Trending Topics
Range day 1.jpg

Photo/Gene Wisenand

3 game changers at SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range

Savage Arms, Franklin Armory and Mack’s Live Fire BTX made an impression

Hello from Industry Day at the Range at SHOT Show 2024. The weather report said it was going to rain quite a bit in the morning, then the rain was supposed to get serious. It did rain quite a bit, but it wasn’t until later in the afternoon. When it really started raining, it cleared out, and I got a chance to spend a little more time testing products.

Savage Arms

I stopped at the Savage booth and shot the Savage B22, a 22LR bolt action rifle in a Timber Light configuration, meaning the laminated stock was made of wood and carbon fiber. It was about half the weight of most other bolt action 22s, and it was every bit as accurate. I rung the 100 yard steel target with an entire magazine of 22LR bullets. The suppressor was whisper quiet, and I asked while shooting, “Who makes the can?”

“We do,” was the response.

“What? Savage is in the suppressor business now?”

I guess I have to make a public service announcement, because I didn’t know either. Savage has just recently announced its AccuCan Supressor line, designed for hunters and shooters. Savage took into account both flash reduction and noise reduction. The new AccuCan suppressors are field serviceable, and are easy to disassemble and reassemble. The AC338 is designed for precision rifle shooting (PRS). The AC30 is for 7.62x51 and 6.5 Creedmor, and the AC22 was the one I was shooting on the 22LR.

Range day 2.jpg

Photo/Lindsey Bertomen

Franklin Armory

Despite the noisy ranges, it was really a quiet day. That is, it was a great day to look at suppressed firearms. I stopped at the Franklin Armory range and got to see their new 5.56 gas piston system on an AR style platform. Franklin Armory used a unique approach in this system, and it benefits law enforcement the most. It is a self-regulating gas piston system, which doesn’t rely on piston springs, but a design that senses and disperses the gas pressure appropriately to cycle the action. I understood mostly what they were telling me about the operation, but I was not prepared for what I experienced while shooting it.

Range day 1.jpg

Photo/Gene Wisenand

I shot the carbine with the suppressor off, squeezing off accurate rounds. After that, I attached a suppressor, and shot it again. I’d like to say, “If you know, you know,” but here is a brief explanation. Ordinarily, switching from suppressed to non-suppressed in the same gun can potentially do a few things. It can change the point of aim, but that is a different conversation. More importantly, the gas metering often has to be adjusted because there is a pressure difference between a suppressed and non-suppressed gun. In some carbines, swapping back and forth requires adjustments that cannot be made in the field. This is why the Franklin Armory new gas gun is really a game changer. It can change status on the fly.

While I was running this carbine, someone pointed out that Carson City Sheriff’s Office was using them, and pointed out SGT Chris Rivera.

SGT Rivera told me that they have been issuing the Franklin Armory 12.5” mid-length as a duty carbine. Their SWAT team and investigators use them, and they have had zero problems since they have been in service.

Mack’s Live Fire BTX

While I was getting ready to exit the range, I got to try a different type of hearing protector. It looks like a typical over-the-ear earmuff, but this one pairs with my phone via Bluetooth, and it has separate input and ambient volume controls. This doesn’t just mean I can listen to music while protecting my hearing. It means I can communicate safely on my phone or radio while on the range.

This is a dual microphone, hearing enhancement/protection system with a rifle stock cutout and luxurious replaceable soft rubber earpads. Mack’s Live Fire BTX earmuffs are from McKeon Products Inc., in Warren, Michigan, and although there are other Bluetooth earmuffs out there, the separate volume controls set the Mack’s Live Fire BTX ones apart.

Range day 3.jpg

Photo/Lindsey Bertomen

I’m definitely not done talking about the things I discovered on the range, so stand by.

Click here to follow all of Police1’s SHOT Show coverage.

Lindsey Bertomen is a retired police officer and retired military small arms trainer. He teaches criminal justice at Hartnell College in Salinas, California. He has a BS in Criminal Justice and an MS in Online Teaching and Learning. Lindsey has taught shooting techniques for over a decade. His articles on firearms tactics have appeared in print for over a decade. Lindsey enjoys competing in shooting sports, running, and cycling events.