There were plenty of guns on hand from the world’s top manufacturers at the Boulder Rifle and Pistol club this year during this year’s Industry Day at the Range, an invite only event for media members to test out some of the hottest new guns coming to the market in 2018 the day before SHOT Show 2019 kicked off. Here’s our round-up of what impressed us the most.
Browning has a couple new additions in the long range world with the Max Long Range X-Bolt rifle coupled with the Long Range Pro ammunition. The rifle has an injection molded stock that comes with spacers for an adjustable length of pull and an adjustable comb.
With the synthetic stock and the fluted barrel, it weighs in at about 7 pounds. The new Long Range Pro ammunition offers a Sierra-tipped Match King bullet ballistically matched and designed specifically for the Browning X-Bolt rifle. The combination works well on the bench rest out beyond 1000 yards, and provides good knockdown power for hunting situations.
Browning also had their BXR Rapid Expansion ammunition on the range. This bullet tip has a proprietary mix of copper and polymer to hold weight for longer distances. What I like about this is the rapid knockdown ability of this round.
As the staff at the range told me, “We like to say you can measure how far a deer goes in feet, not yards.” —Jodi Stemler
The Highlander, like the full Bergara lineup, is a beautiful and effective hunting rifle. The fiberglass stock is lightweight (7.2 pounds chambered in .308 up to 7.7 in the higher caliber configurations) but offers all of the incredible machining and craftsmanship that make Bergara rifles so special.
The Bergara Premier action is a proprietary bolt that is extremely smooth and easy to cycle, and the trigger with TriggerTech Friction Release Technology makes for a nice light squeeze. And of course every Bergara features their incredible, precision Cerakoted barrel that ensures accuracy and durability.
I shot this rifle on the 900 yard range and was surprised by how easy it was to get on target even with the stiff 20 mph winds we had – of course that’s thanks to a perfect configuration and an excellent Tract scope, but if even I could get on the mark at that long distance it shows the quality of the firearm. This gun retails for $1850. —Jodi Stemler
Introduced just days ago, the Black Rain Ordinance Ion 9 is a brand new pistol caliber carbine.
It utilizes standard 9mm Glock magazines and 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. —Annette Doerr
|Barrel||8.75” 4150 Chromoly Barrel|
|BCG||Nitride Coated Blowback BCG|
|Furniture||Your Choice of Pistol Brace & MFT EPG16 Grip|
|Gas System||Blowback Operated|
|Handguard||10″ M-LOK Slim Handguard|
|Muzzle Device||Slim Flashcan|
|Receiver A||nodized Billet 7075 T6 Aluminum Upper/Lower Receiver Set|
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 (it was the gun Terry Crewes and Arnold used in the Expendables 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-only offering intended for LEO and military use. 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 into a nearly knee-high pile of smoking hulls.
Despite the gun’s size, it’s very easy to handle and remarkably lightweight. 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.
The semi-auto version will be headed to market as soon as the ATF opens shop again and reviews the firearm.
For more info, visit www.solinvictusarms.com/aa-1-12. —T. Logan Metesh
No doubt I’m a fan of the semi-autos – while pretty over/under field guns are a lot of fun, my basic workhorse is a semi-automatic shotgun because usually they can do pretty much anything.
Take it out shooting clays? Sure! Use it in the waterfowl blind? Why not? And also in the upland field? Not a problem!
It might not be the “right” gun for the situation in the purist’s eyes, but these babies can handle anything. So I loved Winchester‘s new SX4 last year, and like it even more now that they have a pretty little 20 gauge in the mix.
I shot a number of different shotguns out at Range Day, but I put more rounds through this little gun than any other. That’s because it handled very smoothly, had limited recoil and was easy to shoot. I felt extremely comfortable with it right off the bat – and it doesn’t hurt that I shot it well!
