This article originally appeared at OutdoorHub:
At the opening bell of the SHOT Show exhibits, I always dash for the basement. That’s where the newer vendors and newer products are. The big companies are pretty good about getting press releases out prior to the show, but the bottom level has the surprises. Here are a few things I found downstairs along with some high-interest offerings from more established vendors.
Mega Boom Targets
In the “way too much fun” category are new Mega Boom Targets. Think of these as target bases for plastic bottles like one and two-liter soda containers. Screw and empty plastic bottle into the base and pump it full of air with the included bicycle-style pump. Now you have a pressurized container down range that makes a satisfying boom when hit. For extra joy, put a biodegradable powder like flour in the bottle before you pressurize. The loud boom will then be accompanied by a large smoke cloud.
MSRP: Starting at $24.95
Kingston Armory M1 and M1A
Walking by the Kingston Armory booth, I noted some M1A and M1 Garand rifles. That didn’t turn my head until I saw the .22LR sign above them. These folks are making “replica” rifles with Ruger 10/22 actions. The stock, sights, and many other parts are either mil-spec or, at least, mil-spec size. Why not?
Using the right belt and tension is the key to carrying a gun on the waist. Not only must the belt be made for the task of supporting a heavy gun, but it also has to be adjusted perfectly. If the buckle hole placement creates too loose a fit, your gun flops around. Adjust your belt too tight and things get uncomfortable quickly.
The folks at NexBelt have devised a ratcheting belt and buckle system that facilitates adjustment in ¼-inch increments as opposed to one-inch spaced belt buckle holes on traditional belts. The idea id that you can adjust your carry belt to the perfect tension for your combination of pants, holster, and gun.
The company offers both dress and range belts with the new ratchet buckles. The Defender line comes in black or brown leather with a nickel buckle. The Blackhawk Coyote and Olive range belts sport a military type buckle.
Team Never Quit Ammo
I had the opportunity to attend an off-site range event hosted by the folks at Snake River Ammunition. The Team Never Quit ammo, produced via a team effort between Lone Survivor Marcus Luttrell, Snake River Ammunition, and SinterFire, has some pretty amazing capabilities for training and competition using steel plates.
The problem with shooting steel is that when using normal ammo, you need to not only keep your distance, but you also need to use the right kind of steel that’s rated for your ammo. If you use ammo that’s too powerful or steel not suited for the task, shots will make craters in the plates that cause shrapnel to head right back toward the shooter at dangerous velocity.
TNQ Ammo uses SinterFire projectiles made from powdered metal – 90% copper and 10% tin. When the projectiles impact hard surfaces, they turn to dust. To illustrate the point, one demonstration had a shooter advancing towards a steel plate while emptying a magazine of TNQ 55-grain .223 Remington. Normally, you wouldn’t shoot an AR at steel from closer than 50 (or more) yards depending on the nature of the target. In this scenario, the shooter advanced until the muzzle was no more than six inches from the steel plate. Perhaps ten rounds impacted the steel from that half a foot distance, yet no fragments touched the shooter or two “volunteers” advancing alongside.
Sig P320 RX and Sig Romeo 1
There’s not much that Sig Sauer isn’t doing these days. One particularly interesting piece of SHOT Show news was the announcement of several new RX series pistols. These have slides cut for mounting of optical sights. They also have tall sights made specifically to co-witness through a mounted optic.
Speaking of optics, I had the opportunity to shoot the new Sig Sauer P320 RX with a Sig Sauer Romeo 1 handgun optical sight. This sight is made to be rugged but includes a larger glass viewable area than any other handgun sight I’ve tried. The Romeo 1 is an “always on” design, meaning you don’t have to press a power button when you’re ready to use the gun. Battery life is preserved by a two-minute inactivity timer. And I do mean inactive. If you try to hold it still in your hand, the red dot won’t turn off. The gun has to be perfectly still. Any vibration or movement turns the optic back on so it’s ready for use.
Hoppe’s Gun Medic
Hoppe’s Gun Medic comes in an aerosol can and contains both cleaning and lubricating agents. Its purpose is for quick “fixes” at the range or in the field. When you gun starts misbehaving from being a little too dirty, spray it right in the action. The cleaner evaporates leaving the lubricant behind. It’s a great thing to keep in the range bag.
MSRP: $7.95 for four-ounce can
CCI Big 4 Shot Cartridges
Snake shot cartridges are handy for close range pest control. The key is the “close range” part because the shot size is tiny and the pellets are light. It works great on slithering critters from a few feet away but quickly loses effectiveness with distance.
The folks at CCI Ammunition have launched Big 4 snake shot shells for .38 Special and .357 Magnum revolvers. These are loaded with #4 size shot pellets which will carry a lot farther. Now you don’t have to get into “might get bit” range to deal with any stray pit vipers that might be inhabiting your yard. Big 4 is also available in 9mm, .44 Special / .44 Magnum, and .45 Colt.
MSRP: $14.95 / 10
Ultimate Training Munitions
Previously available for military and law enforcement only, Ultimate Training Munitions ammo and conversion kits have been used 180 million times over the years. Now the company offers its gear to the commercial market.
For AR rifles, the kit contains a replacement bolt, magazine, and a starter box of ammunition. Pistols require a conversion barrel and ammunition. The projectiles use a double primer action, so there is enough energy to make your existing semi-automatic pistol or rifle operate correctly, but the plastic projectiles are safe and quiet enough for training indoors. The company offers different projectiles for target practice and marking.
Savage 42 Takedown
New from the folks at Savage is a truck / car trunk / camp / cabin survival gun. This takedown rifle has a .22LR barrel on top and a .410 bore shotgun barrel underneath. It separates using a single button and no tools are required. It comes in an Uncle Mikes bag for easy and discreet transport. If you like, you can order a version where the top barrel is chambered in .22 Magnum.
Champion DuraSeal Soup Can Target
In the simple but fun category, there are some new DuraSeal targets on the market from Champion. Those are the ones that bullets pass through and the holes (mostly) reseal themselves. The Soup Can Target has a lid that snaps on, so you can fill the can with flour, chalk, corn starch, or something like powdered Kool-Aid. When you shoot it, the pressure blows off the lid and creates a satisfying and harmless smoke “explosion.” Fun stuff, and it’s fine for anything from .17 to .50 caliber.
LaserMax Green Guide Rod Laser for Sig Sauer P226 and P229
The laser assembly replaces the factory guide rod, spring, and takedown lever. The LMS-2261G and LMS-2291G models are user installable and come with Wolff recoil springs. As the laser is contained inside of the guide rod, it’s already sighted in with the bore, and the laser-upgraded guns are compatible with existing holsters.