This is the third year in a row that I've been to SHOT Show. In '05 and '06 it was in Las Vegas. Thanks to my experiences there, I'm not a fan of Las Vegas. This year SHOT was in Orlando, Florida and I am a fan of Orlando. Unfortunately, I have to be honest in this observation: SHOT Show just doesn't carry the same excitement and enthusiasm in Orlando as it does in Vegas. Care to guess where it is in '08? Yeah...back to Vegas.
SHOT Show was everything one would expect it to be: In a word: HUGE. While it may not seem like a difficult task, walking every aisle and stopping at every booth that seems to have anything even remotely of interest isn't all that easy. Even doing it over a four-day period, given the number of times you have to return to certain booths (because sometimes the people you need to see and talk to aren't there on your first visit) means you walk a lot of ground two, three or four times. The 29th Annual SHOT Show is like the biggest outdoor store you can imagine, and this week we're taking a quick look at what I consider to be the HOT items for 2007.
Kriss Super V
A new submachine gun design that is quite innovative was on display at this booth. The gun itself is reminiscent of a Broomhandle Mauser... crossed with a phaser rifle from Star Trek. With a 5.5-inch barrel and using standard Glock magazines for .45ACP, what really sets this weapon apart is that the recoil doesn't travel backward linearly. Instead, through the engineering design concept Kriss developed, the recoil is diverted downward immediately behind the magazine but in front of the trigger and grip. Very cool.
BlackHawk Products Group seemingly exploded this year. In addition to their already extensive product line(s), they have added:
- A complete apparel line
- An expanded outdoor line
- An expanded light tools line
The two things that really caught my attention were the apparel line and their new Xiphos NT single cell LED pistol light. The apparel line pants (at first) reminded me of some other popular products, but a closer look reveals some interesting differences. The two that I appreciate most are:
- The MOLLE/STRIKE webbing on the back pockets. Where a popular competitor product has a single strap, the BlackHawk Warrior Wear pants has several straps of MOLLE/STRIKE mounting points. And it's on BOTH back pockets.
- The cargo pockets on either leg have 2" elastic straps sewn in for holding magazines in place. This is a far cry better than just dropping a bunch of mags in your pocket and having them beat around on each other. Further, if you are practicing and putting your empties BACK into your pockets, then it's easy to separate the empties from the full ones: the full mags are those still in straps.
Their Xiphos NT LED pistol light runs on a single 3V lithium battery and has a fairly intuitive touch pressure switch. They have even incorporated the strobing capability of the Gladius into this pistol light, but I hold comment on how easy that will be to use without plenty of training and practice.
First Choice Armor
First Choice Armor was showing a product they call Fierce Fiber. This wafer thin hard--yet semi-flexible--"plate" was designed to be worn behind regular concealed body armor to provide puncture resistance and a wide dispersal of blunt trauma. To demonstrate the puncture resistance, the rep put the plate down on the floor, curve facing down, so that it was arched up. Then he used a Buck Nighthawk knife and put everything he had behind an overhead thrust into the plate. It dinged the plate, but didn't go through. Then he put the plate on under a vest and invited us to beat on him with an ASP. Well, okay...I had to try that one out myself. With the plate on under a regular IIIA vest, I felt, with no discomfort, the strikes my buddy was laying into me. He says he was swinging for the fence and it certainly felt like a decent impact, but I felt no pain or discomfort and certainly nothing was broken or bruised. Very cool.