Once again, SHOT Show Industry Day featured a firing line at the Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club that seemed to go on forever. You really have to see the entire line to take it all in, and the only place to do that is from on top of the hill behind the long range bays.
From behind the long range bays, this is what the left side of the firing line looked like (below). The photo doesn’t do justice to the fact that the range continues beyond a berm that we can’t see past from this vantage point.
Here’s a partial view of the left side of the long range bays (below), which are semi-embedded into the side of the hill, as seen from from behind. Steel targets go out to 960 yards at this range, and this area was shoulder-to-shoulder all day long.
And here is the even right side of the firing line (below).
The total firing line is so long that a shuttle service was running to take writers and buyers from one end of the line to the other to cut down on what would otherwise be a 20-minute walk.
“That’s all nice, Bob,” you’re probably thinking, “but what about the guns?”
Well, they had a few.
I have to say that there wasn’t the “buzz” going into range day this year the way there was last year, where writers were looking to get their hands on the Glock 42 (their subcompact .380) and Remington R51 9mm pistol (which didn’t make an appearance, and had some significant trouble after it was launched).
Most of what we saw at Industry day was evolutionary, not revolutionary… not that evolution is a bad thing.
The first thing I saw of interest (after walking the entire line just to get my bearings) was the Geissele/AGL Defense booth, where we couldn’t wait to get our hands on the AGL Defense AK trigger that Bill Geissele previewed earlier this week.
It is easily the nicest factory trigger we’ve ever fired on an AK rifle, but we noticed that the trigger reset was so short that more than one shooter bump-fired it in short bursts when the didn’t have the rifle firmly against their shoulders.
I fired an inadvertent double-tap the first time I fired it, but then fired singe shots after I pulled the rifle into my shoulder. A shooter that came after me fired a three round burst. They may need to do a little fine-tuning on the design to mitigate this (and keep the ATF happy), but once they do, they’re going to sell these $49 triggers by the metric ton.
Most of the big companies seemed to follow the “evolutionary not revolutionary” theme (with the exception of Sig Sauer, who had their own separate range event at another area range that we didn’t attend).
This carbon-fiber finished Smith & Wesson M&P 9C is fairly representative of that soft of evolutionary presence.
Of course, just because there weren’t a ton of game changers doesn’t mean that there weren’t some very cool products on the firing line.
Salient Arms is know for ultra-high-end customization of pistols, rifles, and and shotguns, and they did not disappoint with what they brought. The Salient Arms BLU (which at some point in its life was a Glock 17) features brass counterweights in the grip to help mitigate recoil to get back on target faster for your second shot. Nothing Salient makes is inexpensive, and you’ll hear the company’s detractors constantly carping that their guns cost far too much money (the BLU is going to retail at well over $2,000).
I’ll put their value like this: I’m not a fan of Glocks for my own personal use because the grip angle just doesn’t work well for me. I’m not exactly sure what Salient Arms did with the BLU, but not only did it point well, but it seems like it took effort to miss when shooting the BLU, and the recoil control was incredible. You might still make a fair argument that they are too much money… but they have a long line of customers buying their rifles, pistols, and shotguns that disagree.
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