17 Jan 14

2014 SHOT Show, Final Day:

The 2014 SHOT Show is now over.

Mood was apprehensive, but upbeat. General consensus is that no federal gun legislation is likely during the balance of the BHO Administration.

Interesting to see that there were a number of manufacturers of gun-making machinery represented, complete, in several cases, with massive punch-presses and CNC machines, all set-up and running on the display floor! Strong, continuous consumer demand us obviously anticipated.

Las Vegas is the perfect town for a trade show like SHOT, as it has more than adequate hotel and restaurant capacity for a group this size (upwards of 70k this year). However, Las Vegas is no longer an inexpensive, nor even moderately expensive, destination! Hotels and restaurants, particularly those associated with the Sands Convention Center, are all nice, but really pricey! Casino/hotel restaurants are also pleasant, but ridiculously expensive. And, all that before anyone even starts gambling!

As in past years, it is still disappointing to see large, promotional graphic displays at the Show, depicting people casually shooting, without necessary protective equipment, like glasses! Bimbos in provocative postures, displaying various guns pointed in various unsafe directions, with manicured fingers wrapped around triggers. Once again, with painful safety gaffes like these, we don’t need enemies!

I talked with friends at Blackhawk this morning. They just secured a federal contract to supply the Army with thousands of “SERPA Tactical Holster Systems.” They’ve already secured a similar contract to supply the Marines. The System consists of a SERPA Holster for the M9 (Beretta 92F) Pistol, with three separate mounting systems, one for the vest, a drop-holster for the leg, and a belt attachment. The holster itself can be moved around and mounted at any angle, via an ingenious, rotary mounting arrangement. It is a solid piece of gear!

The SERPA has its detractors, to be sure, but for those for whom open-top holsters won’t work, it is a good way to go. For one, I like the SERPA!

Navy Arms, long known for replica percussion revolvers and other period-weapons, all fully functional, showed-off a 1903 Springfield rifle in its original, issue form. It is beautiful, and at 1k/copy, not a bad deal. Many instructors discussed among ourselves, over dinner, the necessity of all of us being in a position to be able to competently and authoritatively instruct students in the serious operation lever-guns and bolt-guns, as some day these may become the only variety of rifle to which some will have access.

The 1903 Springfield is a wonderful, military weapon! In the hands of a competent Operator, it can be used to settle most fights right-readily! Once you learn how to run a bolt and use a stripper-clip, the fact that your rifle is not autoloading becomes almost irrelevant!

I saw the new SIG 320 this morning. It is a striker-fired, duty pistol. No decocking lever, and no manual safety. SIG’s version of a Glock!

I discussed this morning with friends at EOTech the subject of all the EOTech look-alikes currently on display. Among all of them, the EOTech is still the only “holographic” sight! Their copyright on the technology will expire soon, and, when it does, many others will predictably start making similar systems. But, not right now! One advantage of a true, holographic sight is the fact that the aiming dot does not grow with range. It stays the same size.

Tapco had on display 30-round plastic magazines for the Ruger Mini-14! Many of my Urban Rifle students who bring Mini-14s to Courses lament that they can’t find high-quality, high (normal)-capacity magazines. The ones I saw from Tapco were very nice, at $18.00/copy!

We noticed at the Show this year a significant increase in the number of companies making concealed-carry accouterments specifically designed to appeal to women.

“Concealed Carrie” had a nice, albeit pricey, line of handbags. We met “Carrie” herself, and she was enthusiastic about the prospect of making routine, concealed-carry appealing to women. Unfortunately, her otherwise attractive graphic showed a woman casually pointing a pistol in the air, with her finger wrapped about the trigger, all while looking in another direction. Carrie needs to come to one of our Courses!

Not the only promotional gaffe, as noted above!

Looper Leather, makers of the famous “Flash-Bang” holster, had a nice display. The “Flash-Bang” is, in fact, so popular it has been seamlessly, shamelessly copied by at least one other manufacturer! Looper also had belts, in various colors, designed to appear for female consumers.

The most well-known of the lot is GTM (Gun-Tote’n Mamas). Their line of purses and handbags is now extremely extensive. While I make no claim to style expertise, there has to be something there that will appeal to nearly anyone! Off-body carry has risks and benefits, but for many women, it represents one of the few viable options for continuously going armed.

Two clever variations are an iPad case with an integral holster, and a small, cross-body purse, with enough room for a cell phone, glass-case, and small 9mm pistol!

Next year’s SHOT Show will be in the same place. It is a wonderful way for us to renew old friendships, see old comrades, and get updated on all the latest developments. For vendors, it represents an expensive and time-consuming diversion from the business of making product, and all of them deserve much credit for being there. Like all trade shows, it is far from perfect, but I try not to miss it!