SHOT Show 2019: Best New Defensive Carbines and Handguns
There were a lot of new firearms at this year’s show that may be the perfect fit for your self- or home-defense situation.
- Colt King Cobra
- Glock G43X and G48
- Kimber Evo
- Springfield 911
Carbines and Rifles
- SIG Sauer M400
- Black Rain Ordinance Ion 9 Rifle
- LMT Defense MLC
- Springfield Armory SAINT Victor and SAINT Edge
- CMMG Resolute in Winchester 350 Legend
- United Defense Corp. AKs
- Maxim Defense PDX
- Franklin Armory Providence
- Desert Tech SRS-A2 Bullpup Carbine
- Barrett REC10 AR-10 Rifle
- SIG Sauer MPX Copperhead
The world of carbine length, or shorter, rifles and pistol caliber carbines has grown exponentially in recent years. There were a lot of offerings in long guns and semi-long guns at this year’s SHOT Show, along with a good number of new handguns suited for self defense and concealed carry. Here’s our rundown of the best things we saw on the show floor in defensives carbines, PCCs, and handguns:
NEW DEFENSIVE HANDGUNS
Colt King Cobra
In 2017, Colt brought back one of its most beloved wheelguns with the Cobra. This year, the venerable gunmaker has introduced the Cobra’s big brother, the aptly named King Cobra. The 6-shot double action revolver is chambered for .357 Magnum/.38 Special. With a heavy duty frame and 3-inch barrel, it’s still compact enough to carry and excellently balanced and comfortable to shoot with its Hogue overmolded grips.
The King Cobra uses the same excellent linear leaf spring trigger as the regular Cobra, and features a brushed stainless steel construction and weighs in at a comfortable 28 ounces. It’s priced the same as Colt’s black DLC-coated Night Cobra .38 SPL snub-nosed revolver and $200 over the standard Cobra. At Range Day, the revolver proved to be a tack driver and was crisp and accurate in single- and double-action. The King Cobra is shipping now. MSRP: $899 —David Maccar
Glock G43X and G48
New this year for Glock are the Glock 43X and Glock 48. Both guns are built on the same platform, both are chambered in 9mm. The grips are identical, the only difference in the two models are the barrel / slide length. Built for concealed carry, the 43X is a new, slimmer version of the Glock 43, with the same grip length as the Glock 19! The slim, single-stack frame maximizes comfort; and because of the longer frame, it holds a 10-round magazine, which is 4 more than the Glock 43.
The grip itself is lightly textured and comfortable to hold and shoot: aggressive enough to keep a good grip and draw but won’t chew your hand up after putting a few hundred rounds downrange. Also new on these models are front serrations on the slide. Available with either the traditional Glock black slide, or a new stainless slide. MSRP: $449 —Annette Doerr
New this year from Kimber is a great little striker fired pistol designed for concealed carry. The Evo is a compact, 9mm, all metal-framed pistol, machined to the industries tightest tolerances. The magazine release can be set for either left-hand or right-hand, makes it suitable for lefties. The textured grip and backstrap made for a comfortable yet secure grip while shooting. Weighing in at just 19 oz. (with an empty magazine), the trigger pull is factory set at about 6.5 lbs. For a small carry gun, the recoil was minimal.
Four available variations include the EVO SP, EVO SP CDP (Custom Defense Package), EVO SP TLE and EVO SP CS (Custom Shop). Kimber did a great job with the design of the Evo. MSRP: $856 – $1,047 —Annette Doerr
I’ll admit to not believing them when they told me the Springfield 911 feels and shoots like a full-size gun. I was wrong! This little shooter is made for everyday carry. The overall length is under 6 inches and the empty weight is a mere 15.3 oz. It has the look and feel of a 1911, just on a smaller frame. The Octo-Grip™ texture on the front and backstrap was slightly aggressive, but just enough to give you a secure feel. Although I shot the 9mm, the 911 series is also available in .380.
