Many readers may have noticed the lack of any real new firearms at SHOT Show 2016, with the exception of Kimber's K6s revolver. Though I can't say I blame gunmakers for taking a more conservative approach given turbulent nature of election years. No one wants to invest the time and money into a new design that could potentially be legislated to death before recouping even R&D costs, but the market for gun accessories is exploding.
The effort not invested in firearm development is instead channeled to production and research toward gun accessories, leading to an explosion of new products. So much so that I could fill countless pages with all the new odds and ends. Time and my editor's patience not permitting, I've compiled a list of some of my favorite, the most interesting and the most innovative gun accessories shown at SHOT Show this year.
Admittedly, Tactical Walls doesn't produce gun accessories, per se - but what it does make is awesome. Tactical Walls manage to fulfill two crucial needs of the average gun owner with a single product.
Its line of furniture provides shooters with discreet asset protection, by camouflaging gun safes as common household items. While the company's products have been around for a few years, it upgraded its containers' unlocking mechanisms in 2016 to use RFID sensors as opposed to magnets. This means the locks can't be picked with powerful magnets.
Make no mistake, Tactical Walls products aren't a pure substitute for a heavy duty gun safe. They don't protect against fire, and a determined crook aware of the system can bust one of its covert containers open with a crowbar. That said, they have to find the thing first.
My favorite of the company's new gun accessories seen at SHOT Show 2016 is the shelf that hinges open to reveal enough space for a bullpup, SBR or pair of handguns. Interestingly enough, my favorite addition to the shelf isn't the RFID lock, but a pair of coat hooks beneath it.
While a simple addition, the hooks help the shelf further blend in to the surroundings, and most crooks will simply steal the coats beneath or rifle through the pockets, thus completely ignoring the hidden firearm inside of the wooden shelf.
Meprolight Circle Dot Sight
Israeli firearm accessory maker Meprolight is best known for its iconic reflex sights seen on Tavor rifles. However, the company also manufacturers weapon lights, tritium night sights furniture and other gun accessories for both AR15 and AKM pattern rifles.
The newest addition to its gun accessories lineup seen at SHOT Show 2016 is a new take on post and notch style iron sights. Dubbed the Circle Dot Sight, this new fiber optic sight makes a very bold claim: it removes the need for a front sight post. If you're scratching your head over this, you're not alone. The concept is fairly confusing until a shooter has a chance to see it in person. Basically, the fiber optic/tritium rear notch has a small window in the center that, when aimed properly, reveals a glowing green circle surrounding a smaller glowing dot. When the two are aligned, the pistol is aimed straight.
While I haven't had a chance to shoot a firearm with the new sight equipped, I did get a chance to sight in a few blue guns with the Circle Dot Sight mounted. A few things I noticed were that despite feeling and looking like an reflex sight, the CDS isn't one. The window that displays the circle and dot is not transparent or translucent; a shoot must obscure their target with the sights just like a standard set of post and notch irons.
However, it does have two distinct advantages over traditional irons: the CDS removes the disadvantage of firearms with a short sight radius, since the whole unit is located at the rear. Also, by removing the front sight post, concealed carry holders have one less object to worry about snagging on clothing during their draw. Further testing will be necessary to see how the new sights fair in the long run. Meprolight's Circle Dot Sights will be available Q1 2016.
Mason Targets MTS
When choosing between steel and paper targets, shooters must decide whether they want instant audio visual feedback or precise data about shot placement. Mason Target Systems seeks to create the perfect target that combines the instant feedback of steel targets with the precision information a paper one provides.
The new MTS offered by Mason Targets, one of the most innovative gun accessories seen at SHOT Show 2016, sends hit data remotely to an Apple product like the iPad or iPhone up to two miles away, with results accurate to within 1/16 of an inch, thus making it ideal for long range shooters looking for tactile, accurate results at distances far beyond what the human eye can perceive. Mason Targets' MTS should be available later this year. No MSRP is currently available.
Billet Rifle Systems BRS2C
Like its name implies, Billet Rifle Systems specializes in billet AR15 rifle receivers. The angular, ultra-durable receivers BRS manufactures are great-looking receivers that perform as good as they look. BRS's brings the company's tradition of great looks and performance to the gun accessories market with the BRS-2C muzzle brake, seen at SHOT Show 2016.