Winchester offers this model in a compact size too, making it a good option for a young shooter or a woman. —Jodi Stemler
New this year from Kimber is a great little striker fired pistol designed for concealed carry. The Evo is a compact, 9 mm, 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 ounces (with an empty magazine), the trigger pull is factory set at about 6.5 pounds. 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. —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″ and the empty weight is a mere 15.3 ounces. 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. —Annette Doerr
Specs – 9mm:
|Description:||SPG 911 9MM PST 3B 6/7RD|
|Finish:||Black Nitride Finish Slide|
|Stock:||Green & Black G10 Grips|
|Sight:||FT: Pro-Glo Tritium RR: White Outlined Tritium|
|Capacity:||6+1 & 7+1|
|# of Mags:||2 1-6 RD Flush Mag & 1-7 RD W/ Xtension|
|Safety:||Extended Ambi Thumb Safety|
|Packaging:||Plastic Case, Cable Lock|
|Features:||G10 Enhanced Pivoting Trigger; Full Length Guide Rod Featuring Flat Wire Spring|
New this year for Glock are the Glock 43X and Glock 48. Both guns are built on the same platform, both are chambered in popular 9 mm. 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. Both models are available with either the traditional Glock black slide, or a new silver-colored PVD-coated slide. —Annette Doerr
We shot a number of different loads through the shotguns at the range, and Federal Ammunition has a couple new offerings (including the Gold Medal Grand plastic and the higher velocity Top Gun Sporting) but my favorite was the Shorty. These cute little shells are just 1 ¾” long but still offer the same patterns, energy and accuracy of a full size shell. They were just as effective on the clays but with much less recoil making them a lot of fun to shoot.
The new shorty shells are available in 1 oz rifled slugs, 15/16 oz #8 shot, and a 15 pellet #4 Buck load. —Jodi Stemler
One of the newest and most unique hunting loads out at Range Day is the Winchester 350 Legend. This is a straight walled cartridge with a .223 head diameter that has more energy than a .30-30 or the 300 Blackout but about 20 percent less recoil than a .243 Winchester with 20 percent more penetration. It also has less recoil than a .450 Bushmaster.
Plus, it’s the fastest straight-walled cartridge on the market and will be no doubt be a game changer for deer and hog hunters in states that don’t allow rifle hunting, but do allow the use of rifles chambered for straight-walled cartridges. One load is comes topped with the Power Max Bonded bullet, offering optimal penetration for more effective knockdown power. —Jodi Stemler
Whether you’re out for a hike, camping, or at the shooting range accidents happen. Adventure Medical makes it easy to have the tools you need on-hand, easily portable and sealed in a waterproof pouch. New this year is their most advanced trauma kit, the Trauma Pak III.
The supplies include: 1 set of instructions, 1 windlass tourniquet, 1 pressure trauma wound dressing, 1 triangular bandage, 1 EMT sheers, mini permanent marker and 2 nitrile gloves. Other kits are available.
Of note, at the very least, you should have basic first aid training and know how to use the contents of the kit. —Annette Doerr
Last year on the SHOT Show floor, I went looking for the Retay booth because I had read about their new Inertia Plus semi-automatic shotguns. The concept was simple, reduce felt recoil without the challenge many inertia systems have of not cycling shells efficiently. I liked the shotguns, they were lightweight and well-balanced, but because I didn’t have the chance to handle them on the range I wasn’t sure if the Inertia Plus system would live up to its promise.
This year, Retay was on the shotgun range and I can say that it definitely lived up to last year’s hype. Retay has now patented the system that features a rotating bolt that locks in the battery to ensure consistent cycling of shells ranging from lightweight target loads to the heaviest hunting loads.
The one I shot at Range Day handled smoothly and cycled every round like a champ. In addition to the original Masai Mara semi-auto that was only chambered for 12 gauge 2 ¾” to 3″ shells, the new Masai Mara SP (Special Purpose), available in the spring, will allow shells up to 3.5″ and weighs in at only 7.2 pounds. It’s available in a basic black synthetic stock, a variety of licensed camo patterns, as well as a special Cerakoted edition; barrel lengths are 26″ or 28″. —Jodi Stemler
An interesting little company displaying in the non-shooting area at Range Day was Effective Range Targets from Lafayette, Colorado. The targets help you to determine your effective range, even when you are only able to practice at 100 yard targets.
These targets offer target options for specific game animals, including white-tailed deer, mule deer, antelope, elk and more. The rings on the target shows the vitals area for the specific game animal. You set the target at 100 yards and fire a five shot group using your preferred firing position when hunting (e.g. kneeling, sitting, freehand, etc.).
Where that five shot group falls within the concentric circles suggests what your effective range is out to what distance. For instance if you can shoot a five shot group within the 200 yard vital ring (even when the target is set at 100 yards) you can feel comfortable shooting out to 200 yards in your preferred firing position.
If your group is even tighter, you might even be comfortable shooting out 300 or more yards when hunting. It’s an interesting concept and one that will be worth trying out while practicing before next hunting season. —Jodi Stemler
It’s small, but mighty. Aimpoint’s Acro P-1 is the smallest completely enclosed red dot system on the market. This little sight comes in at just 1.9” X 1.2” X 1.2” and only weighs 2.1 oz. The 3.5 MOA dot is super crisp and makes for precise, fast shots on target.
