Dealers Select Their “Best In Show” Products
By Carolee Anita Boyles
The aisles at SHOT Show 2016 were crowded and booths were busy as attendees worked their way through more than 1,600 exhibitors to look for the year’s new products and always-popular best sellers. In exclusive interviews with SI, retailers discussed their favorite products and exhibitors pointed out what was new and trendy at this year’s show.
Bernie Frazier, owner of J & B Guns and Outdoors in Irvington, Ala., was impressed by the Bond Arms bull-pup pistol, which the company acquired when they purchased Boberg Arms. “It’s a 9mm with a unique semi-automatic action,” he said. In addition, Frazier also liked Kel-Tec’s short-barreled shotgun, and their SUB-2000 rifle.
“And I already knew about the Ruger AR-556, but I hadn’t laid my hands on the SR-556 Takedown,” he said. “I was very impressed with it.” Frazier also liked one of Smith & Wesson’s newest offerings: the SHIELD from S&W’s Performance Center.
“I got to look at some of the lever-action rifles from Mossberg,” he added. “I also looked at Mossberg’s MMR and Patriot; I was really impressed with both.” Frazier also preferred the SIG SAUER P320.
Marc Adler from Machine Gun America in Kissimmee, Fla., favored SIG’s P210. “It’s really nice to see an American-made Swiss classic,” he observed. “I like seeing things go back to the shooting sports of old. It’s also great to see SIG has entered the 10mm market; they’re responding to niche customer demands.”
In long guns, Adler was enthusiastic to see FN America’s civilian belt-fed M249. “It’s the ultimate enthusiast’s bullet launcher,” he said.
The Taurus Raging Judge caught the attention of Frank Manuel, co-owner of Montgomery Indoor Shooting Complex in Montgomery, Ala. “It’s impressive and massive,” he said. “Unfortunately, I can’t find one to buy anywhere.”
Phillip Jackson, owner of PJ’s Armory in Pompano Beach, Fla., was impressed by Dillon Aero’s gyroscopic mini gun. “It was some pretty high-tech stuff,” he noted.
James Rabourne, owner of Rabourne Firearms in Baker City, Ore., spent time in the DSA booth and the company’s titanium FAL piqued his interest. “The weight is amazing. The loaded magazine weighs more than the rifle. It probably won’t be a big seller because of the price, but it’s a neat concept,” he added.
With the continued success of the MSR platform, scores of exhibitors introduced accessories for America’s favorite rifle.
“Strike Industries has a latchless charge handle for the MSR platform rifle — it’s innovative and unique,” said Bartt Brenton, president of BartZ. “It’s really outside-the-box thinking. It hooks on the inside where you never would have thought; it’s truly phenomenal.”
Up on the third floor in the SHOT Show NEXT Pavilion, Brenton found a push-button safety for MSRs at Elftmann Tactical. “Instead of a flip lever for a selector, it’s a push-button back and forth,” he said. “For the older customers who grew up with this style of safety, there will be some application for it.”
Jordan Blake, match director for Salute to Valor Veteran’s 3-Gun Charity Match in Houston, said she had trouble getting into the F-1 Firearms booth because it was so packed with attendees looking at neat new products. “I’m a big fan of their handguards — they’re substantial but not bulky,” she noted.
Rabourne liked Windham Weaponry’s Multi-Caliber System (MCS), an MSR caliber conversion package. “You can get all four conversion kits in a hard-sided case at a decent price, which makes it very usable,” he said. “The fact you can change calibers so quickly is going to make this a big seller.”
Martin Stowell, owner of Six Point Arms in Cabot, Ark., also liked the MCS.
“It comes in a suitcase with 9mm, .223, 300 Blackout and 7.62x39mm,” he said. “If it’s a modular gun you can swap out barrels and magazine wells.”
Frazier appreciated SIG SAUER’s new Electro-Optics line. “They have red-dot sights, and one model with a regular duplex reticle, which has the dot in the center,” he observed. “Even the lower priced models are very good quality.”
Michael Skinner, owner of Shoot Two Thrill in Limestone, Tenn., was excited by the Nightforce 4-14 first focal plane scope. “It’s in their SHV line, which stands for ‘Shooter-Hunter-Varmint,’” he noted. “They’re coming out with a first focal plane line of scopes for the line; they’re high-quality scopes at a reasonable price.”
Skinner also liked the new line of scopes from Athlon. “They’re a new company out of Kansas, making an economical line of optics with some really high-end features at a moderate cost,” he said.
PRODUCTS FOR HUNTERS
Wildgame Innovations has a new stick-on measuring tape for scoring deer. Trophy Tape lets any hunter gross score a trophy in just a couple of minutes.
