2018 SHOT Show

Brownells Makes History, Launches Retro Rifles Line

Models include four 5.56mm and two .308/7.62 variants

It’s been 79 years in the making and last week at SHOT Show, Brownells joined the ranks of America’s gun manufacturers. Given the company’s long history of serving the firearms community with firearms, parts, and accessories, it only makes sense the company’s first firearms are legitimately old school – retro AR-15 rifles that will appeal to those interested in historically accurate recreations of early models of America’s Rifle.

Brownells newly-created Retro Rifles line features four 5.56mm variants and two .308/7.62 variants.  The 5.56mm models feature the correct styling for rifles issued to GIs in the 1960s. The .308/7.62 models reflect the lightweight styling of Eugene Stoner’s original AR-10 design.

Several models are available and shipping now. The BRN-16A1 is a close copy of the iconic M16A1 first fielded in 1960s. The matte gray anodized receivers mimic the originals and the rifle features black furniture with period-correct contours with a full fence M16A1 profile lower receiver and a 20” 5.56 lightweight chrome-lined barrel with 1-12″ twist that terminates in a M16A1 Flash hider. The upper features an M16A1 bolt carrier group with phosphate finish and chrome lining and a standard charging handle. The 16A1 ships with a 20-round aluminum magazine, all for a $1300 MSRP.   Continue reading

Happy 40th Birthday, SHOT Show!

Firearms Industry Show Celebrates 40th Anniversary

As the largest show of its kind in the industry wraps up this week, we want to congratulate the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the entire SHOT Show family on 40 years of helping to bring the latest innovations in the industry to market so that we can all enjoy them.

Although this year marks the 20th that the show has been held in Las Vegas (with the GunLink team in attendance for nearly half of those), wasn’t always held here. The first show was held in St. Louis in 1979 and it spent a while moving around before settling down in its current Nevada home.

The show hasn’t been resting on its laurels in those 40 years either.  The show floor itself has expanded from a mere 51,000 square feet filled by 290 exhibitors in St. Louis to more than 645,000 square feet packed by 1,660 exhibitors this year.  With that expansion also came more attendees, growing more than ten-fold from just 5,600 in 1979 to over 60.000 in 2018.  All of those exhibitors and attendees make a big impact too; last year’s show alone brought more than $88 million in non-gaming revenue to the Las Vegas economy.  Mostly spa treatments and Fiji water, surely.

An Industry that Gives Back

Las Vegas is not the only place where our industry makes a major economic impact. Firearms and ammo are an $8 billion (yes, with a B) a year industry which supports more than 301,000 jobs and makes a total economic impact of more than $51 billion. Through the Pittman-Robertson Act, the industry also enables conservation efforts that everyone can benefit from with every firearms and ammunition sale.

The good that comes from the industry does not stop there, either. SHOT Show generates millions in revenue for NSSF programs with the mission of helping “promote, protect, and preserve” hunting and shooting sports along with safety efforts.  NSSF’s Project Childsafe promotes comprehensive firearms education and safety, while their Don’t Lie for the Other Guy initiative works to prevent illegal “straw purchases” that could put firearms into the hands of prohibited persons.  NSSF also works to ensure that more generations of shooters can get involved and participate in the shooting sports through their National Shooting Sports Month each year in August.   Continue reading

Mandatory Gun Locks – Coming Soon To A State Near You?

GunLockFirearms safety is every gun owner’s job – from knowing the four rules of gun safety to enacting the Own It/Respect It/Secure It mantra of NSSF’s Project Childsafe. With many states eyeing legislation (no fewer than 15 states have proposed legislation in the past year and another dozen or so with it already on the books) to mimic California’s state gun lock law, a number of manufacturers are offering solutions intended to prevent unauthorized access to firearms. We had a chance to visit with a few of them at SHOT Show 2018.

Traditional Firearm Security

Before we get into the new stuff, let’s cover the way we have been locking up firearms for ages. There are, obviously, the traditional safes (or, more likely, residential security containers), locking cabinets, and handgun lockboxes that prevent access to anyone without a key, combination, or approved biometric ID such as a fingerprint.  While these options are often large and allow storage of multiple weapons, they can be pricey (although a few states subsidize the purchase of a gun safe with tax credits) and it can take extra time to reach and retrieve a weapon in the event of an emergency.   Continue reading

Franklin Armory’s Reformation – Brilliant End-Run or Spotlight on NFA Absurdity

GunLink-SHOT18_001Franklin Armory mystified the shooting community in the days leading up to SHOT Show 2018. Right around two weeks ahead of the show, the company – most well known for their binary triggers – issued a press release with photos of a weapon that, for all intents and purposes, appeared to be an NFA-regulated short barreled rifle (SBR).  However, Franklin claimed that the item shown was not a rifle (so, not an SBR) nor were they playing sneaky semantics games with a shotgun (and, thus, not an SBS).  Readers were left scratching their heads and trying to figure out how it might fit into the generic “firearm” category that might escape the purview of NFA regulations

Rumors swept the internet, along with speculation on how Franklin Armory had achieved this feat, if they had achieved it at all – many thought that the company was just trolling to generate buzz and that the new firearm, dubbed the Reformation, was just their 11.5″ SBR and that the entire campaign was a hoax.  Everyone loves a good puzzle, and the only clues in the initial release were that the Reformation sported an 11.5″ barrel, a Magpul SL stock (not a brace), that it used patented “NRS” technology, and that it required no NFA tax stamp.

