By Mike Keleher

I got into the Shot Show halls today and walked a solid 8 hours. Did not of course see it all. Did however marvel how many times companies and products can be named “Tactical.” Many Tactical beards and Tactical worn-out ball caps were in evidence (equally divided between desert tan and olive drab.) One nice trend is attendees were somewhat less Duck Dynasty than previous years. Hope to see that continue.

I only devoted one day to the indoor show this year so I had to make solid progress today so I could go home and do something else this week…hey I can have a real life too…you think life as an unpaid and unknown writer of gun books and blog content living in Vegas briefly paying resort fees on top of casino room rent and racing around Vegas in a cool rental car and then getting to leave fingerprints on ALL the new guns is all puppies and kittens?

Well, ok it is pretty good. Here is some of the notable stuff I liked at the show today.

The Shot Show is such a big deal in the firearms industry many manufacturers try to time their newest products to debut at the show. I found two today that were so new, they were very nearly still hot from the production line.

The Phoenix Trinity H-Pro series double stack 9mm pistol was so new, it was just completed this past week. It was as shiny as a diamond, and turns out, they did not have enough time to put a finish on the gun and still make it to the show! This is a high end and smithed competition pistol suitable for top 3-gun, USPSC and IDPA competitions right out of the box. The pistol hosts a steel frame and aluminum grips and has improvements over previous models including opening the slide stop area and adding a dimple to the slide stop post to enhance take down without scratching the frame. Cycling the slide was like butter. You pay a lot, but you are getting a topflight firearm. The Phoenix Trinity pictured here wears one of the excellent low profile Athlon red dot sights and is 95% made in house in Hudson, FL and can be seen around competition circuits in the hands of many top shooters to include the Indiana marvel Nate Schmidt. MSRP is $4499

This Dayton Nevada company took the make it at home markets by storm in the last decade producing polymer Glock-like frames which could be snapped into jigs and a few holes drilled in them with the supplied drill bits and home builders could put Glock and Glock like parts in them to complete a functioning pistol. Then came the new White House and BATF who ruled this past year via administrative means un-serialized and drilled frames were some how “firearms” and all sales of the kits had to stop. All new kits or frames had to be serialized and sold like more traditional firearms- you know the ones with all the parts in them and could go bang.

Well, P80 listened to the BATF rules and lawyers, and today brought a new- perhaps BATF compliant, prototype undrilled polymer frame to the Shot Show after it was created earlier this morning and rushed over to the show. That is pretty darn fresh! This frame has some additional material added into the trigger housing area which would have to be removed to complete a “real” firearm in addition to the work normally associated with a P80 build. They believe this new frame (still unserialized) meets the requirements and complaints made by BATF and may be legal to sell. It will obviously be submitted for review while current lawsuits proceed seeking to overturn the BATF ruling on unfinished frames.

Um, John Wick couldn’t make it again this year. Other years at the Shot Show I have seen his movie guns on display like religious relics! This year his car made it. Yep, John Wick’s wrecked Mustang was on display. It is not a gun, but no one cared! Coolness factor was off the charts to get to sit in the Wick Mobile. I just couldn’t get his voice out of my head asking John Leguzano “Can you fix it?”

Armscor has brought out their Rock Island Arms 5.0 pistol in time for the SHOT show. While Armscor traditionally get parts/guns imported to the U.S. they are very proud their RIA 5.0 is Made in America… and it appears to be made from scratch. They tossed out the polymer frame/striker fired modern pistol rule book. From the get-go, there is something visually unusual going on here. It looks kind of like a CZ-75 small height slide and a deep barrel bore axis, and under that a long dust cover frame made of steel and aluminum. Yes, real metal- with polymer grips. Oh, and the barrel is square. Yes, a square barrel unit with a round hole sliding back and forth inside the slide on a square channel… and it is not a striker fired unit, it has in internal hammer. A hammer you say?

