Every year, the day before the 2016 Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show kicks off in Las Vegas, manufacturers brought their new guns, ammo, and gear to the nearby Boulder Rifle Club for the media to check out.
The term “like a kid in a candy store” isn’t appropriate for what’s called the Industry Day at the Range, because a kid will eat a bunch of candy in ten minutes and go home with a stomachache. Here, you can shoot all kinds of different guns and ammo, and handle new shooting-related products, all day.
And after you’ve done a bunch of it, you want to do more.
The Range Day is really a terrific event that puts all the gear right in one place for media to check out. It’s big. It’s busy. It’s loud. And yes, it’s awesome.
Here are ten intros for 2016 that stood out. —Mike Toth
Savage Arms B.MAG: Reach Out and Plink Something
Chambered for the super-hot .17 Winchester Super Magnum cartridge, the new Savage B.MAG bolt action brings plinking to a whole new level—and range—while keeping the cost way below those of long-distance centerfire calibers.
Best of all, it’ll help you find your inner sharpshooter.
Paired with the B.MAG, the .17 WSM allows you to make long-distance shots at ranges beyond typical .22 distances. The 20-grain bullet leaves the muzzle at a zooming 3000 feet per second. With the test rifle I was using, equipped with a Bushnell Rimfire Optics 3-9X scope, I was gonging 8-inch targets at 300 yards with ease.
The hot little rimfire cartridge requires a thick wall of brass because so much pressure is developed in a narrow space. That’s why Savage gave the rifle rear-locking lugs and features normally reserved for powerful centerfire models. The two-stage adjustable Accu-Trigger helps make a crack shot out of just about anybody, including me.
The cartridge is powerful enough and the rifle accurate enough to make it a solid hunter for predators such as coyote. But the gun is such a hoot to shoot that an empty soda can at 300 yards is a plenty good enough reason to uncase it. (But now there’s something even better than that upon which to unleash your plinking passion—see the DuraSeal Soup Can Target below.)
The gun is available in three versions: the Heavy Barrel (MSRP of $402), Target Sport ($506), and Beavertail (MSRP of $548). —Mike Toth
Blackhawk TecGrip IWB and Pocket Holster: Everything You’ve Always Wanted in a Holster, And Less
It really couldn’t be simpler: a very soft, very thin holster that fits very securely in your waistband or pocket, yet allows for extremely fast removal of a handgun. It’s as if Blackhawk rethought holster design and put in whatever works to hold the gun securely but allow easy removal, and then took everything else away.
The proprietary exterior material is so thin that it’s almost as if you’re carrying the gun without a holster at all. It fits either left or right side, and is soap-and-water washable. I tried it in my jeans pocket and it worked perfectly.
The TecGrip will be available in various sizes. MSRP to be announced. —MT
Champion DuraSeal Soup Can Target: Shoot This, Not That
You may not be able to make a better mousetrap, but Champion has improved on the idea of the classic soup can target with the DuraSeal Soup Can. It’s made of a self-sealing non-metal material that lets bullets from .17 up to .50 caliber pass through with minimal damage.
But that’s not its only advantage. It’s a true can with a lid, so you can fill it with water or flour and watch the lid fly off and its contents erupt out—which is a most gratifying way to confirm a hit. You also can hang the lid by itself if you want to shoot at a flat round target.
And you can shoot it over and over and over again. MSRP: $27.45. —MT
American Eagle Syntech Ammunition: Shoot Cool, Shoot Slick
Just as synthetic motor oil makes your car engine last longer and better, American Eagle’s Syntech handgun ammo causes less wear and tear on your gun. The TSJ (total synthetic jacket) has a polymer coating that is specially applied to the bullet reduces friction and leaves no copper or lead fouling in the bore, which means—you guessed it—less and easier gun cleaning and longer barrel life. Splashback from metal targets is reduced as well, making for an overall safer, cleaner, and cooler-shooting bullet. Prices begin at $19.95 for a 50-round box of 9mm ammo. —MT
Federal Premium Practice & Defend Ammunition: One Box-Shopping
You practice with affordable ammo, and you save the premium personal-defense rounds for keeping in your handgun at all other times. But will the good stuff shoot the same way as the affordable rounds? Federal Premium says that nagging thought is in the past with their Practice and Defend Ammunition, which puts ballistically matched practice and personal defense ammo in one box. You get 100 American Eagle FMJ training rounds and 20 of the top-line HST defense loads, and all shoot to the same place. Prices begin at $67.95 for a box of 120 9mm rounds. —MT
CMMG Mk47 Mutant Variants: Hybrid Vigor
The Mutant, an intense hybrid of the AR-15 and AK-47, made a big noise when it debuted a couple years ago, and is making some more racket this year. CMMG has introduced a new version of the 7.62mm MSR with a 13-inch barrel. Not legal without a tax stamp you say? Well, there happens to be a Bulgarian-style crank flash hider permanently pinned and welded to the muzzle, bringing it to a nice, law-abiding 16-inches in barrel length. It handles like a dream, takes AK magazines, and packs a serious punch in a small package.
