SHOT Show 2014 Day at the Range Recap

Remington 2020Another year’s SHOT Show range day at nearby Boulder City is in the can and it was as exciting as ever.  We got to see, handle and shoot a number of great new weapons.  The exhibitors had plenty to tell us, the range was well kept and, thanks to the RSOs (and everyone’s cooperation), safe.  As an added bonus, it wasn’t freezing cold and windy this year.  Winning!

Long Distance Plan

One of the most exciting things we got to see at range day was a couple siblings from the smart optics family:  the Tracking Point system and the Remington model 700 with the Tracking Point’s little brother, the 20/20.  I had a chance to try a Tracking Point simulation at SHOT Show 2013, but didn’t get any live fire trigger time.  This time around, I gave the .300 Win Mag Tracking Point a test drive and nailed the 950 yard target on each of my shots with almost boring ease.  One should, however, note that even though this rifle does all of ballistics calculations for the shooter, it doesn’t manage recoil for him, as the shooter ahead of me found out when he received some wicked scope-bite.

Think the Tracking Point concept is neat but aren’t wild about the heavy caliber rounds or bolt-action configurations it comes in?  Keep your eyes open in 2014 for an AR variant.

The 30-06 Remington 20/20 that I took for a spin had no problem putting each of my 350 yard shots right on target either, although it didn’t seem quite as mundane as the longer shot with the Tracking Point.  The 20/20 system uses the same optic as the Tracking Point, but it is not so tightly integrated with the firearm as its big brother.  Despite the optic handling the ballistic computations for the user, it doesn’t have any mechanism for blocking the trigger when the point of aim is off of the target.  The user must tag the target, come onto the target with his crosshairs, ensure that they are aligned with the tag and then pull the trigger to send it.  At less than a quarter of the price of the Tracking Point, shooters that can scrape together the $6k to buy a 20/20 system will probably be able to get over that minor detail.

New Austrian Exports

Something else from the show that has been generating a lot of buzz is a pair of new offerings from GLOCK:  the 41 and 42 pistols.  The G41 scratches a .45 ACP itch with a G34 slide on a G21 frame.  This longer slide and barrel make the .45 controllable and comfortable to shoot with very little muzzle rise, making it easy to put rounds on target one after the other.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is the G42, a new offering in .380 ACP.  Coming in under six inches long and less than an inch thick, the G42 would happily occupy pants pockets, purses or waistbands while taking up almost negligible space and weight. This small size was a negative for me, however, as it got swallowed up by my relatively big hands.  The rep told me that they suggested a finger rest magazine floorplate to Glock but they were less than receptive (heads up to aftermarket accessory makers!).  Given the weak .380 chambering and not-so-comfortable purchase I could get on the pistol, I’ll pass on the G42 in favor of a different sub-compact.

But Wait… There’s More

There were well over 100 exhibitors showcasing their wares at SHOT Show Media Day at the Range; too many to visit them all but we did visit a number of others.  We shot a few bullpup rifles like the Steyr AUG and the IWI Tavor, tried out some new non-NFA ammo burning solutions from Slide Fire and Tactical Fire Control, checked out the steel-reinforced polymer OMNI Hybrid AR lower from ATI, had some Total Recall with KRISS and caught up with our nearly-neighbors from Doublestar, who are making some sweet shooting 1911 pistols and slick short-barreled rifles (SBRs).

But, alas, as fun as it may be, Range Day wasn’t just all about getting behind the trigger.  We also got a chance to learn about some great new ammunition from Advanced Ballistic Concepts, care and cleaning products from QMaxx, target systems from Target is Moving and TargetVision  and others.

Be sure to keep your eye on the GunLink Forums and the GunLink Blog for more SHOT Show 2014 coverage from GunLink and our partners.

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