SHOT Show 2014 Day 1: The Masses En Masse

| January 15, 2014 | 1 Comments

SHOT Show Day 1 was a great day to talk to companies making discreet carry bags, and I had some great conversations about Glock SBRs and .300 Blackout directly with AAC.

The crowds were COMPLETELY bonkers, and it was difficult to talk to everyone I wanted to. We also had to jockey for photographs, so I apologize for some of the quality here.

SBRs

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The CAA RONI was one of the Glock SBR enclosures I considered before buying the KPOS. I chose the KPOS based on it’s smaller size while folded and because I didn’t have to attach a charging device to the rear of the Glock. In retrospect, the RONI has some great design advantages and I was happy to get some time with Yuval Harel, CAA’s Regional Sales Manager.

The RONI is available in the stocked enclosure you see above, which requires an NFA-registered pistol, or a “Recon” version that has a QD attachment point on the rear and no stock.

Mr. Harel was also excited to show us the bag he designed. It allowed for EXTREMELY fast access to the RONI. He mentioned that one university in the US is carrying RONIs on campus in bags like these.

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The bags sells for $160USD MSRP, and although it has a great design unfortunately I can’t recommend it due to the logo and URL on the back. Anyone who is curious can look up the Web site on their phone and oops you’re identified.

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That’s about the happiest I look, and that’s because John Hollister, Product Manager for Advanced Armament, took a lot of time to talk with us privately about the .300 Blackout and the fate of the Honey Badger. He stated that contrary to popular belief on the Web, the Honey Badger is not dead, and it’s still in development with a very specific customer. He was unable to say if the HB would ever come to the civilian market except that AAC always has “a keen eye for civilian applications.”

Possibly burned by the hype machine before, John was reluctant to answer product-related questions about upcoming barrel lengths or if non-custom components of the Honey Badger such as the 6″ barrel would be available for civilian purchase. He did smile and state that a .300 Blackout out of a 6″ barrel is about the same as a 5.56 round coming out of a 10″ barrel. Who knows if we’ll be able to get a 6″ barrel from a big name like AAC but it would be great.

John mentioned the 16″ barrel length is their best seller, then the 9.5″ length, and then the 12.5″ but by a large margin.

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We spoke briefly with Mark Domagtoy at Rock River Arms about their AR lower that has a specially designed magwell to accept AK pattern magazines. This opens the door for interesting AR pistols chambered in 7.62×39, which traditionally has reliability problems. Unfortunately Mark didn’t have much information on any factory SBR or pistol options. The LAR-47 is supposed to be in production “real soon now” now that the panic of 2013 is over.

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Sorry for the blurry photos, but the LWRC booth was an absolute shit show. The lighting was tough to shoot in and so many people were pressing up for a look at their Six-8-PDW series that we didn’t have time to set up properly.

Anyway, The She-Shepherd really liked the Six-8-PDW’s form factor. Like the Honey Badger it features a single-position collapsible stock and a piston-driven design. The SBR’s overall length was 21″ collapsed, or 26″ with the stock extended. I think this is too long for personal carry, but the rifle looked great.

LWRC program manager Jeff Clemmer basically told us to RTFMarketing materials and was not available for questions.

The big “customer relations” / blogging news was talking with Dylan and Sagi from the Mako Group. These folks make and import the KPOS Glock SBR enclosure that we own. They saw my KPOS video on YouTube and wanted to help me.

Sagi designed the KPOS, and told me that removing the deflector was not the right thing to do. He explained that I was enabling problems with brass ejection by removing the deflector, but I will have to do more shooting to confirm this. My reliability has gone up since removing the deflector, but hey, this guy designed the thing.

He also said that the KPOS now ships with a different spring in the rear to compensate for the Gen 4 Glock. Sagi stated that there are some differences between the Gen 3 and Gen 4 that may cause some operating issues, and that the softer spring in the KPOS should help.

Dylan also advised me on a better way to lock the Glock into the KPOS: secure the back first, then insert the pistol into the fore end, then rotate the latch, then close the fore end and then flatten the latch tight. This is not the order in the instructions, and Dylan told me Mako had some significant documentation problems that were being addressed. I was impressed at how forthright and humble he was about past faltering, and also impressed at how he had a plan of action for every problem we discussed.

I’m looking forward to re-installing the deflector plate and new rear spring. I really want the KPOS to work, and it was nice to talk with Dylan and Sagi to make this happen.

 

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Century Arms’ latest AK pistol is an interesting collection of little misses that add up to a total disaster. The best thing about it is the very short 6.5″ barrel, which is an inch shorter than my Mini Draco-based SBR AK-47. After that, it’s all downhill. The rail mounted on the barrel was “very expensive to make” according to CIA, and while it has an interesting rail mount the presence of that horrible wooden fore end means you’re going to have to pay for a replacement.

