Each year the National Shooting Sports Foundation Inc. stages one of the nation’s largest exhibits of new products in the firearms and hunting markets, the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoors Trade (SHOT) Show. The show, which was held Feb 13–16 in Orlando, draws thousands of hunting equipment and firearms dealers, gun writers, and industry professionals, but it is not open to the public. However, there is one exception: people with badges.
The SHOT show is open to all sworn law enforcement officers. And with good reason. Not only does the show have a fairly large, law enforcement section that’s often the setting for significant product roll-outs, it also boasts exhibits from most of the major producers of pistols, rifles, shotguns, holsters, sights, and assorted firearms-related products used in law enforcement. Many of these manufacturer booths are filled with new tools and gear that you will soon see in your agency.
Here’s our look at some of the more intriguing items that we saw in the aisles.
The .45 Short
One of the most talked about product introductions at SHOT was the Glock 37. Not only is this a new pistol in the versatile Glock line, it also marks the development of a new type of pistol ammunition, the .45 Glock. The advantage to the .45 Glock cartridge, which is about a third shorter than standard .45 ACP, is that you can stack a lot of them in a magazine. The new Glock 37 holds 10 of these beauties in a double stack mag. That makes the Glock 37 a high-capacity sidearm that packs a .45 round in a package that can be comfortably shot by officers of almost any hand size. Ammo manufacturers are rolling out .45 Glock rounds to coincide with the introduction of the gun.
Beretta also attracted a lot of attention at SHOT with the public debut of its much talked about Cx4 Storm carbine. Although billed as a home defense weapon, the compact (29.7 inches), semiautomatic-only Storm is likely to be very attractive to police agencies as a patrol rifle. What will make the Storm so attractive to some agencies is its compatibility with existing service weapons. The carbine comes in 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP, and uses the same mags as popular Beretta duty pistols, including the Model 92 and Model 96. Lightweight at 5.75 pounds, the Storm accepts laser sights, tactical lights, and a variety of other accessories that fit standard Picatinny rails. It comes with a front post sight that is adjustable for windage and elevation, and a rear ghost-ring sight that features long- and short-range apertures.
For some time, Heckler & Koch’s MP7 has been the talk of the gun world. At SHOT, many of the people who had long been hearing rumors of its development got to go hands-on with this versatile machine pistol. Sort of a cross between an Uzi and an MP5, the MP7 is a 3.5-pound sidearm that’s less than 15 inches long, but it packs a punch. The select-fire MP7 can spit 950 rounds per minute of 4.6mm ammunition. Gun enthusiasts are likely to be skeptical of the MP7 round. After all, it’s essentially an .18 caliber bullet. But it can do some pretty impressive things. The MP7’s 4.6mm ammunition is designed to penetrate Soviet-era CRISAT body armor at 200 meters.
Scoping Out the Scene
Leupold showed a variety of optics that could be very useful for police surveillance or tactical operations. Of particular interest is the company’s new spotting scope, the Wind River Sequoia 15-45X60mm with a 45-degree eyepiece. The angled eyepiece of this variable-power spotting scope is designed to facilitate its use in a variety of positions, including prone. Shock-absorbing rubber armor protects the Sequoia from the wear and tear of police work. It’s even waterproof.
Some of the most innovative products at this year’s SHOT show were armored steel vehicle barriers manufactured by Blackwater. Essentially a truck bomber’s worst nightmares, Blackwater’s Bear Claw and Bear Paw barriers are designed to create safe perimeters that cannot be penetrated by vehicles. The Bear Claw is a single star-shaped unit that comes in 3-, 4-, and 5-foot versions that can be strung together with chain, cable, or wire. A car hitting this device is not going to go any further because the Bear Claw kills its tires and lifts it off the ground. The Bear Paw is a much larger device that comes in 4-, 8-, and 10-foot sections. Any car or truck hitting this monster is going to be mortally wounded. Blackwater showed a video in its booth that graphically depicted the damage to large sedans, and it was impressive—frames bent, transmission wrecked, radiator punched, tires flattened—and not one of them could move after being hoisted on a Bear Paw.
