The SIRT Training Pistol at the Shot Show in Las Vegas. (Rob Curtis / Staff)
The GearScout team's favorites from this year's tactical- and sporting-gear trade expo:
1. EFX-A1 Stock
The EFX-A1 from M.A.G.S LLC is a drop-in replacement for the M16 and gives an A1 stock length with an improved cheekweld.
The EFX-A1 is comfortable to use, and the cheek-to-stock weld is a solid improvement. What it doesn't have is the waterproof battery tubes of the SOPMOD carbine stock. The EFX-A1 does not have tubes of any kind, and instead provides a storage compartment underneath. The larger storage compartment allows for much larger items to be carried, but batteries will probably need to be wrapped to prevent rattle.
Available: Now for $75
2. Centurion Arms C4 Rail
This rail comes in 7-, 9-, 10- and 12-inch sizes. Upcoming models will include cutouts for front sight bases, which will give extended rail space to those die-hards who refuse to give up a fixed front sight base and use a folder.
The rails are some of the nicest machined rails we've handled. Installation is simple: Cut two points (Delta ring and handguard cap), then screw the two rail sections together over the barrel nut.
Available: Now starting at $229
3. Battle Comp 2.0
The Battle Comp 2.0's predecessor works very well in controlling muzzle rise and keeping flash down while negating blast zones, meaning it's not painful to people around you. And if you're shooting near obstacles, inside buildings or in an urban-prone shooting position, you aren't getting the pressure bounced back at you in the same way you would with typical compensators.
It's evident that there are fine channels machined around the outside of the BC 2.0. E. Alan Normandy from Battle Comp Enterprises says this was done to allow silencers that attach to standard A2 flash suppressors to lock on properly.
With the BC 2.0 being can-friendly, it should put smiles on quite a few faces.
Available: Now for $165
4. Benchmade Mini-Onslaught
The original Onslaught was named a 2010 Knife of the Year by the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence.
The Mini-Onslaught looks like a chip off the ol' block, but the size differences are substantial. Blade length drops from 4.28 inches to 3.45 inches; blade thickness from .12 inches to .07 inches; and weight from 6.96 ounces to 3.9 ounces.
Available: March, $165 to $175.
5. Magnum USA boots in MultiCam
Available last year in desert tan, Magnum's Spider boot in MultiCam incorporates leather and ballistic nylon into the upper, a leather toe guard to resist snags and abrasions, sand-proof ventilator technology near the toes, a shock-absorbing sock liner, and fins on the sole to silently grip walls. It weighs 21.4 ounces.
The brand-new Sidewinder incorporates a suede upper with nylon panels for breathability, a leather toe guard and lace eyelets that will not shine or glint when scratched.
Available: Spider: $165 for desert tan; $200 for MultiCam. Sidewinder: The desert tan version ($200) will reach the market in March, with the MultiCam version ($250) out in June.
6. V.I.O POV.HD
There's a limit to the features you can fit in a wearable camera, and the only way to get high-quality video with all the onboard controls and a monitor is to use a two-piece system. The VIO runs a small, lipstick-style camera that attaches by wire to a hand-held unit with a usable monitor and processing power to spare. Quality is 1080p video at 30 frames per second or 720p at 60 frames per second. The monitor, loop-record feature, in-camera editing and wireless remote make the wire seem like an acceptable inconvenience. The shock proof, waterproof, dust proof setup runs on four AA batteries and records to an SD card.
Available: Now for $599 (MSRP)
7. SIRT Training Pistol
Firearms instructors will tell you that dry-fire training is the next best thing to true range time, but if you have a single-action pistol, you're pulling the slide to reset the trigger after every shot. Enter the shot-indicating resetting training pistol with two lasers, red and green, that show exactly where the pistol is pointed after the trigger break. With an Allen wrench, you can set the trigger over-travel, trigger break, break force and sear engagement to simulate just about any trigger on the market. Right now, the frame is set up to simulate the feel of a Glock 17, though Beretta M9 and Smith & Wesson M&P bodies are in the works.
Available: Now. The training pistol and one magazine with adjustable weight are $439, with a military discount if you contact the company.
8. Emerson Canis prototype
The Emersons said we could share a picture of this knife only if we made it clear that it's a prototype and that there will be changes to the production model. But this glimpse gives us a pretty good clue to what we'll see from the collaboration of the Emerson team and designer Kelly McCann.
Available: Spring. Price TBD.
9. Ops-Core Sentry Helmet
Want an ACH-style helmet that shaves a quarter of the weight? The Sentry is a full-coverage helmet with a new composite material in the shell. The lighter helmet provides better backface deformation than its heavier cousin. It provides the same percentage of coverage as an ACH while improving hearing and compatibility with communication headsets. Inside, there's a new "worm drive" adjustment system that's lower profile than the old knob for better comfort and clearance. All this protection comes at a price, though.
Available: March, about $900.
10. CamelBak Urban Assault Concealed
This new bag adds three concealed pistol-carry options to the CamelBak Urban Assault. The front slider pocket has been widened and lined with Velcro to accommodate a pistol holster. Inside the main compartment, a stiffened strap will hold both a pistol and magazine holster, and the lumbar pad has a concealed pocket that will hold a full-size pistol. The bag comes in three new colors to give it a more urban look: red, blue and gray.
