Brisk Order-Writing Sets Strong Pace For Business.
Reflecting what has become a tradition, the Law Enforcement and Tactical Gear sections at SHOT Show 2014 in January were so crowded, the aisles often were impassable. Buyers from law enforcement agencies and the military were clustered in with distributors and independent retailers — all looking to see new products in these categories for 2014.
Buyers were pleased there were plenty of new products available, along with opportunities to make deals.
“I found a lot more vendors who are asking for and are willing to take orders, versus the last five years when they didn’t want to take any orders,” said Brian Smith, CEO of Tombstone Tactical in Chino Valley, Ariz. “People are talking about their dealer programs and are ready to sign you up.”
Despite early hints the market for tactical firearms might be slowing, Jake Arnsdorff, Daniel Defense national sales manager, noted heavy traffic at the show and sales continued to be steady.
“We’ve been a little more cautious in our planning this year, instead of going off the numbers from last year,” he said. “But we’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many folks are still moving a big number of our rifles. We haven’t seen a big decrease from last year. In fact, including the orders we took prior to SHOT, we’ve actually sold more than we had at this point last year. The majority of our manufacturing goes into our target rifles, and they’re still solid across the board.”
Molly Troy, Troy Industries COO, said their booth remained very busy throughout the show with “constant foot traffic.”
“There has been a lot of interest in our new PDW rifles and .308s. On the accessory side, we have a new carbon-fiber rail, which is extremely lightweight. We also have new sights that have drawn a lot of interest,” Troy said.
One big trend this year, Smith said, is gun companies are finding new ways to “dress up” modern sporting rifles.
“A few years ago, everybody offered colors,” he said. “Then they all went back to black. Now everyone is offering about any color you want again. Everyone is doing quad rails, and at least two companies are doing carbon-fiber handguards. SIG SAUER is making a big commitment to carbon fiber.”
In the LMT booth, Mathew Pruitt, director of international business development, said their hot item this year is the SLK8 rifle, designed specifically for 3-Gun competition shooting.
“The barrel has a 1:7.5-inch twist that allows it to be more accurate for competitive shooting,” he said. “We put a smaller hand grip on it and made other changes to make it more suitable for 3-Gun match competitive shooting.”
Ken Jorgensen, Ruger shooting sports coordinator, said tactical handguns are continuing to sell.
“The LCP, LC380 and LC9 are all very popular,” he said. “Some people like the larger calibers, like the SR1911 and the SR45. I think there have been a lot of new handgun buyers in the last year, and I suspect that’s going to continue.”
Ruger has added lasers to some existing pistols for 2014.
“Lasers are a hot thing,” Jorgensen said. “We have some LC380s with both LaserMax and Crimson Trace lasers on them, making them great training tools.”
Sean Gordon with Blue Target Firearms in Tallmadge, Ohio, liked FNH USA’s rifles.
“They’re made in Belgium and are superb,” he said. “Everything about FNH’s rifles are outstanding — their style and use, as well as the options and accessories and how they’re built.”
Roger Burris, owner of King Shooters Supply in King of Prussia, Pa., spent a good bit of time in the Rhino Arms booth.
“They’re making an AR shotgun,” he said. “People have been talking about putting a shotgun on that platform for awhile, and they have something that’s workable.”
According to Rhino Arms, the model Double V 12-gauge shotgun should start shipping in August.
Plenty Of Add-Ons
At the MMC Armory booth, Smith said he discovered a new stock he termed “amazing.”
“It’s similar to what HK built years ago for the MP5,” he said. “Nobody has ever been able to make an AR-15 run with one. It requires changing the operating system on the AR-15, and there are a lot of parts to change out to make it work right. But I’ve seen good videos of this one running and I’m really impressed with it.”
According to Smith, Daniel Defense is making its own stock and grips.
“Everybody else uses Magpul or a standard AR-15-style stock,” he said. “Daniel Defense has made their own entire line. It’s a comfortable stock, it looks good and it’s impressive.”
In the Morovision Night Vision booth, Director of Marketing Spiro Demetriadi said night vision equipment continues to be very popular.
“We have our new PVS-31 night vision binocular,” he said. “The beauty of the binocular is it gives you bigger situational awareness compared to a monocular. You can also adjust it and make it a monocular if you need to.”
Demetriadi said the NEPVS-14 Night Enforcer night vision monocular also continues to be very popular.
Nick Baroldi, CFO of U.S. Optics, said customers are looking for accessories to go with ARs they have purchased over the past couple years.