The new brake is designed to minimize flash and direct blast and noise forward, away from the shooter. It’s also available on CMMG’s 8- and 10-inch barrel rifles. It’s particularly useful on the 8-inch version, because with a normal brake, Justin Wilson of CMMG says, the flash was so bright it was blinding in broad daylight. Not so with the new brake. MSRP: $1,499. —David Maccar
Springfield XD Mod.2 Sub-Compact in Flat Dark Earth: Good Things in a Small Package
The Springfield XD family has steadily grown over the past decade, both in features and refinement, and now in aesthetic options. The latest in the lineup is the XD Mod.2 Sub-Compact with a Flat Dark Earth polymer frame topped with a black Melonite slide. It’s a sexy color for a great sub-compact carry gun that shoots like a full-size—especially when paired with the matching, included, grip-extending magazine.
The three new FDE Mod.2s include the same internal features as their predecessors with some external modifications. The new models sport High-Hand cutouts on the back of the grip and behind the trigger that allow the shooter to more easily place their support hand near the bore line to help minimize muzzle flip. The small pistols also feature Springfield’s GripZone contours and texturing designed to provide a great grip where the hand and fingers contact the gun the most.
All XD Mod.2 Sub-Compact models include a flush-fit mag as well as the extended-grip magazine. The 9mm version has a capacity of 13 or 16 rounds, the .40 S&W holds 9 or 12, and the .45 ACP carries 9 or 13 rounds. All are shipping now. —DM
UTAS XTR-12 Semi-Auto Shotgun: MSR Becomes MSS
When people hear the name UTAS, they probably think of the high-capacity, futuristic-looking UTS-15 pump gun, but now, the Turkish shotgun company has something else to offer: a box-magazine fed, gas-piston operated, semi-auto shotgun with the look and controls of an MSR. With a 5 or 8-round magazine, the safety, bolt-release, and magazine release are exactly like an AR-pattern rifle, making the XTR 12-gauge a simple transition for many shooters. The compact forend features a full-length top rail, that allows the XTR carry any red dot or scope you want.
The whole affair is machined from 7075 aluminum with standard mil-spec fire control parts with an 18.5″ barrel and more rail sections on the left, right, and bottom of the fore-end. It’s topped off with an AR-style adjustable butt stock. From a home defense standpoint, being able to load and chamber a 12-gauge in seconds, and reload even faster, can be a huge advantage. The new shotgun is definitely worth a look, especially for shooters who need a smoothbore and don’t want to retrain to operate a new firearm. Distributor price: $692. —DM
As some suppressor companies, such SilencerCo, get into the handgun game, one of the most venerable gun makers in history is getting into the suppressor game.
The new Silent-SR reduces reduces sound pressure levels of .22 LR, .22 WMR, and .17 HMR pistols and rifles by up to 40 dB. Not only that, but it’s rated for .22 LR full auto fire as well and features a standard 1/2” – 28 thread pattern for compatibility with most threaded rimfire guns. Ruger even added a user-friendly innovation—an outer tube and muzzle mount that are interlocked to prevent accidentally disassembling the unit while removing it from a firearm. A disassembly tool is included.
Constructed from a titanium tube, aluminum rear cap, and a stainless steel threaded mount, baffles and front cap, it cuts weight and adds strength in all the right places. The Silent-SR weighs in at 6.3 ounces, at 5.37″ long and has a diameter of 1.06.” Mounted on Ruger’s 22/45 pistol with a hot new green paint-job, it felt balanced and smooth on the gun and makes a .22 sound like a golf clap. —DM
The name of this odd new creation is totally appropriate. The Airbow is not a crossbow, it’s not an air rifle, but a love child of the two that fires a full-sized arrow with a full-weight broadhead at 450 fps under 3,000 psi. It uses unique, hollow-tubed arrows that fit over an airtube the same length, which serves as the “barrel.” When the arrow is fully seated, the rear barrel cap where the nock would normally be fits snugly and securely, creating a seal. Since the air is actually pushing the arrow from directly behind the broadhead (instead of from the back of the arrow, as with traditional bows) the Airbow offers superior accuracy, capable of three-inch groups at 50 yards.
Perhaps the best part is how safe of a hunting tool it is. To cock it, a shooter simply lifts a lever on top of the butt stock and lowers it back down. It only takes 2 pounds of force, so anyone can operate it. Flick the safety off in front of the trigger and it’s hot. If you have to climb down from a tree stand without having fired a shot, you can do it completely safely, because the Airbow decocks. You simply lift the cocking lever and hold it, depress the trigger, and lower the cocking handle. That’s it. No dummy bolts, no firing into a bag, no strings, no cams.
It’s fully ambidextrous, is only 33.5 inches long, weighs 7 pounds, and comes with three custom arrows with field tips, a 6x40mm scope to mount on the full-length top rail, a sling and a quiver. Those who pre-order now before it’s April 2016 shipping date get six extra arrows. MSRP: $849. —DM