While one or two magazines, or sometimes even fewer rounds, may not be enough trigger time to let most of us render a verdict on any particular firearm, I did get my hands on several interesting ones during Industry Day at the Range. Today’s time at the range precedes the opening of Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show 2023 on Tuesday in Las Vegas, NV.
Alpha Foxtrot 1911-S15
Alpha Foxtrot was out at the range to demo its 1911-S15, which has a shorter grip than a traditional 1911 but is fed by a double stack 9mm magazine. The gun is built around a forged aluminum 7075-T6 frame with steel inserts. It had a crisp single-action trigger and was a smooth shooter among a growing group of 9mm 1911-styled handguns in the marked nowadays.
Desert Tech Covert
I have never claimed to be a great long-range shot, and with the gusting winds at the Boulder City Rifle & Pistol Club it is likely I was nowhere near the front of the pack in accuracy. But, Desert Tech’s SRS-A2 Covert is nicely set up for accuracy at distance. I fired a few rounds through this bolt action .308 bullpup that the company says was designed for police and military snipers requiring ultimate concealability and maneuverability. The version I tried sported a 15-inch barrel, but again that is 15 inches in a bullpup configuration, so the overall package is short. What I shot was suppressed, so that gave me a little more perceived length.
KelTec launched the P15, a polymer-framed 9mm that the company says is the "lightest and thinnest of its kind,” this time last year during SHOT Show 2022. I recall visiting the KelTec booth and picking it up last year but revisiting it today on the range left me realizing just how small this 15+1 feels in the hand. This small striker-fired 9mm is small for concealed carry, yet somehow feels like you are shooting a much larger framed gun. The polymer version handled nicely, but the heft of the metal framed P15 felt better and shot better for me. It wasn’t about the added weight of the metal frame reducing felt recoil, rather it just felt a little more anchored in my grasp due to a slight increase in heft.
Springfield Armory Prodigy, Hellion
Nearly everybody loves a good 1911, and many manufacturers are offering them chambered in 9mm. Such is the case with Springfield Armory and the Prodigy, which is designed around a double-stack magazine with a standard capacity of 17. From there, the round count grows to 20 with the included extended magazine. If a few more rounds are needed, you can even order a 26-round mag. The one I picked up on the range today was topped with a Trijicon optic and felt very balanced in the hand. The Prodigy also features an ambidextrous safety, a skeletonized hammer, a U-notch sight picture, an accessory rail, and forward slide serrations.
The Hellion is Springfield Armory’s .556 bullpup design. The manual of arms differs from that of an AR-15, but the controls are easy to pick up. It shoulders and feels balanced during fire, and packs a lot of capability into a package that is just 28.85 inches overall in length.
Zenith Firearms ZF-5
When you stepped into the range booth at Zenith Firearms, you were quickly told that their roller-delayed 9mm blowback offerings are made in America. That must be one of their key points because I believe three different people told me that. They shoulder great and anyone familiar with the roller-delayed blowbacks will always enjoy slapping the cocking handle to chamber a round, but I did ask permission first since you never know how gentle you need to be with someone else’s gun. The ZF-5 I tried had the traditional stock, which is the option I would choose. The safety and the paddle release are right where they should be and easy to operate. The gun cycled flawlessly and was easy to keep on target.
Walther Arms P99 AS
While some of the firearms featured at the range today were new, in the case of one Walther it was more of a curtain call. Walther is retiring the P99 AS and had several on hand marked as Final Edition. As with most of the Walther line, the ergonomics were comfortable and that helped the gun point nicely.