Man, 2018 already…at least one of the best things about that is the SHOT Show rolled around again! This marked the 40th year of the show and it was another banner Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trades event. Sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, it is the largest trade show held at the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas. Some fears about the show being negatively affected by the recent tragedy there were not realized it came off without a hitch so allow me to share some of the things coming to stores and the www.airgunsofarizona.com website later this year.
Of note at this year’s show was the plethora of HPA air compressors from all of the big name companies. A complaint from shooters that have shown an interest in pre-charged pneumatic airguns is the high cost of getting into that realm of the sport. This year’s offerings of compressors (and low cost hand pumps) is taking a little of the air out of that argument (pun intended). Naturally, some smaller, lower priced compressors may take longer to fill a cylinder or need to be run in shorter intervals due to heating concerns, but are a welcome addition. Retail prices ranged from around $500 to the $1000 dollar mark.
Speaking of costs to get into PCP airgunning, all of the major manufacturers also rose to meet that objection and have models that allow the first time buyer to get into the sport for as little as 199 bucks. Watch for future blogs as some of these models become available for testing and evaluation. Of course, an air source will still add to the startup costs, but HPA hand pumps are now breaking below the $100 mark as well.
Big bores were still alive and well with Umarex unleashing the .50 caliber Hammer this year after some modifications that delayed its coming to the market last year.
Developing 700 foot pounds of energy, the Hammer is touted as the “most powerful production airgun in the world”. I had a chance to fire it last week and it packs a bit of recoil when launching the heavy slugs. Gamo also stepped into the big bore arena this year with two models, the TC35 in .35 caliber and the TC45 in .45 caliber. Both are all black guns with tactical looks and will retail in the $500 range.
Airforce Airguns big announcement for the show was their merger with Rapid Air Weapons. The merger will allow RAW access to Airforce’s large, modern manufacturing facility and reduce delivery backlogs on orders. As an added bonus, Airforce gained rights to Theoben designs and has plans to reintroduce them to the market.
Many readers of this blog may only shoot pellets, but an interesting accessory announced by Air Venturi is their new frangible BB. It contains some steel in its composition so it will work in guns with magnetic feed systems, but disintegrates on impact. These frangible BBs are lighter so produce higher speeds than all steel BBs. They should become available in the second quarter of the year.
As usual, there were many more things to see at SHOT, which showcased many new and innovative creations and bodes well for the future of our little hobby — as long as we all do our part to encourage young people into the shooting sports. Rest assured, as I can get my hot little hands on some of these new items, I will get that info out by way of these blogs.