The 2014 SHOT Show wrapped up last week. On display were more than 1,600 exhibitors covering over 630,000 feet of floor space. Final numbers put attendance at 67,000 people! It was an extravaganza of all the latest and greatest in shooting, hunting, and outdoor gear. Here’s a selection of some of my favorite things from the show floor.
Beretta A400 XcelI’m a pump action kind of guy. I love the sound a pump makes when it racks a shell. It’s a visceral reminder, like clicking off a safety, that things are about to get loud. I also love my pump action because it’s how I learned to shoot shotguns and it’s what I’m comfortable with. With the Beretta A400 there is no learning curve. I shouldered it and was killing clays with precision. The A400 is an effortless gun that’s feather light and easy shooting. I thought 28 gauge would be difficult as I am only accustomed to 12, but this gun practically shoots itself. It’s ideal for the dove hunter who wants something that will snap to aim quickly and deliver rapid shots. I hung around the shotgun area and observed as others used the A400 to see if it would fail. One of my chief gripes about auto loaders is that they can be jam prone. I watched the Beretta go through box after box of ammunition without a hiccup. This is exactly what I need to put the hurt on some Eurasians.
Here’s another brilliant shotgun load from Winchester. This time it’s not about the powder or the arrangement of the shot column. It’s all about the wadding. It’s often extremely difficult to tell where your pellets are going when shooting up into the sky. Fear no more for now Winchester brings you a simple method to track your shots in real time. You can pick from either blaze orange or black depending on the background you shoot against. For sky shots the blaze orange is almost incandescent. Against trees the black really stands out. In addition to its bright coloring, the AA TrAAcker has a unique “shot cup within a shot cup” design. At the base of the column is a smaller shot cup built into the wadding. This adds a little weight and keeps the wadding flying true. I shot several rounds of this during media day and I can attest that it’s as easy to spot as the clay you’re shooting at. This is a great way to quickly improve your shotgunning skills.
My healthcare career began in EMS. I was often walking through the broken glass and twisted metal of car accidents or the needle strewn hallway of a junkie squatter house. Between all the blood, barf, and sharp things I wanted the best footwear on the market. All my coworkers told me 5.11 was the ultimate option. 5.11 delivers rugged protection and comfort regardless of the environment. The XPRT 2.0 Tactical builds on this tradition of excellence. These boots have a strengthened toe cap, neoprene ankle collar, and a shank that runs the full length of the foot. They look heavy but are in fact incredibly light. The XPRT 2.0 comes in three stylish colors that will fit any uniform; Fire, EMS, or mossy oak!
Youth are the future. Next to women, they are the fastest growing sector in the shooting sports industry. In order to keep our conservation heritage alive we need to cultivate the next generation of hunters. Savage offers a great solution to this task with the Rascal rifle. It’s a light weight bolt action rifle that teaches kids the essentials of safety and marksmanship. The dimensions of the rifle are designed with a youngster in mind. It’s got great balance, an easy sight picture, and an adjustable trigger. You can tension it up or down depending on their finger strength. Anything you can do to get your kid feeling safe and in control while handling a fire arm is great. The Rascal makes that happen.
This one came to me, like most great things, out of left field. I had mapped out my SHOT Show route with Delta Forces like precision days before I got to the show. There was a specific set of vendors and products I just had to see. Being a SHOT Show noob I had no idea how big it was actually going to be. After a while my route disintegrated and I wandered along like a paramecium in pond water, bumping into whatever random thing I floated past. During my ambulations a guy jumped out of nowhere and asked me what kind of phone I had. I told him and he handed me a small, clear baggie. He said it would fit my phone and be waterproof down to 200 feet. In addition to being waterproof you could still manipulate the touch screen, take pictures, and even make phone calls. This is no zip lock baggie. It’s a hermetically sealable, 6 mil plastic that won’t tear or deform. This is now an essential component of my fishing and kayaking gear. I plan on getting several more for other electronics and valuables. Sometimes you don’t know what you’re looking for until you find it. The LOKSAK definitely fits that bill.
As my readers know, I can’t get enough of Adventure Medical and SOL products. The Trauma Pak Pro is no exception. It’s a handy case you can slip on your belt or throw in your pack and know that you can handle any major hemorrhagic emergency. It has the Quickclot impregnated gauze and SWAT-T tourniquet in a nylon pouch for secure storage. It’s great for the range, hunt camp, day hike or anywhere you don’t want to be bleeding to death. Just another great product from a company that never fails to impress. I wish I had magic gauze that stopped bleeding when I was a medic. All we had was boring old regular gauze.
Hark back to the golden era of Samuel Baker and Chinese Gordon. Hunting tigers in the sunderbans or lions on the Serengeti was not for the faint of heart. Pedersoli takes you back with the Kodiak Express MK VI. A side by side, double barrel, muzzle loading rifle in .50, .54, and .58 calibers. It has all the excellent fit and finish you would expect from a Pedersoli. My favorite feature is the ghost ring sight. It allows for quick target acquisition but won’t skimp on accuracy. For a truly sporting experience leave the modern high power at home and take this into the field. Our great great grandfathers used to hunt lions and hippos with guns like these. Could you? Bring along some tonic water and a pith helmet just in case.
All in all a truly amazing experience. I saw guns I didn’t know I needed, gear I didn’t know I wanted, and met 67,000 other sporting aficionados. There were people from around the world from all walks of life. Good ol boy mossy oak dudes chatting with skinny jeans euro mullet guys about the latest single stack xd. A one of kind event that shows the passion and creativity of the shooting, hunting, and outdoor trades. As these massive amounts of great new stuff starts hitting the shelves this year you won’t be disappointed.