“We’ve developed two short-range scopes,” he said. “The SR-4 is brand new and has a 1×4 magnification range with a front focal plane reticle and a second focal plane red dot. We also have a 1-to-8 magnification scope that has the same front focal plane reticle and second focal plane red dot.”
Tacprogear introduced its new Universal Drop-Leg Munitions Pouch for the tactical entry specialist, door kicker or SWAT officer. The pouch holds six standard less-lethal rounds (38-40mm) and/or flash bang canisters. The munitions are held secure with a dual-snap and hook-and-loop closure system.
At the ProGrade Ammunition booth, L.E. buyers were interested in the new Tactical Grade rounds for law enforcement, S.W.A.T. and other tactical users. The new ammunition is available in seven calibers and 20 variations.
At Galati International, marketing director Antoinette Huel said when the military starts using a different camo pattern, such as MultiCam, retailers start asking to have soft goods made in the pattern.
“We’re bringing out new MultiCam bags and shooters mats,” she said. “Our 42-inch shooter’s mat holds a can on the end for silencers and MOLLE pouches you can put on the inside or the outside.”
Galati also is introducing their Super Range Bag in MultiCam, an extension of their line of Super Range Bags.
LokSak bags means no more water damage to anything again — ever.
“Our LokSak bags come in 14 different sizes, from a 3×6-inch bag that holds an iPhone to one that’s 12×50 inches for gun storage,” said national sales manager Chris Heartwell. “They’re dive certified to 200 feet and element-proof in water, sand or snow.” The bag is thin enough that touch screen electronics work while in the bag; you can take and make calls on your phone while it remains sealed.
Dave Larimer, Radians product manager, said the company has introduced several new personal safety items.
“We have new digital ear muffs for both the Smith & Wesson and M&P brands,” Larimer said. “There’s also a lot of interest in high-visibility gear, because there’s a lot more awareness since one of the main causes of officer fatalities is getting struck by vehicles. Our new vests have a ‘zip and rip’ front closure so the vest tears off if somebody grabs it, but you still can zip it on and off. It’s also adjustable, so it’s not baggy like a construction vest.”
Patrick Miner, president of Thorogood Shoes, said as leather becomes more expensive, shoe companies are turning to nylon and other synthetics for duty footwear.
“The tactical industry has a tendency to follow the athletic industry,” he said. “The nylon materials penetrating that business are crossing over to the tactical side. Today’s younger police officers grew up in athletic shoes, so lighter weight, more flexible shoes are important to them, but they also want shoes that are very durable.”
Thorogood has redesigned their Deuce uniform line.
“We’re keeping the rubber soles, but have made the shoes as lightweight as we can,” Miner said. “We’ve built the 8-layer Gen-Flex system into the soles of the heavier, more traditional boots, and introduced the new Academy set of tactical footwear so we have a new entry price point.”
Gordon, of Blue Target Fireams, liked Edge Tactical Eyewear.
“I like that you can hit it with a bullet and it only scratches,” he said. “It doesn’t fracture or break it or smash it, and it has a lifetime warranty.”
Save The Date
The SHOT Show will return to the Sands Expo & Convention Center Jan. 20-23, 2015.
THE SAFARILAND GROUP HONORS SAVED OFFICERS
During SHOT Show, the Safariland Group recognized two law enforcement officers saved in the line of fire by the company’s armor or duty gear.
Parole Agent Nate Castro of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and Deputy David Morton of Riverside (Calif.) County Sheriff’s Department, became the most recent members of The Safariland Group SAVES Club.
During a shootout with a felon, Agent Castro was shot twice in the chest, but his Second Chance Level IIIA armor stopped both rounds.
Deputy Morton, despite a dislocated shoulder, was able to restrain a 6-foot, 5-inch, 400-pound assailant. During the attack, the assailant attempted but failed to pull the deputy’s pistol from his Safariland Model 6360 ALS Level II Retention duty holster.
The officers join more than 1,875 members of The Safariland Group SAVES Club.
New additions to body armor and holster security lines were among the many new products The Safariland Group introduced this year at the show.
The Second Chance Summit line of body armor incorporates state-of-the-art technologies and advanced materials to offer exceptional performance in a soft, flexible armor. It’s available in male and female versions, plus concealable and tactical configurations.
The Safariland GLS (Grip Locking System) series of holsters features a system similar to the ALS (Automatic Locking System) design. The GLS automatically locks a firearm in place once holstered. The lock is deactivated with the middle finger during the drawing of the firearm.
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