You probably think you have seen every possible rifle that can be derived from the basic AR platform. Think again.
After walking the aisles of the Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show held last month in Las Vegas, I can say in all seriousness that you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
SHOT 2006 seemed to be all about the AR. There were ARs of all sizes, calibers, and even colors in both the law enforcement and general sections of the show. There were ARs that shot .50-caliber rounds, .223 ARs, .308 ARs, 6.8 ARs, Airsoft ARs, BB ARs. There were ARs with lights, lasers, grenade launchers, less-lethal launchers. Heck, I wouldn’t have been surprised if somebody had been showing an AR that had all the attachments of that Johnny Seven OMA (one man army) toy rifle that I owned as a kid. The only items that my Johnny Seven had that these ARs didn’t was the detachable pistol and an anti-tank missile.
The deluge of ARs into the gun market makes a lot of sense. After all, we are at war, and the principle rifle of the United States military is the M-16/M-4. It also makes a lot of sense from a law enforcement point of view, as more and more agencies are equipping their officers with patrol rifles.
But let me tell you, in the fourth day of walking around a massive gun show you can really tire of looking at AR-15 platforms.
So, even though the AR was clearly the star of SHOT 06, I’ve decided to mention only a few of the more noteworthy models in this report. Because to see the really cool stuff at SHOT 06, you had to look beyond the AR.
And anyone who did would have seen some really great pistols, holsters, apparel, and gear for law enforcement. Here’s a look at some of the stuff that caught my eye.
Tactical Dress Uniform
5.11 Tactical assembled a group of experts in federal, state, and local law enforcement to help design its new Tactical Dress Uniform, which debuted at SHOT. The idea was to develop a new BDU-style uniform that is comfortable, easy to care for, and durable. Some of the specialized features on the shirt and pant set include: removable neoprene knee and elbow pads, a comfort tunnel waist, bi-swing shoulder for greater range of motion, a Velcro lining in the pockets that will keep tools from falling out during extreme movements, and a Teflon treatment for stain and water resistance.
Click here to visit 511 Tactical online.
Just about anybody who has been following the development of police and military equipment over the last few years knows about the Corner Shot. This high-tech system allows an operator to aim a weapon via video screen, enabling shots around corners and from other cover positions. The first Corner Shot system mounted a pistol; the second mounted a 40mm grenade launcher. Now, you can get a Corner Shot system that mounts a miniature-assault weapon. The 5.56mm (.223 Winchester) Assault Pistol Rifle uses standard M-16/M-4 magazines, features Picatinny rails for mounting accessories, and can be fitted with a 40mm grenade launcher. The first bad guy to run into this thing literally won’t know what hit him.
Click here to visit Corner Shot online.
Heckler & Koch
HK416 Enhanced Carbine
On the outside HK’s new 416 carbine looks an awful lot like an M-4. It shoots 5.56mm ammo, has a pistol grip, activates like an M-4, and sports Picatinny rails on just about every surface. But inside, the 416 is very different from the standard M-4. You won’t find the standard gas blow-back system of an AR-15 inside this rifle. Instead, HK has developed a proprietary gas system that does not introduce propellant gases and the associated carbon fouling into the weapon’s interior. Not only does this make the 416 easier to clean and more reliable than the standard AR, it also means that the weapon can fire even when it is full of water.
Click here to visit Heckler & Koch online.
Wiley X Eyewear
Nerve Ballistic Goggle
Eye injuries are a major concern in both police and military operations, so the competition to make a better tactical goggle is heated. Wiley X Eyewear’s Nerve is a leading contender. The Nerve incorporates the latest lens technology in a streamlined, easy-to-carry goggle that fits easily into a jacket pocket. The lenses for the Nerve are made of polycarbonate that meets ANSI Z87.1-203 high-velocity impact standards. Prescription lens inserts are available. The Nerve’s frame features Wiley X’s Top Down Ventilation System, which prevents fogging.
Click here to visit Wiley X online.
At SHOT 2006, Barrett introduced its latest model in the company’s line of long-range, high-powered rifles, the Barrett .416. Though smaller than the .50 BMG cartridge that people think of when they hear the name “Barrett,” the .416 is still potent. Barrett says the round stays supersonic at 1.3 miles and reaches about 3,250 feet per second from the Barrett .416 rifle’s 29-inch match grade barrel. The .416 is legal in all 50 states; however, Barrett says it was developed long before California’s ban on the .50 BMG.
Click here to visit Barret online.
Xiphos Pistol Light
At SHOT 2006, Blackhawk introduced numerous new products, including its new Warrior Wear line of boots (See boots roundup on page 61.), and the Xiphos pistol light. Developed by Insight Technology and sold under the Night-Ops brand, the Xiphos is an LED light that fits most pistol rails and offers a minimum of 80 lumens. The Xiphos can be operated from either side and offers both constant-on and momentary switching. It has a range of 25 to 30 meters.
Click here to visit Night-Ops online.
XD .45 ACP Pistols
Springfield Armory has expanded its line of XD (Extreme Duty) polymer-frame pistols to include a new .45 ACP tactical model. The Tactical 5” in .45 ACP features a capacity of 13 (plus one) rounds in a 32- ounce double-stack pistol.
Click here to visit Springfield Armory online.
Zero Tolerance Knives
Kai USA (parent company of Kershaw Knives) rolled out its new line of ZT (Zero Tolerance) knives at SHOT 06. Focusing on hard-use tools for military and law enforcement duty, the ZT line includes fixed blade and folding knives designed by Strider Knives and Ken Onion. Several of the knives in the ZT line feature the SpeedSafe assisted-opening system.
Click here to visit Kershaw Zero Tolerance Knives online.
