Parting SHOT…*

Parting SHOT…*

A few random thoughts…

  • Having a marketing guy for one of the biggest names in the business tell me they were doing their new product strategy based on my “guns are now a lifestyle” approach to things was a HUGE ego boost.**
  • Want cheep booze and eats? Head to Ellis Island. $9.99 steak dinner (a HUGE hunk o’ sirloin that was cooked perfectly medium rare) and $6.99 Makers Mark. Oh, and an Elvis impersonator as well. Yes, you could be all hyper-cool at some joint inside the Aria and pay $20 for a shot of bourbon while being surrounded by Asian supermodels, but me, I like my Vegas circa 1985.
  • Some of my friends are going ga-ga over the SIG P365, and it does look like a great little gun, but me, I look at it as a SIG’s version of Kel-Tec P11. Eleven years ago, everyone went ga-ga over the LCP, which was essentially Ruger’s version of a Kel-Tec P3AT. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… the most innovative gun designer in the post-Gaston world is George Kelgren, and the rate at which is designs are being copied just proves that fact.
  • If you’re in the 5.56mm AR-15 business, good Lord, you better diversify, and diversify QUICKLY. Aside from suppressors (which were surprisingly strong this year…) I didn’t see ANYTHING neat and nifty this year for AR-15 rifles. The price floor for AR’s was set last year at $399, and I don’t think it’s going up any time in the future.
  • All in all, product-wise, it wasn’t as good as it was in years past. I had to scramble to come up with six things a day to talk about for Shooting Illustrated, but we got the job done. Aside from the P365, there really wasn’t any “Oh, wow!” products this year, but there were more than a few embarrassing mistakes.
  • Business-wise (especially for us on the content production side), it was a helluva show, because the gun companies have figured out that in a post-levee world, they’re going to have to start marketing their products with more effort that just saying “Hey look, it’s in stock! Buy it before it goes away!”. The gun companies now need to move product, which means they want to get their product out there in front of the customers, which means they want to talk with us in order to get it done.
  • On a related note, I sold five stories to various NRA pubs at SHOT this year, which will more than pay for the trip. Gonna be a busy few months for me…

All in all… Best. SHOT Show. EVER!!!


* Words. This is my business.
** Yes, it happened. I have witnesses.

Buh Bye.

Buh Bye.

I am outta here, headed off to SHOT.

One of the really neat things about the show this year is that I, along with Annette Evans, will be wandering the hallways of Sands Exhibition Center, looking for cool stuff to talk about for Shooting Illustrated. As all my efforts will be focused on what I’m doing for them, don’t expect any new content here next week.

In essence, I’ll be covering the largest gun show on the planet for the largest group of gun owners on the planet. Pretty cool.

And I *swear* I will not make it “All CZ, all the time”.

Ok, I’ll try to make it happen. But no promises.

Alright, CZ, Let's Get With The Program

Alright, CZ, Let's Get With The Program

The Evo 3 Scorpion was/is a runaway hit, thanks in no small part to leveraging the cool factor that Colion Noir brings with him, and the P07/P09 is rapidly becoming the gun of choice for the new “Carry Optics” class in USPSA. You’re better than you were two years ago, but you still need help. Aside from the new Tac Sport, your new pistols at SHOT this year seem a little… whelming.

Let’s face it, your options for concealed carry suck. Yes, there is the new Omega Man Trigger version of the P01, but we’re still talking about a gun that’s heavier and thicker than similar polymer striker fired guns, and when it comes to concealed carry, heavy and thick are not good. Polymer, striker-fired mini 9mm’s (Glock 19 and smaller) have been the new hotness for at least the past three years, and in response, you come out with… a gun that’s even BIGGER than the P07.

Uh huh.

What’s one thing that all these sub-combact, single-stack (ish) mini 9mm’s have in common? They’re all striker-fired. One may argue (and I have) that striker-fired guns are great for beginners, but all the XD-‘s and 43’s and Shields and whatever are starting to run together. You know what’s not offered in a small, slim, 8 round (or so) capacity pistol? A traditional single-action/double-action trigger.

