By Jason Wong
The show, held January 15-18 at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center, comprised 715,000 square feet of exhibit space, with 1,800 exhibiting companies. According to preliminary figures, this year’s show attracted 25,384 attendees, 22,098 exhibiting personnel and a record 1,425 members of the media for a total attendance of 48,907.
“This has been a tremendously successful show from a number of standpoints,” said NSSF President Steve Sanetti. “Exhibitors and buyers were very upbeat, the products sold well, and I’d say the industry begins 2009 with a sense of cautious optimism in this challenging economy.”
Small Arms Review exhibited at the SHOT Show, and presents this overview to new products of potential interest to the NFA community.
Constitution Arms Palm Pistol
The Palm Pistol made a splash in the national news media outlets when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it was revoking a prior determination that the pistol was a “medical device.” Whether accurate or not, a solid model of the pistol was available for examination. The model proved to be very ergonomic and easy to grasp. The design incorporates two independently operable grip safeties that are deactivated by firmly gripping the pistol. A loaded chamber indicator allows the user to quickly determine if the firearm is loaded while a Picatinny rail allows the attachment of a small flashlight or laser aiming device.
Similar to a rifle where the recoil force is directed rearward to the shoulder, the palm pistol directs recoil into the palm and through the forearm of the shooter. While a firing model was not available for examination, the solid model was a very effective demonstration tool to show that the firearm is a viable design, is comfortable to handle, and capable of wide market appeal.
Elite Iron Suppressors
Elite Iron Suppressors of Bonner, Montana showcased several new suppressors within their line up. The Tango Down pistol suppressor is offered in three calibers: 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. Utilizing a 7075-T6 aluminum tube, the .45 caliber suppressor is capable of 19-22 dB reduction when fired dry or 33-35 dB reduction when fired wet. The suppressors also feature a removable recoil booster for Browning-type pistols, as well as a super tough Ceracote surface treatment. Owner Dale Poling explained that the Ceracote is more durable than anodizing and provides a superior surface treatment. With a limited lifetime warranty, the Tango Down suppressors weigh 11 ounces (without the recoil booster) and retail for $750.
Elite Iron also has two new rifle suppressors intended for .223, .308, .338 Lapua, .416 Barrett, or .50 BMG. The SERE features an oversleeve design and is intended for a 20-inch barreled AR-15 type weapon. Due to the oversleeve design, the suppressor is better able to capture residual high pressure gas during the firing sequence, is lighter in weight, and operates as a highly efficient flash suppressor. SERE suppressors are built to order and retail at $825 for a .223 suppressor, or $925 for a .308 suppressor. Brian boasted that he currently has over 70,000 rounds through the .223 suppressor design with minimal wear to the suppressor.
The Alpha suppressor is intended for .416 Barrett or .50 BMG rifles. Weighing just under four pounds, the Alpha provides hearing safe suppression on the .416 Barrett platform when shooting 438-grain projectiles at 3,200 feet per second. Field testing of the suppressor provided a 24-inch group at 3,000 meters. The Alpha suppressor retails for $1,395. All suppressors made by Elite Iron are 100% TIG Welded. Additional information on Elite Iron Suppressors may be found on the web at www.eliteiron.net.
Airtronic USA, Inc.
During a brief interview, Airtronic revealed that they are currently manufacturing all M203 grenade launchers for the U.S. Government, with over 22,000 M203s manufactured during 2008. Airtronic also currently manufactures 65% of all spare parts for the M2HB machine gun.
Airtronic displayed a 40mm stand-alone grenade launcher system. Intended to allow the use of an M203 without a host rifle, projected retail for the stand alone system without sights is $250. Future developments include a version without a buttstock for use as a breaching tool. Mr. Dockery reports that the recoil from a breaching round when fired without a stock is manageable. More information may be found online at www.airtronic.net.
SWR Manufacturing displayed their new A2RA suppressor. Rated for full automatic fire, the suppressor is intended for the M4 rifle system but may be utilized with any 5.56mm rifle that uses a standard A2-type flash hider.
The suppressor uses a proprietary mounting system licensed from SAI in Denmark. The design uses two locking rings – the first ring acts as a gas check while the second ring secures the suppressor to the weapon. With this design, the suppressor locks tightly to the host weapon but will not interfere with existing sling mounts or bayonet lugs. While conducting research into the design, it was noticed that some suppressors could not be securely mounted to the HK416 rifle due to dimensional differences between rifle manufacturers. The A2R2 suppressor eliminates this concern, and will operate effectively on either gas or piston operating systems.
The A2R2 features an inconel blast baffle, measures 1.5 inches in diameter, is 7.5 inches in length, and weighs 21 ounces. The suppressor is fully TIG welded, and cannot be disassembled. Projected retail price is $795, with full production available in Summer 2009.
