New Product Hits From SHOT Show
By Carolee Anita Boyles
SHOT Show 2019 was crowded and busy, just as it is every year. After a slow 2018 — compared to previous years — retailers were looking for ways to rebound in 2019. Attendees had a chance to see and interact with more than 2,400 exhibitors to look for this year’s new products and best sellers. Shooting Industry asked retailers in attendance about their experiences, what they liked and what they expect to see for 2019.
“I thought the mood of the show was upbeat,” said Doug VanderWoude, Point of Impact Group partner and Range Systems’ managing director. “A lot of dealers who attended SHOT University had a decent year last year, and I talked to others at the show itself who were upbeat but hadn’t had such a good 2018. I think it shows you people who are willing to learn new techniques and change with the times are doing better overall than those who aren’t.”
Calvin Iona with Ransberger Cal Customs LLC in Fallbrook, Calif., didn’t think as many buyers attended the show this year as in years past.
“I think it’s one of the smallest shows I’ve seen in terms of number of shoppers like me,” he observed.
Johnny Dury, one of the owners of Dury’s Guns in San Antonio, Texas, was disappointed by the number of non-dealers on the floor who created problems for buyers.
“It’s gotten to where manufacturers are reluctant to give you price sheets because they don’t know whether you’re legit or not,” he stated. “It’s tough for dealers who are trying to go in and do business; they have to work around people who aren’t there to do business.”
Firearms & Parts
Seth Dortch, marketing manager for Final Flight Outfitters in Union City, Tenn., called attention to Franchi’s Affinity Elite series.
“SHOT was very beneficial for us and we got some solid content from our time there,” he said. “The Franchi Affinity Elite guns piqued our interest, especially with the increase of 20-ga. users in the past two years. They’re now making each Elite model in a 20-ga.”
Dale Williams, a buyer at Vance Outdoors in Obetz, Ohio, liked the reintroduction of the Colt King Cobra.
“I have an original Colt King Cobra, and it’s nice to see Colt has reintroduced what they refer to as the ‘snake guns,’” he noted. “These guns have always been iconic for Colt.”
Williams zeroed in on GLOCK’s G43X and G48, introduced at the show this year.
“The G48 is the one to hone in on,” he contends. “It’s a single-stack firearm for the concealed carry market that provides a larger, slim-line frame.”
Iona also liked the GLOCK G43X and G48 because they carry 10-round magazines.
“They have good concealability, which is important to people who like GLOCK,” he said.
SIG SAUER’s P365 also stood out to Iona. One of the “showstoppers” from SHOT 2018, SIG added an ambidextrous manual thumb safety option to the platform this year.
“I like the P365 because it’s comparable to the GLOCK 43 in size,” he noted. “It has a 10-round magazine so you can carry 11 rounds, and they have a 12-rounder not part of the original buy so you can carry a backup magazine in your other pocket.”
Doug Gifford, director of operations at both Core Rifle Systems and GTO Guns & Sporting Goods in Ocala, Fla., was excited by the number of new long-range shooting platforms coming into the market.
“A lot of different people got into long-range bolt guns this past year,” he lends. “We’re getting into the market ourselves; we make long-range precision barrels and an action for multiple calibers for bolt guns. We primarily make the 6.5 Creedmoor, and we’re working on some larger calibers; we’re seeking to compete in the 2-mile competition.”
Gifford also liked some of the new triggers from CMC Triggers.
“They have some new GLOCK triggers, and their new AR triggers are very exciting,” he said. “They’re just getting to the top of the trigger world — they’re one to watch.”
Dury looked at a couple of semi-auto triggers in the Volquartsen booth.
“They’re real lightweight,” he said. “Both are .22 top-of-the-line triggers, and their .22 Magnum pistol is really high quality.”
Mike Caruso Jr., owner of Delray Shooting Center in Delray Beach, Fla., ordered guns from STI, Nighthawk and Cabot.
“I also placed an order for some Accuracy International rifles,” he shared. “I typically order from select vendors who have a ‘show special.’ For instance, Nighthawk offers an extra 2 percent off when ordered at the show. Most of the Nighthawks I ordered were in 9mm and .45 — double-stack 1911s have become one of our most popular sellers and Nighthawk has been producing them. STI changed its lineup this year so we ordered 10 of everything.” Caruso particularly liked the STI Combat Master.
Caruso also ordered a year’s worth of guns from Cabot.
“I like to order from Cabot in person so I’m able to pick and choose the exact models and finishes each of these guns will have,” he said. “Cabot is a sort of a custom one-off piece for each gun. The products are like Swiss watches.”
Taylor Denniston, son of the owner of Fort Thompson Sporting Goods in Sherwood, Ark., said Bergara had some pretty cool new rifles.
“Bergara’s a growing brand for us,” he relayed. “They introduced some new calibers and new models of rifles they already have, with some different stocks.”
Denniston also looked at Kimber’s lineup of pistols.
“They had a bunch of new offerings in their Micro line,” he said, “including a new Micro 9.”
The Springfield 911 also stood out to Denniston. After making its debut last year in .380, the 911 is now available in 9mm.
“It has sold really well for us,” he shared. “Springfield is offering several new models in different colors and new grips, changing the outside appearance of them.”
The managers at Only The Best Firearms in Pompano Beach, Fla., liked the number of smaller companies developing new products for existing guns.
