As seen at SHOT

Greetings from SHOT Show 2013! The gun trade definitely got plenty of media attention this past few months, but I am happy to report that SHOT Show 2013 was not about the controversy. It was about the new products, and it was full of surprises. The...

Darn Tough

I know this doesn’t sound like a big thing, but I’ve done plenty of standing on the range and have had a road march or two. I’m particular about socks and you should be, too.

The tactical footwear line includes Tactical Boot, Tactical Dress and Tactical PT Berry Compliant socks that don’t have seams that rub on the foot. My personal experience is the breathability of their products. They combine Merino, Nylon, and Lycra Spandex in different ratios, depending on the application.

Darn Tough makes athletic socks too; I plan to stock up on cycling and running socks for this season.


FLIR put us on a range for a night shoot. I was reminded of my earlier tenure where I spent much of my military career navigating by feel. The fact that it was about 28 degrees with a head-on 25 mile-per-hour gust on the range made trying to feel anything a challenge.

I got to shoot a FLIR S135 MUNS (Magnum Universal Night Sight) mounted on a LaRue OBR. I found this combination was very suitable for the patrol officer shooting mid range targets. Since the OBR is an icon in tactical carbines, not much has to be said about it. It is a sweet shooting instrument and appropriate for this application.

I kind of skipped over to the last shooting position on the range. Mind you, this position was closest to the portable heater than the others.

The best was last, the last was best: A Barrett MRAD (.338 Lapua) with a mounted FLIR S140 ADUNS-S.

I am somewhat familiar with the MRAD, but had yet to shoot one by feel. I was completely mesmerized by the clarity of the FLIR product mounted on it. The range laid out in front of me was around a kilometer or so. It actually went further, but the targets generally didn’t.

We were shooting at 200, but one could scope way further than that. No one missed. Really. For anyone who enjoys precision shooting, this is the experience.


The Recon M24 is a pocketable observation product that delivered outstanding resolution. This product is definitely a great agency purchase. It’s lightweight and fits in a cargo pocket.


I was walking around the show and one of the booths had an armor plate on display floating in a tub of water. This was beyond comprehension: a rifle plate with positive buoyancy. DKX has produced a Dyneema plate that is multi hit rated, lightweight, drop resistant and RFEV chipped. Hats off for a product made in Bismark, North Dakota. If I ever put a carrier on, this is the plate.

Springfield XDs (Springfield Armory)

I got to shoot a Springfield XDs, the 9mm version. This is a compact, almost pocketable, 7+1 handgun with a thinner slide and profile than previous models. The beavertail portion is dramatically radiused, pulling the web of the hand high on the grip. It allowed the shooter to squeeze off rounds efficiently, which makes it a contender in the smaller gun market.

I like the fact that Springfield uses the grip safety, which really improves the utility of the compact carry gun. The XD shot very smoothly, with a great texture in the grip that really helped while my hands were gloved. Believe me—the chill on my hands gave me great perspective for critical gun review.

Daniel Defense

I also shot the Daniel Defense Integrated Suppressed Rifle (ISR), a carbine chambered in 300 Blackout. The name describes it all. The suppressor is the barrel, rather than an add-on item. The result is an integrated system that shoots like a sum that is greater than its parts. Probably the most noticeable quality is the maneuverability of the package. It simply balanced well.


Streamlight has debuted their new HL Series (High Lumen), which run 500-600 lumens per beam. Their beams are designed for a large volume of light— great on a traffic stop when the officer needs to illuminate the entire passenger compartment at once. The beam doesn’t necessarily reach out, but the floodlight effect will seriously increase safety for entry teams.

Wrapping it up

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