Every winter, the Shooting Hunting Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show attracts buyers from the major wholesalers, federal firearms license holders, and a mix of individuals from the government and law enforcement. The annual event showcases the latest gear for hunting, shooting, and law enforcement from bullets to boots. This year's SHOT had many worthwhile finds for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan or the troops who fight crime on the streets of America.
For those of you who couldn't get to Orlando in mid-January to walk the aisles of the show, here's a quick look at some of the gear that caught the eyes of our editors.
Converse: C8666 Boot
Converse haltingly entered the law enforcement market a couple of years ago, but this year it's looking to make a splash with the C8666 boot. The company says the C8666 will wear like your old Chuck Taylor basketball shoes. The boot is available in six- and eight-inch versions and in desert rough out tan or black polishable leather.
Original S.W.A.T.: SEK9000 Boot
Original SWAT is another company that has answered the call for athletic shoe comfort in its duty boot. In 2007, this tradition continues with the SEK9000. This boot was designed to meet the requirements of GSG9. From what we saw of the SEK9000, it should be a very good duty boot, and it is affordably priced at $120.
Wiley X: Prescription Eye Shields
It is easy for those who don't require optical enhancement, a.k.a. glasses, to find stylish functional ballistic eye shields for duty. Those of us who have well-over-40-year-old eyes have a tougher time, but that's changing. Wiley-X has redesigned and improved versions of its glasses that will accept an RX insert. This might seem like a small thing, unless you wear glasses and need eye protection. While eye protection is synonymous with modern military operations, it's also not a bad idea when you're on duty as a cop. On duty, you encounter any number of items from a finger to various chemicals that can rob you of your sight. POLICE recently published a "Shots Fired" article about a cop who was shot in the face with birdshot. Without eye protection, he could have lost his vision.
Benchmade: ERT-1 Rescue Knife
Benchmade's ERT-1 was designed with EMS/SAR operations in mind. The knife is a seatbelt/harness/clothing cutter, light, and glass punch in an affordably priced clip-it size.
Insight Technology: Integrated Sighting Module
Insight Technology, best known for the M3 weapons mounted light, introduced the Integrated Sighting Module. This is a multi-function sight, not just a red dot. The unit offers a red dot and a visible aiming laser, and is offered with infrared capabilities for military and law enforcement applications. All three aiming systems are co-aligned so you only have to sight the unit in once.
Bright Strike: Blue Spot Flashlight
Bright Strike offers several very bright LED handheld units. Unique to Bright Strike is the hi/lo switch of the Blue Spot lights. This increases run time of the light and gives you output options. For easy carry, Blue Spots all have pocket clips. Blue Spot lights were designed by cops and are only sold to cops.
Night Vision Systems: MX-2A Thermal Imager
The MX-2A is a next-generation version of NVS's popular MX-2 thermal imaging camera. A 25-micron detector and 320 x 240 resolution make it easier for viewers to identify targets at greater distance. In addition, the MX-2A is 30-percent smaller and one pound lighter than its predecessor. Because it requires less power than the MX-2, the MX-2A can run on four 123 batteries. The MX-2A can be handheld, used on a tripod, or mounted on any Picatinny rail-equipped rifle.