I have to be honest, I have seen craft shows with more innovation than this year’s SHOT show. It was very apparent the industry leaders were funneling money into manufacturing and not R&D. With the election looming, a run-on-guns began in early 2012 and only increased as the November date approached. Manufacturers were selling shelves clean the year of supply to meet demand launched and it showed at SHOT 2013. Even though there was some genius in a few new items to hopefully grace our shelves soon. Here are my top three.
Omen: something that is believed to be a sign or warning of something that will happen in the future
The first on my list is a monster. The name fits the bill-The Omen. Here we have an AR platform, yawn, that shoots the .300 Winchester Magnum. Say that again, please. Here we have an AR platform, yawn, that shoots the .300 Winchester Magnum. I thought you said that. The question now is – how? For those of you who have had the chance to unleash that cartridge from a rifle will understand why this makes the eyebrows raise. Sure bigger rounds have been launched but from a true AR platform. This is an AR and the genius is something in the new buffer system. I have an idea what this new buffer system is but I am sworn to secrecy. This new buffer system is what will make this weapon system work so this beast of a cartridge can unleash with possible follow-up shots in a controlled manner. I will follow this offering from Nemo Arms.
The runner-up for me is from the big boys, Winchester Ammunition. It is but an improvement on another idea. Old school thinking said, if its not broke don’t fix it. New school says, if it’s not broke then break it, break it again and never stop looking for the best in every idea. Sometimes this creates disasters like Mossberg’s Tactical 30-30 lever-action rifle, or pure brilliance, released the same year, the Mossberg Flex shotgun. Winchester’s submission is the .17 Winchester Super Magnum. Speed kills and 20 grains at 3000 feet-per-second brings about 400 ft-lbs of awesomeness from a rimfire cartridge. Rimfire has new life. Now let’s see who will make and what the launching pads will be for this cartridge.
Finally, my last contribution to the podium is for long-range shooters only. Okay you can come in if you want to learn to shoot long-range, but learn to do the math and doping (not GOOGLE) your shots before you use this tool or your skills will depend on batteries. Kestrel released the weather and environmental meter with Horus ballistics software. These environmental meters have become a valuable tool for the serious distance shooter. Now they have cut out the intermediary (PDA, Tablet or Smartphone) so you do not have to interact with another device; it’s all-in-one. I am an old-school distance shooter, so the old way of doing it best in my eyes but it may not be the only way to do it. This is a tool that can help eliminate some steps to help test different cartridges and set-ups when that is the goal of your shooting session. For that purpose, I want one and would love to see how well it stands up as a shooting caddie.
There you go, in my humble opinion. As long as the mob mentality towards buying in the firearms industry continues, the manufactures will do what all-real business do and make more of what people want. Business is not to make people feel good, it is to make money, and I believe in free market businesses. While we can hope to see more R&D in future shows these three offerings will infuse our industry with new life.