SHOT Show: The Palace of Kewl

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I have just returned from the 2011 SHOT Show. Sometimes referred to as the Mecca of all things gunny, the SHOT Show is literally the Palace of Kewl if things that shoot turn your crank. I confess that I do not look forward to vacating my idyllic abode and descending into the bowels of Sin City for the better part of a week. However, virtually every year I find innovations and products that stir my gun juices. Here’s a quick synopsis of some of the kewl stuff I saw at Gun Mecca:


Look out Judge, the Governor is gunnin’ fer ya! The Taurus Judge series of .45 Colt/.410-bore revolvers have enjoyed a tremendous success. For many years Smith & Wesson has endured an assault from Taurus producing knockoffs—often with viable improvements at a lower price point. So why shouldn’t the folks of Springfield push back? Enter the Governor, a six-shot (as opposed to five) revolver based upon a stretched L-frame offering not only .410 shotshell performance but .45 Colt and .45 ACP capability as well. I had the opportunity to put some four cylinders of ammo through the new Governor during the Media Day event preceding the SHOT Show, and my initial impressions are very favorable. I have been promised one of the first examples of this new revolver and will have a thorough evaluation ASAP.


Guess who’s back, and welcome! For nearly as many years as I have been attending the SHOT Show, the iconic company of Colt has paid little more than lip service toward its civilian gun customers. Thankfully—very thankfully—the company is now making a sincere effort to service the civilian gun market. Look to hear about the efforts of this company to satisfy the demand for not only its classic series of guns, but cutting-edge innovation as well. A hint: I’ve got at least three single actions coming to me for review.


Zeiss quality without having to mortgage your home: Nearly four decades ago I immersed myself into the quality optics of Carl Zeiss Optical when I spent $389 (at the time a small fortune) on a binocular. The big beef on German and Austrian optics has always been the cost. Zeiss is now offering some of its superb optics at a more competitive price point. First up is the 18-45x65 Compact Field Spotter, a spotting scope offering Zeiss quality optics at about half the MSRP of its Conquest series. This spotting scope is targeted toward the backpacking hunter. I’ll be wringing it out later this year and report my results.


For the handloader: Two of this industry giants—Lyman and RCBS—have some new products making it far easier to make our favorite thunder-sticks go bang! Lyman has a new case preparation multi-tool that includes large and small primer pocket cleaners, a neck-lubing station and inside and outside de-burring stations. RCBS is introducing an AR series of reloading dies to cater to tactical rifle—or any semi-auto—shooters that feature small-base sizing dies and taper-crimp dies to ensure reliable feeding. Since I am starting to shoot some three-gun matches, I’ll be giving these dies a whirl, along with the Powder Trickler-2, basically a height adjustable standard trickler with an extended powder tube to accommodate the relatively bulky electronic scales that are so popular now.


Kimber’s new micro 9 mm: While visiting with friends at the Kimber booth, Aaron Cummins placed a new miniature semi-auto pistol in my hand. My hands aren’t that big, but they virtually swallowed this gun. I thought it was a .380 ACP, but Aaron corrected me, “9 mm.” Christened the Solo, it is but 5 1/2 inches long and less than 4 inches tall. The Solo is a single-action, striker-fired pistol with a trigger pull of about 7 pounds. Small enough for concealed carry by even a small-statured person, it offers a considerable amount of stopping power for a pistol of that size.


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