Smith and Wesson
Whether due to commodity prices on the world market or a shortage of ammunition due to uncertain political conditions, the cost of shooting has increased. Enter the Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22. A dedicated full sized AR-15 type rifle, the M&P 15-22 is a dedicated .22 caliber rifle.
Both the upper and lower receiver is engineered from high strength polymer. The rifle’s operating features, functionality and durability are true to the standard AR-15 design, offering all of the features found on an AR-15 or M16 rifle. The M&P 15-22 features a 16-inch barrel with a 1:15 twist. The M&P 15-22 comes standard with a six-position collapsible stock and an A3 style flat top upper receiver with a quad-rail hand guard.
Similar to a full sized AR-15, the bolt and charging handle are fully functional. The fire control parts feature standard AR-15 parts in the expected locations on the rifle. Reportedly, the internal fire control parts (with the exception of the springs) are standard AR-15 parts and after firing the last round the bolt locks to the rear allowing the user to easily load a new 25-round magazine.
The unloaded weight of the rifle is approximately 5 pounds; measures 31 inches with the stock collapsed and 34 inches with the stock fully extended. The M&P 15-22 is designed to accept all 1913 Mil-Std rail adaptable accessories, Mil-Spec carbine stocks and most standard after-market AR-15 pistol grips.
When asked, Smith and Wesson representatives indicated that the entire system was designed from the ground up and that the upper receiver will not function on a standard AR-15 lower receiver. S&W representatives were also unable to comment on whether the system could be converted to a post-86 restricted machine gun.
The M&P 15-22 is well suited to recreational shooting while also being an extremely viable training firearm for law enforcement and military personnel and has a retail price of $449. 25-round magazines will retail for $29.95.
Whether a recreational shooter, active military, or a member of law enforcement, gloves should be considered as important as eye protection. Accidents happen – barrels get hot, out of battery detonations occur, and targets may have sharp edges. Wearing gloves while shooting protects the shooters hands and may reduce the possibility of injury. Wylie X is well known to U.S. military personnel for their line of eye protection and now Wylie X has released four new flame resistant combat gloves.
Currently listed on the Government approved product list as non-flammable, the Wiley X CAG-1 glove is sold in either short or gauntlet length. When compared to the standard aviator’s Nomex glove, the CAG-1 gloves were hands down more comfortable. Unlike the standard issue Nomex gloves, the CAG-1 allows the wearer to easily pick up small objects with no loss of manual dexterity. Current feedback from deployed troops indicates that the CAG-1 gloves are lasting twice as long as current issue gloves.
The CAG-1 gloves are available at Military Clothing Sales Stores, AAFES, civilian clothing outlets, and on the web at www.wileyx.com. Suggested retail ranges from $88-$150, depending on model and style.
Heckler and Koch
As reported last year in Small Arms Review, Heckler and Koch has released the MR223 rifle for US sales. While similar in exterior appearances to the HK416 rifle, subtle engineering differences were observed. The changes were explained as necessary in order to comply with German firearm regulations.
Three significant differences between the MR223 and HK416 were observed. The rear take down pin on the MR223 lower receiver was relocated 6mm to the rear, preventing the installation of a 416 upper receiver on an MR223 lower receiver. In addition, the MR223 chamber has a protrusion preventing the installation of a standard AR-15/M16 bolt carrier into the MR223 receiver. In the event that an AR-15/M16 bolt carrier was installed in an MR223, the bolt would not fully seat within the chamber and the rifle would not function. The MR223 bolt carrier has a corresponding notch to match the chamber protrusion allowing the rifle to function properly with use of an MR223 bolt carrier. Unlike the European version, the firearm was equipped with a flash suppressor.
The need for the design change is based upon German and U.S. law. As a German company, Heckler and Koch must comply with German law while complying with U.S. law when importing or manufacturing domestically. German law prohibits the sale of the HK416 to civilians, regardless of where the rifle is manufactured. As a result of the 1989 import restriction, the HK416 cannot be imported into the U.S. without substantial modifications to the external design. As a result, the MR223 is being made within the U.S. Prior efforts to import rifles from Germany resulted in the HK SL8 rifle, which was internally similar to the HK G36 battle rifle yet featured a highly modified stock. Domestic production of the MR223 should avoid import and design issues encountered with the HK SL8 rifle.
As reported in the February 2009 issue of Small Arms Review, FNH-USA announced the release of a civilian legal SCAR rifle chambered in .223. According to FNH-USA representatives, the civilian version of the SCAR rifle will be virtually identical to the military version. Two obvious changes to the civilian SCAR rifle include semi-automatic only function and an 18-inch barrel with standard A2-type birdcage flash hider. The rifle is expected to retail for $2,499.
The Ruger 10/22 is one of the most popular American made firearms in recent history. The ability to easily change the barrel and internal components makes the rifle easily adaptable. As many SAR readers are aware, the rifle is also easy to suppress, or make into a short barreled rifle. In 2006, Timney triggers took the shooting world by storm with the release of their AR-15 trigger system. Timney has done it again with the release of a new trigger system designed for the Ruger 10/22 rifle.
