SHOT SHOW 2018
Each year the shooting industry converges on Las Vegas for our annual “Shooting & Hunting Outdoor Trade Show.” This is for all intents and purposes the functional equivalent to the Detroit Auto Show for guns. Literally, all manufacturers have some sort of presence at the show, and they are not only looking for dealers to sell their existing product lines, but also unveiling their new products for the next year.
This is also a bit of a political gathering as well; at least, it has been in the past. Politics were decidedly subdued this time around… probably had something to do with the perceived lack of an existential threat to our industry as a result of the new administration.
In fact, there was a subdued atmosphere to the whole show.
It was crowded… no change there from last year. But the buzz and excitement of prior years was just not there.
There were, however, some pretty cool things that deserve to be discussed:
If you arrived from the Newsletter, start reading from here.
Sig Sauer P365
So, Sig Sauer has developed a new striker fire handgun that seeks to compete directly with the Glock 43. It is small and sleek. From what I can tell from a few dry fire rotations, they seem to have included a SRT trigger as a stock item. From working the action and pressing the trigger in a dry fire environment, my first reaction is that this is a gun that is absolutely outstanding. Obviously, I was not able to send live rounds down range on the convention floor, so I can’t comment on how it actually performs in the field… but the limited time I had with it, I loved it. Frankly, I love it far more than the Glock 43. It “feels” better… and, without a doubt, the trigger is far superior. Of course the California Department of Justice views this as an “unsafe” handgun since it is not on the roster. Thus, those of you reading this in Occupied California can only get access to this gun through the roster exemptions. The rest of you who are reading this in the United States… go out and try this little guy. I think you will like it.
Magpul Pro 700 Rifle Chassis
I love bolt-action rifles. I always have. Many of the chassis that we put on our guns look ridiculously cool, but really do not do anything to improve the accuracy of the rifle beyond a loaded barrel or pillar bedding. This beast was designed for one purpose… aiding the shooting to achieve the best possible hit on target that the rifle is capable of producing. It is specifically designed to allow for an ergonomic interface between the shooter's body and the weapon, from adjustable cheek welds (this is common on many chassis), to a thumb shelf for the shooter’s thumb so they can dispense with the pistol grip. (Really?!?! Someone finally came up with this!) For anyone interested in long-range accuracy, I would HIGHLY encourage you to check out the Pro 700.
Cocktail Discussion: Arrest of Former Deputy David Martin for Illegal Weapons
Then there is this.
I seriously debated writing about this in this blog, and waiting for next week to explore it. But, since we discussed it at SHOT, I figured what the hell…
A former deputy with the Butte County Sheriff’s Department was arrested this last week for illegal weapons possession. The details of the story are sketchy at best. What I can surmise, though, is that Mr. Martin is not a particularly nice guy. (A few of his neighbors have made statements suggesting this to be the case.) He likes guns. He likes to assemble guns. He ordered decommissioned weapons online, ostensibly to mine them for parts. (Honestly… I did not even know this was a “thing.”) Cool, though… Mr. Martin is into recycling.
ATF launches an investigation of Mr. Martin due to his online purchases.
He is arrested for “illegal assault weapons.”
Now, I have some questions which, seemingly, have not been addressed. Was he arrested by ATF or by local deputies who were assisting? It appears that the weapons violations revolve around his AR-15s, which would lead me to infer that he had traditional magazine releases on them (bullet buttons would not be a problem until after June 30th).
Ok… so let’s deconstruct this:
Mr. Martin is a jerk…. not illegal.
Mr. Martin purchased decommissioned parts off the Internet…. not illegal, per se. According to the article, ATF secured a search warrant based on the probable cause theory that he was purchasing these parts for the assembly of a machine gun…. Huh???
When searching the premises, they find weapons that violate California state law… good faith search and ostensibly in plain view, good to go… but what about the underlying probable cause?
As you can see, my major concern here is the basis of the ATF search warrant. If I am at Home Depot, and I buy a bag of fertilizer, did I just give ATF probable cause based on a theory that I am going to make explosives? Since explosives could be relatively small, does the warrant allow them the scope to search through every nook and cranny of my house?
This case deeply troubles me. Now, having said that, I am even more dubious about the reporting on this case. There may very well be a much stronger reason that the ATF executed the warrant, and the “assault weapons,” for all I know, are machine guns. Nonetheless…. it made for an interesting discussion at one of the bars during the show.
Oh yeah…. my skills at the blackjack tables sucked this year, too.