The 39th Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades show is now in the record books. Almost 65,000 of my closest friends attended, plus more than a few canines sporting the latest in working dog accessories! SHOT is the largest trade show of its type and is only open to members of the trade or media. It is held in Las Vegas each January and is the showcase for new products.
A couple of years ago most of the major airgun manufacturers came out with a big bore of some type (.35 caliber or larger). This year seems to be the year of the compressor to accompany the increasing number of PCPs available on the market. Our friends at www.arigunsofarizona.com carry the new Omega Turbo Charger compressor which has some nice features including a dual piston design for faster charging and larger grease reservoir with a timer for indication of when to dispense the grease. Other companies introducing compressors were Air Venturi and Sun Optics with Airforce Airguns to follow later this year. Some new, less expensive hand pumps are also available this year which should help to bring new PCP shooters into the fold even if their budget is modest.
Big bore airguns continue to be a draw for a segment of the airgun shooting public and some new ones were being introduced at the show as well. Airforce airguns introduced a TexanSS, their single shot .45 caliber big bore now features suppression. Umarex showed off their new Hammer, a .50 caliber pump action 3-shot arm estimated to develop 700 foot pounds of energy. It should be available later this summer. This new air rifle uses a patented sabot round that has the sabot permanently attached to the base of the PolyCase copper/polymer matrix bullet. However, it can also fire .50 caliber lead slugs. Being a “nifty-fifty” it should also be able to handle the new AirBolt from Air Venturi. The AirBolt turns an airgun into a very accurate arrow launcher. Several companies have invested in airgun/arrow launcher technology in the past couple of years and lobbying continues to make airgun hunting seasons more commonplace in this country. Hatsan showed the Hercules QE dual tank pellet launcher in several different calibers all the way up to .45. In .45 the Hercules can generate up to 250 fpe.
Other news on the PCP front includes several “entry level” rifles designed to allow those new to pre-charged pneumatics to put their toes into the water without a huge capital layout. Umarex offers the Gauntlet, a bolt action repeater using a rotary magazine; it is available in .22 or .177 and uses a removable cylinder able to handle 3000psi. It will be available later this spring for an MSRP of $299.00. Crosman released their Wildfire model PCP, a bolt action using a 2000 psi reservoir and retailing for approximately $150.00. Gamo introduced their Urban PCP multi-shot in .22 caliber which retails for $399.00. Toward the other end of the price spectrum were the Hatsan Bullboss QE bullpup configuration PCP, a synthetic stocked side lever cocking multi-shot in .177, .22 and .25 calibers and you can check out the latest offerings from Daystate and FX airguns by switching over to the newly designed Airguns of Arizona website: www.airgunsofarizona.com. Daystate has the new Tsar in .177 for precision shooting disciplines and FX introduced the Wildcat bullpup in .177, .22 and .25. Both are beautiful and both are of the highest quality you are going to find.
Other cool things seen: a faithful BB gun copy of the German MP40 submachine gun from Umarex that fires in both semi/full auto. SIGArms airgun division showed a copy of professional shooter Max Michel’s .45 and the Spartan 1911 in BB CO2 repeaters. Also new, the P320 blowback pellet pistol which utilizes the 30-round RPM belt-feed system like the one used on its larger, pellet firing copy of the MCX. Crosman has a copy of the Remington 1875 single action revolver that will fire pellets or BBs and it was a good looking replica!
Of course, there were many other new airguns and related accessories introduced at the show; too many to cover here. Also, many of the items mentioned here will not be available for months, but I hope I whetted your appetite for more and we’ll have some reviews in future editions of this blog.