As a true drop in and self-contained modification, the Timney unit replaces the 10/22 trigger mechanism by providing crisp trigger response and allowing increased accuracy. The factory 10/22 features a 6-8 pound trigger pull. The new Timney trigger system eliminates trigger creep and reduces the trigger pull to a highly accurate 2-3 pounds. Easy to install, the unit utilizes the factory pins with the addition of two set screws to secure the unit within the receiver. Total installation time was about 15 minutes, with the majority of that time spent assembling and disassembling the rifle. Suggested retail is $149.95.
Tango Down presented two new products for commercial and military customers. The new Tango Down AR-15/M16 magazine presents a new take on an old design. The Tango Down magazine is a sealed two piece design that is not intended for disassembly. Traditional AR-15/M16 magazines are molded in a constant radius throughout the body of the magazine. With the multitude of manufacturers producing AR-15 and M16 lower receivers, there is no control over the specifications or design features within the lower receiver. As a result, Tango Down discovered that traditional AR-15/M16 magazines do not always fit within certain lower receivers, specifically, the Heckler and Koch 416. The newly designed magazine features a straight section that is inserted within the weapon, while utilizing the traditional curved section for the exposed section of magazine.
The magazine spring has also been redesigned with tests replicating the loading and unloading of the magazine through 10,000 cycles. Ten thousand cycles translates to 300,000 rounds of ammunition through a single magazine. The life of the magazine spring should far exceed the life of the magazine body.
Two types of magazines are offered. The first is intended for the military market and incorporates a seal between the magazine and the magazine well. The sand seal is intended to eliminate and prevent sand and other debris from entering the weapon, while providing a high quality product. The commercial version will not feature the sand seal, as the seal increases the magazine width. Suggested retail for the Tango Down magazine is $24.95.
Tango Down also featured a newly designed vertical grip. The new grip eliminates the dual locking bars currently found on existing Tango Down and Knight’s Armament forward grips. Jeff Cahill of Tango Down explained that dimensional tolerances in Picatinny rails can result in a bad fit when locking bars are utilized. If the rail is undersized, the grip will be loose and may wobble. If the rail is oversized, the grip may not fit, or may break once installed. In addition, it can be difficult for users to install, remove, and adjust grips utilizing dual locking bars.
The new grip utilizes a throw lever, which allows for adjustment in size. If the rail is oversized, the throw lever can be adjusted to accommodate the rail. If the rail is undersized, the throw lever system can be adjusted to fit snugly, unlike the current locking bar type grip. Additional information on Tango Down products may be found online at www.tangodown.com.
A combined display by Badger Defense and Airtronic caught the eye of many at SHOT 2009 with a display of RPG-type rocket launchers. Formerly Badger Barrels, the company has been acquired by Airtronic USA, Inc., of Elk Grove Village, Illinois and renamed Badger Defense.
The latest offering from Badger Defense includes an American manufactured RPG rocket launcher. Representatives for the company indicated that the entire design had been improved with 3130 barrel steel being used in place of original cast barrels, an upgrade to the double action trigger group, the addition of an electronic sight, (with a built in internal ballistic and range finder) the addition of Picatinny rails to allow the addition of a bipod and other accessories, and an improved AT-4 type stock. The improvements will reportedly allow the system to hit a point target at a range of 500 meters.
Badger Defense will be manufacturing a full line of energetic and Less-Lethal ammunition for the system. Kevin Dockery has been hired as the production manager and will be in charge of day-to-day operations. Mr. Dockery explained that during the redesign process, “We were finding dimensional differences of 2mm in Russian, Chinese, and other rounds. The newly made American rounds will be superior to any round manufactured in a Warsaw Pact country.” The Badger Defense version of the OG7 fragmentation round will boast a better fuze system and provide controlled fragmentation compared to the original Russian offering. The redesign includes an improved rocket and propellant system to include the elimination of black powder as a propellant and the elimination of the original piezoelectric fuze system. Instead, a triple redundant electronic fuze will be employed to comply with current U.S. Military requirements.
Sub-caliber devices chambered in .308 Winchester are in the planning stage. The entire system will be available for sale on the commercial market, with the option of purchasing a live destructive device, or an ATF-approved deactivated system. Reportedly, the deactivated system will be classified as a Title 1 (Non-NFA) firearm and will allow the user to fire the sub-caliber conversion. According to Mr. Dockery, the sub-caliber conversion has been classified as a “pistol,” due to the short barrel length, and will also be sold as a Title 1 firearm.
The 2010 SHOT Show is scheduled for January 19-22, 2010 and is returning to Las Vegas, Nevada. Reportedly, the SHOT show will remain in Las Vegas through 2021. Additional information may be found online at www.shotshow.org.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V12N11 (August 2009)|