In a world where a seven pound pull and a break not unlike a staple gun is considered great and long ten-pound DAO triggers are not unheard of, a polymer gun with a nine-pound first pull / five pound second would become a shooter’s best friend. Team that up with a spring system that allows for easy slide manipulation and the ergonomics you’re already known for, CZ, and you’d take over the market.

The pieces are there with the Rami-P and the Omega Trigger. Now make it happen. And send me a T&E when you do.

SHOT Up

SHOT Up

For the first time in the last few years, I won’t be at SHOT. It’s a bummer and a half, because I’m going to miss seeing some tremendous people and seeing all the new stuff, but on the other hand, I’m liking how the new job is going and I have a TON of firearms-related side work to do right now.

In fact, last year at SHOT, I said that one of my goals for the upcoming year was to sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) about an upcoming product.

Mission accomplished. Twice.

So while I may not be making a living working in the gun industry right now, the fact is, the new job is pretty awesome with a lot of potential growth and long-term viability. After two years of upheaval and chaos caused by some rather unprofessional activity by firearms professionals, having some long-term security is a good thing.

And besides, my hotel room for Louisville is already booked, so there’s that.

Did SHOT Show Disappoint This Year?

Did SHOT Show Disappoint This Year?

Yes. And that’s not a bad thing.

In talking with some of my fellow marketing weasels at the show, they’re looking at up to a 30 percent decrease in gun sales from last year, and last year’s sales fell off a cliff around May. So naturally, gun companies are not making investments in new tooling and new R&D for new products isn’t a big priority for companies looking at fewer, not more, sales.

Duh.

The exception to this rule is SIG, who have gone whole-hog into two new areas of the market with their new optics and suppressor lines. It’s a risky move, and I think it’ll pay off for them.

SHOT Shot 2015 Is A Wrap.

SHOT Shot 2015 Is A Wrap.

And I’m utterly and completely spent. The difference between going to SHOT to write about SHOT and going to SHOT to do business is the difference between watching a marathon and being in a marathon.

Some highlights.

Sig Sauer Range Day was definitely a highlight, and shooting SBR versions of the MPX and 716 7.62mm were definitely highlights. Also, the more I shoot the P320, the more I like it, and I liked it a LOT when it was rolled out last year.

While we’re on SIG, they are definitely on a roll right now. While Glock introduced red-dot slides, Springfield introduced the XDM-2 and Smith and Wesson introduced, um, errr, well, not really anything, SIG has moved on to optics, with top-notch glass created by team members originally from Leupold and silencers created by the mad geniuses who built everything of interest at AAC.

Because silencers are cool.

Bits and pieces of other cool things:

A Ceratoked 1911. I don’t know whether to load ammo into this, or preflight it for takeoff.

IMG_3810

The Fostech Origin 12. Maybe the ultimate in Saiga-style shotguns. Want one SO badly.

fostech

Speaking of nice things, Korth firearms impressed everyone with their Sky Marshall revolver (and it is VERY impressive), but their 1911’s are INSANE. From the frame down, they’re a 1911, but the slide and barrel use an HK roller-locking system to create a gun like none other.

korth

And now on to something not quite as nice. The Taurus Curve is not all that bad: There is a “peep sight” in the crosshairs that does allow you something like a sight picture, and the trigger is the best of any striker/DAO .380 I’ve tried. I wouldn’t carry one without a holster, but it stacks up well against the LCP, P3AT and other such guns.

curve_1

And to fly RAPIDLY down to bottom of the barrel, oh Sarsilmaz, you so funny. Last year, it was designing a gun for six-fingered women, and this year, well, see for yourself.

Fail

Marketing guns to women: You’re doing it wrong.

Three Guns I'd Like To See At SHOT

Three Guns I'd Like To See At SHOT

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… but probably won’t.

  1. An AR-15 upper chambered in .22 TCM.
    Bonus points if it’s a “pistol length” upper designed for SBR’s AR pistols with a Sig brace.
    I love this cartridge. It’s everything you’d want in an intermediate, “PDW” size round, but right now, the only guns that use it are RIA 1911’s and one bolt-action rifle. The .22TCM is based off a .223 cartridge. It fires a .22 caliber bullet. It’s friggin’ made for the AR platform, let’s make it happen!
    Speaking of which…
  2. The return of the Ruger PC-9.
    Pistol caliber carbines are HOT right now. CZ is coming out with one, JP has one, Beretta has one, heck, even Citadel has one. Ruger had one and decided to not make it anymore. Re-issue it with a folding stock and rails and watch the money roll in.
  3. A defensive pistol chambered in a major caliber with an integrated light and laser.
    Why should the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard and Taurus Curve (both chambered in .380) have all the fun?

