SHOT Show® is well known as the place to see the gear and guns that will be on the shelves next fall at retailers across America, as well as a place to browse for traditional, today and futuristic gear in the hunting, tactical and self-defense worlds. The show’s aisles are packed with buyers and members of the outdoor press, so you often have to dance your way through the crowds.
One of the biggest concentrations of attendees on day two was found in the aisles where manufacturers such as Ruger are showing firearms.
“Concealed carry remains a hot market in this industry, and the new Ruger 57 pistol is designed for this market and those wanting to protect themselves,” stated Ruger Public Relations Manager Paul Pluff. The Ruger 57 has been mentioned to me by many show attendees, and I noted its slim design, aggressive grip surface, thin steel magazine and easy-to-operate safety. Ruger is also displaying new custom-shop firearms like the Super GP100 revolver in 9mm and a new LCP2 Lite Rack pistol in .22LR. Oh, and if you like America and MSR rifles, seek the Ruger AR-556MPR rifle cloaked in the U.S. flag pain scheme. Salute!
As day two continued, I found Tract Optics representative Jon Lacorte showing the company’s new Toric 10×50 binocular. Yes, there’s a clear crisp view when you peer through the tubes inside the light but sturdy magnesium body. The argon-filled binoculars are fog-, dust- and waterproof and come with lens covers and a soft neck strap. You’ll see more hunters with these hanging on their necks in the future.
I next followed the masses to the 5th floor of the Venetian for the one-day Pop-Up Preview of new exhibitors. There I encountered The G.L.O.V.E. from Compliant Technologies and Jeff Niklaus demonstrating what is best described as a taser in a glove. This product produces from 210 to 380 volts when the wearer makes contact with a noncompliant individual—and that person will drop like a sack of potatoes. Several models and colors are available, and numerous LE, corrections and security-focused show attendees were gathering to observe. This is a cutting-edge idea.
I moved on and soon came upon some items designed for hunting dogs, one of my favorite topics.
“We’re trying to figure out the market and want to meet and interact with a lot of people in this industry, so I am here in the booth,” stated Stewart Justus with K&H Pet Products. “I brought a half-dozen products to display and get feedback, including several made as Realtree camouflage licensed products.” The display included protectors for car seats, dog beds, restraints for dogs and an innovative bed with a canopy. Oh, but to be a pampered pooch!
Further into the newest of the Pop-Up Preview hall I discovered a small, interesting box being displayed Marc Cavanaugh with ISC/Intelligent Surveillance Corporation. The tiny box held a camera that watches any place you aim it, reporting what it captures to your phone via numerous methods. These made-in-the-U.S.A. cameras provide superior image quality, are dependable and can be used for home or business security, and hunters should also find great use for them.
Since hunting is a major component of the show and most hunters have and use knives, blade and blade accessory companies have a distinct presence here. One I encountered was Work Sharp and its Director of Marking, Matt Elliott. “We have several new models of pull-through sharpeners, and everyone at any experience level can use these to put a sharp edge on a knife,” stated Elliott. The company offers five new sharpener models and includes a segment that can be used to sharpen the grooves in a serrated-edged knife. Most models also have guides to help the user maintain the correct angle of blade-to-sharpening surface. Better news is that many models are small and will easily fit into a shirt pocket or backpack pocket so you can sharpen a knife while afield.
Since SHOT Show has its home in Las Vegas, most everyone who comes here is familiar with the (somewhat creepy) Blue Men Group performers. Well, I saw decidedly non-creepy—even likeable—full-on-orange men. Okay, they’re actually mannequins that are ready to aid with law enforcement training. Jean-Pierre Balot of TSSI/Kinetic Made explained, “This life-size and life-like target provides 360-degree visibility for realistic training, and trainees can shoot it with real ammunition. The standard target will absorb 10,000 rounds of 5.56 ammunition.” These U.S.A.-made targets have adjustable arms and hands that can be replaced to hold knives, handguns and other realistic training aids. Training will definitely be more realistic for many LE departments when one of these targets arrives.
At the end of one display, I noted a small biohazard suit designed for a child. I had to stop and investigate and then found the adult suits on display at MIRA Safety, along with several sizes of gas masks. These products—full-body suit, gloves, boots and gasmasks and canister/filters—are U.S.A.-made. I did discover in addition to surviving a chemical warfare attack, there were filters to help the wearer escape smoke-filled air like one might find inside a burning home. Definitely intriguing.
At one point in the day, I came across some super-sharp broadheads for archery hunters to consider. Unlike standard expandable blade design broadheads models that have small rubber bands to hold the blades upright to the tip, these broadheads have inner magnets. This is Spectre Broadhead’s second year at the show and representative Tim Schreckengost noted many attendees were glad to discover archery products on display. The company also was showing a bow sight accessory that transmitted light to the pins via fiber optics, and wow, those pins were bright when lit. Truly cutting edge.
Another outdoor product I encountered was a new 2,500 cubic-inch backpack that Maine game wardens helped L.L. Bean design. The pack had about a dozen pockets of various sizes, was comfortable to wear with a semi-rigid back panel and had a waterproof bottom coating. When you looked closely, you could see a small whistle built into the buckle on the chest strap. If you have this pack and get lost or injured, you can call attention to yourself and let others know where you are. Innovation at work.
Back on the main show floor, I found the Liberty Safe booth and noted a number of people opening and inspecting a large vault door. “The Swing-In Vault door is a new product, and it’s been getting a lot of attention,” reported Liberty Safe Manger Traci Thomas. She noted more and more homes are incorporating safe rooms or gun vault rooms, and this product will meet those security needs. She also noted more women are shopping for safes, especially the smaller safes that hold a couple handguns. “The female customer market is definitely growing,” Thomas said.