Despite surging numbers with the Wo Han Red Death nationwide, the 2022 SHOT show, the world’s largest firearms related trade show kicked off yesterday and continues this week. I personally would have bet against Vegas signing off on the health issues to allow 50,000-70,000 people in chin diapers and hand sani into the exhibition halls, but they did-those magnificent bastards!

Industry day at the range was held on Monday, and the exhibition hall show starts on Tuesday. I attended the 2020 event with 70,000 other people and came away with a very nice new virus that was just making the news called “Covid-19” along with lots of stickers and free oil samples. They cancelled last year’s in person SHOT show due to the virus and had a “virtual” event that was, well um, virtually unnoticed.

This year, Sig Sauer pulled out of the show back in October citing health risks, and instead sent a half million dollars to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Pretty nice consolation package! They also cancelled their own range day which runs separate from the Show sanctioned Industry Day at the Range. Sig did introduce a variant this week of their full sized P320 9mm pistol in the Equinox treatment. The Equinox (night and day transition) has been an on again and off again product from their custom shop which predates their Legion series by 10 or 15 years. It is handsome in all it’s presentations like 226’s, 229’s, 239’s with two toned slide/frame and nickel finish hardware with 3.9” barrel, 17+1 mags and a price of $1329.

Photo Credit Sig Sauer

I am a big fan of Sig Sauer and have been waiting patiently for news about a new pistol in development which I hoped was going to be shown off this year at the show. No luck there. Last summer a Sig engineer was interviewed on a podcast about all things Sig, and he let slip they have been working on a P320 version in 10mm. Take my damn money already! Can I help fund some of the R+D to get it out sooner?

Speaking of “Big News” yesterday, Sportsman Warehouse, one of the big three outfitters in America announced it was splitting away from its year-old association with Great American Outdoors, the parent company that owns Bass Pro Shops and Cabelas. I don’t have any behind the scenes info on the story but was glad to see the news. It always made me cringe after BP gobbled up Cabelas and I started seeing Red Head products in Cabelas stores. Sportsman’s Warehouse always has a different feel from the other two big stores, and I like the diversity.

This year’s biggest visual splash is the “new” stainless steel Colt Python .357 mag with a three-inch barrel. Anything Python is big news, and this shiny cool revolver has grabbed the headlines this week. Two years ago, Colt brought back the Python in in stainless steel and 6” and 4” barrel configurations at the SHOT show. I was fortunate enough to shoot one of the new SS 6” guns at the range day. The Python was always revered as having a smooth Double Action trigger and this new model did not disappoint. Visually stunning, and fabulously accurate the new Python was terrific.

A big Python has long been a dream gun for me going way back to seeing it in Gil Hebbard catalogs and watching famous Detective Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson haul one around with his pal Starsky back in 1975-1979. A four-inch model is of course much more concealable than the hog-leg six incher, and I am quite surprised Colt has brought back the three-inch model-but am pretty sure the Python sales must support such a move. Three-inch barrels have always been kind of a savvy presentation between the 2.5-inch snub nosed revolvers and duty length 4” barrels. The FBI and ONI used some 3” revolvers back in the day. Colt is listing the new 3” around $1300-$1400.

Photo credit: Colt

The next biggest Shot Show pistol news seems to be the return of the 9mm Hi-Power pistol- this time bult by Springfield Armory. FN stopped production a couple years back, and if you wanted a Hi-Power prices were high unless you went with some other foreign produced copies. Springfield has updated the design, bumped the magazines up from 13 shot to 15 shot and seems to have a runaway hit on its hands.

Springfield released the “new” SA-35 in October of 2020, and it was an instant success with gun writers and magazines. The internet is stuffed full of positive reviews with the fit and finish and 5 lb trigger pull being highly touted. This John Moses Browning design originated way back last century with design patents granted in 1927 and you would think by now people would have had enough of this pistol with copies being made during war time in Belgium, Canada- even the Germans produced them in a plant they captured during WWII and later in other European countries, Turkey and Argentina.

Photo Credit: Springfield Armory

Springfield has apparently seized upon an unscratched itch here. If you talk to gun connoisseurs or plain old gun hounds alike, they would all ooh and ah a bit talking about Hi-Powers they have loved. There is something elegant and maybe perfect for its timeless design, as well as some great fit in your hand ergonomics which modern polymer pistols will never match. Polymer is marvelous stuff but will never be as drop dead cool as this old steel and wood design. They dropped the magazine disconnect and firing pin safety-both have dragged on trigger pull in the past and added modern sights and a redesigned hammer which won’t bite the web of your hand- pretty much answering all complaints from previous models over the last 88 production years.

Springfield also nailed the marketing by offering the new SA-35 for $699 MSRP. I saw some available for sale Oct-Dec, but they are all gone, snapped up by a hungry market. A few remain online listed for over a thousand dollars a copy-and even then, most seem to be pre-orders.