Available: Look for it mid-March for $200.
11. First Wave Hydrapak Hydration Reservoir
The new First Wave is twice as thick as the civilian market version, has an updated slider top that will take a little more abuse, and includes a new PVC-free Hydrafusion tube that's stronger, and better insulated and cheaper than using a neoprene cover. Options include 70- or 100-ounce sizes and your choice of self-sealing quick-release tube or valveless friction-fit connection.
Available: April. It's $30 with a classic tube connector; $35 with a "Plug-N-Play" valved tube connector.
12. Granite Tactical Gear DA-Med Pack
We saw lots of packs, but few had the organizational capability of the DA-Med Pack.
The Velcro-lined interior isn't a new idea, but instead of traditional elastic loops, Granite Gear uses bungee cords and stoppers for a fully adjustable setup. On the outside, you get a beaver tail pocket and a built-in dust/rain cover.
Available: Now for $140 (coyote) and $170 (MultiCam).
13. Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic (PRO)
The Patrol PRO has all the features of the Comp series at a lower price: two MOA red dot, three-year battery life, Night vision goggle-compatible, anodized aluminum housing, waterproof to 150 feet — plus a new, transparent rear flip cover that lets you shoot with the dust covers down and a modular rail mount that will co-witness on an AR or run flat on a shotgun with the spacer removed. At 5.1 inches and 11.6 ounces complete, it's a tight little optic that'll be hard to resist.
Available: Now for $440. Hard to believe, so we'll say it again: $440.
14. Strider SJ75
Though the photo shows a prototype with a hollow grind, the production knife will have a full bevel grind, 0.165-inch-thick CPM-S30V blade steel, G10 and titanium grips. The longer, smoother lines make for a compact knife that feels bigger. The 3-inch blade opens for a 7-inch overall length.
Available: $400 in brown, green and black.
15. Arc'teryx Rigger's Belt
We've been tracking the existence of this particular belt since the summer of 2008, when we were shown a prototype in France. We encountered this MultiCam Yeti again at this year's SHOT Show. It's stiff enough to be a gun belt, strong enough for a rigger's belt and comfortable enough for everyday wear.
Available: Word is it should finally be available this fall for less than $120.
16. New Multitaskers
Multitasker invited GearScout behind the curtain for a look at its latest creations. Chief among them is the update to the Tube. The Multitasker SuperTube is about an inch shorter but manages to add on-board tool storage for a scraper, dental pick and pin punch tool. Instead of screwing into a post on the tool's interior, the tools now screw into a recess on the outside of the lower cap.
The Ultralight Pro is an update to the Ultralight that contains a new knife blade, small scraper, pick, bit driver and a new outside accessory slot on the one of the G10 handle scales.
The Multitasker Series 3 contains at least 10 tools — the familiar tools of the Series 2, plus a muzzle wrench. It also puts the blade release on the proper side for easier blade closing, among other design changes.
Available: The SuperTube should hit in the late spring, while the Ultralight Pro and Series 3 will take final shape over the summer.
17. Noveske Rifleworks Flared Forged Lower
GearScout got the first look at this upcoming forged lower, which goes beyond just looking different and gives its user a massive, flared magazine well for quick reloads. Think 10-pound, largemouth bass big.
Available: Spring. Less than $250
18. Trijicon's HD Night Sights
We could only see how well these worked going from full sunlight into shadow (tested on a range in the middle of the day). For that, they worked great. The hi-viz yellow front site ring was easy to pick up in changing light. They were also pretty low profile, so you won't have any holstering issues.
Tritium tubes come in different colors — green, orange or yellow for the rear sight (front is always green).
These sights are built to withstand some abuse. The aluminum housings contain silicone rubber cushions, and the tritium lamps are placed in an aluminum cylinder and viewed through a sapphire window to protect the lamps from shock and cleaning solvents.
Available: Look for them this spring for less than $200.
19. Ka-Bar ‘Zombie Killer' line
Ka-Bar named this line after top officials joked about the need to design knives capable of killing a zombie when firearms aren't available.
But the ZK knives have serious utility value. There's the "Kharon" tanto folder with a 3æ-inch blade ($40.98); the ZK "Pestilence" chopper with a 10¼-inch blade ($75.63); and the ZK "Acheron" skeleton knife with a 3Þ-inch blade, the only one missing the lime-green handle ($11.70).
Ka-Bar includes an extra set of interchangeable black handles with each purchase.
Available: April 1.
20. SureFire 60- and 100-round magazines
These new magazines are a tantalizing disappointment to the IAR crowd, since H&K's magazine well design won't allow their use. But for every M4/M16 shooter, more ammunition and fewer reloads means suppressive firepower from a carbine that can save lives. The 60-round magazine does little to alter the basic layout of the M4/M16, but the 100-round magazine will be more limiting. These are aluminum with a nylon follower and weigh 6.4 ounces for an unloaded 60-rounder.
Available: Spring. $129 and $179