The 2014 SHOT Show opened in Las Vegas with a bang today at the much anticipated Media Day at the Range. Media Day, now called “Industry Day at the Range” is a day set aside for select members of the media to head out to the Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club in Boulder City, Nev., to load up their favorite new weapons and launch a few rounds down-range. This year’s event did well to showcase the crop of new rifles, pistols, ammo, and optics.
After a 45-minute bus ride out of town, a small tent city emerged on the barren desert that is home to the Boulder Rifle and Pistol Range. I stepped off the bus to the familiar rat-tat-tat sound of the Slide Fire-equipped rifles on a distant range. Missing this year, was the frigid wind that made last year’s day almost unbearable. This morning the sunny 50-degree weather promised a day full of bare-hand trigger pulling.
I started small with the new Ruger LCRx .38 revolver. The LCRx features an exposed hammer that makes it a single- or double-action revolver. The first question I asked was why would Ruger make such a modification ? If you have a snag-free design for easy draw, why make it with a hammer? The answer is, why not? Why not give the consumer the option of pulling the hammer back or letting the trigger do it for you.
Smaller pistols were giving the big guns a run for their money at Media Day this year. Glock garnered most of the pre-show hype for the .380 ACP market with its introduction of the Model 42 pistol. This is the Austrian gunmaker's smallest pistol to date; yet it retains all the classic Glock controls and feel of Glock's larger pistols. I must say that shooting this pistol was a pleasant surprise. My big hands usually don’t take well to the tiny grips on most .380s, but this one felt just like any other Gen4 Glock.
Kimber and Beretta brought out their .380 ACP pistols as well. The Kimber Micro CDP (custom defense package) .380 ACP was the prettiest with it’s duotone metal finish and the crimson laser grip. The Beretta Pico was designed from the bottom up to allow snag-free draws. Both the Kimber and Beretta .380 pistols were nice to shoot, but the new Glock 42 .380 felt closest to shooting the larger framed pistols. Walther brought out its newly released PPQ M2 pistol, which felt comfortable to hold and shoot with a fast resetting trigger and buttery trigger pull.
Ruger had its new piston-driven SR-762 tactical rifle out at the show. This AR-styled 7.62 NATO rifle is lightweight and ergonomic. The two-staged piston makes for less recoil so it was easier to stay on target. This model retains most of the features of the SR-556 so it will feel comfortable to shoot from the first shot.
Not to be outdone, Daniel Defense brought the DDM4 AR-15 rifle to Media Day. It was getting much less attention than the company's fully automatic M4 carbine, but that made it easier for me to get right in there at give it a try. It's a great gun and shoots like a dream.
No gun show would be complete without the latest and greatest optics. This Media Day at the range did not disappoint when it came to optics on display from Aimpoint, EoTech, and Trijicon. Trijicon brought its new VCOG optic to the range and had it mounted on a Smith & Wesson M&P rifle. My first impression was the the optic and mount are robust. The magnification is adjustable by rotating the optic housing, a quick and easy way to change the magnification without loosing the sight picture. The optic has a segmented circle and red dot reticle that displayed in the middle of a bright and clear circle.
The editors of Police Magazine and PoliceMag.com will be covering the 2014 SHOT floor for the rest of the week. Keep checking Policemag.com for news, pictures, and blogs direct from the show.