Featuring an aggressive angular design and recoil-taming dual ports, the BRS2C reduces the felt recoil of the already soft-shooting AR15 to a laughable level. The company also discussed the possibility of a 30 caliber version in the future. The current 5.56mm version is available now.
SPUHR Adjustable G3 Stock
Finnish parts maker Spuhr has been building gun accessories, optic mounts and furniture for European military forces for decades. Recently, it has begun bringing over some of its products for the HK roller-delayed rifle platform to the US.
One in particular that stood out is its new adjustable M4-esque collapsible stock for the G3/HK91. One of the biggest issues small-framed shooters have with the G3, is that the stock is designed for a 7-foot man with orangutan fingers, making weapon manipulation, as well as proper shouldering, very difficult.
While shorter options, like the telescoping paratrooper stock, exist, they don't offer an easy way for shooters to obtain a solid cheek weld. Spuhr remedies this with its M4-inspired stock, which also incorporates a cheek riser, making it ideal for using a G3-pattern rifle with optics. Also, the inline nature of the stock helps reducing muzzle climb and felt recoil, a godsend when wrestling the potent power of the .308 round. While it was seen at SHOT Show 2016, the stock should be available later this year, with a price tag around $300.
SGM Tactical standard-capacity GLOCK magazines
To the uninformed, the release of normal capacity magazines for the Glock series of semi automatic pistols seems pretty, 'ho-hum.' However, those in the know understand that SGM Tactical makes magazines on par with Glock's OEM offerings at a more affordable price, and extra magazines are essential gun accessories.
Manufactured in Korea, these mags are unfortunately often mistaken for KCI magazines that started arriving stateside in the mid-2000s. Unlike the ultra-cheap KCI magazines, the SGM Tactical mags offer the same heat-treated steel reinforcements as OEM magazines, and use a similar high-impact polymer in their construction. SGM states the magazines should be hitting store shelves any day now in 9mm, .40S&W and .45 ACP varieties for around $20.
GG&G Trijicon MRO Mount
Hot on the news of the new and improved Trijicon MRO reflex sight, GG&G of Arizona unveiled a quick detach mount for the new optic.
These new gun accessories consist of a skeletonized riser atop a picatinny mount with a throw lever installed. The accucam lever is oversized for ease of use with gloved or larger hands, and the entire mount is constructed of durable 4140 billet. The entire thing is a matte black color with manganese phosphate coating for superior corrosion resistance.
Also, the riser itself is designed for true cowitnessing with standard height backup iron sights, making it ideal for use with milspec BUIS like GG&G's MAD sights.
Ergo Grip M-Lok Mini-Max Xpress Foregrip
Ergo Grip makes what are unquestionably the most comfortable AR15 grips on the market, which is why both my wife and I have one equipped on our personal rifles. As such, I have a profound respect for Ergo Grip's products and no-nonsense construction and consider them essential gun accessories.
This is why I am exceptionally happy to announce that, for SHOT Show 2016, the company has begun to modify its existing gun accessories to interface with M-Lok rails. In particular, the oddly named Mini-Max Xpress Lever Forward Grip is a favorite of select-fire junkies for its resemblance to H&K's MP5k foregrip.
Unlike the full-sized foregrips, the Mini-Max is built from solid aluminum and features a lightning fast throw lever for quick attachment or removal. Also, since it's made from such tough materials, it makes a great standoff device, allowing shooters to put their body weight against a barrier without concern for breaking the part. The grip should be available in the new few weeks on Ergo Grip's website.
While many companies released hundreds of new gun accessories and additions to various firearms this year at SHOT Show 2016, there were far too many for any single individual to cover. The reduction in AR-15-exclusive gun accessories and branching out toward gun accessories for other platforms demonstrates the fluidity of the firearms aftermarket.
For shooters who have an unreasonable love affair with roller-delayed guns, the increase in gun accessories for them as well as sound suppressors is a wonderful thing. Now, if we can see some affordable MP5SD clones for SHOT Show 2017, I can call my bank tomorrow and have them empty my accounts, because the money's already spent.