Late Thursday afternoon I achieved my goal of walking every aisle at the SHOT Show. Here are the five new products I'm most excited to test in 2011:
Final Approach Fully Flocked Lessers
This is my favorite FA introduction and probably the best overall new decoy I saw at SHOT given its realism and price point. The life-size full-body is fully flocked (the entire body, not just the head), very nicely carved and reasonably priced at $200 per half dozen.
SportDOG TEK 1.0LT
The first GPS/e-collar combo ever available as a single unit, this new collar should have owners of pointing breeds and hounds absolutely giddy. It allows the user to monitor up to 12 dogs at a time at a range of up to seven miles, and the accompanying e-collar provides up to 100 levels of stimulation. It's an innovative design that will retail for $700.
The Vinci's chamber expands to 3 1/2 inches to become the Super Vinci. Benelli has also improved upon one of the few things I didn't like about the original--the aesthetics of its oval-shaped trigger guard. The Super Vinci's lines are a nice improvement. Also in the Benelli family, the Stoeger 3500 is perhaps an even more exciting introduction. It's a 3 1/2-inch inertia gun--basically a "poor man's Benelli"—retailing for just $627. That's going to undercut much of the semi-auto market.
Winchester Blind Side
The "Hex" steel shot in Winchester's new "Blind Side" duck load is squared off on the edges, allowing it to be packed together like bricks inside the shell. According to Winchester, the shot takes up less space than conventional pellets, allowing room for a two-piece, cushioned wad and enough powder for high velocities. I've yet to put Blind Side to paper or mallard, but American Rifleman managing editor Aaron Carter has, and frankly, I can barely get him to shut up about how much he likes it.
Tanglefree Migration Edition Mallards
If Tanglefree keeps rolling out decoys like this, the company won't be best known for its decoy line and rigging systems much longer. Migration Edition decoys feature flocked heads and butts and are foam-filled. Not that I would ever accidentally shoot a decoy (at least not twice in the same day), but foam-filled plastic is the next best thing to cork in its ability to absorb such punishment. While I have yet to test these decoys, foam also usually rides nicely in the water. Is this the most realistic flocked mallard on the market? Nah. But a package of six drakes (2 resters, 2 uprights and 2 skimmers) retails for just $120—it's darn tough to beat a foam-filled, flocked mallard in that price range.