My top priority for day one of the annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) show is to beeline for the basement at the first ding of the opening bell. You’d think I was a greyhound chasing one of those electric rabbits around the track, except I don’t bark (quite) as much during the mad dash.
I do this because that’s where the new and interesting stuff is. Before the show starts, we pretty much know what the mainstream companies are going to be showing. Don’t get me wrong, actually seeing and handling these new products is exciting. I just know that they’ll be there waiting for me on days two through four of the show. The lower level is where the smaller booths, and new vendors, are. Not knowing who might have cleared the waiting list at the last minute, I walk by each and every, booth looking for new toys.
Here are some of the more interesting items I found:
SEEK Thermal Camera
Moore’s law is an old computer axiom that states computing power per dollar will double every 18 months because technology or something. The law seems to apply across the board to technologies like thermal vision devices too. SEEK Thermal showed their new iPhone and Android camera and the results were enlightening, to say the least.
The new models have 32,000 thermal pixels. That’s fancy speak for “you can see things really clearly and at longer range.” You can compare the output of this $299 camera to that of devices costing four figures. The device itself is about the size of your thumb and simply plugs into the port of your respective device. Super cool.
Walking down one of the many SHOT Show exhibit aisles, I was struck by a man standing on a full hydration pack. He was surrounded by a crowd of nervous looking prospective buyers who were just waiting to get soaked. All stayed dry as my new favorite product demo guy bounced up and down on the heavy duty water balloon.
That demonstration got my attention, but the product pitch got my interest. The Geiggerig Hydrapack is not only strong, it’s got built-in pressurization. Think about that. A pressure bulb allows you do secret the hydration bladder in your pack, then pump some air into it. To get water, open the nozzle. No more sucking a hose. You can share water with your buddies without being gross. You can wash things. You can fill a coffee cup in the morning. Better yet, the pressurized output allows placement of an inline filter. If your pack goes dry, dunk it in the nearest stream or pond and your water will be filtered as you use it. Brilliant.
Birdsong Shotgun Suppressor
It’s starting to sound like everything in this list stopped me in its tracks. I suppose that’s circular logic as that’s what this list is about – new and interesting products. Walking by the Birdsong booth I noticed a shotgun with what appeared to be an oblong life preserver circling the barrel. The oversized tube resembled a suppressor, but it turned out to me more. You see, the interior of the tube is fire retardant. My first question was… what?
It turns out there’s a great reason for this. Imagine you’re playing cops and robbers, and you’re the cop, except it’s not a game, but real life. You’re the entry person who has to blast open the lock of a suspected meth lab. Are you with me now? Meth labs are, umm, slightly explosive. For the safety of all involved, Birdsong helps make sure the fiery stuff stays inside of the shotgun, thereby helping keep officers safe from unwanted explosions. That sounds like a pretty good idea to me.