“TANDEMKROSS makes performance upgrade parts for Ruger .22s, Smith & Wesson .22s and Browning .22s,” one of the managers shared. “You can never go wrong with B&T out of Switzerland; they make phenomenal products. And Kalashnikov USA is making AKs in the U.S. and a 9mm that’s pretty cool.”
Williams claimed the biggest buzz in ammunition at the show was the launch of the Winchester 350 Legend.
“It’s a straight-wall cartridge geared to the hunting states allowing straight-wall rifle cartridges,” he said. “It’s specifically for straight-wall hunting.”
Logan Repp, a buyer at Fin Feather Fur in Ashland, Ohio, described the Winchester 350 Legend the biggest thing he saw at the show.
“It’s going to do really, really well,” he opined. “Winchester did a good job of talking it up. Now it’s just going to be if they can produce the rifles. You’re going to see other companies trying to beat them to the punch; as soon as they made the round they released it to other people, so it will be interesting to see what happens.”
Federal is bringing back the “bucket” of .22 ammo, according to Repp.
“It’s going to be really good for us,” he asserted.
Gifford liked the prices he saw at Riton Optics, which he said is using Japanese glass to produce high-quality optics. The entry-level scope retails for about $190, significantly less than other optics of the same quality.
“The only better glass is German, and you pay for it,” he added. “If someone can get into a quality scope for under $200, it’s really something. Riton has a very high-quality optic. They don’t repair anything; they just replace it. If you ever have an issue, they just send you a new one.”
Dury was impressed with the new Swarovski dS 5-25×52 P rangefinding riflescope.
“It shoots the range on the target you’re aiming at,” he said. “It figures barometric pressure, temperature and angle, and it puts the dot in the scope where it should be for holdover for that rifle. It’s spendy at $4,500, but for a scope able to do all that — and has Swarovski glass on it — it’s worth it.”
Dury also looked at a night vision front-attachment for riflescopes from Pulsar.
“It’s called the Core. It makes your daytime scope into a thermal scope,” he noted.
Something that stood out for Repp was the Aimpoint Acro P-1 red dot scope for pistols.
“It’s a nice little design,” he shared.
SHOT Show had plenty to offer range operators, as well.
VanderWoude informed Range Systems has partnered with Ti Outdoors (makers of the V23 electronic shooting game system) to create a live-fire range in a small space. Ti Outdoors, Range Systems, Carey’s Gun Range Ventilation, architect Clark Nexsen and AXIS Point of Sale system combined to design a full-featured range program called the Perfect Fit package.
“The V23 is a cart that rolls into an existing shooting stall,” Vanderwoude stated. “The customer can shoot moving targets on a piece of paper, and they’re only 10 feet from the target. So, any retailer can use the Perfect Fit package to build a range in only 40 feet of space.” A more complex version, the Perfect Fit XL, provides a range with more, larger shooting lanes.
Jared Sloane, operations manager at Shoot Smart in Fort Worth, Texas, liked Targetscope, a new target system for indoor ranges. The system uses embedded smart-camera technology for interactive games, safety training and skill-building programs — catering to shooters at all levels of experience.
Radetec’s new technologies for round counters and firearms safety also appealed to Sloane.
“They have some futuristic and interesting digital safety measures,” he observed.
Another company with digital products Sloane liked was Trainshot.
“They have a digital paper target,” he said. “It has an electrical current flowing through it, so when the shot goes through the paper, it ‘knows’ a zone was disrupted.”
Giving dealers a hands-on look at the industry’s latest innovations, the SHOT Show New Product Center boasted products from more than 400 companies. (To see the top-seven scanned products from the show, see the chart on page 34.)
A product appealing to the emerging TacMed (Tactical Medical) trend, Gifford called attention to ZRODelta’s new tourniquet — and how it’s going to save lives.
“They can get a tourniquet on someone who’s bleeding out from a femoral artery,” he said. “You can get it on very quickly, and it sets the right pressure itself.”
Upstairs in SHOT Show NEXT, Fix It Sticks had a nice little tool kit, Iona shared.
“It’s a little heavy, but it will take care of a lot of needs,” he observed. “You can use it to mount optics or help clean a pistol. I really like they already have the foot pounds on the wrench, it’s small, it doesn’t require a long extension cord and you can get close to it without marring your work.”
Gearfire has some software Dury found interesting.
“It lets you put all your distributors in your system,” he said. “Then you can search for a product, and the software will bring up all your distributors who have it in stock and show the price from each one of them at the same time.”
Denniston liked the new Timber camo pattern from Realtree.
“All the gun companies are putting it on shotguns for next year, which will be a big deal for retailers in our area of the country,” he predicted. “We saw it on Winchester, Browning, Benelli and Beretta; all the major players in the waterfowl market are putting it on their stuff.”
Dortch also anticipates Realtree’s new pattern will have a significant impact on his business next year.
“Realtree Timber being available on guns now is big for us since we’re in such a heavy waterfowling region,” he said.
One company Gifford especially liked didn’t have a booth — they were just on the floor making life better for attendees.
“Black Rifle Coffee had coffee stations set up all over the place,” he recalled. “It’s such good coffee, and they’re also really good marketers. They have a sense of humor and their marketing is brilliant.”
While just a sampling of literally hundreds of products that made their debut at SHOT Show 2019, this provides a cross-section for you to consider adding this year to your inventory.
What other products stood out to you? Send the SI team an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to get your thoughts featured!