Tuesday, January 27, 2015

2015 SHOT Show afterthoughts

1. The return to normal and companies adjust to it.

At 2014 SHOT Show, many companies had plenty of interesting designs to present. But this year many opted to show redressed variants of pre-existing models. Innovation in firearm industry is not going to be spectacular every single year and this year can best be described as the year companies adjust back to the normal.

We've been spoiled by last 10 years where an innovation was followed by another, year after year. With market settling down due to over supply and decrease in demand, companies are focusing on solidifying their positions rather than invest in new product development.

It's unclear how long this trend will last and how it will play out. There were some companied that brought out some interesting products, but overall it seemed like companies were playing safe.

2. AKs are coming, AKs are coming

One of the most noticable trend was resurgence of AK. Starting with Magpul's AK furnitures, there were several companies offering AK variants or platforms that accept AK magazine.

Several reasons that would have pushed manufacturers in this direction are,
1) Saturation of AR market - AR market benefited the most from innovation in last 10 years. Accessories, quality, innovation, and market demands were all focused on AR platform. Now that the market is saturated, manufacturers seem to look for under developed market, the AK market

2) Increase in demand for AK - With two Great Runs and last year's sanction on Russia, which affected Kalashnikov Concern, AKs were the hot topic and it translated to more sales. Price has been decreasing for sometime and people who waited for the right time to buy are trickling in.

According to several reports, Kalashnikov is looking to build AK in US, thus bypassing the sanction. Radom is on the record saying they will import Polish AKs, with 922(r) compliance. The market seems to be ready to see improvements in AK platform

3. Rifle caliber pistols are everywhere

This trend has been going on for some time, but it is in full swing. Just about any AR manufacturer known has some sort of pistol version available. CZ USA is importing CZ Scorpion EVO. IWI is bringing Galil pistols. The popularity of such guns has been gaining traction and it seems to be pass the critical point for acceptance.

There has been more supporting parts, and it is easier for foreign manufacturers to import. It would be interesting how things go from here. Recent ATF's letter on Sig Brace might have put some damper on the market but it doesn't seem to be a critical punch.

4. 1911s are everywhere too

Almost any company that makes pistol seems to be adding 1911s. This year CZ USA jumped in to the market with their own brand, not via Dan Wesson. Lesser known are Taurus and Caracal. 1911s are labor-intensive product, but no company seems to resist the freely available blue print and almost non-existent development cost.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Zenith Firearms/MKE

ZQI/MKE from Turkey is importing their HK rifle clones. There are various clones, from 9mm versions to 5.56, 7.62 versions.

Expected prices are(subject to change, these are estimates)
MP5 clone (Z41): $1599
MP5K clone(Z5k pistol) $1849
Z5RS: $1899
Z5P: $1899

Z41(7.62) rifle: $1649
Z43 pistol(5.56 pistol): $1699
Z43 rifle(5.56): $1599

Overall the worksmanship is ok and it will be interesting how these hold up. Turkey has been making clones of HK rifles for sometime so they have the technical skills.


Trijicon had RMRs for the new Glock MOS lines and Nighthawk 1911


Curve has been a bit of a laughing stock since the news came out so it had to be mentioned. Here you can see the left side of the gun. Very simple and magazine is not drop-free, and there are no magazine releases. You have to grab both sides of the magazine at the bottom and pull it out.

Right hand side has clip for holstering. You can see the light button near the front.

The Curve definitely lives up to its name with this vewi from back. The grip really doesn't feel that bad in either hand. However there is no telling how this will feel like when you actually shoot the gun


P2X Fury with Intellibeam is the new product that adjusts its brightness depending on the distance. There is a small tube-like sensor in the lens. This is a rather intelligent dsign to counter problems with high lumens causing flooding in close quarters environment.

Titan Plus is a small light you can put on your key ring. And it emits whopping 300 lumens. Its brother Titan emits 125 lumens and only runs 30 minutes on high, but can be a great alternative too. Price is at $59.95.

XC1 is the newest weapon mounted light from Surefire and is competing with some other products aleady on the market aimed at reducing weight and volume. It is way lighter than X200, 300 or 400, and seems like a great addition to pistols. It uses push buttons like X-series, but to have it on constant on, you have to push the toggle switch on side.

Smith & Wesson

S&W decided to add some flavors to its M&P line and FDE colors are available. But what is even more interesting(or WTF-reaction inducing) one is carbon fiber finish. It looks really tacky, but the grip actually feels a bit more grippier than the standard polymer frame. There no excuses for the ugliness, but it is better than factory polymer frame and doesn't get too grippy.

There is also M&P .22 Compact

and ported M&P 9L


Silencer Co had a nice enclosed booth and if you look at the picture there is an interesting gun. The second from left is Crye Precision's gun from last year except that it is shortened and according to some other reports, it is a proof-of-concept for integrating Salvo 12 to a short barreled shotgun. The gun itself is just a plastic print out but who know what the future will hold.