When mounted on a pistol that has suppressor-height sights, the Acro P-1’s dot will co-witness with them. That could come in handy if the battery dies, but that shouldn’t happen for quite some time. If the Acro is left on at position 6, it will stay on continuously for 1.5 years. Positions 1 through 4 will provide more than 8 years of battery life.
It’s also built super-tough. The one at Industry Day at the Range certainly got put through its paces, but showed no signs of stopping. It is the only sight in its size category fully tested for shock, vibration, temperature span and other environmental stress. —T. Logan Metesh
One of the more unconventional optics on display at Industry Day at the Range was the Sensight.
The Sensight uses a dual camera system with 5MP and 13MP high resolution sensors on the front of the unit. This setup allows Sensight to provide 1.3-20x zoom with no manual focusing and real-time results.
The screen used for sighting, which has a resolution of 1280×720, is mounted directly in front of a touch screen panel that allows you to take complete control of the sight. This includes WiFi, Bluetooth, livestream capabilities, instant playback, full 1080HD video recording with 32GB of memory, and even a built-in ballistic calculator.
The sighting screen can be set for regular daylight, low light, and even IR illuminated night vision.
I was a bit sceptical at first, but it was incredibly intuitive, very user friendly, and actually delivered on everything it claimed to be able to do. For more info, visit www.sensight.co.il. —T. Logan Metesh
Another unconventional optic being demonstrated was the NiteSite Viper. The goal was to create an affordable, high quality night vision system for short-range distances. The Viper is perfect for the up-close and personal hunter.
Using 850nm infrared illumination (invisible to people and animals) to literally illuminate the target area immediately in front of where the rifle scope is aiming, the Viper allows clear target identification up to 100 meters (110 yards) away.
What if you’ve got a favorite scope and don’t want to switch to something new? No problem! In fact, that’s perfect! The infrared image is captured through the rifle scope by a camera attached to the scope’s eyepiece. That image is then transmitted and viewed via the unit’s integral 3.5” LCD screen in realtime.
Shooting without any kind of cheek weld to the stock was very weird at first, but it became natural very quickly and was a lot of fun to use.
The NiteSite Viper is the base model, with 100-metre capabilities. The Wolf is 300 metres and the Eagle is 500 metres. For more info, visit www.nitesite.com. —T. Logan Metesh
Brownells has done a great job with their retro rifles. They paid attention to detail and began offering retro accessories – like the waffle mag – to accompany the guns. Now, they’ve introduced an optic to their lineup.
They really hit this one out of the park, too, because they used the same Japanese company that made the original Colt 4×20 scopes. Designed to attach to the carry handle, it has the same features as the original, like the bullet drop compensator on the elevation turret.
Because of the connection to the original manufacturer, it really doesn’t get any more “period-correct” for your setup. The only real difference is the logo. Of course, the originals said Colt, and these say Retro in the signature Brownells font. This is the ultimate retro companion optic for your BRN601. For more info, visit www.brownells.com. —T. Logan Metesh
Decibullz Custom Molded Earplugs are a quickly fitted custom ear pro that can be done in the convenience of your own home. With a noise reduction rating (NRR) of 31, they’ll handle most days at the range with ease. To fit them, heat the thermoplastic molds in boiling water, let them cool for a bit, and shape them to your ears. They cure in about 5 minutes and will hold their shape. You can re-heat them to re-fit them if you don’t get them perfect the first time.
Each set comes with small, medium and large flange tips to perfectly fit your ear canal.
Available in 5 color choices: Orange, Black, Pink, Blue, and Red. —Annette Doerr
The initial offering of affordable yet high quality DIY custom molded earplugs by Decibullz has been enhanced with their percussive filters.
The original design works just like regular earplugs. That is, they block harmful sound levels by simply taking up space in your ears. The new percussive filters take it a step further by detecting the peak sound pressure of gunshots and explosions, and suppressing them to safe levels with a noise reduction rating of 31dB.
When a percussive noise is not present, the filters allow you to hear ambient noise, such as a conversation or music, as if you weren’t wearing them at all. What’s really nice is that they don’t require batteries to work. You never have to worry about your batteries going dead on the range, leaving you unable to hear what’s going on around you.
The best part, however, is that they are fully compatible with the standard DIY molded plugs. You simply pop out the passive filters and insert the percussive filters and you’re on your way. The whole process takes about 15 seconds max. For more info, visit www.decibullz.com. —T. Logan Metesh
Plus…this beast was mounted in the bed of a Toyota Tacoma at the Profense booth: