SHOT Show 2014 in Las Vegas is almost over and we at SHWAT™ are back home and collecting ourselves after all the frantic running from one booth to another and one appointment to another. SHOT Show really is indescribable. The size and scope of it can be overwhelming to the first timer. It’s impossible to see it all. One person posted on Instagram that she had walked nine miles and not seen half the show. There’s not enough space to tell you about everything we saw and did, but here are some highlights.
This is the year of Thermal. Resolution is up. Number of companies making or selling it is up. Quality is up. Price is down. Gotta love technology.
FLIR wowed us almost immediately upon our arrival in Las Vegas. They took us in a limo to a private range to shoot the new FNH AR-15s, SCARs and Daniel Defense guns topped with the all new FLIR scopes. They have an easily navigable menu system, inline buttons, simplified layout, ruggedized housing, and they are water proof. Multiple configurations with varying degrees of magnification and resolution and refresh rates in the thermal sensors are available. Limos don’t make a product better, but it is a great start to the show!
Also on hand was the FLIR One. Introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show last week, this is an iPhone case with FLIR technology built in. While not an ideal tool for hunting, it does have limitless possibilities with other applications.
TICO-640 This thermal clip on optic is much like the familiar THOR, but with an improved interface. Improved meaning that the NUC feature is moved to a top level item. In a sentence, this feature clears and resets the screen as the image degrades during use. If you’re not familiar with that, don’t worry, it’s normal with thermal imagers, and this is an improvement in the user interface. Add Wifi, and you have some great options for recording and sharing your pictures and video.
X-Sight Digital Day/Night scope. This entry level digital scope is packed with features that make recording your hunt easy and multifaceted. Start with built in Wifi which will connect to your smart phone, than add GPS, and you can start to see the possibilities. Then factor in up to 1080p recording off the CMOS 4 megapixel sensor and for under $500 you have some pretty cool possibilities. Available in either 3-12x or 5-18x magnification.
PS28 Night Vision clip on. An updated version of the PS22 this unit is designed to be mounted in front of a magnified day optic without having to re-zero. It is available in ATNs Gen 2, 3, or 4 NV tubes.
In a complete departure from the pushbutton menu driven systems we’ve seen elsewhere, IR Defense introduced a new thermal optic series dubbed the IR Hunter with something entirely familiar to many shooters: Turrets. While they aren’t mechanical, they do feel the same as the turrets on a standard day scope. And if you are a Nightforce user, you’ll be excited to know that the models we looked at used Nightforce reticles. The reticles configured on the demo units can be configured with colored, white or black reticles. What’s unique is that when using black or white, the unit can automatically switch to whichever color provides the highest contrast when overlaid on whatever is in the crosshairs.
Nighforce SHV 4-14×56 scope. It’s no secret to SHWAT™ readers that Nightforce makes some outstanding optics. It’s also no secret that along with top tier features and glass, they carry a premium yet reasonable price. If you’ve wanted to acquire a Nightforce for closer to $1000 – $1200, they have created the SHV just for you. The optional illuminated reticle accounts for the difference in price. You don’t get all the options of the top of the line Nightforce scopes, but we’re told there is no compromise on the quality of the componants.
Heckler and Koch – Reality check: Mention the initials H&K in a room full of gun enthusiasts and many of them would instantly assert that H&K is the top of the military small arms food chain. Just as quickly, you’d also hear that outside of law enforcement they haven’t exactly made the civilian market a priority. It looks like that’s now becoming the fodder that adds up to urban myth. Here’s one example: the new MR556A1 Competition rifle. A derivative the world renowned HK416 rifle, this configuration is targeted squarely at the civilian consumer. A Magpul CTR buttstock, a 14 inch modular rail, and a larger mag release and a new compensator from Operators Suppressor Systems (OSS) round this out. If you’ve been waiting for the right time to start your H&K collection, it looks like 2014 is the year to make it happen. We’re making plans now to run HK and you’ll be in the know as it happens.
Bullpups – Last year IWI introduced the Tavor Bullpup to the USA. That changed the landscape for carbines in a big way. This year, we saw more bullpups introduced than ever, but one of the exciting new developments was still tied to the Tavor.
Timney Tavor Trigger – While we found the heavy Tavor trigger to be quite useful in our Tavor Carbine Class last year, the fact is that lots of us are used to exceptionally good triggers on the AR platform, creating some hesitation to embrace the Israeli rifle. Timney saw an opportunity to change the whole character of the gun, giving us a 3 or 5 pound short and smooth trigger. Yes, we’ve ordered up! This is a fantastic improvement to one of our favorite guns of 2013 and with the quality we’ve seen in Timney AR and bolt gun triggers, we’re pretty confident this will be a home run.
Desert Tech MDR – New name for a proven performer. Formerly Desert Tactical Arms, maker of a remarkable bullpup bolt action rifle, Desert Tech has created what might come close to being the one gun to rule them all. Now, we like all kinds of guns, so that’s a big statement and we’ll have to run one hard for a bit to find out. That said, their new semiautomatic MDR (Micro Dynamic Rifle) is short with a 16 inch barrel, and shorter still as a SBR sporting a 10.5 inch barrel. What caliber is it, you ask? A better question is “What caliber do you want?” Five calibers including 5.56/.223 and 7.62/.308 will be offered, and you can switch your rifle between them on your own!
SILENCERCO – .338 Lapua Magnum isn’t the most common rifle caliber. It is an awesome round, which is why we have a Weatherby Mark V TRR in that caliber. Still more uncommon is .338 LM suppressors. We are excited to tell you that Silencerco has introduced .338 can in the new Harvester series. The Harvester line is tailored for the hunter. It even has a muzzle break incorporated to tame the hard hitting rounds.
PARA 10mm Elite LS Hunter – Handgun hog hunting anyone? If you’re a fan of 1911 pistols and would love to take one hunting, this looks pretty sweet. Para has beefed up critical components to allow full pressure 10mm rounds to send a lethal message to your target round after round. A six inch barrel gives a good sight radius for the front fiber and rear adjustable target sights. It also has an IonBond PVD finish for durability and long life. MSRP is $1249. This won’t be out for a while yet, but when it is, we intend to find out just how it performs and let you know!
Bushnell Millet 1-6x – If a 1-4x optic is good, what does that make a 1-6x? We haven’t run a Bushnell optic yet, but this new one looks pretty promising. The reticle is a doughnut dot popular with the tactical shooters. Bang for the buck, this looks pretty attractive.
Trijicon 3-15×50 TARS – Trijicon is synonymous with quality. The TARS brings ACOG durability to long range shooting. When you order one of these you can choose from two MOA reticles and two Mil reticles.
With the suppressor market growing by leaps and bounds, we’re glad to let you know that the number of options continues to grow too. Other exciting things on the horizon include a 50BMG suppressor from AAC (yes, we have the green light to test it!). AAC is also reintroducing the 762 SDN suppressors. This can isn’t the cheapest on the market but if you want one suppressor to cover you from 7.62 all the way down to .223, this may be your can.
And remember our exclusive sneak peak and 1000 yard test of the brand new Remington 700 Tactical Chassis Rifle? Pretty cool to see it officially launched at SHOT!
What do you think? Can Olympic shooters work their their skills on wild hogs? Maybe we should all find out!
There is so much more to tell you about, but there simply isn’t time to do it right now. Keep an eye on www.SHWAT.com for more cool guns and gear and good stories about putting it all to use in the real world! SHWAT™ – Special Hog Weapons and Tactics: Education and entertainment for the hunter and shooter in all of us!