The 911 features a black nitride finish on the slide and is single action with green and black G10 grips and an ambidextrous manual thumb safety. It’s topped with Pro-Glo Tritium in front and white outlined tritium sights in the back. The barrel measures at 3 inches with an overall length for the 911 coming in at 5.8 inches. The magazine holds 6+1 in 9mm and 7+1 in .380 ACP. MSRP: $659 —Annette Doerr
NEW TACTICAL CARBINES AND RIFLES
SIG Sauer M400
Sig Sauer’s M400, chambered in 5.56 NATO, is designed as an entry-level, sub-$1,000 AR-15 with some upgrades available new. It’s built on a direct impingement mid-length gas system. A single-stage polished, hard-coated trigger is standard. The carbine comes with a free-float M-LOK handguard. Among the options is a handguard with extended M-LOK on the receiver end (top and center rifles). —Eve Flanigan
Black Rain Ordinance Ion 9 Rifle
The Black Rain Ordinance Ion 9 is a pistol caliber carbine chambered in 9mm that uses standard Glock-style magazines, so capacity is pretty much whatever you want it to be.
I found it lightweight and comfortable to shoot, with the recoil being very manageable due to the design. It utilizes a patented side charging, non-reciprocating upper, that is mated to a dedicated billet lower featuring a flared magazine well for quick loading and reloading. A few different build options are available depending upon your needs. It is also available in a New York-compliant model. MSRP: $1259.00 – $1999.00 —Annette Doerr
LMT Defense MLC
The MLC by LMT Defense, short for Lewis Machine & Tool, allows the user to define the platform. Every control is fully ambidextrous. The monolithic upper offers stability for a quick-change barrel system that allows switching between 5.56 NATO and .300 Blackout.
Users can even change the operating system from piston to gas. The piston model is shown here, sporting a nickel boron bolt. It’s outfitted with a two-stage, match grade trigger and has an MSRP of $2,000. —Eve Flanigan
Springfield Armory SAINT Victor and SAINT Edge
Springfield Armory showed off two versions of its new SAINT Victor AR-15 carbine, with a new rendition of the model not yet seen on their website. The full-length (16-inch barrel) rendition of the Saint Victor has two variants, the standard and the Edge. Upgrades to the Edge include a billeted lower, custom trigger (manufacturer unnamed), a lightweight barrel, and full-length rail.
Both rifles share a bolt carrier group and 1:8 twist barrel with Melonite treatment. Both come with Springfield-branded flip-up rear and front sights. The standard Saint weighs in at just 6 lbs., 9 oz. with the Edge weighing even less due to the lighter barrel. **MSRP* base is $1,073. —Eve Flanigan
CMMG Resolute in Winchester 350 Legend
Fine. We had to include one actual rifle in this lineup. Hot on the heels of the unveiling of Winchesters exciting new straight-walled high velocity cartridge, the 350 Legend, CMMG pulled the curtain on the first ever AR chambered for the new round.
At this year’s Range Day held just before the kickoff of SHOT Show 2019, Winchester was showing off their new round in one of its XPR bolt guns, but at the CMMG booth the next day, show attendees got to check out the inevitable first AR-platform rifle made for the new round a bit earlier than anyone expected.
Why is the 350 Legend a big deal? It promises to have more energy than a .30-30 Win. with less recoil than a .450 Bushmaster and 20% more penetration than a .243 Win. Not to mention the fact that its straight-walled construction makes it legal for hunting in 47 states. Details were sparse on the rifle at the show, but some details have emerged since.
The bronze-colored Resolute will be part of CMMG’s 300-Series, meaning it will have higher-end components and build specs. It measures 31.7 inches overall and will have a 16.1” Salt Bath Nitride Finished Barrel with a CMMG SV Muzzle Brake inside a CMMG M-LOK free-floating handguard.
For a trigger it will have a Geissele SSA 2-Stage trigger wrapped in a Magpul MOE trigger guard. The receivers are a MK4 Forged 7075-T6 aluminum set with a CMMG Ripstock Buttstock and Magpul MOE pistol grip. It weights in at 6 lbs. 7 oz.and uses a DI gas system.
It also features an ambidextrous receiver end plate, safety selector switch, and charging handle, and finally, it’s done up in the company’s “Premier Burnt Bronze” Cerakote finish. The expected MSRP is about $1,550. —Dave Maccar
United Defense Corp. AKs
Florida startup United Defense Corporation brought three prototypes of their AKM-style shooters to the show— all chambered in 7.62x.39mm.
