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SHOT Show 2018 roundup: Innovative gear from the show floor

This year’s SHOT Show featured some multi-purpose innovative gear offering great value for the money

I was on a mission at this year’s SHOT Show to find some products I felt represented true innovation, established a new niche in an already crowded marketplace, or stood out as offering great features for the money.

I wasn’t only interested in mission-specific tactical products; I was also looking for multi-purpose gear and products that were just plain fun.

In no order, here are some of the items that caught my eye.

SIG Sauer P365 Nitron Micro Compact

SIG Sauer’s P365 was a big hit at this year’s SHOT Show. The P365 is under 6 inches long, 4.8 inches height and 1 inch wide. It will fit comfortably inside the waistband or in a pocket. At 17.8 oz, it won’t weigh you down either.

It comes with night sights and, unlike other micro compacts, it carries 10 plus 1 rounds. It is rated for +P ammunition as well.

Surefire EDCL1

This everyday carry light from Surefire is small enough to be tucked in just about anywhere. It has a low beam of 5 lumens for getting around or reading, up to a blinding 500 lumens. I remember when Surefire first came out with a 500 lumen flashlight and it was huge compared to this one. This light will replace my old Surefire EDC1.

Surefire Maximus

I have been in the market for a bright headlamp to use when I am out in the boonies, and the Surefire Maximus fits the bill.

Built with a magnesium body, it looks to be super strong but only weighs 5 oz. It has a variable intensity beam that can go from as low as 1 lumen to a blinding 1000 lumens. It also has a long-running SOS beacon. It runs on a rechargeable lithium ion battery for long life in cold conditions. A gauge shows you the charge status and a moisture-wicking forehead pad provides extra comfort.

Vortex Optics

I use a 4.5 X 27 Vortex scope with the EBR- 2C reticle on my PRS rifle and I am very pleased with the scope/reticle combination. These two Vortex products on display at SHOT Show caught my attention:

  • The all-new Fury HD 10x42 Laser Rangefinder Binocular has dual-purpose functionality, pairing a high-definition binocular with a compensated rangefinder. I like the idea of having a rangefinder in my binoculars in a compact package. For hunting, tactical or sporting use, it simplifies the spotting, ranging and shooting solution. It also allows you to chest carry in a binocular pouch and not have to dig around for another rangefinder. The Fury Rangefinder is range reflective: 10-1,6000 yards and range deer: 10-1,000 yards.
  • Vortex’s Razor HD 11-33X50 spotting scope is a little jewel that sports high definition glass and only weighs 25 oz. I have a couple of nice Kowa spotting scopes that I use all the time for shooting, wildlife viewing and digi-scoping, but carrying that gear in the mountains is always a challenge. This new Vortex scope could be just the ticket when every ounce counts and you need more than just a pair of 10X binoculars.

Nightforce 1-8 scope

This year, Nightforce unveiled a new 1-8 scope. This is a first focal plane scope, daylight bright illuminated reticle (choice of 2 reticles), zero stop feature with a throw lever for ease in switching powers. This scope is very compact and weighs 17 oz. I predict it will be in high demand.

Mag Storage Solutions

The magazine storage products from Mag Storage Solutions allow you to store various magazines – both pistol and carbine – loaded and ready to go, or empty as you prefer.

The pistol version has spacers so you can fit magazines of different widths and there is a shelf at the bottom for ammo.

You can mount these storage units on a wall, attach to a vehicle seat or, with the optional magnet kit, attach to the sidewall of a vehicle or, in my case, the bed of my pickup. I will be testing out the carbine magazine one on my pickup seat and the magnetic one in the bed of my truck.

Hill People Gear Chest Carry Rigs

Hill People Gear has come up with some really good concealed chest carry rigs, as well as packs and other gear.

I do a lot of things outdoors and most of the chest carry rigs are too big and bulky. Hill People’s recon pack, runner’s pack and sub-compact chest carry rigs should fit the bill for just about everybody.

The Recon Kit Bag is a full-size chest carry rig in which you can carry a full-size gun, small med kit, tactical light and spare magazines. It comes with laser cut slots on the front for a minimalist profile if you want to attach items like molle pouches.

The Runner’s Kit Bag is designed for carrying a handgun while running, biking or whatever in urban or low-profile settings. It doesn’t have the room that the recon bag has, but it is more discreet. You can purchase a stabilizer strap for any kit bag to keep the bag from flopping as you run.

The Snubby Kit Bag is for carrying sub-compact handguns and very little else. This bag is good for those who don’t have a large frame as well.

Ruger Precision Rifle .22

This year, Ruger came out with a .22 rimfire version of its hugely popular Ruger Precision Rifle. This should make a great training rifle, as well as be a lot of fun to shoot!

When handling it, I noted that it is made up of high quality components. The stock is adjustable for length of pull and comb height for scope use. It has an AR style safety, uses 10/22 magazines, has an 18” threaded barrel and the barrel can be switched by a competent gunsmith using AR-15 tools and headspace gauges. It has an oversize bolt handle for ease of manipulation and weighs just less than 7 lbs.

The Ruger Precision Rifle centerfire is amazingly accurate, and I expect the same for the .22 version.

There were many other interesting items at SHOT Show 2018, but these were a few I felt I would like to test and evaluate over the coming months. Be sure to check them out for yourself!

Ron Avery is President and Director of Training for The Practical Shooting Academy, Inc. and Executive Director of the non-profit, Rocky Mountain Tactical Institute - both training institutions dedicated to professional firearms and tactics courses, higher police standards and training and use of force research.

Ron is a former police officer with many years of street experience, which he brings into the training environment. He is internationally recognized as a researcher, firearms trainer and world class shooter. His training methodology is currently being used by hundreds of agencies and thousands of individuals across the US and internationally.

He has worked as a consultant and trainer for top level federal agencies, special operations military from all branches of the armed forces and law enforcement agencies across the US.

He is a weapons and tactics trainer for, handgun, carbine, select fire, precision rifle and shotgun, as well as advanced instructor schools, defensive tactics, team skills and tactics, low light tactics, arrest and control and officer survival. He is also a consultant for firearms training programs, use of force and firearms research, range development, instructor development and other firearm related topics.

For over 25 years he has consistently ranked among the best shooters in the world in national, international and world championship competitions, winning many different titles including two-time National Law Enforcement Champion. In 2002, he represented his country as a member of the first place, United States Practical Shooting Association’s “Gold Team” in the Standard Division in the World Championships in South Africa.

As a published writer, his articles have been featured in SWAT Magazine, Petersen’s Handguns, American Handgunner, U.S.P.S.A.'s Front Sight, Colorado State Shooting Association and other law enforcement publications and journals.