You probably think you have seen every possible rifle that can be derived from the basic AR platform. Think again.
After walking the aisles of the Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show held last month in Las Vegas, I can say in all seriousness that you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
SHOT 2006 seemed to be all about the AR. There were ARs of all sizes, calibers, and even colors in both the law enforcement and general sections of the show. There were ARs that shot .50-caliber rounds, .223 ARs, .308 ARs, 6.8 ARs, Airsoft ARs, BB ARs. There were ARs with lights, lasers, grenade launchers, less-lethal launchers. Heck, I wouldn’t have been surprised if somebody had been showing an AR that had all the attachments of that Johnny Seven OMA (one man army) toy rifle that I owned as a kid. The only items that my Johnny Seven had that these ARs didn’t was the detachable pistol and an anti-tank missile.
The deluge of ARs into the gun market makes a lot of sense. After all, we are at war, and the principle rifle of the United States military is the M-16/M-4. It also makes a lot of sense from a law enforcement point of view, as more and more agencies are equipping their officers with patrol rifles.
But let me tell you, in the fourth day of walking around a massive gun show you can really tire of looking at AR-15 platforms.
So, even though the AR was clearly the star of SHOT 06, I’ve decided to mention only a few of the more noteworthy models in this report. Because to see the really cool stuff at SHOT 06, you had to look beyond the AR.
And anyone who did would have seen some really great pistols, holsters, apparel, and gear for law enforcement. Here’s a look at some of the stuff that caught my eye.
Tactical Dress Uniform
5.11 Tactical assembled a group of experts in federal, state, and local law enforcement to help design its new Tactical Dress Uniform, which debuted at SHOT. The idea was to develop a new BDU-style uniform that is comfortable, easy to care for, and durable. Some of the specialized features on the shirt and pant set include: removable neoprene knee and elbow pads, a comfort tunnel waist, bi-swing shoulder for greater range of motion, a Velcro lining in the pockets that will keep tools from falling out during extreme movements, and a Teflon treatment for stain and water resistance.
Click here to visit 511 Tactical online.
Just about anybody who has been following the development of police and military equipment over the last few years knows about the Corner Shot. This high-tech system allows an operator to aim a weapon via video screen, enabling shots around corners and from other cover positions. The first Corner Shot system mounted a pistol; the second mounted a 40mm grenade launcher. Now, you can get a Corner Shot system that mounts a miniature-assault weapon. The 5.56mm (.223 Winchester) Assault Pistol Rifle uses standard M-16/M-4 magazines, features Picatinny rails for mounting accessories, and can be fitted with a 40mm grenade launcher. The first bad guy to run into this thing literally won’t know what hit him.
Click here to visit Corner Shot online.
Heckler & Koch
HK416 Enhanced Carbine
On the outside HK’s new 416 carbine looks an awful lot like an M-4. It shoots 5.56mm ammo, has a pistol grip, activates like an M-4, and sports Picatinny rails on just about every surface. But inside, the 416 is very different from the standard M-4. You won’t find the standard gas blow-back system of an AR-15 inside this rifle. Instead, HK has developed a proprietary gas system that does not introduce propellant gases and the associated carbon fouling into the weapon’s interior. Not only does this make the 416 easier to clean and more reliable than the standard AR, it also means that the weapon can fire even when it is full of water.
Click here to visit Heckler & Koch online.
Wiley X Eyewear
Nerve Ballistic Goggle
Eye injuries are a major concern in both police and military operations, so the competition to make a better tactical goggle is heated. Wiley X Eyewear’s Nerve is a leading contender. The Nerve incorporates the latest lens technology in a streamlined, easy-to-carry goggle that fits easily into a jacket pocket. The lenses for the Nerve are made of polycarbonate that meets ANSI Z87.1-203 high-velocity impact standards. Prescription lens inserts are available. The Nerve’s frame features Wiley X’s Top Down Ventilation System, which prevents fogging.
Click here to visit Wiley X online.
At SHOT 2006, Barrett introduced its latest model in the company’s line of long-range, high-powered rifles, the Barrett .416. Though smaller than the .50 BMG cartridge that people think of when they hear the name “Barrett,” the .416 is still potent. Barrett says the round stays supersonic at 1.3 miles and reaches about 3,250 feet per second from the Barrett .416 rifle’s 29-inch match grade barrel. The .416 is legal in all 50 states; however, Barrett says it was developed long before California’s ban on the .50 BMG.
Click here to visit Barret online.
Xiphos Pistol Light
At SHOT 2006, Blackhawk introduced numerous new products, including its new Warrior Wear line of boots (See boots roundup on page 61.), and the Xiphos pistol light. Developed by Insight Technology and sold under the Night-Ops brand, the Xiphos is an LED light that fits most pistol rails and offers a minimum of 80 lumens. The Xiphos can be operated from either side and offers both constant-on and momentary switching. It has a range of 25 to 30 meters.
Click here to visit Night-Ops online.
XD .45 ACP Pistols
Springfield Armory has expanded its line of XD (Extreme Duty) polymer-frame pistols to include a new .45 ACP tactical model. The Tactical 5” in .45 ACP features a capacity of 13 (plus one) rounds in a 32- ounce double-stack pistol.
Click here to visit Springfield Armory online.