SHOT Show Range Day 2016

SHOT16range_6157The NSSF’s Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) opens today and, as it is every year, the start of the show is preceded by SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range outside of Las Vegas in Boulder City.

With more than 170 exhibitors and over half a million rounds fired, Industry Day bills itself as the largest, most influential one-day event in the hunting and shooting industry.  The event provides the opportunity for outdoor media and buyers to get hands on, live-fire experience with the newest firearms and products that will hit the market in the upcoming year.  It is the perfect chance to see what is coming down the pipe and, as we have in past years, the GunLink team took advantage of that opportunity at the 2016 Range Day so that we can share the latest and greatest with you.

One of the new products at Range Day that is sure to create some buzz came from Kimber.  Long known for their fine bolt-action rifles and 1911 pistols, the company is carving a path into new territory:  the revolver market.  Enter the Kimber K6s 2″ .357 revolver.  Even with a relatively hefty 9.5+ pound DAO trigger, the K6s was a smooth shooter thanks to its clean-breaking, non-stacking trigger.  The 6-round recessed cylinder is the smallest one available in the .357 Magnum chambering.  The stainless frame features an enclosed hammer, smooth lines, and rounded edges, all of which make it a good snag-free choice for concealment.  It seems to be a solidly built revolver, but its stainless construction lends itself to a 23 ounce weight empty – more than twice that of a S&W AirLite.  H 4.46″ L 6.62″ W 1.39″.

SilencerCo had their new Maxim 9 integrally suppressed 9mm pistol on display in their tent (along with many of their other pistol, rifle and shotgun cans).  This was a pretty neat little setup that features modular construction like what we see in the Salvo – not only allowing for easy takedown for servicing but also the option to remove a portion of the suppressor to tailor the Maxim 9 to your needs and ammo.

Although the Maxim 9 wasn’t available for the unwashed masses to fire, SiCo staff ran a couple magazines through it (we’ll get our video footage up as soon as we get a chance) and it was as quiet as you would expect from a suppressed 9mm, especially given that it was standard 115gr FMJ ammo.  The Maxim 9 uses standard Glock magazines and accepts standard Glock sights, opening up a large world of aftermarket parts for the holster-able suppressed pistol.  The SilencerCo rep told us that forthcoming development of the Maxim 9 includes implementing a light/laser solution that will go below the suppressor stack and a milled-out area on top of it (on the non-reciprocating section) to mount an optic, such as an RMR.

Another handgun on display at Range Day was Springfield’s new EMP4 4″ 1911.  The 4″ EMP offers a longer sight radius than the original EMP, along with the increased accuracy and muzzle energy/velocity that comes along with it.  The smaller grip circumference – gained in both dimensions – fit our female shooter’s hand much better than standard 1911 grips while still feeling too small for our male shooters’ giant paws.

We were happy to get the chance to get some trigger time on the New Order Firearms NO9 pistols that we first saw last April at NRAAM, where it was on display under the Evans Arms banner.  The Evans guys are still making the pistol, it just has a new name on it now.  100% made in the USA (Pennsylvania, to be exact) using 100% US materials, the NO9 pistol’s metal bits are completely machined 4140 steel with no cheap castings or MIM parts and they come with a lifetime warranty.  The pistols handled nicely with a clean 5 lb trigger and not much recoil.  Our shooter who typically has trouble manipulating some pistol slides says that this is one of the easier ones that she has handled.

Although New Order has finished development on a .40 S&W variant, the 9mm NO9 is the only model currently shipping.  The NO9 uses standard Beretta M9 magazines, which are set free using the reversible ambidextrous release.  Pistols are offered in true right- and left-handed models in a variety of colors, including black, tan, FDE, and olive with an MSRP of $675.

Kriss was at Range Day as well, with some new offerings in their Vector and Sphinx lines.  Being showcased were their new Gen II Vectors in both the original .45 ACP chambering as well as the new 9mm models – including the “Enhanced” package, which gets you Combat Gray Cerakoting and accessories such as the M4 stock adaptor, DEFIANCE M4 stock, square barrel shroud, Magpul flip sights and RVG, hand stop, and more.  They are now also offering the pistol version of the Vector with their own pistol arm brace installed from the factory.

Fix-it-sticks was at range day demonstrating their new torque limiting bits and t-handle drivers that will make it easy for users to install accessories such as scopes and rings onto their firearms without over-tightening them and stripping out fine pitch threads in delicate materials such as aluminum.  A great product for those without a light touch required for sensitive jobs.  This seems like a great product for me; as I told the company rep at his tent, one of the greatest advances in my personal automotive repair endeavors was when I purchased a clicker torque wrench to take the guess work out of tightening fasteners.  Shouldn’t our firearms get that same treatment?

