SHOT Show 2014 Day 0: Media Day

| January 14, 2014 | 0 Comments

Thanks to this blog and my other blog I was able to get access to the 2014 SHOT Show as a media representative. We were also invited to attend the media shoot today, which happens before the show officially opens.

I’ll tell you right now, I didn’t even look at the new Glock pistol. That doesn’t interest me at all, and you’ll be able to find plenty of other coverage about it on other sites.

I went to SHOT this year primarily to:

  • evaluate any factory SBR / PDW firearms or any firearms that could be easily and readily converted to SBRs
  • look at any purpose-built bags for carrying an SBR / PDW in public
  • find out anything I could about super short .300 Blackout rifles, especially anything related to the AAC Honey Badger 0r SIG Sauer’s MCX platform.

Unfortunately I was only able to accomplish parts of my goals today, as IWI’s UZI Pro was absent, as well as AAC and SIG Sauer.

On the upside, I got to shoot the Kriss Vector SBR and Beretta’s AXR rifle, along with some other stuff. I was also very fortunate to talk to Chris Laack, the product manager of BLACKHAWK!s Diversion Carry line.

Several of my friends, fellow students, and instructors own these BLACKHAWK products and it was awesome to talk to the gentleman who thought up the product line in the first place.

SBRs and Sub-guns

The Beretta ARX will be available in 5.56x45 first.

The Beretta ARX will be available in 5.56×45 first.

Beretta’s ARX was available for firing today. I wasn’t able to get a lot of trigger time before the event closed, but I was able to talk with two of the gentlemen there for quite some time.

The  5.56×45 ARX went through a significant torture test, with a high round count from just about every make of ammunition Beretta could get their hands on. Testing revealed that a single gas setting wasn’t going to produce suitable results with the wide range of ammunition available in the US, so back the ARX went. It now sports a dead simple, easily accessible gas system. There’s a setting for regular pressure rounds, and a setting for lower pressure rounds, such as the inconsistently manufactured rounds from Tula / Herter’s. (Disclaimer, we shoot a shitload of .223 Tula and Herter’s. Don’t hate us, Cabella’s).

Anyway, the gas port led me to my next question: what are the plans for .300 Blackout? Disappointing news for Blackout fans: Beretta was unable to easily source a wide variety of .300 Blackout in sufficient quantities to run a test similar to 5.56. 5.45×39 and 7.62×39 will be coming out first. There are a ton of other calibers in the wings, so don’t despair, disciples of .300.

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Not me. But this suppressed KRISS Vector was bad ass.

I also shot the Vector by KRISS today. Chambered in .45 ACP, this sub-machine gun is marketed primarily towards law enforcement and military units. I was lucky enough to fire the fully-automatic models available to those select entities. I was also able to fire the Vector with a suppressor; and since we don’t get to have those in Minnesota I was doubly happy.

The KRISS Vector is very tall, but very flat. It would do well in a top-loading bag such as a messenger bag or laptop bag. Of course, US civilian models are limited to semi-automatic only, but there are pistol and “carbine” versions available. I’ll talk to them more during the show.

Just like the folks at Beretta, the team at KRISS was outstanding. They had a real passion for their products, and were very friendly. I was lucky enough to work with the KRISS  tactical instructor today when I handled the Vector. I was unable to catch his name over the brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrpt of two other Vectors on full-auto, but Duncan from the Sphinx pistol company in the KRISS area was fantastic. Thanks, gents.

Lastly, I got to fire a fully-automatic M4 Mk 18 from Daniel Defense today. It was awesome! I’ll have a short video up fairly soon. Many of the people in attendance just mag dumped the thing, but I did my best to resist the urge and stay true to my fight-focused training.

Gear and Accessories

Expect a more in-depth line-up about BLACKHAWK! covert carry bags.

Expect a more in-depth line-up about BLACKHAWK! covert carry bags.

I was super fortunate to meet the lead designer / engineer for the BLACKHAWK! Diversion series. I call these kinds of bags “purpose built,” because they are specifically made to carry firearms. We chatted for quite some time, and I am REALLY looking forward to talking to him during the trade show.

I passed by the BLACKHAWK! table several times, and not a lot of people stopped by to talk about the Diversion series. That’s unfortunate, as it’s a quality product, but also goes to show that there’s a niche for everything. I hope to give you all some in-depth coverage during SHOT Show this year.

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The She-Shepherd and I spent some time talking with the nice folks from the A-Team today. Based in wonderful Grant’s Pass, Oregon, they are machining custom lowers and ARs for Doc Holliday Guns in Grant’s Pass. I am not usually a fan of the finger grooves on the magazine well, but I’ll tell you where they make a shitload of sense:

Ultra-short SBR rifles and handguns.

Operators are sometimes better off gripping the mag well instead of the fore end on ultra-short SBRs.

Operators are sometimes better off gripping the mag well instead of the fore end on ultra-short SBRs.

The A-Team is using higher-end barrels, and I was anxious to talk to them about making a quality 6″ barrel for .300 Blackout. Unfortunately they don’t have any immediate plans to go to .300, but I hope to talk with them some more once the show opens officially.

Other Neat Stuff

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We had a great chat with Lindsey and Leroy from Project ChildSafe. Project ChildSafe helps distribute trigger locks for free to those who need them. They also provide advice for the secure and safe storage of firearms. We’ve got two kids in the house, and as I wrote about on my other blog it’s important to keep firearms on your person or locked down when there are children around. I look forward to writing more about Project ChildSafe in the future.

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We wanted to talk to Nick Iannitti, Partner and Director of Sales for ZMB Industries about their tactical three-dimensional targets — but we hung out for quite some time talking about SBRs and bag carry with him and his staff. The ZMB targets are great for people who train in fight-focused shooting. The targets are anatomically correct and the “tactical” line behaves like a “shoot-and-see” high visibility target when struck. They also make a zombie line that oozes “blood” from hundreds of paint cells inside the body cavity.

I really hope we get to use these in class this season; I have to hit my instructor up to buy some of these.

I am super tired, but I know the next few days are going to be wild. I’ll try to process more of the videos from media day tomorrow and upload them as soon as I can.

 

 

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.
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