Shot Show’s Industry Day is a spectacle.  All along a mile-long facility gun manufacturers and vendors use every lane to provide a hands-on demonstration to an invitation only crowd.  Most are media but major buyers are invited out after noon.  By 4:30 PM half a million rounds are fired.  The mini-gun I’m sure helped up the round count!

 

Minigun Video

Spotter Up had about half a dozen writers and contributors at Range Day this year.  Some have already shared what they saw and the rest have awesome insights coming.  I wanted to share some of my experiences on Range Day to provide you a small window into some of the events and what you will be seeing covered in Spotter Up over the next several months.

I’m a history nut so one of the first things that caught my eye was an MP40, the WWII era German submachinegun.  A semiauto version is imported from Germany by American Tactical but AT’s claim to fame are composite AR15 lowers.  Robert explained they differ from others in that they reinforce critical areas with embedded steel like Glock frames do.  What I noticed is their exceptional light weight which are also supposed to be lighter on the wallet.  I hope to check them out in the coming months.

One of the most reported on pieces of news at Shot Show was the latest Glocks.  I got to put about a dozen rounds each down the Glock 43X and 48.  What can I say?  They shoot like Glocks.  The form factor is slightly different than previous releases.  They share the same magazine which isn’t compliant with other Glocks.  The 43X is slightly larger than the 43 which I found helpful in getting a better grip.  My 43 is a bit snappy.  The 43X features a 10 round mag and seems to be Glock’s counter to the Sig 365 which is slightly smaller and features a 12 round optional mag.

Glock 48 top. Glock 43X bottom. Photo by author.

This will sound like sacrilege to some but the 48 seem to me like Glock’s version of the 1911, a slim, single stack pistol.  Many have been clamoring for just this pistol for years.  Slightly slimmer and smaller than its double stack brethren it will be easier to conceal.

I’ve never shot an OSS suppressor, so I took the opportunity to do so when I had the chance.  Their innovative flow through approach to suppressor technology deserves its own article and the Army’s new DMR shot like a dream.

I’ve followed a bit of a discussion on the Army’s search for a 9mm PDW for personal security detachments.  I had the chance to put almost a dozen rounds through Maxim’s submission, the PDX.  I’m not a big fan of super short AR barreled carbines.  While I understand where they fit in the self-defense spectrum they lose a lot of performance with that short barrel and they are ungodly loud.  Maxim’s PDX was much quieter than I expected and had surprisingly little rise due to a bulbous muzzle device called a “Hate Brake” hidden under the full barrel handguard, very effective.

MC1, photo by author.

Mossberg has recently broken new ground with its first ever pistol.  It’s a sub-compact 9mm with a six round flush magazine and a seven round extended mag.  I only got to shoot a couple of dozen rounds through it so I can’t speak to its reliability, but I liked the gun.  I found it easier to grip than a 9mm Shield or Glock 43 but what seemed to be its most important distinguishing factor was the ease I had in manipulating the slide.  I think it’s going to be a potential solution to those that have challenges manipulating most semi-auto slides.  There is a version with a shotgun style cross bolt safety as well as a prettier model with gold inlay.  Hopefully we’ll be getting one of these to do some testing and evaluation on in the oncoming months.

MC1 with cross bolt safety. Photo by author.

MC1 Centennial. Photo by author.

Arsenal Firearms had its production version of the Stryk B I shot last year.  It’s a very Glock like pistol with an excellent trigger and superior craftmanship.    There’s discussion of a pre-cut slide in the future for optics.

Off to the side of the range were several dozen booths for non-shooting vendors.  MantisX has improved their excellent diagnostic live/dry fire product with even a smaller one.  I’m glad I didn’t get the one I asked for this Christmas the newer one has an even smaller profile.  Mantis has quite a few capabilities that we’ve covered here before on SpotterUp.  I’m looking forward to a new look and see how Mantis has improved on a shooting tool serious shooters and instructors should really invest in.

I visited Decibulz to let them know their earplugs are the most effective earplugs I’ve worn since I started shooting in 1977.  These earplugs feature the ability for the user to mold them with hot water to fit one’s ears precisely.  You must have a set of these folks if for nothing else when you absolutely need peace and quiet.  They greatly enhanced my sleep on the red eye back from Vegas.  Decibulz offers a non-electronic hearing filter that allows normal sound to pass while blocking the harmful cracks of gunfire.  I’ll be evaluating these shortly.

As my last tidbit from range day, I visited Gatorz Eyewear.  They make some very stylish, ballistic rated, thin, steel and light eyewear.  We’ll be sure to test them out and get you some more details in time for the beach season.

As I started out, Shot Show Industry Day or Range Day needs to be on everyone’s bucket list.  There’s, much to see, tons to shoot and an overstimulation to the senses is guaranteed.  Can’t wait until next year!  In the meantime, I and my fellow contributors will be writing much more in the near future on what we saw at Shot Show.  I’m already working on the new first time ever at Shot Show vendors article.  Many of these vendors are going to be HOT in a year or two and you’ll see them here first in my next article.

Author (left) and Sasquatch. Another check off the bucket list!

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About The Author

Will Rodriguez is a 20+ year former Infantry officer with experience in both light and mechanized units as well as armor. His last assignment was serving in the Infantry school's battle lab doing DOTMLPF (doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel and facilities) assessment on weapon systems, equipment) assessment on weapons systems, equipment and technology to equip the Infantry for the next 10-20 years. Will also is the senior editor for GruntsandCo.com a website dedicated to issues of interest to the Infantrymen and those that support them. Will is a frequent contributor to Spotter up as well as an assistant editor. His work has also been published in SpecialOperations.com, SOFREP.com, the Loadout Room and Infantry Magazine. He is also a firearms instructor and holds a masters in Counseling and Leader Development.

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