Armscor put a brand new and patented recoil system in the pistol which holds the barrel/frame locked together during discharge and when gas is reduced enough allows the recoil/reload procedure to commence. They are claiming super soft recoil. Next, they put in a trigger that looks like a striker type trigger with safety tongue unit which comes from the factory at 4.5 lbs, but one source showed it running at 2.4 lbs and a consistent 2.4 lbs at that. The pistol is issued in 9mm with 17+1 mags and weighs 2.47 lbs. It comes from the factory with a CMOR red dot sight or Dawson Precision sights. Over at American Handgunner/Guns magazines, the editor Roy Huntington and writer Will Dobbs MD are gushing over how good the gun and trigger is in the March 2023 editions and videos like it is pure magic. Other gun reviews released this month are already calling for it to be the Pistol of the Year.
I shot the wonder-gun at the Industry Day at the Range yesterday, and it was very accurate, and recoil was nil. The RIA staff said they ran two of them all day long as quickly as mags could be loaded, and new shooters could step up. All they had to do was put some oil in occasionally. This gun may be a firearms industry icon akin to when Glock arrived. MSRP of $998 with iron sights.

You should know Canik by now. They took the competition handgun market by storm with the out of the box, competition ready polymer framed, striker fired pistol with a good trigger, great sights and factory built for addition of optics, several included optic mounts and backstraps all for less than $500. They walked onto the field in direct competition with Glock 34’s and custom pistols costing many, many more dollars. Their dependability and accuracy have been recognized by several organizations and gun magazines along the way as well as in 3-Gun, USPSA and IDPA matches.

This year Canik is introducing an upgrade to their SFx Rival with the Canik SFx Rival -S in 9mm. the “S” in the model’s name stands for steel frame full size pistol instead of polymer frame. Weighs in at 2.67 lbs, and 8.09” long with the traditional Canik performance 5” barrel. For those who like the solid feel of an all-steel pistol this is a solid item. Not a surprising addition with Canik being a virtual clone of Walther, and Walther added an all-steel frame to their Q5 competition pistol about two years ago and more recently a steel framed concealed carry pistol the Q4- would not be surprised to see Canik offer a steel frame on their concealed carry pistols in the near future.

Canik also showed their new micro compact 9mm the Mete MC9, they have been working on for three years. They had some at range day, but I did not get to fire one. MSRP is $439.

The handsome gold accent polymer frame SFx Rival also won Ballistic Magazine’s Best Full-Sized Handgun of the year award for 2022. Picture of the Canik SFx Rival-S in Chrome finish is below, and the gold featured SFx Rival which was 2022 Ballistics Magazine Best Full-Size Semi-Auto, is next to it.

All archery types know Limbsaver, the rubberish vibration dampeners you put on bows and crossbows to quiet them and level out the vibration. They had some new barrel dampeners at the show called Barrel Deresonators which are mounted around the barrel of long rifles down by the muzzle to tame the vibration and whips that comes with a bullet passing through the barrel. Looks weird, but if I know anything about Limbsaver, their products work.

Snap Safe makes a lot of firearms safes, but this one is pretty unique. They are prepared to sell you a steel Premium Vault Door for only $2369. Steel door, hinges, frame. It is a freaking vault door you can put on a room or closet in your house to make a vault! How many guns can you store in a room? My mind goes a bit wonky there.

I got to shoot the new Glock Performance Trigger yesterday on the range. It is a drop in trigger/bar, housing and connector marketed for only $99. It shoots like a much higher priced Glock aftermarket trigger, and I finally got a picture of the unit today…oh, it looks like any other Glock trigger group. Pardon my excitement. Still quite a good value-and of course full factory backing comes with it.

I know nothing about these two “shotguns” other than they were on the wall in the Benelli booth and they looked super smooth and somewhat like Science Fiction to me. They are marked “Calibro Venti Concept Guns 2023” I see some vestigial Vinci in the exterior design but thank goodness not too much.

I didn’t know I was supposed to be looking for a “Modern Lever Action” chambered in 9mm, but boy does this Tombstone carbine make you look twice and wonder “Hmmm.” This has lever action combined with 9mm and mag fed-probably never been done before- then keeps adding “modern” features. Isn’t that a MAGPUL SGA stock? Yes, it is. 20 and 10 rd mags and a picatinny rail on top of the receiver for scopes and dots. Fluted, free float 16” barrel for accuracy over a modular receiver rail with MLOK slots. XS brand ghost ring sights and a two-port muzzle break on the end of the barrel. Makes you definitely start thinking “Well I could use it for….???” (I have a lot of guns without much of a definition beyond “house gun” or “truck gun” …unless a coyote is standing in front of me, then it is also a “coyote gun.”) MSRP is $1962.