Guesses at how this was done included things like the stock being pinned to make it unusable as a stock (instead, being capable of functioning only as a cheek rest), having a smooth bore (no rifling, no short-barreled rifle) – with or without guesses at special ammunition like a rifled shotgun slug, firing only on release (to skirt the definition of one round per trigger pull), and other theories.

This is not the first time that the designers at Franklin Armory were able to dance around BATFE definitions of certain classes of firearms (see the XO-26, which sports a short barrel, pistol brace, and VFG, yet is not an AOW). The company played the Reformation release close to their vest, letting the shooting community continue to guess right up through their SHOT Show announcement.   Continue reading

2018 SHOT Show Range Day Round Up

GunLink-SHOT18_0062The GunLink team spent the day before the official opening of SHOT Show 2018 walking the grounds of the Boulder City Pistol and Rifle Club, where we were able to handle many new firearms from well known, big name manufacturers as well as new companies trying to get their name out there. While many companies had completely new weapons, it still seems that the firearm industry is leaning towards “high-end” modifications of existing platforms. Some of the offerings were fairly innovative, showcasing the fruits of lengthy R&D processes while others made small improvements on existing platforms to enhance the shooting experience.

Franklin Armory Reformation
GunLink-SHOT18_001Some of the biggest buzz at SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range surrounded Franklin Armory’s new Reformation line. Franklin kicked off the hubbub a couple of weeks ago with a mysterious press release boasting a new AR15 with an 11.5″ barrel and a Magpul SL stock. Big deal, right? We’ve all seen SBRs before. The catch was that Franklin Armory said that the Reformation was not a rifle (or a shotgun) and, despite the diminutive size coupled with a regular stock, is not subject to NFA regulations or taxes.

After picking our way through the crowd gathered around the Franklin shooting bay, we got some trigger time on the display model, outfitted with the short barrel, adjustable Magpul stock, Franklin’s BFSIII binary trigger, and magazines loaded with standard 5.56 ammo. Taken together, this blew many of the theories about how it escaped NFA purview, but the company reps wouldn’t give out any more details until tomorrow’s press conference at their booth on the show floor.

Mag-Fed Shotguns – Mossberg 590M and Remington 870DM
Mossberg’s domestic competitor, Remington, may have beaten Mossberg to the punch with last month’s announcement of the 870DM, an update to their popular pump-action shotgun to feed from a detachable magazine, but we think that Mossberg came out on top in the execution department with their new 590DM. Full disclosure, we are Mossberg fans out of the gate, preferring the 500 platform over the 870 in most regards.

Remington’s edge came with the announcement of a wider variety of models of the 870DM, including a Magpul equipped, camo thumb-hole, hardwood, tactical, and stubby non-NFA TAC-14 models that will accept Remington’s in-house built single-stack magazines in 3- and 6-round capacities.   Continue reading

Sticky Holsters Unveils New EDC Products for SHOT Show

20180117_181359838_iOSJust in time for SHOT Show, Sticky Holsters is unveiling a bevy of new products for Concealed Carry EDC.

We have been reviewing Sticky Holsters for years now, since we were first introduced to them by a GunLink Forum member.  Since then, we have tried out and reviewed a number of their products, including their standard holsters in a variety of sizes, as well as their Super Mag Pouch, and the custom ECR-compatible holster for Viridian’s C5L compact light and laser.

We have had great experiences with Sticky Holsters’ products over the years and are happy to have them come on board with us as a SHOT Show Coverage Partner this year. Operations Manager, Eric, sent us over some details about the latest products coming out of the Sticky Holsters shop and we’re excited to get the opportunity to see them first hand at SHOT Show next week.

Sticky’s new products aren’t necessarily directly pistol-holster related but, rather, geared more toward the EDC stuff that you might lug around if you are packing heat already, like spare mags, tourniquets, a knife, etc.

The first set of new products are their Mini Mag Sleeves and Pouches. As you saw in our review of the Super Mag Pouch (SMP), we generally used that product for double-stack pistol mags like those for the G19 and G17.  Using the SMP for single-stack mags, like those for the XDS45, was passable, but not ideal since they didn’t fill out the pouch enough and we worried about the possibility of the magazine sliding out at inopportune times.  Trying to use the SMP for tiny mags, like those for the .380 ACP Ruger LCP, was nigh impossible. This is what we wrote at the time:    Continue reading





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