SHOT Show is the largest gun and equipment exhibition on the planet. Most major manufacturers of firearms, hunting, military and law enforcement gear from around the world were present at the Sands in Las Vegas this year. Regardless of what you are looking for, if it is related to outdoor sports, military or law enforcement equipment, you’ll find it at this expo. The National Shooting Sports Foundation reported that 62,371 people attended the show over the course of four days, including over 2,000 media representatives. More than 1,600 exhibitors were on hand covering 630,000 square feet of displays and booths. The show attracted industry professionals from all 50 states and 100 countries.
In addition to seeing the latest products available, officers could also take numerous classes as part of the “Law Enforcement Education Program.” The training sessions were free with paid admission. Prior to the show, officers could review course content and sign up online. If you were not able to pre-register, you could sign up for classes on-site if seats were still available. After completing training, officers simply dropped his or her registration card into a bin. Organizers scanned the cards and attendees received a record of training. Showgoers could choose from 10 different training sessions. A few of the highlights were:
John T. Meyer Jr., resident of Team One Network, conducted a session on low-light training. The training covered tactical advantages of high lumen lights, long range lights and laser sighting systems. It also included discussion and demonstration of low light techniques and tactical tips to use with weapon-mounted and handheld lights.
Will Mercado did training on active shooter response. The training covered techniques for breaching doors and windows, as well as defeating counter-measures that can be used by active shooters to prevent or slow down law enforcement response.
Various celebrities are always present signing autographs and talking to fans—this is always a big attraction. Most competitors of the first four seasons of History Channel’s Top Shot were there, including Gabby Franco, Dustin Ellermann and Brian Zins. Also present were the cast of A&E’s Duck Dynasty, Outdoor Channel’s Elite Tactical Unit, and Discovery Channel’s Sons of Guns.
The most significant part of SHOT Show is that manufacturers often unveil their latest products for the first time—and there were many more than can be listed here. I’ll go over a few of the things that caught my eye over the four-day event.
This company was formed by a former U.S. Navy SEAL. They make a Cleaner, Protectant & Lubricant (CLP) for firearms cleaning and maintenance that is biodegradable and has no unpleasant odor. Once you start using this product, with each new application it permeates into the metal of your firearm and begins forming a barrier against carbon. It’s a lot like seasoning a new cast iron skillet. The more you use it, the more protected the gun becomes. Each subsequent cleaning becomes easier as the carbon will not bond with the metal. It also prevents rust, as the metal absorbs the protectant. It is available in a spray can, liquid, paste or in pre-soaked cleaning patches.
Made by Emissive Energy Corp. based in Rhode Island, Inforce produces high-quality and moderately priced flashlights. Their weapon mounted lights are very innovative and durable. In particular, their WML line made for mounting on carbines are lightweight, easy to use, and have a well thought-out design. These lights were recently adopted by Haley Strategic Partners for their signature series of rifles based on the AR platform. Weighing in at only three ounces and having an integrated mount for any Picatinny rail system, these lights are a great addition to any carbine.
Bastion are makers of custom magazine floor plates for handgun magazines. This small company from Oregon is less than a year old, but is making a big splash in the weapon accessories market. The T6 hard anodized aluminum floorplates are available for Springfield XD, S&W M&P, and Glock pistols. They have many stock designs, including American flags and a “Zombie Response Unit.” They will also make custom plates for you with your department badge or patch on them. In addition, they make custom Challenge Coins and patches. If you are in need of some tactical bling for your handgun or range bag, check them out.
People in the tactical arena have been aware of Crye Precision for some time. They manufacture well-made uniforms, body armor and other gear for the serious professional. Operating out of Brooklyn, New York, everything they produce is made in the United States. This year they showcased a few items of note.
MagClip: the MagClip provides a new option for carrying 30-round magazines for an AR series rifle. These polymer clips attach to the bottom of the magazine and allow you to attach the magazines to MOLLE webbing, a belt or any other area they will fit. They’re great for low-profile carry, and would be ideal for use at the range. MagClips will fit G.I. magazines, PMAGs or HK magazines. Currently they are available in .223 caliber; other calibers are expected soon.
GunClip: This innovative polymer holster allows you to carry your Glock pistol with any weapon light and/or suppressor on the market. It can be used as a traditional belt slide or attached to MOLLE webbing. The mounting platform allows you to rotate the holster 360 degrees so you’re sure to find the angle that best suits your needs. The rugged design is lightweight and has an open bottom, while still covering the trigger and trigger guard. The retention device is easy to disengage while acquiring your firing grip on the pistol.
SPARTAN: The SPARTAN is a maxillofacial ballistic protective piece that snaps onto standard ACH helmets providing ballistic protection for your face. With over 70 percent of combat head wounds inflicted to the face, it is a smart move to upgrade your personal body armor. The SPARTAN is said not to interfere with vision, weapon firing or even eating and drinking. While offering the same ballistic protection as the helmet, it is lightweight (less than one pound), flexible, and can be donned and doffed in seconds. It is also compatible with goggles or NVG’s.
Israel Weapon Industries (IWI)
Long a leader in small arms production, IWI has now begun production here in the United States. Their first offering is a civilian version of the Tavor rifle. This is a semi-auto version of the rifle that is currently issued to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and was designed in collaboration with the IDF. The design of this rifle began in 1993 and went through years of upgrades and rigorous field testing. The Tavor is a bull-pup design chambered in 5.56 mm NATO and accepts both the proprietary magazines from IWI and standard AR series magazines. There are also conversion kits available that allow you to quickly switch it to either 5.45 x 39 mm or 9mm.
The polymer frame has QD sling swivel mounts molded into it front and rear, and on each side of the weapon. It has a Picatinny rail mounted forward on the pistol grip for a light and/or laser, and a full length rail on top for optics. Flip up iron sights are mounted into the top rail and when closed are nearly invisible. The weapon can be converted for left-handed shooters by replacing the bolt. All other parts swap easily from right to left to complete the conversion.
During firing, I found the weapon very easy to control even when firing rapidly. The bull-pup design effectively keeps the weight close to your body, which reduces fatigue. The magazine release, safety lever and bolt release are also positioned for the most efficient usage. After just a few minutes of orientation, I was able to fire and reload the weapon quickly. It comes available with a 16 1/2 inch barrel with an overall length of 26 1/8, or an 18-inch barrel with an overall length of 27 5/8 inches. The 16 - inch version weighs in at 7.9 pounds, while the 18-incher comes in at 8.15 pounds.
Whether you’re a purchasing agent, team leader or just a cop who is interested in seeing the most current equipment available, you’ll be very satisfied with what you find at this event. Whatever you’re looking for in the field of law enforcement, hunting, or shooting gear, you’ll find it at the SHOT Show. Next year’s show dates are January 17 to 20 at the Sands.
About the author: Sgt. John Marrs has been with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office in California since 1988. He serves as a firearms instructor for both his agency and a regional training site basic academy. Marrs retired from the California Army National Guard as an infantry captain and served as the State Marksmanship Coordinator for California.