TREXPO East 2009

I am lucky that part of my job is to attend some trade shows, find out what's new or different, and pass that along. This past week, TREXPO East was held in Chantilly, Virginia and there were a few interesting pieces of equipment on display or being introduced. The list of them is below with a touch of info about each - and you can look forward to future full reports on how the products actually held up after testing.

Before I get too far into gear, let me express my sincere joy at seeing a few people I consider friends and who I believe make the military and law enforcement communities better places to be:

  • Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman (US Army Ranger, Retired): Dave, it's always a pleasure to see you. Thanks for your time. Hoo-Ah!
  • Mr. Dick Kramer: Sir, it's always a pleasure to see you at such events and I hope you keep producing your magnificent work for many years to come.

Now, about that gear...

First stop, XS Sights. XS Sights has a new product they're selling that is a window breaking tip, designed to be easily mounted on the end of your AR-style rifle. It DOES in fact mount easily and I'm looking forward to trying it out extensively at a nearby junk yard. The Glass Assault Tool (or GAT) is shown right. Very simple - but (I'm sure) very effective.

Next stop, Kahr Arms. A few months back I T&Ed the first pistol from Kahr that I'd ever handled - the CW4543. It's a sweet, compact 6+1 .45ACP pistol that I've taken a distinct liking to IN SPITE of the fact it's not a 1911. It's far more compact and a lot lighter. Still, there are times when a 1911 is the thing you want on your side and I found one of those at the show too (more in a few). Truth be told, Kahr also manufactures a mil-spec 1911 .45ACP and there were quite a few surprised people when they saw it on the Kahr display. I'll be doing more Kahr tests in the future so keep an eye out for them.

After that it was over to the Double Star booth to look at AR-15s and their 1911 pistols. I've had previous conversations with them and should, in the near future, be testing their 1911 built to desired USMC specifications. (see photo: no ambi-safety; Novak sights; short rail; slick in general) I got to handle the three they had on display. Fit and finish appears top notch. There is no rattle or shake in the pistols at all. Although the company started out building its name in AR-style rifles, I can see them becoming equally well known for their 1911s. I am sure looking forward to geting one for T&E.

Somehow from there I ended up at the 5.11 Tactical booth where I saw a friend of mine and we talked about their new line of "undercover" weapon carrying bags. I expect that in the near future I'll have one of them to test and will keep you informed. Just the initial impression is that these bags at least don't LOOK like rifle cases/bags - they look more like a college kids book bag. There are arguments both for and against such an appearance, but if you're the undercover officer on campus and have need to carry something more than your pistol, these will be ideal.

My next two stops were provided on the advice of friends. One was the OTB Boots booth where I saw and handled some unique footwear. Having started out specifically designing a boot for the Naval Special Warfare community, OTB took their lessons learned and applied it to boots for dry environments. And then, not slowing down, they took all of that information and experience and folded it over into footwear for recreational outdoor use. The one pair of boots that did kind of blow me away was their JungleLite boot - the pair wearing 2.2 pounds. That's just over one pound per boot and is damned light. I look forward to testing them out to see how they hold up under abusive conditions.

The other stop was at the DSM Safety Products LLC booth. One of the biggest challenges I've seen discussed for off-duty officers or legally-carrying civilians, is how to best identify themselves in a shooting situation. The challenge isn't so much DURING the shooting, as AFTER the shooting when the uniformed officers are responding. DSM Safety has come up with a neat little gadget that is worn in a nylon pouch - much like a folding knife nylon sheath - on your off-side hip. If you pull open the top and pull out the contents, what you get is a colored safety banner with a large identifying word on it. It is worn cross-body from strong shoulder to off-side hip. You just pull it out and over your head with your off-hand. It identifies you front and rear and serves the purpose of slowing down responding officers just enough that they don't immediately shoot you when they see you standing their holding a gun pointed at someone.

Stay Safe!