SHOT Show 2007 Preview

Well, it's that time of year again: SHOT Show opens next week at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. The Shooting Hunting & Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show was once dedicated to those who participated in outdoor sports and the manufacturers who made the necessary products for such. Over the course of the past few years, though, SHOT has grown to include a significant portion of the military and law enforcement communities and--of course--the manufacturers who support them.

As I type this, SHOT Show is boasting its 29th year, over 1,900 exhibitors and more than 650,000 square feet of exhibit space. This will be my third year in attendance and I know I will lose a few pounds walking the miles of exhibit space. True to form, within a week of SHOT Show ending, I'll put out an early review article, but this year I thought it would be good to do a preview as well; there are some really interesting products being released. Let's start out with the guns...

Glock has announced a new version of their Model 21 .45ACP pistol. To be honest, this really surprised me. After making three handguns in their own proprietary cartridge, the .45GAP, I didn't think Glock would ever make another .45ACP pistol. Then again, this isn't an all-new pistol, but instead it's a rework of the Model 21. The "rework" includes a slimmer grip profile, a full Picatinny rail system and an ambidextrous safety. Carrying 13 rounds of .45ACP per magazine, this is a gun I really like and I'm eager to get my hands on one of the new Glock 21 "4th generation" guns.

Taurus is hitting the market big again with an update on their 24/7 pistol and the addition of a 1911 style pistol. How many companies have copied that famous Browning design now? Add Taurus to the list. The Taurus 1911 sports all of the features you'd expect to find in a contemporary 1911-style pistol:

  • 5-inch barrel
  • beaver tail/memory groove grip safety
  • burr hammer
  • 8+1 magazine capacity
  • ambidextrous safety

With a retail price of just over $600, this one is sure to become a big hit for those seeking a cost-effective (lower priced) government model pistol. It will be interesting to see how it does in shooting and torture tests.

Taurus is also offering an updated version of their 24/7 duty pistol: the 24/7 OSS. Here's a really cool design that I anticipate adding to my collection. The 24/7 has a polymer frame like so many of today's pistols, but with an ergonomically shaped grip that is more comfortable in the hand. Available in 9mm (17+1), .40 (15+1) or .45ACP (12+1) the 24/7 has a truly unique firing system. Often mistaken for a "safe action" or "constant double action" system, the 24/7 can actually be carried with the striker system cocked, but there's no external hammer to deal with. Additionally, it has an external safety enabling a "cocked and locked" carry. But here's the really good part: If you fire the weapon and get "click" instead of "bang," you don't have to rack a new round in to solve the problem. The Taurus 24/7 system allows for an immediate double-action trigger pull if the first (single action) pull fails to fire the round. As I said, this one is a pistol that I anticipate adding to the gun safe's contents.

Smith & Wesson has announced that they are re-entering the shotgun market with some semi-automatic, over/under and side-by-side double barrel twelve gauges. I fondly remember my Smith & Wesson Model 3000 pump action shotgun from, oh, two decades ago? It'll be interesting to see how these do in the market.

Of course we need something to carry some pistols in, so BlackHawk CQC has announced the release of their by-now-famous SERPA holster to fit J-Frame revolvers. I was just at the range last week with a new chief of police--and the deputy chief of police for the same agency--and both were raving over how much they like the SERPA holsters in both the duty and off-duty configurations. The carbon-composite molded holsters have an internal trigger guard hook that is released via an external release lever. By securing a normal grip on your weapon, your trigger finger should automatically line up to release the trigger guard lock and also be properly indexed, not on the trigger when you draw the weapon. BlackHawk CQC released the Level III version of the SERPA duty holster this past year, and I'm eager to try it out with my Government Model 1911 pistol.

BlackHawk hasn't stopped with some new holsters though... In their newest catalog they have added (as best I can tell):

  • at least three new back/hydration packs
  • simulation handguns (I bet they expand that to long guns later)
  • an entire apparel line
  • a bunch of new flashlights in their Night-Ops line
  • upgrades and additions to their Hellstorm gloves and goggles
  • a selection of luggage (yeah, I said luggage)
  • a bunch more!

Brigade Quartermaster is the exclusive North American distributor for a product from South America: the LightSaver flashlights and related products. The latest (and one that was on my Christmas wish List) is the LightSaver Tactical Mod 1 Tailcap . Do you own a "tactical" flashlight? Takes one, two or three CR123 3V lithium batteries? Body diameter is one inch? Then more than likely you can increase the versatility of your light by purchasing and installing one of the LightSaver Tactical Mod 1 Tailcaps. This tailcap increases the versatility of function for any flashlight it fits and is installed on. Not only does it have a pressure cap for turning the light on and off, but if you push the tailcap button and hold it down, you get a flashing/strobing light as well.

Also on my Christmas wish list was a pair of the new Hellfly Sunglasses from Revision Eyewear. Far more slick and sporty in appearance than their traditional protective eyewear (and we won't even talk about goggles--they aren't sporty at all) the Hellfly sunglasses represent Revision's investment in the commercial eyewear industry. However, they haven't sacrificed any ballistic performance--they merely repackaged and resized the lenses for a more aesthetic appearance.

Finally, we have the Miller Marine Model (M3) knife from Mil-Tac. Mil-Tac is a relatively new company manufacturing fixed blade and folding blade knives, pistol grips, and some other neat accessories. The M3 is their latest edition to the line of fixed knives--and it's being released at SHOT Show. A picture of the prototype is available here for first time viewing. With a blade just over 5.5 inches long and an ergonomically shaped grip, this knife was specifically designed for rugged utility use. Future versions may sport auxiliary cutting blade sections along the spine. The grips will be different than those shown here, according to their company spokesman. The production grips will be textured and "more three dimensional." I am eager to see how it looks, feels and performs.

See you at SHOT Show!!!