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As I begin writing this week's column, I am hurtling westward at 300 miles per hour about 34,000 feet above sea level, returning home from several days at SHOT Show 2020 in Las Vegas.

The size and scale of SHOT Show are borderline overwhelming, with more than 2,500 exhibitors and more than 60,000 attendees travelling to Las Vegas from more than 100 countries around the globe.

The indoor exhibit hall alone is the equivalent of 11 football fields.

However, the event sometimes can feel incredibly small and intimate, as regular attendees bump into each other left and right, catching up on what they've been up to since last we met at the Sands Expo and Convention Center for SHOT.

For example, on day one, I took the shuttle busses out to Boulder City—famous for its role in constructing the Hoover Dam—for what is known as Industry Day at the Range. I wasn't on the range for more than 15 minutes before I had run into four friends from around the country that I've come to know through previous SHOT Show events. It's incredible to be surrounded by so many like-minded, pro-Second Amendment people, many of whom are active duty or retired law enforcement.

I won't speak to the myriad hunting and outdoor products on display—I remained entirely focused on products that are used by law enforcement—but with so many people in Mossy Oak jackets and orange hunting vests, I'm confident in speculating that there was an ample supply of excellent new items for outdoor enthusiasts to ogle.

Here are some of my main takeaways from my many miles of walking the exhibit hall looking for police products, as well as some of the interesting firearms I was able to test on the range in Boulder City.

Live Fire

One of the first things to catch my eye at the Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club on Monday was the new Rapid Force Duty Holster from Alien Gear. It is an injection-molded polymer holster that meets level III retention standards required for many uniformed officers. As the company rolls out designs for other manufacturers' duty guns, Alien Gear now supports Glock 17, 19, 22, and 23. Next will come models designed to carry SIG as well as Smith & Wesson M&P duty pistols. The company also offers the new holsters in a level II design (more information here).

Another compelling product for law enforcement on display during Industry Day was the Tactical Compact Pistol (TCP) from Pepperball. The PepperBall TCP is seven and a half inches in length, weighs approximately 21 ounces, and holds a six-round magazine. The projectile it fires travels between 250 and 300 feet per second. It is powered by an eight-gram CO2 cartridge commercially available at numerous online and brick-and-mortar retailers.

World-famous shotgun manufacturer Mossberg took another step into the handgun market with the introduction of the Mossberg MC2C, a more compact version of the pistol the company introduced a couple of years ago. This 9mm striker-fire pistol is indeed quite slim in the hand. The company achieved this smaller grip by going from polymer magazines to metal, which allowed the engineers to shave a couple of millimeters from the profile of the grip surrounding the 15-round double-stack magazine. The gun shoots very smoothly, as I pressed my own limits on rapidly squeezing off rounds at the steel about seven yards downrange. It's not likely to make its way into a lot of duty holsters, but as a backup gun or for carry off duty it shows real promise.

Another gun at Industry Day that will be of interest to law enforcement is the new Walther Q4 Steel Frame, which combines several of the best features of Walther's previous designs into a very impressive 9mm pistol. The standard trigger pull is 5.6 pounds, but my sense in shooting it was that it feels about a pound less than that—very smooth pull with a reset that you can feel just enough to know it's there, but not so much that it's annoying. The gun has a 15-round magazine surrounded by a grip that's just aggressive enough to stay put in a hand that's wet with sweat or blood, but not so abrasive that it tears up your uniform shirt with repeated draws over time. The gun comes in either steel sights only slide, or an optics-ready slide with holes drilled in for easy installation of a red-dot sight.

Probably my favorite thing from Monday was getting to shoot the brand new Glock G44 chambered in .22 long rifle. It's the exact same size as the Glock 19, which for many years has been a popular duty gun with law enforcement agencies. It has a lot of Glock's Gen 5 features such as the elimination of the finger grooves—which frankly never fit my hand very well—and an ambidextrous slide stop lever. Interestingly, the gun features a hybrid steel-and-polymer slide, which reduces the weight of the weapon, and leaves the shooter surprised at how little felt recoil there is. My expectation is that this gun will not only be popular with young, first-time shooters, but also as an excellent trainer for police officers, enabling individuals to more affordably get to the range to practice their marksmanship, movement, and manipulations.

There were many other excellent products out there on the range on Monday—too many to list—but as I sit here sipping on my in-flight adult beverage probing my sleep-deprived brain, those are the items that immediately come to mind.

Show Floor

I spent the next two days of the event walking the many miles of trade-show aisles lined with literally millions of things to pick up and inspect, or in the case of this first item, climb in and investigate. Lenco has introduced a new armored vehicle that has in its "pickup truck style" rear bed a 300-gallon water tank, and atop its cab a water cannon that can address instances in which a bad guy puts down his firearm and uses fire as a weapon. The BearCat X3 FireCat can also hook directly to a municipal fire hydrant or even a pumper truck from the fire department's fleet of apparatus. The vehicle can seat four to six personnel, and is powered by a hefty V8 Turbo Diesel Engine.

Action Target this year introduced new reactive targets that can be engaged with any projectile at any range. These stand-alone reactive targets are all individually connected to a wireless mesh network that range officers can program to create a nearly limitless number of scenarios. The onboard compressed air system pops targets up based on the input into the wireless system via a free downloadable app on the Android platform. As soon as the unit is turned on, it automatically shows up on the app interface.

Otis introduced a new product line for law enforcement that will have police trainers and patrol officers alike delighted. The Reality Based Training Cleaning Kit is designed specifically to deal with the residue that can build up on the barrel and inner-workings of a duty pistol firing UTM or Simunition rounds. The compact kit includes a cleaning liquid specifically designed for that residue. The kits can be customized to include the agency emblem or individual officer's name. 

As they do every year at SHOT Show, 5.11 Tactical had a host of new products for police and other first responders who rely on that company for everything from backpacks to belts to boots and all manner of duty gear and garments. One particular item that caught my attention was a series of duty boots designed to help alleviate the discomfort—and damage—caused by the ever-increasing weight of the officer's equipment. The "All Terrain Load Assistance System" (ATLAS) duty boot combines different materials in various parts of the sole to help officers have a more even weight distribution in their feet. Further addressing the issue of weight, even the taller eight-inch variant is extremely light.

Final Words

Just like Industry Day at the Range, there were far too many vendors to visit, products to see, and old friends to reconnect with—far too many to list—at the Sands Convention Center this week. Knives, flashlights, uniforms, footwear, rifles, pistols, ammunition, ballistic armor, vehicles, and countless other product categories were on display.

Suffice it to say, this week was a whirlwind of activity, culminating in a whole lot of very tired people returning home with new ideas about what they want to suggest as a possible budget item for next year.

Start making plans now for your return to Sin City for SHOT Show 2021 this time next year. You'll be glad you did.

 

Author

Doug Wyllie
Doug Wyllie

Web Editor

Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

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Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

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