I just returned from the SHOT show in Las Vegas. Wow—a lot of stuff under one roof! In the 2 days I was there, I think I covered about 40% of the whole thing. This trip differed from years past in my focus. Before, I was an end user on the tactical side of things, looking for the latest product to increase our effectiveness downrange. This time I was looking at things from the schoolhouse point of view. How is the industry doing compared to last year? How can I improve my classes or my curriculum? What is out there to help the armed citizens, not just the military or law enforcement types?
Overall, most of the vendors I spoke with said the doom of last year and the frenzy buying are leveling off. Instead of being 12-18 months backlogged, most were down to the 6-8 month mark for ammunition or firearms. Still not where I would like it, especially with regards to match grade ammunition, but we are getting there. I sensed more optimism this time around as well.
As for APR, we got some good leads on class equipment vendors. Target systems, computer upgrades, and even some new spotting scopes are in the works. I spoke with reps on the new scope models from Nightforce, Leupold, Schmidt&Bender, and Huskemaw. The long range crowd has many good choices for glass! Lots of good things in the AR-15/ AR-10 world as well. In fact, there is an abundance of custom manufactures out there, all building incredibly accurate systems. Kryptek had some impressive camo patterns and I met another former USMC scout/ sniper, Josh Stabler, making the Hog Saddle shooting rest for tripods. Great conversation with him and I learned a couple new tricks when shooting from a tripod. Check out his site, hogsaddle.com if you get a chance.
Although I did not spend as much time with it as years past, the suppressor vendors had several new products. Hopefully one of these days the US gets on board with Europe in this regard. Germany and many other places encourage suppressors to cut down on noise pollution. Gasp—you mean a suppressor is not just for gangsters and assassins?! I could go on and on. . . .
I will wrap this up with a picture of the Special Operations Raptor. Whoever the artist was, he did a great job air brushing that scenery. It will be tough to take the truck offroad, but in case it ever goes, it can handle it! Next week I will return to the gear recommendation series covering packs and weapons setup. Take care!