17 Jan 12

2012 SHOT Show, Second Day:

2102 Shot Show is well attended this year. Vendors all report good traffic. This third year in a row at the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV is going much smoother than the past two. Restrooms are adequate. Food and refreshments are now plentiful, and, while still frantic, the layout is at least useable. I am able to find everyone I need to see! Like me, most other regulars are now familiar to the setting.

Much emphasis again this year on terrorism and civil unrest. Most major gun manufacturers are producing small 9mm and 380Auto pistols, as the concealed-carry market is expanding rapidly and now includes many women for whom big pistols are unsuitable.

My long-time friend, Peter Pi, at Cor-Bon told me that orders for their PowerBall line of high-performance pistol ammunition have increased dramatically over the past twelve months. This is doubtless due to this trend toward small, carry-pistols. As pistols get smaller, many tend to be finicky eaters, often refusing to feed high-performance ammunition, particularly aggressive hollow-points. Since PowerBall, in profile, is identical to round-hardball, it will reliably feed in some pistols where many other high-performance rounds won’t.

SIG, adding to its already successful 1911-style P238 (their small, single-column 380Auto Pistol), had on display their new all-steel P938, the same thing in 9mm! Nearly the same size, this pistol directly targets the burgeoning concealed-carry market mentioned above. Both have ambidextrous, manual safety levers.

Also new is SIG’s P224, a reduced-size 229, still double-column. Again, concealed-carry is the destination.

Diamonback’s DB9 and DB380 pistols fall into the same category. Light, polymer-framed, striker-fired, small pistols, designed for concealed carry. Both are relatively inexpensive, but lack some common features, like a manual slide hold-open.

Ruger’s snubby revolver (LCR) is now available in 38Spl, 357Mg, and 22LR, and with a covered hammer-arc, much like the S&W 340PD, and just as light!

Ruger’s LC9 is yet another light, flat, small 9mm.

The Walther PPQ, in both 9mm and 40S&W, while not as small as the forgoing, are still designed to appeal to the concealed-carry buyer. Both “feature” Walther’s signature trigger-guard-mounted magazine-release lever.

Kahr showed off a PM9, equipped with the new “enhanced trigger.” The new trigger has 40% less travel than the standard trigger. This has real appeal to the small-handed! Who have difficulty reaching triggers on most pistols need to look at this one! It comes with a manual safety that works in reverse of the common 1911-style. For one, I would just leave it in the “off” position, as I consider it a unneeded redundancy.

Springfield Armory, has added the XDS to their excellent XD/XDM line of pistols. The XDS is SA’s version of the G36, a flat, Commander-sized, single-column pistol in 45ACP. Nice carry-gun in this caliber! I did notice one important departure from the normal XD pattern: the grip-safety no longer prevents the slide from cycling normally! The XD’s grip safety lever functions at a grip-safety to be sure, but heretofore, failure to depress the grip-safety prevented the slide from moving far enough backward to load, or unload, the pistol. That irritating “feature” is absent on the XDS, something I consider a significant improvement!

Many long guns, including Mossberg’s excellent 590 pump-shotgun, are now coming with top-rails, as optics, particularly reflex optics, are now the hot accessory on serious shotguns.

EOTech, Insights flashlights, the Beam-Hit training device, and a host of sophisticated optics are now owned by the parent “L3″ company. EOTech and Aimpoint are still the most popular reflex optics.

ASP had on display an impressive line of new, small flashlights, including one that puts out 700 lumens of light. Amazing that such small lights can be so bright! Even the smallest puts out 170 lumens, more than enough to function as an effective weapon.

More tomorrow!