SHOT Show 2018: A Theme Emerged

Exhibition Shows like SHOT always seem to develop and underlying theme. It’s never announced but there is a feel to how and where the technology is flowing. It’s not even a deliberate direction beyond consumer interest and trying to be predictive.

The overall theme is an industry classic: Evolution not Revolution.

The industry leaders are honing their craft and their products to finer and finer levels of usability and the consumer/end user market communication has been a key to that.

LPV (Low Power Variable) Optics are a rapidly broadening field with offerings from every major manufacturer

U.S. Optics newest offering. A 1-6x34mm wire reticle LPV sitting on a Desert Tech MDR
Schmidt and Bender

This is the technological direction of future optics and LPF (Low Power Fixed) optics like the Trijicon ACOG are going to go into a retention space with many other proven technologies. They LPF though won’t gain any new ground. They have their territory covered. New ground belongs to the LPV’s

In their field we will start seeing the 1-6 and 1-8 optics start to achieve shorter and lighter variants.

U.S. Optics B-10, bridging the LPV/DMR optic gap

Lights are following a similar trend. Lumens are trending between 400-800 on most lights and they’re gaining ground in end user sustainablity. More fuel options with rechargeables gaining ground. More programming options so the user can select the settings they want. More lockout features to prevent unintentional activation and resource waste.

Streamlight TLR-8, new light laser in a whole new field for them

Light options have never been better.

ASP’s handhelds, nearly all models are USB rechargeable

Firearms are the ultimate expression of the Evolution>Revolution. Nothing is truly new but plenty are fine refinements on proven concepts.

The SC is a refinement of the PDW which is a refinement of the 16. Each iteration incorporating more current and future projected users

FN, as an example, has several upgrades on the SC that will migrate back to the standard SCAR lineup as time and opportunity permit. The new lower receivers and the non-reciprocating charging handle I’m hoping make the cut sooner rather than later.

And on the SCAR-SC, when asked if there would be a commercial release I was answered “It would make sense as the next logical step in the offering.” but it was also an indefinite time uncertain delivery. They won’t be doing one… until they do.

FAL’s classic and modern. DSA is always a good bet.

Most off the wall concepts like the FA Reformation are exercises in theoretical engineering to get around a problem or nuisance that become commercial as opposed to core practical gear. It’s a lot of fun that we can do it even if there isn’t a practical demand.

Strait lands and groves and a Nerf Bullet. If it’s stupid but it works it isn’t stupid.

Overall the slump and leveling off in the firearms market has resulted in companies focusing on using their core products in new ways to satisfy demand and parallel emerging tech.

But on occasion something newer and cool does jump out.

Aklys Defense Prototype for a full integral AK suppressor assembly that remains auto regulating and won’t gas the shooter.
Keith Finch
Keith is the former Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. He got told there was a mountain of other things that needed doing, so he does those now and writes here when he can. A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. Teaching since 2009, he covers local concealed carry courses, intermediate and advanced rifle courses, handgun, red dot handgun, bullpups, AKs, and home defense courses for civilians, military client requests, and law enforcement client requests.