So many products, so little time…
There were literally tens of thousands of items packed into the Sands Convention Center. Even after four days I didn’t have a chance to see them all. Not all of the items were guns and ammo. There was a plethora of peripheral products tucked away. Here are a few things, in no particular order, that intrigued me.
Browe, which manufactures high-end optical systems on the order of Trijicon is now working hand in glove with RS Regulate, a maker of superb mounting systems for the AK platform.
The result is the new BTO-005G-RS, a low-profile mounting surface for the 4×32 BROWE optic that was specifically designed for the RS Regulate AK-300 mounting system.
The AK-300 system allows a user to adjust the position of an optic directly over the bore, and front-to-back. The AK-300 system features a titanium-based, low-profile lock system that does not protrude from the mount or into the trigger guard area. Browe manufactures a terrific product, equal to or even better than Trijicon but is dwarfed by the latter’s marketing prowess. RS Regulate dominates the third party AK mount space so a collaboration with Browe, a company seeking to get into the AK market, is a natural fit. I’ve used RS Regulate products and highly recommend them. Price is $1,465 for the Browe scope and $119 for the RS Regulate mount.
SportEar manufactures a variety of hearing protection devices such as plugs and muffs. Not the sexiest topic but keeping your hearing intact is incredibly important. I’m always looking for a better products and have experimented with all manner of plugs and digital devices.
I don’t particularly like plugs because I find them (surprise) too intrusive. I’ve come to the conclusion that good old fashioned muffs, combined with a foam plug are the most comfortable and effective solution. The problem is that the old fashioned muffs tend to be a bit bulbous. They often get in the way of the rifle stock and also aren’t always ergonomically correct.
You’d think that something as straight forward as an ear muff would be simple to design but you’d be wrong. Enter the SportEar M-4 which protects up to 25dB. It’s slimmer than my “Pro Ears Gold” and extremely comfortable. It has a very effective, battery powered system that magnifies ambient sound when you need to hear. The connecting band is “springier” than any other product I’ve ever tried, without being irritatingly tight. Even if it didn’t have the directional mics and volume control f for nothing else, I would consider it for the comfort factor. Price is $109.
Now that I’m a born again Glock fanboy, I spent a great deal of time walking the floor of the Sands Convention Center, squeezing the life out of Glock custom triggers where ever I could find them. I hit the jackpot when I discovered a trigger from Agency Arms out of Camarillo, California. Agency Arms specializes in building race guns but they also manufacture the “Agency Trigger” which you can swap out on your own.
The secret sauce, says spokesman Aiden Ozuna, is that their fire control group utilizes mostly OEM parts, ie the striker spring, return spring, etc, so as to keep it reliable. It’s adjustable like other custom Glock triggers. I tried it on their showroom G17. It had a wee bit of take up, breaking at about 4.5 pounds. What it didn’t have was the spongy take up so typical of a stock Glock. Price is $150.
Talon Grips were yet another product engineered for the Glock crowd. (The company also makes them for a host of other brands). If you want to improve the texture of your grip, this might be the ticket.
Essentially they make an adhesive, membrane-like material, 4 mm thick, that wraps around grips and well as the base of the (Glock) magazine. Essentially you paste it on like wall paper and if you like it, heat it up with a hairdryer.
Voila, your grip has a brand new feel. Of course, grip texture is a very personal thing and Talon makes two varieties–one with a sort of rubbery/tacky texture and another that resembles a kind of mild, elastic sand paper.
I preferred the first version and thought it a huge improvement over the stock Glock. Price is $17.99.
Jagemann, a 70-year old Manitowoc, Wisconsin-based company has introduced a series of new “JAG” polymer magazines for the Glock 17 and 19. (They have existing products built for the 1911 9mm and .22). Polymer magazines are a of course a relatively new innovation and would be of interest to the Glock freaks as well as competitors in Bullseye, IPSC and other areas. Jagemann’s which produces applied material products for the automobile market, sells components for auto fuel systems that by definition heat and crash resistant.
According to the Jagemann spokesman the magazines have improved follower and feed lip geometry which impacts reliability. Polymner adds lubricity that metal doesn’t have and the products are available in different colors—the kind of bling that customers who highly modify Glocks love. Jagemann’s plans to market the products to the competition community. The company has manufactured magazines for rifles and pistols as an OEM so the entrée into this arena is not new for them.
Jagemann also manufactures brass casings. Sure they are a commodity, but there’s very little competition in this space. They’ve been an OEM producer for years, distributing their product via Brownells and Crow Shooting Supply but have plans to sell directly to the customer. I just started using their products and will report on this in the near future.
If anybody ever discounted gun folks as narcissistic, wing nuts who could care less about the welfare of their community, they would be very wrong.
One of the most intriguing items I saw at the show was the Spectre80, an 80%” polymer frame for a Glock. Call it a Glock clone. Manufactured by a company called Polymer80, this product comes complete with a jig, drill bits and end-mill bit kit, plus a locking block. The material is glass filled polymer—a proprietary blend. The rear rails are polymer.
Essentially it is compatible with the Glock17, Gen3 3-pin parts kit and upper receiver.
The co-founder, David Borges, who cut his teeth in the IT space said he decided to go with a G17 system because of it offers three different calibers– 9mm, S&W 40 cal and the SIG 357–depending on the slide chosen by the user to finish the pistol.
Borges noted that on the 100% or finished firearm side, there are very few custom manufactured Glock compatible frames available for purchase. Naturally, all of them require an FFL. Currently there are no 80% Glock-compatible frames available anywhere in the world.
Says Borges, “This will allow our do-it-yourself hobbyists and firearms enthusiasts to have the best possible experience building their own firearms.” This product should be available by the beginning of March. The kit is currently priced at $135 but will be $149.
I can’t discuss SHOT without mentioning the Open House that has become a tradition at Las Vegas-based Rifle Dynamics around the time of the show. Jim Fuller, the founder of RD coupled the event, which displayed a number of his very cool AK builds, with a fundraiser that attracted some of the biggest names in the AK world.
It was also attended by a number of us regular folks who simply wanted to contribute to a good cause.
The cause was AIP, aka Awareness is Prevention, a Las Vegas-based 501-3C. Awareness is Prevention” was created to educate the public on all forms of Human Trafficking, including Sex Trafficking and Employment Trafficking.
By sponsoring Events, Concerts, and Lectures they reach the youth, who are most vulnerable, as well as their parents and protectors. AIP also promotes the sponsorship of Safehouses, Rehabilitation Centers and Special Clinics for treating traumatized victims.
Kudos to Jim for raising $15,000 and the many vendors that contributed to his raffle. Jim said the $15k was three times the estimated amount that the organizers anticipated raising.
Photos courtesy of SportEar, Agency Trigger, Talon Grips, Jagemann, Polymer80, Jim Fuller and Rob Kay.
Rob Kay writes about firearms for On Target Hawaii and is the author of How to Buy an AK-47.