Responding to requests from the military and from tactical law enforcement units, Aimpoint has developed the LPI, an infrared laser aiming system. The LPI is designed as a complement to Aimpoint’s passive aiming systems, so it fits directly on an Aimpoint red dot sight. It’s also powered by the same batteries as Aimpoint red dot sights, so that the user doesn’t have to keep track of two different types of batteries when hauling the sighting system into the field.
Lighted Entry Way
Tactical police teams looking for lasers for their rifles will want to check out Crimson Trace’s new Heads-Up Targeting System for AR-15 platform weapons. HTS is a Lasergrip sighting system that attaches to any AR-15’s pistol grip. Crimson Trace says the advantage to a laser sight on an entry weapon is that it allows the team members to view the area they are moving into without looking through a sight. The Heads-Up Targeting System also lets everyone on the team know when a target is covered and when it is not. Easily detachable, the HTS laser sight is adjustable for windage and elevation and is powered by a 3-volt lithium battery.
Ghost of a Chance
AmeriGlo debuted a new sighting system for Glock pistols. The company’s ghost-ring sight for Glocks is easily installed and adjusted using supplied hex and allen wrenches. Designed for quick target acquisition, the ghost-ring can be added to any Glock by attaching the rear sight in the dovetail with two clamping screws, and securing the front sight with a single screw. The front sight features a Tritium dot with a white outline ring, and the illumination is covered by a 12-year warranty.
Safe and Secure
Bianchi continues to innovate in the field of retention holsters. Last year, the company’s SpeedLok duty holster, with its lever-operated locking system, was adopted by many officers who wanted more security. This year, Bianchi is rolling out the Model 82 CarryLok, a concealment holster with an external lock release lever for faster draws. In addition, the lock has the added benefit of keeping the holster open for quick-and-easy, one-handed reholstering. The pancake-style holster is made of vegetable-tanned leather and features a 16-degree rake. CarryLok models are currently available for a variety of Beretta, Browning, Colt, Glock, SiG, and Springfield Arms pistols.
Hardigg Cases has added a tactical rifle case to its Storm line of hard plastic for law enforcement. Storm’s new iM3300 case is 53.75x16.5x6.65 inches, and it can hold up to two scoped rifles. The watertight case is molded from HPX high-performance resin and features press-and-pull latches, an automatic pressure relief valve, shielded-bearing urethane wheels, and an optional foam interior. Foam inserts can be cut by the user to fit any weapon and scope combination. All Storm cases are guaranteed for life.
Speedfeed stocks have become a fixture on law enforcement shotguns. This year, the company is introducing the Speedfeed IV Tactical Stock for the Benelli M4 Super 90 semiautomatic shotgun. The pistol grip stock includes a recoil pad, and it’s available with a 13-inch pull. An optional Recoil SWAT Plate is also now available for the Speedfeed IV stocks. The SWAT Plate shortens the length of pull by 1 inch, making the guns more suitable for tactical operations and more compatible with small-frame officers.
Taking a Powder
Winchester has announced that it is joining the growing number of ammo manufacturers that offer frangible bullets. The new Winchester Frangible Ranger SF line features totally lead-free projectiles and metal-free primers. Ranger SF bullets are created using a patented heat-treatment process that combines copper and tin into a projectile that shatters against hard targets but is lethal against soft targets. Winchester says the Ranger SF rounds approximate the recoil of duty loads and feed reliably in a variety of duty handguns. Each Ranger SF round is marked with a molded “W” on the bullet and “NT” stamped on the case head, so that users can distinguish them from conventional bullets.
XS Sight Systems has added to its line of 24/7 sights with a new set of ghost-ring shotgun Sights. The sights are designed to help shooters make quick target acquisition. They fit Remington, Mossberg, and Winchester shotguns and are fully adjustable for windage and elevation. The rear sight is an XS ghost ring with a pair of protective steel wings. Front sights come in two option: a white strip post for sport shooters and a Tritium dot for tactical applications.
See the Web Extra on the SHOT Show.