Like the 2013 AK pistol darling the Zastava PAP M92 pistol, the CIA C39 micro pistol has a slanted back. The rear trunion does not appear to be riveted in. We were unable to remove the dust cover to look at the internals, but it appears that the gas piston is custom (which is to be expected). I wanted to see if it had a buffer like my Mini Draco.

The worst part is the rumored MSRP of over $1000. Absolutely no way. If it was all set up to go with a Midwest Industries-style handguard, had a square back, and a Krink-style tilting top cover like the M92 I might see paying $600 – $650 for it. However, with the M92 dipping back below $500 online, paying twice as much for the C39 is a non-starter.

Discreet carry bags

We were super happy to talk with Chris Laack from BLACKHAWK! again, and he was excited to talk to us. We spent the first portion of our time today talking about the current and next generation Diversion purpose-built bags. Like most folks at SHOT, Chris was unwilling to give specifics about the next gen bags from BLACKHAWK! except that we’d see a new material with better resistance to inclement weather conditions. He also mentioned waterproof zippers, another hint that waterproof bags may be on the way. This is good news for those of us who carry our SBR / PDW bags around in commuter weather, where we may have some exposure to short bursts of bad weather.

Chris said that the first bags with the newer material would be smaller in size and meant to hold handguns and possible SMG-sized firearms in messenger bags. He was hopeful that the new bags would be available sometime in 2014.

Chris stated that the racket bag is the most popular Diversion model, and my unscientific sampling and friends and training partners who own them seems to bear this out. He said the skatebag model gets the most positive feedback from customers.

The second part of our discussion was unexpected, as Chris showed us his personal 48-hour get home bag and talked about some of the products he designed that he uses at home for disaster preparedness.

Chris Laack's personal GHB has room for a tourniquet and four AR mags up front.

Chris Laack’s personal GHB has room for a tourniquet and four AR mags up front.

We also spoke with a lot of folks who aren’t making bags that are discreet enough. One such company was Sandpiper, who makes a massive amount of tactical bags for the US military. They don’t have any plans for a civilian line, although they apparently did some prototyping according to Bill Buono. Bill was kind enough to get me in touch with Rick Rardon, of PG USA. Mr. Rardon is the director and chief designer for PG USA, and they work with other companies to build their carry bags.

Rick showed me a bag he helped build for US Palm, but I was unable to take photos of it because the US Palm rep was unavailable to give a media clearance. The bag was a skateboard-style pack, and looked very well built. Rick seemed genuinely interested in the concept of more covert carry bags, and we exchanged information. I look forward to talking with him in the future.

IMG_7817We saw this goofy ass guitar case from Hazard 4. This is exactly the kind of bag I’m talking about that isn’t discreet at all. It’s meant to be shaped like a guitar case, but no case is in coyote, and no case has PALS attachment and velcro all over it. Some guy bought one while we were taking photos, and they refused to give him a shoulder strap. When the show attendee complained, the guy running the booth started talking to someone else.

About as discreet as ripping ass during mass.

About as discreet as ripping ass during mass.

Lastly, we talked to Dan at Magpul about their new polymer AK47 magazine. They had the all-plastic version for viewing, but a metal reinforced model is coming soon.

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I don’t know if this was a brand new mag today or not, but the tang and lug on the front were already showing signs of wear. The feed lips looked okay, but this was to be expected since there (hopefully) wasn’t any 7.62×39 ammo in SHOT Show today.

MSRP is $19.99 and the AK47 magazines were supposed to be shipping this week.

Don said there were no plans for 20-round magazines, nor plans for magazines with a viewing window. These are both big bummers to me, as I am running a 20-round steel tanker mag in my daily carry SBR AK47 and I really like the window in our AR PMAGs.

Tomorrow I’m looking forward to spending more time with Beretta and talking to more bag manufacturers. I also want to track down the LAW folding buffer tube folks, and try to reconnect with Tim from Military Arms Channel and Colion Noir, both of whom I introduced myself to but didn’t have time to talk to. Tim looked dreadfully ill but graciously heard about how his Draco SBR project inspired me to build my own, and Colion looked appeared to be in a big hurry but took the time to shake our hands and get in a quick hello. Both gents were very nice.

 

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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1 Comment on "SHOT Show 2014 Day 1: The Masses En Masse"

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  1. Doug says:

    I had considered the Harzard 4 case, but the price seemed over the top. That coupled with their treatment of customers at the Shot Show I’m glad I didn’t purchase one.

    I did, however, pick up the Sportsman’s Guide version for less than half the cost and have been enjoying it. It’s made well,and actually passes as a guitar bag (it doesn’t have all the external webbing). It works just fine for my full size AR, and has actually transported a guitar a time or two…

    http://www.sportsmansguide.com/product/index/hq-issue-guitar-gig-bag-gun-case-black?a=1722758

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