The 2014 SHOT Show was my first one, and at times it was almost overwhelming with the sheer volume of products thrown our way.
While I didn’t get chance to see or shoot even a fraction of what was on display, I did come up with a list of winners and losers from what I was able to see, and in some cases, shoot. I can’t possibly list everything that was on display, but do want to take a brief look at some of the winners and losers from my perspective.
Winner: IWI Tavor
The Tavor was a favorite at last year’s SHOT Show, but this was our first go at the Israeli bullpup. Now we understand why it is so popular. The Tavor is short and well-balanced, and even with a stiff military trigger, it is incredibly easy to shoot fast and well, even transitioning from one target to another. It has been out on the market for a little while now and is gaining a solid fan-base. Aftermarket improvements are beginning to trickle in, including an improved trigger and a factory 9mm conversion kit. If I were new to the modern sport rifle market, the Tavor would be a serious contender to be my MSR of choice.
Loser: Remington R51
It made no sense at all to me for Remington to announce the R51 weeks before SHOT and not bring samples to Media Day, especially after knowing that some gun scribes had already been given opportunities to fire the pistol. We were instead only allowed to see a dozen samples of the pistol in the Remington booth, and have no idea how it actually shoots.
What we do know is that the new-old design is not remotely a subcompact nor a pocket pistol by today’s standards, but a hefty single-stack that is probably better classed size-wise a a compact. The grip safety is audible, and reminds me of a HK P7 M13 I had an opportunity to examine several years ago. The difference is, of course, that the HK’s squeeze-cocker was easy to arm every time you picked up the pistol since it was on the front part of the grip. The R51’s grip safety is on the rear of the grip, and the first time I picked up the gun in the Remington booth, I didn’t have a perfect grip on it and it didn’t depress so it wouldn’t fire, which is disconcerting.
Other complained about the “hitch” or the delay in the Pedersen action, but frankly, it didn’t bother me much.
Once I had a decent firing grip on the pistol it felt substantial and pointed well, but I’m very disappointed that Remington set aside a dozen of the pistols for the booth, but not one for the range. They either blew it with marketing or have a firearm that isn’t ready for primetime, and either way, it was a cause of concern.