The AK103-XI has a standard 16-inch barrel; its controls and function are akin to any AK, with the addition of silvery receiver finish, vertical foregrip, and synthetic stock and forend. I tested this model; it ran without a hiccup. Handling will be intuitive for any AK fan.
The company also makes two shorter versions of the AK103. The X2 version has a 12.5-inch barrel; the X3 a 6.5-inch barrel.
There was some discussion about the latter as the company banner proclaimed it to be an 8-inch barrel. Upon inspection, it appears the 6.5-inch barrel is the reality. Both of these pistols are outfitted with wedge-type forend accessories to enhance control and prevent burnt fingers. The company is planning a mid-summer release for all three and says consumer interest has been greatest around the pistol models. Look for a base MSRP of around $1,000. —Eve Flanigan
Maxim Defense PDX
Based in Minnesota, Maxim Defense Industries focuses on small arms manufacturing with R&D and design enhancements for producing better, lighter, more reliable weapons and accessories. They unveiled their new Maxim Defense PDX both as a pistol and an SBR, chambered in 7.62×39 and 5.56 NATO. The PDX features their new SCW stock and their HATEBRAKE muzzle device.
The PDX is designed for close quarter encounters that require maximum energy on target without sacrificing accuracy. At just 18.75” OAL and 5 lbs 11oz., the PDX is the ultimate choice for when concealment and personal defense is non-negotiable.
One of the features on the PDX is the newly created Maxim SCW stock system. This patent-pending design cuts down the length of the stock to only 4”. It has an integrated BCG with interchangeable buffer weights to give you the flexibility to maximize performance and versatility without sacrificing functionality or form.
The other new product on the PDX is the Maxim HATEBRAKE Muzzle Booster. This patent-pending device was designed to dramatically reduce recoil, decrease the flash signature, and push gasses and the concussion waves downrange away from the shooter.
Kris “Tanto” Paronto, one of the co-authors of 13 Hours in Benghazi, is a brand ambassador for Maxim Defense. He really believes in the product, so much so that he says it could have changed the outcome on September 11, 2012. For more about the PDX, here’s Kris to tell you all about it:
The PDX has an MSRP of $2299. Both the SCW and the HATEBRAKE can be purchased separately if you so desire. —T. Logan Metesh
Franklin Armory Providence
Nevada’s Franklin Armory drew a steady stream of curious folk with its innovative Providence pistol caliber carbine, currently chambered in 9mm with other rifle and pistol calibers on the drawing board.
This straight-grooved barrel firearm has a one-of-a-kind operating system. It’s not a semi, yet every press of the trigger does release the firing pin. Franklin Armory (Nevada) reps call it a “digital action,” as in finger action, platform.
The little rifle takes a Glock magazine. On the drawing board is an interchangeable magwell that will accept other brands’ mags, making the platform even more versatile and easier to fit into your current setup. The Stoner-style receiver is bolted to a handguard, and there’s a full-length Picatinny rail over the whole works. A folding stock makes it very compact for storage or transport, about 18 inches (the maker did not supply measurements).
Franklin reps say that because there’s no gas blowback compared to a gas gun, the Providence runs very clean. That’s good, because they compare it to a Ruger 10/22 when it comes to cleaning—not the easiest job.
It was European consumers who were in mind when this platform was designed, but given the threats of and existing major restrictions in some states on semiautos, the Providence represent a potential gold mine for its designers. —Eve Flanigan
Desert Tech SRS-A2 Bullpup Carbine
Desert Tech, maker of bullpup carbines and rifles out of Utah, showed off a new bolt action rifle, the SRS-A2. The receiver is crafted from aluminum, and everything else can change with a torque wrench. The gun will cycle long or short action loads with a simple equipment swap that DT reps promise takes less than one minute.
It’s a defensive gun with a 16-inch barrel, or a precision rifle for long-range target or hunting use with its 26-inch barrel in larger calibers. Barrels are fluted and threaded. DT guarantees 0.5 MOA or better accuracy at 100 yards using their house brand ammunition.
