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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

19 January 2016

SHOT Show 2016: Seen & Heard on Day 1

Sore feet, fast food, polished pitches for uninspired products: These were just some of the hazards your MILITARY TECHNOLOGY crew (i.e. Sally Passey, Andre Forkert, and Dennis-P. Merklinghaus) waded through in order to report on the best products to come out of 2016's SHOT Show. Still, the world's premier expo for firearms and related products, this year's SHOT show saw more than 1,600 companies vying for the attention of 64,000 attendees. This is where buyers from retail shops, wholesalers and the government, along with the media, get to see what will hit the pipeline in the coming year. And it was ENORMOUS, to say the least.

This year, manufacturers said they have adjusted production levels, tweaked their product lines and concentrated on innovation to attract attention in a market that is slowly coming back.

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Unity Tactical displayed a unique pressure switch. Developed in partnership with TNVC, Unity's patent-pending T.A.P.S. comprises a rail-mounted, low-profile polymer body with two rubber buttons and interchangeable bases that can be swapped to mount to 1913 Picatinny, KeyMod or M-LOK rails. Its wire leads are removable/replaceable and can be set up to run SureFire, Steiner/LDI or L3/Insight lights and lasers. Finally, the buttons are programmable in modes such as momentary on, constant on, single-press on, double-press on, etc.

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IWI US showcased a lineup of 7.62x39mm GALIL ACE rifles (incl. 7.62x51mm) and JERICHO pistols. Based on the design of the GALIL, which was based on the Kalashnikov, the new GALIL ACE uses the same trigger and operating system as the Kalashnikov but deviates greatly elsewhere. The reciprocating charging handle is now on the left side of the rifle. A top Picatinny rail allows for attachment of sights and accessories, and an ambidextrous safety aids in ergonomics.

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Salient Arms International (SAI), known for high-end customisation of firearms, highlighted the GRY. Its Jailbreak muzzle system redirects and cools exhaust gasses whether they come from a brake, flash-hider or even a bare muzzle. The result is reduced flash, recoil, muzzle lift and concussion. The system can be completely removed if you want to use the native muzzle device or use a suppressor; SAI says it is working on a suppressor that's the same size as the Jailbreak muzzle module. The GRY handguard itself is a quick-release device that's locked in place with a lever and held in tight tolerance with no zero shift thanks to SAI's proprietary eight-point-of-contact barrel nut. GRY's barrel uses a unique flat, square-flute geometry for greater stiffness and heat dissipation than traditional barrel fluting.

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Amongst many others, Benchmade showcased the Ambidextrous Push Button (APB) opening mechanism. It comes in two configurations, an automatic function and a spring-assist version, both currently available on the 6800 model knife. The idea is to allow actuation with either hand. There are buttons on both sides of the knife, so regardless of whether you are using your strong or support-side hand, you can access your blade. The internals are beefy, and the 154CM stainless steel drop-point blade locks into place solidly.

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The Spyderco FB34GP Reverse is a fixed-blade designed to be adaptable to any fighting styles by virtue of its reversible handle. The Reverse's ergonomic handle consists of two precision-machined textured G-10 scales that attach to the tang of the blade with stainless steel bolts. When the handle is attached so that the blade's cutting edge is oriented back toward the user, the knife is optimised for reverse-edge tactics. By flipping the scales, the grip is reversed and supports edge-out approach to knife skills. The Reverse's blade is full-flat ground from corrosion-resistant CTS BD1 stainless steel and features a slightly concave hawkbill profile for aggressive cutting performance. A specially-designed, custom-molded Boltaron sheath holds the Reverse securely in either configuration and includes a versatile G-Clip attachment that supports fully adjustable belt and inside-the-waistband carry.

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Leupold brought along the paradigm-shifting D-EVO inline, prismatic 6x magnifier. When combined with a non-magnified, red-dot optic, it creates a supercharged 1-6x20mm red-dot reflex optic with a CMR-W reticle. The D-EVO optical magnifier is a very clever optic that gives the user an almost instant switch between 1x and 6x views. With proper cheek weld, what you see is similar to a bifocal lens from your granddad's bifocal glasses. From top to bottom: a clear 1x view up top, then a blurry thin line, then a 6x magnified image. Without changing cheek weld, you can transition between 1x and 6x with just a slight nod of your head. The D-EVO has a zigzag shape when viewed from above and places the objective lens offset to the right side of the red-dot just above the ejection port. Through a series of prisms and lenses, the image gathered by the objective banks left and exits a small ocular lens that is below and directly behind the red-dot's window. It is completely self-contained and must be zeroed separately from the red-dot.

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Steiner eOptics showcased the new 500-lumen, white-light/green laser combination weapon light. The light can be activated from either side, has windage and elevation adjustment screws for the aiming laser on the same side, and runs for a couple of hours on a single CR123 battery that can be changed without taking the light off the gun. The SBAL-PL's switchology is simple. A single press activates the light and laser together, and a slightly longer press-and-release activates just the laser. The activation function can be reversed, but only at the factory. While the SBAL-PL is clearly at home attached to the rail of a mid- to full-size pistol, Steiner says the 4oz, waterproof, aircraft-aluminum "6061-T6/MIL-SPEC Type III hardcoat anodized" light will work just fine on a rifle. The light is slated for release in a black finish only, but Steiner did have a tan light on hand that could be made if demand proves strong.

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The All-New Strike Force 8.0 boot featuring Armourgel was showcased for the tactical footwear world. The new boot features the first ever use of this new energy absorbing material, according to Magnum. The material stiffens upon impact to provide protection, but flexes when protection is not required – combining safety and comfort. The Strike Force also features a high-performance multi-surface traction delivering, Michelin rubber outsole inspired by the Michelin Power Rain tire and Michelin Pilot Alpin tire for stability in the toughest conditions.

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Oversight Shooting Technologies' See All Open Sight is a single-element design where precise eye position is no longer necessary. Even if your eye is off-center with the sight or even the gun’s barrel, the bullet will strike where the crosshair is centered. Just pick up your target, and the sight will do the rest. The single plane of focus combined with an edge glow reticle, means that if you’re in low light, you’ll no longer lose your sight picture when you focus on the target. Available light fills the fiber optic element with a fluorescent green that makes the crosshairs visible, but does not wash out the target.

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Debuting at SHOT, COAST showcases ground-breaking FDX300 and FDX302 knives that feature a patent pending locking system, combining the strength and simplicity of the Frame-Lock with the added safety of the patented, adjustable tension Double-Lock system. The new, imaginative locking systems are combined to make an adjustable locking system that is easy to use and provides unequaled safety. When the knife blade is opened, the Frame-Lock automatically engages which locks the blade open. For added safety, push the switch on the top of the handle forward to engage the patent pending Double-Lock system. Tough, durable FDX blades are rigorously tested for sharpness and constructed of 7Cr17 stainless steel. The blades are precision grounded, heat-treated, cryogenically treated and tempered for unmatched strength and flexibility.

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