Monday we attended one of three range events, and the highlight was getting our hands on the new Robar PolymAR rifle. The PolymAR is and AR15-style platform with the upper and lower receivers, as well as the handguard. Constructed of a polymer (hence the name) material that produces a field weight of only 6 lbs! We found no noticeable increase in recoil, and the rifle functioned flawlessly. Robar is known for their outstanding NP3 coatings, as well as their SR series of precision rifles.
Quality has always been their goal, and unlike the poor attempts of using composite materials in an AR in the 90’s by some manufacturers – namely the Carbon 15 – Robar has given this rifle a complete series of torture tests before releasing it for sale. They have a factory rifle with 50,000-rounds through it and zero problems! For the shooter looking for something light, it’s hard to beat!
On a side note, Robbie Barkman, the “R-O_B-A-R” in Robar took a moment to talk to us about the late, great Louis Awerbuck. Robbie was a close friend of Louis, and he informed us that he will be taking Louis ashes to Israel for burial. We’d like to publicly thank Robbie for doing so much for Louis and Leigh during his last days, and taking care of the arrangements after his death.
Mark Krebs of Krebs Custom was there displaying his KV13 AK47 variant. Equipped with an AR15-style adjustable stock that also side-folds, the KV13 comes standard with Krebs’ brilliant selector switch that can be manipulated with the trigger finger, and doubles as a bolt hold open. They’ve replaced the less-than-satisfactory stock pistol-type AK sights with AR-style sights, added a 4-prong flash hider, and a rail across the top for optics. As usual, Krebs has made a great weapon better!
Range day provided us with an opportunity to meet Chad Zeller of SMB. Based in Jackson, MI, Chad offers some really amazing grip reduction and frame work for the Glock and M&P pistols. He offers multiple choices of styles, stippling, and even grip angle!
Tuesday through Friday was SHOT proper – Held at the Sands Expo Center, this is the largest firearm and accessory trade show in the world, with 15-miles of tables, on two floors, in multiple halls, and displays by everyone who is anyone in the gun industry. Our average walk each day was 10 miles just trying to visit the booths on our short list!
We meet with Jeremy Ross of FirstLight USA. They had their new TMAX right angle flashlight on display. The TMAX is a lower price point polymer light with a 150-lumen output powered by AA batteries. It’s cool!
Firstlight has also improved their outstanding Tomahawk by increasing the output to 750-lumens and adding a serrated base and bezel, increasing its effectiveness as an impact weapon. I’ll be upgrading mine this week!
A new handy Firstlight accessory is proprietary magnetic base which can be affixed to metal surfaces. This allows the Firstlight to be attached to the trunk lid or any manner of locations where temporary illumination is needed. A great idea that I’ll also be taking advantage of!
Next we stopped in to talk to Michael Goerlich at Raven Concealment and we’re introduced to their new Eidolon holster. The Eidolon (Eidolon is Greek for ghost) is a multi-purpose holster which allows the user to custom tailor it for their desired carry method. It comes complete with a set of various connectors, belt loops and accessories to mix and match for desired configuration.
Available now for the common Glock carry pistols, Raven will be adding the M&P series to the Eidolon line shortly. We have a copy for testing and we’ll be reporting on it soon!
Sig was present in spades with a vast display of most every firearm they produce. The talk this year was p320 pistol, their striker-fired competition to the Glock. The 320 is modular, allowing the trigger/control group to be installed in multiple frame sizes and calibers, thus providing the end user with multiple options within a single serial numbered fire control group. The trigger reset rivals the Glock, as does the price point. Unlike most Sig products, this one is affordable! MSRP around $700, which puts it right in the Glock price range.
We had opportunity to meet knife maker extraordinaire, the legendary Ernie Emerson, and get our hands on a number of his high quality blades. What caught our eyes this year was his line of Karambit knives, available in fixed and folding configurations. 2.6” and 3.5 blades are offered, and the folder versions come standard with Emerson’s Wave feature. Emerson also stocks 4 different trainers to match his full line of blades.
Speaking of blades, we popped into the Lansky Sharpeners booth to see what was new, and saw a couple interesting items.
The Bowsharp is a broadhead/knife blade combination sharpening tool that also contains a set of Allen wrenches and Philips and flat head screwdriver blades. Great tool for the bowhunter or archery enthusiast!
Lansky also has a small fish hook sharpener that should be considered for the tackle box.
The original Lansky knife sharpener is still our favorite, and they have expanded their line to include hones and stones for serrated, hawkbille, karambit, and even Cold Steel brand knives. Highly recommended.
Tuff products was present – makers of the Taclett Jr. CCW belt bag. They’ve discontinued their more female friendly colors, but it is still available in black and coyote. And on the medical side, they have an Ankle rig/holster that holds a tourniquet, Quick Clot Gauze, and pair of gloves. Worth checking into if you’re running out of places to carry gear.
Nicolas Tanzini of Dummies Unlimited/Peacekeeper Products was on hand with some interesting target systems and training accessories.
The first was the RCB Expandable Baton, which unlike standard batons has all the weight in the tip rather than the handle. When compared to the ASP, and others, it felt far more effective in the hand. Something our peace officer friends should check into.
He also had a full-size 3D range target that mimics the human body, but in full color with facial detail. Made of light but durable polymer, they can withstand 5,000 to 10,000 live round hits, depending on caliber and weapon system. Each target may be purchased as just the body, or with the optional “reactionary block” which causes it to fall when hit in one of two vital zones. Male and female versions available.
Lastly, Nicolas introduced us to his line of Pat Down Props, which are simple object simulators in the vein of the “blue gun.” The props come as a kit and simulate guns, knives, phones, needles, razor blades, and all manner of items one would be searching for during a pat down of a suspect. Metallic tape is available, as well, to enhance detector training. Great tools for peace and corrections officers!
Items of note that we have mixed thoughts on:
Promag had their new AR15 magazine follower on display – it consists of a redesigned follower with two sets of roller wheels on each end. The idea is to prevent follower tilt, but one has to wonder how introducing more moving parts into something that gets dropped in the dirt will fix that somewhat rare problem.
Bul is an Israeli firearms manufacturer specializing in 1911-style pistols that are chambered in both 45ACP and 9mm, and available as single and double column magazine frame sizes. The double column reminiscent of the Para Ordnance. We fired all versions and they seem well made and functional.
The pistols have been around for over a decade but import into the US was not forthcoming. As of now they are available and a polymer frame version (Transmark M-5) is selling for between $300 and $350. This might be a decent option for someone on a budget that wants to pick up a 1911.
Where we think the company has missed the mark is their polymer pistols based on the CZ75. I’ll just say they didn’t seem very user friendly, and leave it at that.
Bul’s website is “under construction”, so getting any factory support at this point might be a dream.
Duracoat, producers of great firearms finishing products, was offering a coating which gave your firearm the appearance of being well used and worn. It reminded me of the Fender Stratocasters you can buy factory new with scratches, worn off paint, and worn fret boards. Rather than spending 1000’s of hours practicing and preforming which causes your guitar take on that look, you just buy it and trick everyone into thinking you know how to play. Then again, people seem to want to paint their guns with “zombie” patterns and all manner of fluorescents. The serious shooters will bypass such fads.
Remington was again trying to convince the world that the R51 pistol was fixed and worth risking your life with…time will tell, but I won’t be taking the first chance with it.
The SHOT Show is one of those industry events that should not be missed. For those of us who are serious about our Art, we simply have to be there!