Desert Tech rep Luke said, “bullpups are famous for bad triggers, but that’s where we put a lot of work, and this one is top grade. Our triggers are adjustable from one to five pounds.”
This is a high-grade rifle with a price to match. Plan on spending $4,299 for the SRS-A2 in any caliber; $1,600-1,900 per barrel to add calibers. —Eve Flanigan
Barrett REC10 AR-10 Rifle
Another choice for those who want enhanced firepower in a carbine is the Barrett REC10, an AR-10 chambered in .308 Winchester. It’s the descendant and virtual clone of their popular REC15, the AR-15 version. Its button rifled, 1:10 twist, 16-inch barrel is created on the same machine that makes the company’s legendary .50 BMG precision barrel. A Barrett flash hider tops the barrel.
The REC10 runs on an intermediate length gas impingement system, sports ambi controls and Magpul’s 20-round magazine, flip-up sights, and MOE SL stock. It has a full-length Picatinny rail and M-LOK for accessories. Color choices are desert tan and black. MSRP is $2,995. —Eve Flanigan
SIG Sauer MPX Copperhead
SIG Sauer’s newest offering in its MPX line is distinctive and turned a lot of heads at this year’s SHOT. The 9mm “pistol” features a monolithic Elite Series Cerakote finish on the upper receiver with an integrated stock knuckle lower and a 3.5-inch barrel with an integrated muzzle brake. It is equipped with the new SIG Pivoting Contour Brace (PCB), which adapts to the movement of the shooter’s arm with a patented swivel operation for perfect placement. Plus it deploys rapidly.
The Copperhead is completely ambidextrous and operates from a closed and locking rotating bolt, providing enhanced reliability and safety. A short-stroke gas pistol allows the Copperhead to run all kinds of 9mm ammo with no adjustment to the gas system. It measures 14.5 inches overall with a height of 8 inches and a width of 2.4 inches. The little gun weighs in at just 4.5 lbs and uses MPX magazines. MSRP: $1,835. —Dave Maccar
Sol Invictus Arms AA-12 Shotgun
The entire AA-12 concept – from design to production – has been acquired by Sol Invictus Arms. They moved all of the tooling, etc from Tennessee to Florida and jumped headlong into bringing the fabled design to market.
Featured in more than a dozen video games and countless TV shows and movies, the AA-12 is a gun that’s hard to forget once you’ve seen it. Slightly peculiar in design, the original AA-12 from 1987 was a full-auto offering. While that concept has been retained, Sol Invictus Arms has also developed a semi-auto version.
The full-auto model at Industry Day at the Range was a beast. Loaded with 20 rounds in the drum mag, the gun ate up the 12 gauge shells in short order, firing from an open bolt and spraying the empty shells all around those watching.
Despite the gun’s size, it’s very easy to handle. Doing a full mag dump was no problem. The AA-12 is often regarded as an obscure object of desire. Well, it’s no longer that obscure, and is projected to cost less than 25% of what the “newer” production guns from the early 2000s were costing. For more info, visit www.solinvictusarms.com/aa-1-12. —Logan Metesh
Taylors 1892 Alaskan Series 2
If you’re looking for a next-generation lever gun, take a gander at Taylor’s & Company’s 1892 Alaskan Series 2. What could be so innovative on an action designed in the 1800s? How about a threaded muzzle and the ability to be broken down and stuffed in a backpack?
Available in .357 Magnum and .44 Mag, the 1892 Alaskan Series 2 features a black rubber overmolded stock and stainless finish that shrugs off water. Those in colder climates will appreciate the large lever that will accommodate the heaviest of mittens. A drift-adjustable fiber optic front sight is easy to pick out even in the earliest of dawns, but there’s a Picatinny rail that allows you mount a scope as Colonel Jeff Cooper intended, forward in the Scout rifle position.
But what really sets this rifle apart is the threaded muzzle that allows you to attach your favorite device—be it suppressor or brake. The gun also quickly and easily breaks in twain, providing you with an easy to store package that fits in the tightest pack or pannier. Look for the gun to hit stores by the summer, with an MSRP of $1,500. —Joseph Albanese
Federal Ammunition’s 1.75-Inch “Shorty” Shotshells