“You just tape the main beams, tape the tines and take some mass measurements,” said company representative Jason Campbell. “Then you peel the tape off and add up your score.” The company also has a new Dominant Buck Dripper for dispensing scent at deer scrapes.
Creative Pet Products continues its tradition of providing quality canine first aid kits for sportsmen. “Hunting dogs go into some very rough terrain,” said company representative Bill Sandve. “They can get really beaten up. These kits contain items for hunters to use to take care of their dogs until they get to a veterinarian.”
Ariat is using a new camo pattern aimed at the women’s market.
“Hotleaf was developed by women who hunt,” said Kelly Gentine with Ariat International in Union City, Calif. “Ariat has the exclusive license for hunting apparel and footwear in this pattern. It’s a performance pattern with hot pink leaves. Hot pink is as invisible to deer and other ungulates as is traditional blaze orange. Not only is Hotleaf an effective pattern, it’s appealing to the rising population of female hunters.”
Frazier liked the Take Aim Targets version of the Texas Star. “It has five arms, with one arm a little shorter than the others, and a sixth plate locks the target in place so it doesn’t spin. You shoot that plate first and it makes the target spin. It’s as cool as the Double Whirly-Gig from MGM Targets,” he added.
Brenton said he “walked the wall” to find small, lesser-known companies on the perimeter of the show. “National Emblem makes embroidered patches for law enforcement,” he said. “We needed someone to make patches for our shirts, so it was a really good find.”
Upstairs at the SHOT Show NEXT Pavilion, Frazier liked the lubricant Slip 2000. “It doesn’t stink and it’s biodegradable,” he noted.
Blake rediscovered High Threat Concealment, whose products she first used in the military a number of years ago. “They’re finding inroads into daily concealed carry with some really cool products,” she said.
Joseph Long, owner of Long Arms in El Paso, Ark., liked Sharpshooter’s .22 reloading kits. “I ordered them in .22 Magnum and .22 LR,” he said.
For Lilly Gibbs, co-owner of the Montgomery Indoor Shooting Complex in Montgomery, Ala., Lethal Lace stood out. “Concealed carry in summer attire can be a challenge here in Alabama,” she said. “Lethal Lace provides several options for wearing their concealment products, which will help meet this need here.”
Gibbs also liked the Maglula UpLULA speed loader. “If I had just glanced at it in a store I would have thought ‘speed loader’ and I wouldn’t have thought any more about it,” she said. “But when I tried the Maglula, I thought it was amazing.”
Tom McEnroe, owner of TXT Custom Gun Works in Arlington, Texas, does a lot of custom work on GLOCKs. “KE Arms provides magwells and a lot of other small accessories where the packaging would have my company logo on it,” he said. “Since magwells are all very similar, it gives someone like me the ability to sell something of quality under my logo. They have it not only with GLOCK accessories, but also with MSR parts. It gives small companies like me a chance to do some customization — which I don’t normally get to do.”
McEnroe also liked the SilencerCo Hybrid. “They’re multi-caliber suppressors where the customer can buy one suppressor to fit all their guns,” he said.
“The most impressive thing I saw was CaseCruzer’s cases for multiple guns,” said Vince Bizzini with Valley Defense Consulting in Modesto, Calif. “It’s a very diverse line and they do custom cases for the number of guns you need.” These cases have structured interiors so you can stack multiple guns without them banging around on one another.
Robin McDougall, owner of The Weapons Shop in Fairbanks, Alaska, said the most exciting new product for him was the Lyman Borescope. “It was initially introduced at the 2015 SHOT Show, but they had some problems in manufacturing, and it was announced as actually shipping at this year’s show,” he said. “That was a highlight!”
FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT:
BOND ARMS www.bondarms.com
CREATIVE PET PRODUCTS www.petfirstaidkits.com
DILLON AERO www.dillonaero.com
ELFTMANN TACTICAL www.elftmanntactical.com
F1 FIREARMS www.f-1firearms.com
FN AMERICA www.fnamerica.com
HIGH THREAT CONCEALMENT www.highthreatconcealment.com
HOTLEAF CAMO www.hotleafcamo.com
KE ARMS www.kearms.com
LETHAL LACE www.lethallace.com
MGM TARGETS www.mgmtargets.com
SIG SAUER www.sigsauer.com
SIG SAUER OPTICS www.sigoptics.com
SLIP 2000 www.slip2000.com
SMITH & WESSON www.smith-wesson.com
STRIKE INDUSTRIES www.strikeindustries.com
TAKE AIM TARGETS www.takeaimtargets.com
WILDGAME INNOVATIONS www.wildgameinnovations.com
WINDHAM WEAPONRY www.windhamweaponry.com