Representatives from Ultimate Training Munitions (UTM) explain the process for converting a “live” firearm into a training weapon using UTM’s conversion kit.
Each year the law enforcement specific portion of the annual Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show grows larger. This year's show was no exception.
The SHOT Show is primarily about hunting, but this year law enforcement product vendors definitely had a major presence. Aisles in the law enforcement section of the show, held Feb. 12-15 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, were bustling with cops and civilians getting a look at the latest police weapons and gear. And throughout the show floor there were flashlights, communication systems, tools, and weapons that were suited to law enforcement use.
24-Hour Duty Pistol
One of the most talked about product launches at this year's SHOT Show was the Taurus 24/7 duty pistol. The 24/7 is a striker-fired, polymer-framed pistol available in 9mm and .40 caliber versions. Of course, that doesn't set the 24/7 apart from many of its competitors. What does is the feature set for the price. For an under $600 suggested retail price, the 24/7 offers an overmolded rubber Ribber Grip for comfort, user changeable sights, an integral security system (optional on duty guns), memory pads so the shooter's fingers almost automatically fall into the proper position when holding the gun, a Picatinny rail for accessories, an external safety, and a loaded chamber indicator. The advertising slogan for this lightweight (27.2 ounces) pistol is "fill your hand," and it does just that. It feels great in a shooter's hand.
Rocking and Rolling
As mentioned, some products exhibited at SHOT Show are for law enforcement use only. And perhaps one of the biggest ripples on this side of the SHOT Show pond was caused by the DEA rifle from Rock River Arms. The DEA Rifle is an AR platform carbine in 5.56mm (.223 caliber) with a 14-inch barrel (16-inch for non-federal agencies). This is a loaded rifle in more ways than one. It comes complete with a Hogue pistol grip, a National Match trigger, GG&G flip-up rear sight, EOTech holographic sight, a SureFire M95 light, and more.
Beretta introduced a Tikka-branded tactical rifle for law enforcement applications. The Tikka T3 Tactical rifle features a 20-inch barrel with non-reflective black phosphate finish, a synthetic stock with an adjustable cheekpiece, and a five-round detachable magazine. With a built-in Picatinny rail, the bolt-action T3 Tactical can accept a variety of optics and accessories. Beretta says that all Sako- and Tikka-brand rifles must fire a 1-inch, three-shot group at 100 yards prior to shipping from the factory in Finland.
At the Las Vegas Gun Club, Beretta let some show attendees gain hands-on experience with the new Tikka T3 Tactical Rifle. The .308 bolt-action rifle features an adjustable cheekpiece.
On the Dot
TRUGLO, best known for its night sights, is now offering a line of red-dot sights for pistols and shotguns. Each of the red-dot sights is waterproof, fog proof, and shock resistant up to .50 caliber. The sights come in open and tubeless styles and offer windage and elevation adjustment.
Making a Mark
With growing concern about accidents during force-on-force training sessions, more and more companies are offering simulated ammunition products. One of the newest players in this market is Ultimate Training Munitions (UTM). Like its competitors, the UTM system requires conversion of the user's weapons with special barrels and other parts that prevent the weapons from chambering live rounds. UTM offers marking rounds and blanks for pistols, sub-guns, and rifles. The company says its training munitions will all cycle properly in semi-auto and full-auto weapons.
Kicking Out the Jams
Para-Ordnance has added a new wrinkle to the classic Model 1911 design. The Para 1911 now features what Para calls the Power Extractor, an attempt to engineer away what the company calls the one glaring weakness in John Browning's classic .45 autopistol design, an extractor that can sometimes cause feeding problems. Para's internal Power Extractor is bigger and tougher inside the slide, but it doesn't alter the look or feel of the pistol.
It's a universal truth that high-tech equipment gets smaller and better with each new generation. For law enforcement applications, the latest high-tech gear to get smaller and better is the thermal imaging system. These high-tech optics are now so small that they can be installed in gun sights, binoculars, even helmet-worn goggles. Nivisys showed its new Thermal Acquisition Goggle. The head-mounted TAG-7 system is ruggedized for police and military operations, runs on AA batteries, and can spot the bad guys regardless of time of day, camouflage, or natural cover.
A Steel Trap
One of the more innovative products on display at this year's SHOT Show was Beretta's new Security Pack gun cases. The Security Pack system features eXomesh, a combination of fabric interwoven with a 1.5mm stainless steel cable. EXomesh says its system is slashproof and tamper proof and demonstrations showed how tough the Security Pack can be, as cutting though the fabric merely reveals the interwoven steel cable. The company says that law enforcement agencies are using the product to secure firearms in the field for evidence control.
Why Shoot Straight?
Clearly one of the most talked about Law Enforcement products at this year's SHOT Show was the Corner Shot. Part video camcorder, part weapon, the Corner Shot is a device that allows an operator to see around corners or into crawl spaces and attics, covering whatever he or she finds with a pistol that can be fired remotely. The pistol is mounted on a flexible platform just above a video camera and is fired by a trigger mounted at the rear of the device. The combination of camera and pistol quite literally allows the user to place aimed shots around a corner.
Packing a Punch
Barrett Firearms debuted a new tactical weapon for agencies that need a powerful semi-auto rifle built on an AR platform. The Barrett M468 fires the new Remington 6.8mm SPC round for serious knockdown power and features all the rails that you could possibly need. Five- and 10-round magazines are available. Conversion kits and complete guns are available.
Agencies that want to replace the stocks on their tactical rifles with lighter fiberglass models may want to take a look at the new A-5 from McMillan. The hand-laid fiberglass stock fits Remington, Winchester, Sako, and Weatherby rifles and is impervious to rain, humidity, freezing, heat, and altitude. Designed with a Winchester Marksman-style beavertail forearm, the A-5 offers the trim pistol grip preferred by FBI sharpshooters. Also, a thumb shelf on top of the stock gives the shooter a choice of thumb position and a butt hook is provided for shooters who like to nestle the stock in the web of their non-trigger hand for more control.
Bianchi International has expanded its Auto Retention holsters to include a snap-on model. The new SnapLok is designed for plainclothes officers and others who need to affix their weapons to their belts in a hurry. As the name implies, it snaps on and features Bianchi's internal locking system. Available this summer, the SnapLok has a 16-degree forward rake and fits a variety of Glock, Beretta, SIG, and Colt pistols.