When is another 1911 coming to the market big news? When Savage decides to make and sell it. They have announced their upscale version of a 1911 pistol in .45 or 9mm this season in a variety of finishes to include all stainless steel, black nitride and combination or 2 tone finishes. Savage reentered the pistol market a few years ago after a century absence and have been noted to have brought some very well thought out designs in their first polymer frame offerings. The new Savage 1911 is all steel. It is like a mountain of steel. Even the firing pin is titanium and nitride coated. They offer a modern profile with integral rail system, a 5” stainless steel 11-degree target crown barrel, dual recoil springs, ejection port opened and lowered, Novak lo-mart Tritium sights, beavertail grip safety and very attractive and productive VZ G10 grips. I was fortunate to get to shoot one the day before at range day and it was way more accurate than I was and so very smooth. Impressive pistol. Very solid package from one of America’s heritage gun makers since 1894 and all coatings and treatments are listed with a MSRP of $1499.

Joe Roebuck and staff had a nice booth, and why not? Joe is a nice guy! The Joe the engineer turned gun designer and SCCY pistol story is pretty amazing, and he has made and sold over one million of the budget priced self-defense guns with double action pull in 9mm and .380. That is a proven design! Couple years ago, he added a striker fired version, the DVG-1. He did not have a brand-new gun at the show but had several new versions with “bling” or decorative grips. I also learned from a staffer they have listened to the customers and the newest grip frames have had the backstrap taken down, the finger bumps on the front of the grips are gone. They also added a short Picatinny rail under the frame, have smoothed the metal trigger and canted it back 6 degrees for comfort and smoothed the cut out around the safety- and all SCCY models MSRP for less than $300.

How nice a guy is Joe? He had drawings today to give six pistols away at the end of the day- must be present to win. I was. I didn’t win. He is also giving away six tomorrow and six more on Thursday. Three each day to women and three to men. Who else at this show gives away 18 pistols to people who just stop by their booth? Nobody.

One more quick Joe Roebuck story and I gotta move on. Twice a year, Joe walks the employee parking lot and picks out the worst looking vehicle-and gives the employee owner a new car. Once again. What boss in America treats employees like that? Nobody.

I did not see the Sig Sauer booth at the Shot Show. I know they had their own range day (special invite only) this weekend, but I did not see them in the building today.
Sig came out with the compensated P365 X Macro “compact” 9mm mid-year and it appears to be as big a hit as the original P365, and bigger version the P365 XL. Is there a 365 Legion in the works somewhere? This week they also hit the press with a new female oriented P365 made in conjunction with 8-time World Champion Lena Miculek, daughter of everyone’s favorite uncle Jerry Miculek. The Rose treatment is given to a P365 in .380 and a 365-XL in 9mm.

Sig also released info before the SHOT Show about their much anticipated 320-XTEN pistol. Yes, a full sized P320 in 10mm. Hinted at last year, Sig has stuffed a 10mm into their popular modular P320 and gave it the X-series treatment to boot. This includes the X-grip used with the P320 .45, optics ready slide which is compatible with SIG Romeo 2 or Trijicon RMR bases, a flat X-trigger, dust cover rail, and the very popular X-Ray3 sights. The pistol holds 15 rds of potent 10mm and weighs a svelte 2.09 lbs. Selling for around $800…take my money already!

S&W had a huge display as usual and their two newest M&Ps included one in 5.7mm which must hold about a jillion tiny pointy bullets, and the M&P M2.0 from the Performance Center. This is a full-on competition pistol for the competition shooter. The core remains a proven M&P semi-auto in 9mm but it has a metal frame, 5 inch barrel, trigger enhancements, flared mag well, aggressive cuts on the slide which look like compensators but aren’t and fiber optic front sight. Available with 10+1 or 17+1 mags. MSRP $999.

In a post COVID world, ZEV had a big booth and display, but all the guns were under glass. Cuts down on hand sanitizer, I guess. They are still showing the fold up pistol/PCC/carbine gun-thing the MAGPUL FDP. It was all the rage about 5-6 years ago at the Shot Show and everyone wanted to handle it. ZEV got rights to it and apparently it still exists. Still reminds me of a 1960’s Mattel Zero M Spy movie camera into machine gun which was not too deadly in my neighborhood as every kid had seen it on TV, let alone the fact no kids in that day and age were trusted to roam the yards with a movie camera!

That is all I have for now. I have to sleep sometime…even if it is Vegas.

One thought on “Shot Show Stuff from 2023”
  1. Better than many of the “professional” writers out there!
    Well done sir. You deserve a higher place in heaven!

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