SHOT SHOW 2018
This year's SHOT show was well-attended, but seemed to be slightly down from last year's roughly 65,000 figure. I'd speculate that it was more in the area of 60,000 for 2018, but it is still quite handily the premier shooting sports industry event. The weather cooperated, it was a beautiful week in Las Vegas, and not nearly as windy as it has been in times past for Monday's range day in Boulder City.
It is a rebuilding year of sorts for the industry. With the supposedly imminent election of the Clinton crime family, aggressive forecasts were made. Instead of healthy increases, the reality turned out to be 18-20% declines in some sectors, with excess inventory, heavy discounts, and generous rebates becoming standard fare for last year. Some remnants of that continues.
The “long range precision rifle” genre of bolt-action rifle continues to gain popularity. With Ruger's great success with their “Ruger Precision Rifle, other major manufacturers are tooling up to join this fast-growing segment. Remington's John Fink discusses the Model 700 PCR with me here: https://youtu.be/Lknt7mOqXnk .
Ruger generally offers a wide swath of new products every year. One of the most notable offerings for 2018 is the Ruger PC carbine: https://youtu.be/z7I4bTK7CuQ . It has an excellent trigger, is very easy to shoot, the recoil is minimal, it is a take-down model with ambidextrous features, and I feel that Ruger is going to do supremely well with it.
Sandy Chisholm and his team have been working on their break-top mini-revolver, the North American Arms “Ranger II,” for several years. It has been a long path for NAA to find the right combination that is affordable and actually manufacturable without losing money on every model sold. It is a tricky balancing act, but Sandy assures me that although their production has not yet met the very demand, the NAA Ranger II mini-revolver is here to stay and will be part of the North American Arms portfolio of convenient, reliable, and effective personal defense arms for many, many years to come. The NAA Black Widow has been a Guns & Shooting Online favorite for many years for daily use, but the Ranger II is a little work of art that many folks will just have to have.
Federal Premium has made a lot of news with their new TSS turkey loads, and in conjunction with their 3rd Degree and Grand Slam loads, it looks like they have all the turkey bases covered. The Champion WheelyBird has been a great little clay-thrower for us for several years. Now, with the WheelyBird M 2.0, it looks like they clearly have the very best-in-class affordable clay-thrower in the industry. Champion is also shipping their new biodegradable clays that smoke as well as pitch and limestone clays: https://youtu.be/hTiILYyPi8c . Savage Arms introduced their new “Accu-Fit” Model 110 bolt-action rifles that come complete with five comb risers and four length of pull inserts. Bushnell, also part of the Vista family, has formally launched their extensive line of Engage riflescopes and binoculars, that are extremely bright without excessive “wallet recoil.”
Fabarm and Caesar Guerini launched a huge number of new models in their spectacular new booth. This includes two new grades of the Fabarm L4S Sporting autoloader, a new treatment of the XLR5 Waterfowler, new ELOS O/U models, the Fabarm “Professional” HD/LE line, new Caesar Guerini Invictus models, several new Syren models (all designed for the fairer sex), and too much more to list here. I've carped quite a bit about guns getting uglier and uglier, but Fabarm / CG / Syren models just get better-looking all the time. Thank Goodness!
Sig has their new P365 Nitron Micro-Compact that boasts 10+1 capacity that garnered a lot of buzz. Mauser has their new “people's rifle,” the affordable bolt-action M18. The Franchi brand has their first-ever rifle, the particularly homely bolt-action “Momentum.”
One of the biggest announcements made at the SHOT show was from Weatherby, leaving California for Sheridan, Wyoming. The Second Amendment is a personal right, not a privilege, and it makes very little sense to pay tax dollars to entities that use public funds to spit on the United States Constitution.
There were more new product introductions than I anticipated, and there will be many more as the year progresses. Many of the items mentioned here will be fully reviewed in the near future.
Copyright 2018 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.