Range day roundup: Reflex sight, cooling body armor, pop-up targets and much more
Take a walk with us through some of the exhibits on display at SHOT Show's famous Industry Day at the Range
SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range is held at the Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club the day before SHOT Show opens. This year, the weather was warm and sunny, around 64 degrees by lunchtime. Contrast that to 30-40 degrees all day in 2019 and you’ll understand why I was wearing three layers and had just purchased heated socks and a vest before leaving San Francisco.
Entering the range, attendees were treated to eyes and double ears, courtesy of 3M Peltor.
My first stop was at a booth marked “OTIS,” which I know as one of the leading manufacturers of cleaning products. What I didn’t know is that they own DRD Tactical, a premium firearms manufacturer. The company’s latest product is the MFP-21 AR pistol chambered in 300 blackout.
If you need an AR you can pack under a vest, look no further than FoldAR whose Double FoldAR is touted as the world’s most compact AR15. Folding both in front and behind the upper, the folded OAL is less than 11”. Fellow Police1 columnist and range day attendee Lindsey Bertomen reviews that here.
Byrna Technologies was showing off its line of LE and consumer non-lethal products, with the company’s latest pistols and long guns available on the line. None of Byrna’s products are classified as firearms, which means consumer-level products are available over the counter and over the internet without restriction. A trained shooter can hit an 8” circle at 60 feet with Byrna’s pistol – and I did just that consistently.
Ammunition is available in LE training (.80/round), consumer eco-kinetic training (.24/ round) and kinetic (hard plastic) and pepper projectiles. The consumer rounds are pressed powder designed solely for aiming practice, while the LE training rounds function identically to live projectiles providing for hit and cloud dispersion practice.
Each device (remember, not a firearm!) drives a pepper ball downrange using CO2, either from a pre-packaged 8- or 12-ounce cylinder (pistols) or from larger cylinders (rifles) that can be filled from a CO2 tank. Unlike traditional airguns, the CO2 cylinder isn’t pierced until the first round is fired, so the device can stay loaded for days to weeks to months – until the pepper ball loses potency. Think of the piercing mechanism as something like a SA/DA pistol, while rifles have a shutoff to keep pressure solely in the bottle and not in the launcher where it can leak.
Unlike the competition, Byrna’s rifle actions are driven by air and not by battery, so the rifle will load and shoot if there is power for the projectiles. In rifles with hoppers, the projectiles physically are driven into the chamber rather than relying on gravity alone.
Aimpoint was showing off its CompM5b, a reflex scope with a secret – the elevation turret on this 2MOA sight has tailor-made caps for specific calibers, which increase the hit probability by preventing operator error when dialing in solely by MOA.
Shown in the photo is a set of 4 caps that cover both 5.56 and 7.62 loads. The numbers are the distance to the target in hundreds of yards. The keyed mount lets this optic match perfectly with the 3XMag-1 and 6XMag-1 magnifiers and the flip-up covers are clear, allowing for use with them closed.
The Aimpoint ACRO P-1 was a hit and the ACRO P-2 kicks it up a notch with a redesigned battery cover holding a much larger battery for 50,000 hours (over five years) of operation.
Inveris (formerly Meggitt) was showing off its “Green Man” pop-up target primarily designed for the military. The programmable box allows the target to go down only after a specific number of hits have been registered. And by pairing it with the company’s LOMAH remote shot mapping unit, snipers not only can view their hits in real-time but also can see misses – rounds that never even touched the target.
As a firearms instructor living with hearing loss, I constantly am searching for a cross between a hearing aid and hearing protection. I reviewed several in-ear products before, and this year I saw the consumer-level version of the professional targeted 3M Peltor TEP-100. To lower the cost substantially, the EEP-100 comes in a minimal case with charging via a USB cable. Gone are the military-grade latching case and internal batteries along with a couple of hundred dollars of cost. I was assured that the specs are nearly the same.
Salt Lake City-based Axil is a direct-to-consumer hearing aid company that also manufactures hearing protection devices. Wes Harris, the founder, has been the innovator behind the AXIL line for over 20 years and has been a hearing specialist for over 25 years, running the leading hearing aid clinic chain in his local area.
Axil’s in-the-canal Digital Ear Pro, Custom Edge 360 and Extreme Edge not only protect against loud noises but because they are based on hearing aids, your own hearing prescription is incorporated into them.
Like actual hearing aids, they are pricey, running from $900-$3,499 plus the cost of a hearing test and impressions. Are they worth it? Because my hearing loss is making it harder each year to hear my students on the range, I ordered a set and will be writing about them in the future along with an as-yet-unreleased product from Tactical Hearing.
For those of you lucky enough to still have your hearing, Decibullz will help you keep it with their mold-your-own hearing protection. After receiving the kit, you soak each earpiece in hot water until it becomes pliable then press it into your outer ear, or concha, where it molds to order. If you gain or lose weight, a re-mold is just as easy.
While they always have offered sealed and percussive filter plugs in many colors, new this year is a limited-edition USA edition in red, white and blue. Decibullz also announced two surveillance earpieces designed for use with radio tubes; one open (+awareness) and one sealed. (+isolation).
Our final three entries are bread and butter for LEOs.
The company states that over a 12-hour shift, the Eclipsys panel provides as much cooling as an 11.8-pound block of ice. The user buys a set of panels and self-sticks them to the inside of their armor panels.
The panels work by continually funneling heat away from the human body to a portion of the material on the outside of each armor panel. The hotter you are, the more cooling you get.
And finally, the hydration sponsor for Industry Day at the Range was Hoist, a mil-spec hydration system approved for use by the U.S. military, full of electrolytes and carbs needed after a hard day or a workout, or even after a hard day at the range. The product is available in bulk or single-use powder or liquid form and closely matches your body’s natural osmolality, which means HOIST can absorb rapidly without the need for digestion. It also has half the sugar of traditional sports drinks and three times the electrolytes.
Stay tuned all week for more on-the-street SHOT Show coverage and come back often for our in-depth follow-up articles as our authors play with (er, test) the latest and greatest for you, our valued readers.