Mossberg has added two new tactical shotguns to its line of law enforcement weapons. The Mossberg 500 Tactical is a six-shot 12-gauge with an 18.5-inch barrel. It’s available in solid tactical black or in a two-tone stainless-steel and black finish called Marinecote. The 500 Tactical features an adjustable synthetic stock. A shorter version called the 500 Tactical Cruiser has no stock, just a pistol grip.
Click here to visit Mossberg online.
Para’s new Tac-Five was specifically designed for the tactical law enforcement market, but it’s available only in 9mm. Fans of bigger handgun cartridges may scratch their heads about that, but the fact that the Tac-Five is a 9mm does give it one really great feature: It holds 18 rounds. The Tac-Five is a Light-Double-Action pistol with a five-inch barrel and Novak Extreme Duty adjustable rear sights. It comes in black Para Kote and has an integral magazine well for fast reloading.
Click here to visit Para-Ordnance online.
Bullite PRO Trainer
One of the most innovative products on display this year at SHOT was the Rovatec Bullite PRO Laser Training Bullet. This is essentially a bullet-shaped laser device that can be loaded into a variety of long guns and handguns. The Bullite fits in the chamber of the gun, preventing anyone from loading a live round. When the firing pin falls on the Bullite, it emits a laser pulse that can be seen on any reflective surface and special Rovatec targets. The Bullite can also be used for force-on-force training. The system fires an eye-safe laser, and it comes with a device that sticks out of the barrel of the user’s weapon to indicate that it is safe.
Click here to visit Rovatec online.
Hunting apparel and military uniform manufacturer Woolrich is now making a line of tactical clothing, including long-sleeved and short-sleeved shirts, cargo pants, cargo shorts, vests, hats, gloves, and even socks. The shirts are constructed of 100-percent cotton poplin and feature epaulets, venting, and ultra-violet protection with a UPF of 30. Woolrich’s new Elite Cargo Pants and shorts are constructed of 100-percent cotton canvas, and they feature numerous pockets (including a rear wallet pocket, reinforced belt loops, and Teflon stain resistance.
Click here to visit Woolrich online.
Two new law enforcement pistols joined the Taurus line at SHOT 06. The PT745SS-LS is a compact (3.25-inch barrel) .45 ACP that’s designed for concealed or off-duty carry. With a capacity of six (plus one) and weighing just 22 ounces, this six-inch-long .45 ACP packs plenty of punch. The PT745GB is essentially the same pistol in .45 GAP. It has a capacity of seven (plus one).
Click here to visit Taurus online.
TAPCO’s tactical vest for law enforcement redefines the concept of a load-bearing vest. It’s a real workhorse, offering 16 pockets and pouches for gear and equipment. For example, the vest’s mag pockets were clearly designed for an operator going into harm’s way. Each mag pocket can carry two AR mags. The pockets can also be easily adjusted for MP-5 mags, pistol mags, and mags from other makes of tactical weapons. The mesh vest is fully adjustable for fit on the front and sides and features an “officer-down” drag strap.
Click here to visit TAPCO online.
SERPA Level III Holster
Perhaps one of the most exciting law enforcement products shown at SHOT 06 was BlackHawk’s new SERPA Level III holster. The carbon fiber holster offers two mechanical weapon-retention devices: the SERPA system that locks the weapon into the holster until the wearer presses the release and the pivot guard, a spring-loaded hood that prevents anyone from getting a good grip on the pistol without knowing how to release it. Officers who tried the system at the show generally agreed the SERPA Level III does not prevent a fast, smooth draw; it secures the weapon, and it facilitates no-look reholstering.
Click here to visit BlackHawk online.
Hardigg Storm Case
Hardigg Storm Case is now selling a locker that will protect and secure four AR-15/M-4 rifles as well as all their mags and accessories. The polyethylene plastic case has adjustable racks so that users can match the heights of a variety of AR-style rifles. The case has wheels for easy movement.
Click here to visit Hardigg Storm Case online.
Reva Night Operation Systems’ Visi-Flare is a battery-powered LED light system that’s designed to be used instead of road flares. Each Visi-Flare has a highly visible simulated laser (SL) cone that protrudes from the light base and can be seen from up to 3,200 meters when lit. The Visi-Flares can be set for steady light, blinking light, and sequential light. AA and C-cell battery models are available. They are sold in six-unit packs.
Click here to visit Reva N.O.S. online.
ALS Holster System
Safariland’s newest line of holsters features the company’s Automatic Locking System (ALS), a mechanical device that locks into the ejection port. The ALS holsters offer Level II-plus retention with a rotating hood to cover the weapon and the ALS device to lock it into the holster. The ALS trigger is on the top of the holster on the leg side, so it is easily and naturally disengaged during a draw.
Click here to visit Safariland online.
Smith & Wesson
Smith & Wesson has expanded its Military and Police line of weapons to include an AR-15. The new M&P15 features a six-position telescoping butt-stock, a flat-top receiver with a rail and a removable carry handle, a fully adjustable front post sight, and a MIL-Spec flash suppressor and compensator. The M&P15 is available in three different versions: the basic M&P15, the M&P15T with rail covers and folding battle sights, and the M&P15A with folding rear battle sight.
Click here to visit Smith & Wesson online.
Tactical Mirror Sight
Perhaps the most unusual new law enforcement product on display at SHOT 06 was ShieldShot’s Tactical Mirror Sight. This system replaces the rear sight of an AR-15/M-4 with a flip-up polycarbonate mirror. The mirror allows the user to see around corners, acquire sight pictures, and shoot targets. As demonstrated by the inventor, the mirror is virtually indestructible. Iron sights are incorporated into the system, which flips down to allow unobstructed sighting through a scope.
Click here to visit ShieldShot online.