Ok, your three?

Speaking Of CZ…

Speaking of CZ…

They’re coming out with a Mil-Spec (-ish) 1911.

cz_1911

“The first CZ-branded pistol to be made in the USA, the CZ 1911 A1 closely resembles the original service pistol, but with a few tasteful changes. Notable differences are the taller, dovetailed sights front and rear, walnut grips and stainless steel barrel. 

Though it looks like an old A1, the biggest differences are the tighter slide-to-frame and slide-to-barrel tolerances, which translate into greater accuracy without compromising reliability.”

First thoughts: Ummn, ok, this is nice… for 2009. However, it’s a little late to the market, and CZ already owns Dan Wesson (who makes some DANDY 1911’s), so why confuse things?

Second thoughts: Why step on the rollout of the Skorpion? 9mm carbines are HOT right now, and it seems like CZ is (for once) ahead of the game with their products.

Third thoughts: Key phrase, “The first CZ-branded pistol to be made in the USA”. Is this the sign of things to come from CZ, like a single-stack CZ75-esque gun for the CCW market that’s made in the USA?

And a quick update: Kudos to Jason and the rest of CZ marketing team for how they’re rolling the Scorpion. Teaming up with new media and Colion Noir has paid off well for them.

2015 SHOT Show Predictions

2015 SHOT Show Predictions

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Ok, since RTB started things off, and my track record is pretty good at this sort of thing, my predictions…

  • Ruger:
    – A re-vamped, re-worked SR-9, maybe modular with an eye to going after the Army contract.
    – More lightweight revolvers.
    – Scout Rifle in .300BLK.
  • Smith & Wesson
    – JM Signature versions of the M&P Core.
    – JM Signature M&P Rifles.
    – New rail options for the M&P Rifles.
  • Sig Sauer
    – No new info regarding products, but I expect them to sign another pro shooter.
  • Remington
    – The R51 will be coming out as soon as they fix it. Again.
    – More Tracking Point integration.
  • Kel-Tec
    – Maybe new colors for the KSG, but I’m not expecting much that’s new from them.
  • CZ-USA
    – More Dan Wesson revolvers.
    – A release date for the BREN rifle.
    – More new rimfire rifles (Left-handed versions, please?).
    – And hopefully (HOPEFULLY) something to play in the mini-9mm/CCW market.
  • FN-USA
    – Prototype pistol for the Army contract.
    – SCAR updates
  • Winchester
    – More additions to the Train And Defend line of ammo

In general, if 2013 was the year of “Oh crap, will we be in business next year?” and 2014 was the year of “Okay, here’s the guns we WANTED to show you last year”, I expect 2015 to be the year of “Hello, ladies!”, with a big emphasis on selling the sport to women.

If Not Leno, Then Who?

If Not Leno, Then Who?

coward

Ok, ever since Jay Leno decided to turn his back on the many, many car owners and veterans who own guns, I’ll admit that I’ve been pushing hard for star of stage, screen and noted Browning Hi-Power owner Alton Brown as the new keynote speaker for the SHOT Show kickoff dinner, but let’s say the impossible happens and Alton doesn’t get the gig. 

Who then would be good to keynote the kickoff dinner? 

At the NRA convention this year, the music was a bit… dated, so here are a few suggestions for people who think that music didn’t up and die sometime around 1991. 

Gary Sinise. 
Aaron Lewis.
Miranda Lambert.

And the mind REELS of a James Heartfield/Ted Nugent/Ice-T jam to kick off SHOT Show. People would be deaf for WEEKS after that gig.

Your thoughts? Keep in mind “celebrity” isn’t enough, it has to be a celebrity with a stage show that can entertain thousands of people for an hour, not just someone who stands up and says “Hey, I’m famous!” in front of a bunch of people.