted with safety gear, we were off and about the Nevada desert on four wheels. I've ridden a motorcycle for seventeen years, and can safely say that the Yamaha four wheeler is just as much fun as any motorcycle I've ridden - including the mighty Valkyrie! I only wish I'd been quick enough to get a picture of Lars on the four wheeler - I thought he was going to ride off into the sunset.

A huge thank you to NSSF and everyone who brought something for us to play with. Media Day was an incredible hit with everyone, and being able to handle, shoot, and generally paw over guns that we've only read about is invaluable. Each manufacturer had reps on hand to discuss the firearm or accessory being utilized, and learning firsthand from the folks that design and manufacture the product helps increase both awareness of the product as well as familiarity. Which, of course, breeds WANT WANT WANT...

Now that I know what to expect, the next Media Day is going to be even better!

That is all.


Anonymous said...

Ruger [look up name] = Ruger American

Jay G said...

D'oh! Thanks!

Dave H said...

Thanks for the report, Jay. It seems the firearm industry is in good shape. It's nice to know my money is going to a good cause. (grin)

I know you have a ton of show stuff to report yet, but some time after your fingers recover from writing it up, I'd like to hear your thoughts on that high tech knapsack/man purse you took to the show.

Jay G said...

Heh. That review is already in the pipeline, Dave...

Roadkill said...

Did Paul Helinski climb over you?

As weird as this will sound... I'm more eager to hear about knives that you encountered than guns! Kabar had some AWESOME new stuff out.

Dwight Brown said...


As an unabashed Smith and Wesson fan, I have to ask: did you notice anything interesting from them during media day?

I'm not hearing a lot, except that they're bringing back the 586, 48, and 27 in the "Classic" line.

JScottNH said...

Best SHOT Show review I've read yet, Bro!!!

Scott From The Great White North Of Shall Issue