Images and Reporting by Barbara Eldredge
The Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show is a trade-only event and we were lucky enough to be able to attend and cover some of the newest design innovations from the category. Here's a quick photo tour of some of the trends, ideas and innovations from 2012 (and don't miss the timelapse of the show at the end!)
MEDIA DAY AT THE RANGE
The day before the SHOT Show opens its doors, Media Day at the Range provides a preview for that year's best new products while giving members of the press an opportunity to shoot and test the best new products for the season.
Charter Arms Chic Lady - Several smaller handguns were released onto the market this year including this little revolver made by Charter Arms. Marketed specifically towards women, the "Chic Lady" could easily be slipped into a purse. However, I found the double-action trigger pull to be a little difficult and the recoil more powerful than expected. I question how many casual gun users would train with it to the degree it would take to become comfortable wielding such a gun. Cuteness isn't everything.
Gatling Gun - An American invention, the Gatling Gun was the first successfully produced machine gun. It is a weapon that transformed the idea of automated mass production into automated mass killing. At the end of the 19th century, Gatlings were most often used to quell opposition to colonial expansion. This replica was brought to the SHOT Show by Colt as a promotional tool and was so popular they ran out of ammunition half way through the Media Day at the Range.
Graphic Gun Tattoo - The tattoos of this firearms company art director caught my eye.
Beretta Rifles - The middle firearm shown here has a rifle stock made of differently colored wood laminate that has been cut to emphasize contour. Its aesthetic is a long way from the stock of the military-esque injection-molded number on the front of the rack.
SHOT SHOW FLOOR
The SHOT Show was over 300,000 square feet of booths promoting firearms and equipment for hunting, shooting sports, the military and security personnel.
Micro Desert Eagle - Magnum Research capitalized on the popularity of its Desert Eagle handgun by producing a shrunken version that fits in the palm of a hand.
Dog Packs - There was a surprising variety of products exhibited at the SHOW Shot including several booths dedicated to canine accessories. The harnesses on display here are intended for service dogs and hunting dogs. Be sure to note the goggles, ear protection, and tiny dog boots worn by doggekin in camo.
Smith & Wesson Governor - Smith & Wesson bucked the trend towards small .380 caliber handguns with the introduction of their "Governor," one of the largest and most powerful revolvers on the market. The gun is unique in that it can fire 3 very different types of ammunition: .420 2 1/2" shotgun shells, .45 ACP, and .45 Colt. Compared with the Micro Desert Eagle, it's a monster!
Kimber Solo Pistol - The Kimber Solo is another small handgun released this year. Considered a high-end armorer, Kimber's firearms are well made with more expensive materials like the rosewood grips seen here.
Targets - There were a large number of targets displayed at the SHOT Show including this waist-up trio. I would hazard to say that after zombies, the next most popular target theme is what I like to call "ambiguous terrorist other." Someone should conduct a semiological study of firing range targets. I am a little disturbed that the keffiyeh has become shorthand for "terrorist."
GA Precision Rifles - The middle rifle show is another example of the zombie-themed products exhibited at this year's SHOT Show.
Colt Grenade Launcher Detail - I did not get a chance to shoot the Colt M203 Grenade Launcher but I found it curious that the engraving on the side is "Launcher, Grenade"—as though the weapon was being cited in an MLA-style bibliography. Just me? Can you tell that I'm writing my thesis on firearms right now?
Stress Vest - Ever play laser tag? The "Stress Vest" is basically a laser tag system for combat training. The difference? It shocks you when you're shot. "Stress Vest" reps were only too happy to give me a demonstration. It wasn't particularly pleasant. But one can see why it would be beneficial in creating a better simulation of high-stress gun fights.
Walther Competition Rifles - The level of adjustability of high-end sharp shooting rifles never ceases to amaze. I find these objects incredibly sculptural and modern-looking.
Tactical Electronics Helicopter - This surveillance helicopter by Tactical Electronics is computer-controlled and has been used by law enforcement.
CAA Handgun to Carbine Conversion - The CAA RONI converts a pistol (most often a Glock) into a short rifle known as a carbine. According to a CAA rep, the handgun fits into the converter "like Russian doll" but I think of it more like a handgun bionic suit. *Note to those of you interested in pistol-carbine conversions: you are required to register the weapon as a rifle, not a handgun.
Mako Group Handgun to Carbine Conversion - This minimal carbine conversion kit takes advantage of the hollow space in a Glock's handle to secure a should stock. The front grip secures easily over the handgun's barrel.
Fab Defense Handgun to Carbine Conversion - Another pistol-carbine conversion kit!
Quick Clot - The implications of needing something called "QuikClot" were a little disconcerting. I felt nervous for the adventurous stick figures on its packaging.
Phillips Machining - Phillips had a booth at the SHOT Show, selling its injection molding and prototyping services to would-be gun inventors.
Turkey Decoys - Why do I find this so amusing?
More from the SHOT Show 2012:
Barbara Eldredge is a design writer and researcher living in New York City. An MFA candidate in SVA's Design Criticism program, Eldredge has spent the past year exploring the relationship between design, guns, museums and morality for her forthcoming master's thesis.