Talon Grips was showing off some of their latest additions to their line of custom fit grips – both in abrasive and rubber textures.  I have the rubber grips on several of my carry guns and they are a great product.  If you aren’t familiar with them, check out our TALON Grips review here and discuss your own experiences with them on the GunLink Forums.  Because my TALON Grips are on my carry guns that usually live IWB, I hadn’t ever used the abrasive granular grips and the company had a variety of handguns with rubber grips, granular grips, and no grips to demonstrate the difference, so I finally got that opportunity.  I don’t think I would like it on a CCW pistol, but for a duty gun or a home-defense firearm, it would be hard to beat the positive grip on the firearm and the take-away prevention of the aggressive granular grips.  One needn’t fret over which ones to get, however.  Since they are relatively inexpensive and removable, you can try them both and still probably come in way below what a grip stippling job or good set of grips would cost.

CMC Triggers‘ new AK trigger was also on display at Range Day – a trigger that they claim will revolutionize the world of AK-47 pattern rifles.  We tried it out and they weren’t kidding.  As one typically do when trying out a new trigger like this, the CMC rep advised both of the Team GunLink members at the line to give it a smooth squeeze and mind our follow through to check out the reset.  However, as one might typically do when shooting an AK, I think we both gave it a good ol’ tug and got surprised by the rifle going off earlier and smoother than we had anticipated and let go without following through on the shot.  We did, however, give it a try on subsequent shots and this is a sweetheart of an AK trigger pack!  It has a smooth and consistent pull throughout without the heaviness or grittiness of a standard AK trigger, and broke cleanly with a very short reset to get you back to follow-on shots quickly.  If you like the power and reliability of your AK-platform rifle but hate the lousy trigger, this is right up there on the list of required upgrades.

SHOT16range_6161FN had a wide range of offerings on the firing line for visitors to try out, the most popular of which was likely their new 249S – a semi-automatic version of the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW).  Of course, they also had the original happy-switch version on the line for rocking and rolling.  The 249s is available by itself, or in a kit that includes a spare barrel, extra links, a case, and more.  The kit will run you a couple grand more than the 249s’s standard price tag in the $7k range.

Hailey Ordnance wasn’t on the firing line, but they did have a tent set up to show off some of their suppressors and integrally suppressed barrels.  One of our favorites here was the Adjustable Gas Integral Suppressor – or AeGIS – for .22 rifles.  One of the features/problems with many integrally suppressed barrels is that they bleed off gas as the projectile goes down the barrel.  For bulk-pack standard velocity or high velocity ammo, this is great because it tends to keep the round subsonic and eliminates the super-sonic crack when firing to keep the firearm “movie quiet.”  However, it also bleeds off gas from subsonic ammo, which slows it down even more – weakening an already under-powered round.  The AeGIS allows you to adjust the gas that is bled off without disassembling the barrel, allowing shooters to match the barrel to their ammo for a pleasant, quiet shooting experience.

Dead Air had their new Ghost silencer on the line for shooters to try out.  The .45 Ghost is a fully user serviceable centerfire pistol suppressor that us full-auto rated for rounds up to subsonic 300 blackout.  With the growing popularity of shorter (and louder but lighter and more maneuverable) cans, the Ghost features a patent pending modular design that allows users to remove the forward module so that the suppressor can be shortened for different applications.  An alternate front endcap can be used that accommodates a wipe to boost the sound suppression performance, which is a big help, especially in the shorter configuration.  The stainless steel and titanium can is 1.375″ in diameter with a length of 8.75″ and weight of 12 oz in its full configuration.  With the front portion removed, that shrinks to 6.2″ and 9.6 oz.  The Ghost has an MSRP of $949 and features Dead Air’s lifetime warranty.


On the topic of silencers, Ruger also had their new SILENT-SR (cleverly pronounced “silencer”) .22LR can on hand to try out on a variety of firearms, including a 10/22 rifle or a 22/45 Lite pistol.  We gave it a try on the 22/45 while the shooter at the next bench tried it out on a rifle.  It performed as well as any other rimfire suppressor.  Although it didn’t seem to bring much new to the table, many shooters might be happy to have a can from the same manufacturer of their rimefire pistol or rifle – which Ruger certainly has plenty of.

Romtes had a shooting bay set up with their Short Circuit Target (SCT) system that allows shooters to see the hits on distant targets without having to go down range.  Rather than using cameras like some other systems, the SCT uses targets constructed from conductive layers separated by cardboard.  When the projectile passes through the target, it briefly makes contact between the conductive layers, which is registered by the contacts on the target stand which, in turn, wirelessly transmits the hit info to the base station back at your bench.  The base station uses a simple LCD display that informs you of the target zone that you hit and the hit count for each zone. It is a neat concept, but it did have some hiccups while we were there.  A few hits were not registered and, although we showed up early in the day, one unit died completely while we were on the line, which the reps attributed to dead batteries.

Although it is a much smaller venue than SHOT Show propper, there were a huge number of exhibitors at Range Day – too many for us to spend a lot of time with each of them.  Thankfully, we have four more full days to speak with many of the vendors on the show floor.

More coverage of SHOT Show is not far behind.  Much closer than, say, some of these long range targets on the Range Day 1000m+ shooting lanes.

Stick around for more coverage of Range Day and SHOT Show on the GunLink Blog.  Discuss range day in the comments below or in the GunLink Forums Range Day thread.  Discuss everything SHOT in the GunLink Forums SHOT Show thread.


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