The annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT for short) show, held this year in Las Vegas, is arguably the largest event the firearms industry has to offer. Open to the trade only, it’s where manufacturers display their new products to dealers, press, and others who work in the industry. In its 30th year, and having grown to nearly 2,000 exhibitors, it’s impossible to see it all; what’s listed below is my take on what I did see, and what I thought was interesting. Since I tend to focus on defensive firearms, handguns are what I pay the most attention to, with defensive rifles taking a second place to that.
One of the industry leaders in AR-15 production, Bushmaster has just announced the introduction of their Adaptive Combat Rifle. Originally known as the Masada rifle when it was offered by Magpul, the modular ACR is a short-stroke gas piston semi-auto. Chambered for .223, the ACR accepts AR magazines and is available with a dizzying array of options, including multiple handguard and stock options, and barrel lengths that range from 12.5” to 18” (NFA rules apply for all barrels below 16”). Along with Bushmaster’s acquisition of the innovative Cobb Manufacturing, best known for their MCAR modular AR and their straight-pull .50 BMG repeaters, they’re poised to be on the cutting edge of great new things.
Colt’s lineup proves that what’s old is new again, and in their case, probably better than ever. In addition to their recently-revived Series ’70 M1911 pistols that omit the Series ’80 passive firing pin safety introduced some 20 years ago, Colt has introduced the 1918 Black Army, a faithful reproduction of their WWI-era service pistol, and has also recommenced production of their Delta Elite 10mm Auto. Along with the standard extended thumb safety, beavertail and other features of their XSE series of M1911 pistols, the Delta Elite also comes with a bushingless bull barrel.
They’ve also introduced the New Agent .45 ACP pistol. Named after their lightweight revolver of days gone by, the New Agent is a 3” barreled M1911 variant with an alloy frame. Available in either single or (gasp) double action, one of the more distinctive features of the new Agent is its lack of sights; sighting the pistol is accomplished via a channel machined down the top of the slide.
FN has expanded their FNP line of polymer-framed service pistols with the addition of a .45 ACP, and added Flat Dark Earth frames as an option on the 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP FNP’s, as well as for their Five Seven autopistol, which can also be had with an olive green frame. The FNP is a traditional DA/SA auto, with several other action types available, and has excellent ergonomics.
German Sport Guns
For those familiar with the HK family of weapons, the GSG-5 is instantly familiar. Patterned after the MP5, the GSG-5 is a semi-auto .22 LR carbine that’s almost identical to the legendary German submachine gun: From the bolt handle to the mag release and safety lever, it’s all in the right place, which means the little .22 would serve as an excellent trainer for the MP5 and HK94, or even the 91/93 assault rifles. It’s not only less expensive to shoot than the centerfire HKs, but for those who use the design, it offers all of the weight and size of the real thing at a fraction of the price. It’s distributed in the U.S. by AmChar.
Already having been featured both in Popular Science and on Discovery Channel’s “Future Weapons,” the KRISS Super V Vector is a .45 ACP carbine that features an unusual sliding bolt assembly designed to redirect recoil energy downwards. Fed from Glock 21 magazines (an optional 30-round extension is available), the semi-auto Kriss has just been ATF-approved for civilian sales; a select-fire version remains a military/LE-only item. Having fired the Kriss in both semiauto and two-shot burst configurations, it’s a groundbreaking weapon, and it does an admirable job of reducing felt recoil.
In the market of the ever-shrinking M1911, Para-Ordnance recently unveiled their tiny PDA (Personal Defense Assistant) 9mm. Weighing in at a mere 23 ounces, the PDA in 9mm features a smaller frame than that of the .45 ACP PDA, and comes with Para’s LDA double-action trigger, for those who like the ergonomics of the M1911 system without the uneasiness that many feel at carrying a pistol with the hammer cocked. Another 9mm offered by Para is their new Commander-sized 1911 LTC. Although the single-action, singlestack LTC has been around for a few years in .45 ACP, the 9mm chambering is new.
On the other end of the spectrum are the new Super Hawg longslide .45s. The latest in Para’s “Hawg” series of pistols, the stainless single-action Super Hawg comes in either hi-cap or single-stack configuration, with a 6” barrel and slide. The longer barrel offers increased velocity, while the inch-longer slide brings better recoil dampening and a longer sight radius.
The annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT for short) show, held this year…
by Jeremy Clough / Mar 5, 2008