European American Armory (EAA) brought in a Hi-Power copy a year or so back, the MCP35 from Gershon in Turkey along with a ton of other imports, and they offer a Cerakoted copy for $567 if you can find one.

Today, the first day of the SHOT show exhibition hall, an ad popped up from FN, the original Hi-Power manufacturer going back to 1934 and it said “See the new Hi-Power” …so they must have retooled and got theirs back into production pretty dang quick after hearing about the Springfield Armory version coming to the market. All of which is good news if you want a “real” Hi-Power from FN. A quick website search shows they too are offering improved internals, better barrel lock-up and feed ramp for hollow points, and they dumped the magazine disconnect which disabled the gun if the mag was removed. They are offering it with ambidextrous controls, seven different grips, three finishes and a 17+1 magazine. Plain black model is MSRP of $1269.

Photo Credit: FN

This week, Palmetto State Armory offered up their Glock 19 clone, the PSA Dagger in 9mm on sale as a SHOT Show special for only $299. This pistol (arguably the best Glock clone) came out about two years ago and took a while to get copies out into the market, but is amazing for both its low price point, and is Glock swappable with almost every piece being able to be changed out with other Glock and Glock-like parts, slides, trigger bars and barrels. I just checked their website, and after being offered for this $299 price for about 48 hours they are now out of stock. They were running about $349 when in stock and are well worth a look at that price point.

Speaking of Glock, I have not heard any SHOT Show announcements from them. Tough for them to find “new” and “improved” when they already have so many models. Maybe this year will be “Now with Sprinkles!” or “Colors! We have colored plastic grips!” There still exists hope to one day see the legendary Sasquatch of Glocks- a Glock carbine. Like Bigfoot, many people have heard of it and are interested, no one has ever seen one. Some patents were unearthed overseas couple of years back filed by Glock, but no pics and they don’t talk about it. Sigh, maybe someday.

Savage is showing a new pistol this week, their first new pistol since 1920. The Stance MC-9 is a Micro compact pistol with 3.2: barrel and includes seven and eight round magazines.

Getting back to 10mm’s, a favorite cartridge of mine, S+W and Springfield are offering new 10’s to an ever-widening fan base. The full-sized Glock 20 and compact Glock 29 pretty much own this group, so these new guns are quite welcome. The Springfield is an SC-M Elite Compact similar in size to the G29 with a 3.8” barrel and can be had from the factory with or without a mounted Hex Dragonfly red dot sight. They come with 11+1 and 15+1 magazines. MSRP is $837 for the optic mounted and $650 for the non-optics version which is still tapped for a plate if you ever want to put a red dot on it.

Photo Credit: S+W Photo Credit: Springfield Armory

Smith and Wesson is showing off a new M+P 2.0 mid to full sized 10mm in their very comfortable M+P package. The pistol features a 4” barrel and has 15+1 magazines. Price is $654. Smith also introduced a micro sized aluminum frame 9mm pistol with an external hammer and external safety called the CSX. I thought their Shield models have been hard to beat for small pistols, but apparently S+W saw a demand for a single action hammer system, contrary to all the “modern” striker systems and then putting it in a non-polymer framed gun. It has a 3” barrel, hosts 12+1 mags and is available for $609.

Talking about going against their own grain, Kimber has come out with a micro compact 9mm called the R7 Mako in a polymer frame…whaa? Kimber making a polymer frame? The gun is already cut for mounting optics, has a 3.37” barrel and has mags that hold 11 and 13 rounds. Price for base model is $599 and $799 with an installed optic.
Mossberg started selling pistols a couple year ago and has been doing well, starting with a mid-sized pistol in 9mm then putting out a compact version the next year. This year they have a double stack version of their compact pistol, the MC2sc. Without having to increase frame width too much they now include mags that hold 11+1 and 14+1 rounds in a small pistol with a 3.4” barrel for only $556.

Photo Credit: Kimber

Last-but oddest, Rock Island Armory brought in their new cut down semi-auto 12 ga shotgun “pistol- like” thing called the RIA VRF14. With a short 14” barrel and no stock it is a legal 26” package and follows the pistol/shotty trend which started with the Mossberg Shockwave and cut down Rem 870 a few years ago, then led to semi auto shotguns cut down to pistol description. The big difference with this item, is it is mag fed, using the 1919 style magazines used by the RIA VR Shotguns. The gun comes with Picatinny rails, flip up sights and 5 rd mags, but 9 rd, 10 rd and larger mags are readily available. Price point is around $600 via online vendors. This shotty begs to be shot from the hip. Please kids, don’t line it up near your eyes, nose and tender teeth to use those flip up sights-recoil being what it is, you can thank your old Uncle Mike later.

Photo Credit: Armscor