SIG Sauer

MCX carbine is the 5.56 carbine SIG is coming up with this year and the aesthetics is something people are talking about. Shown here with SIG's new scope and suppressor, you can see some interesting features. The sotkc is skeletonized and can fold to left.

Upper is monolithic. Also, the hand guard is actually a bit like sheet metal with KeyMod featured in it. The bottom part can be very easily pulled out by pushing the front takedown pin out. There is some skepticism on how well this could hold against harsher use, but it is somet ingenious idea.

Here is the photo of bag where you can carry a lot of what you need and more.

MPX is the 9mm carbine people are waiting for and pistol version can be seen here with the new SIG red dot sight.

SIG Sauer has been making their way in to suppressor market and has been picking up former AAC developers. Here's the result. This suppressor has a latch. First, you torque the suppressor a little(clokwise from shooter's point-of-view) and when it hits a nub, rotate it back a little, push the lever down and rotate out the suppressor clockwise.

You also get this nifty muzzle to mount it on


Ruger has several new handguns out but LC9s is definitely an eye catcher. If there is one thing that can be said for Ruger, they know what customers want.

Here's some other ones mentioned


Magpul is clearly the market leader in polymer accessories and they are making their way in to AK furniture market. Here is the fixed buttstock, non-reinforced AK magazine, grip, and M-LOK handguard.

The more fancy version is with the folding stock, steel-reinforced magazine and longer handguard. The metal-reinforced magazine has a stud at the back so the magazine won't be damaged by repeated use. A simple and effective solution.

The AK folding stock folds to right and length of pull can be adjusted as well. It will not impede with charging handle when folded.

Longer handguard is really nice and users would have to get rid of handguard mount on AKs but this handguard is a vast improvement.

M700 Stock is nice addition that Magpul has been working on and works very similar to their shotgun stocks

You can see the are for detachable magazine reinforced with metal

D-60 drum magazine will take over larger capacity magazine. It can be loaded like a regular magazine instead of opening the back and trying to put rounds in it like the old ones. You have to use the lever that is just around where the staff's left thumb is to relieve the spring pressure.

Glock Magazine is also a nice addition(You can see PMAG Sand on the right and yes, you can paint it anyway you like it). Unlike the factory Glock magazine, it only has round window for 17th round, but the base plate makes it far better than the factory Glock mag with those tiny wings.


D-EVO is the new scope that allows shooter to use red dot and 6X scope. Leupold gave D-EVO a nickname of 'Z scope' due to its looks. Shooter would first install a RDS like Leupold LCO(or other similar products) and then install D-EVO behind it.

From shooter's perspective, just moving eyeball a little allows user to utilize either the red dot or D-EVO's 6x magnified view.

One short-coming is the short eye relief of the D-EVO at about 4 inches. If your head is not correctly positioned, you can't see through D-EVO well and it doesn't take much for that to happen.

You can see the photo from The Firearm Blog



Jerico pistols are back in US with slightly redesigned frames. The polymer is nice and all the models on the floor had safety on frame instead of slide. They should be available in March

Galil Ace
This is a nice little addition to IWI line of products. It takes 7.62X39mm and will come in folding stocks, fixed stocks, and pistol form as well


Glock came out with MOS configuration series this year for models 34,35, and 40(10mm). They were geared towards competition market and hunting market. User can replace plates in the cutout to mount different optics


Geissele came out with a new AK trigger. It is really nice especially compared to stock AK trigger.

6-second mount was developed for a counter-terrorism group and the name comes from the fact that everything would be over in 6 seconds in a tube. This mount is very nice and it will be commercially available sometime this year.


FN has FNS9c, striker version of their FNS handguns. Priced at $399, it comes with 3 magazines. When seated, biggest magazine equals to grip of the full-size FNS9, and there are smaller versions, one with extension and the other without.

CZ/Dan Wesson

Scorpion pistol has been generating some buzz and here is Angus Hobdell showing the bad ass expression that automatically happens when you hold the gun. MSRP is $849 and although the picture only has a 10-round magazine there are 30 round magazines for it too.

ok, one more look

Of course 805 Bren has been turned in to a pistol too and it also replaced the old European paddle magazine well with STANAG/push button magazine release. You can see 805 Bren in various configurations as well as the Scorpion

Proprietary sights are quite nice. It feels like HK's diopter sights but the ring is not in the front, but in the back and it will be inside of the front sight blades.

Another one that caught my eye was CZ 1911 A1. When the news broke out it seemed like another gun manufacturer was jumping in to 1911 market. CZ said they were making this mostly based from M1911A1 specs and is priced at mid $800s which fills Dan Wesson's lower line.

When you actually handle one it is something. The first time you rack the slide you will feel the slide moving very nice and clean. Last time this kind of feeling happened was when S&W 1911 was first introduced and I had chance to try it out. The slide and frame are really tight and finish is also pretty nice. It seems like this can be a strong contender for the basic 1911 market.

40th anniversary of CZ 75B means another anniversary version. Price is a bit over $1300 to the best of my recollection.

Dan Wesson Silverback is the new addtion to Dan Wesson line, and will go for $1883, and Valkyrie will go for $2012