The Column, No. 119:

SHOT Show 2018

By Randy Wakeman

Scene from the 2018 SHOT Show floor
Scene from the 2018 SHOT Show floor courtesy of SHOT Show.

This year's SHOT show was well attended, but seemed to be slightly down from last year's roughly 65,000 figure, but it is still quite handily the premier shooting sports industry event. I'd speculate that attendance was more in the area of 60,000 for 2018 and there were over 2,000 exhibitors. The weather cooperated, it was a beautiful week in Las Vegas, and not nearly as windy as it has been in times past for Monday's range day in Boulder City.

It is a rebuilding year of sorts for the industry. With the supposedly imminent election of the Clinton crime family, aggressive forecasts were made. Instead of healthy increases, the reality turned out to be 18-20% declines in some sectors, with excess inventory, heavy discounts, and generous rebates becoming standard fare for last year. Some remnants of this continues.

The "long range precision rifle" genre of bolt action rifle continues to gain popularity. With Ruger's great success with their Ruger Precision Rifle, other major manufacturers are tooling up to join this fast-growing segment.

Ruger generally offers a wide swath of new products every year. One of the most notable offerings for 2018 is the Ruger PC 9x19mm Carbine. It has a "light crisp trigger using proven 10/22 components." It is very easy to shoot, the recoil is minimal and it is a take-down model with ambidextrous features. I feel Ruger is going to do very well with it.

Sandy Chisholm and his team at North American Arms have been working on their break-top mini revolver, the Ranger II, for several years. It has been a long path for NAA to find the right combination that is affordable and manufacturable at a profit. It is a tricky balancing act, but Sandy assures me that, although their production has not yet met the demand, the NAA Ranger II mini revolver is here to stay and will be part of the North American Arms portfolio of convenient, reliable and effective personal defense arms for years to come. The NAA Black Widow has been a Guns and Shooting Online favorite for many years for daily use, but the Ranger II is a little work of art that many folks will have to have.

Federal Premium has made news with their new TSS turkey loads. In conjunction with their 3rd Degree and Grand Slam loads, it looks like they have all the turkey bases covered.

The Champion WheelyBird has been a great little clay target thrower for several years. Now, with the WheelyBird M 2.0, it looks like they have the best in class, affordable clay target thrower in the industry. Champion is also shipping their new biodegradable clays that smoke as well as pitch and limestone clays.

Savage Arms introduced their new Accu-Fit Model 110 bolt action rifles. These come complete with five comb risers and four length of pull inserts.

Bushnell, also part of the Vista family, has formally launched their extensive line of Engage riflescopes and binoculars. They are extremely bright, without excessive "wallet recoil."

Fabarm and Caesar Guerini launched a large number of new models in their spectacular new booth. This includes two new grades of the Fabarm L4S Sporting autoloader, a new treatment of the XLR5 Waterfowler, new ELOS O/U models, the Fabarm Professional HD/LE line, new Caesar Guerini Invictus models, several new Syren models (all designed for the fairer sex), and others. I have carped quite a bit about guns getting uglier and uglier, but Fabarm / CG / Syren models just get better looking all the time. Thank Goodness!

Sig Sauer has their new P365 Nitron Micro-Compact that boasts 10+1 capacity. It garnered a lot of buzz.

Mauser has their new bolt action "people's rifle," the affordable, no-frills, synthetic stocked, M18. The more upscale M98, M12 and modular M03 remain in the line.

The Franchi brand has their first-ever rifle, the particularly homely looking, plastic stocked, bolt action Momentum. It is available with or without a Burris Fullfield II 3-9x40mm scope.

One of the biggest announcements made at the SHOT Show came from Weatherby, which is leaving California for Sheridan, Wyoming. The Second Amendment is a personal right, not a privilege, and it makes very little sense to pay tax dollars to entities like the California State Government that use public funds to spit on individual rights and the United States Constitution.

There were more new product introductions than I anticipated and there will be many more as the year progresses. Many of the items mentioned here will be fully reviewed on Guns and Shooting Online.

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Copyright 2018 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.