SHOT Show Top 5 Meh…
The Springfield Armory 911
Springfield Armory has a history of hitting homeruns. Their XD-S is the Diet Coke of the concealed carry world. It changed everything. They are keeping the mid-century .308 battle rifle relevant with their updates to the M1A platform. And their 1911s set the bar for American made production guns. But I’m still waiting on this year’s addition.
If you are in the market for a single-action .380, the new 911 should be on your short list. While most all of us are ambivalent (at best) about single actions chambered in anything other than .45 ACP, the old .380 platform has a cult following.
When Colt reintroduced the Mustang a few years ago, I was carrying a 1911 (a TRP, actually), and I loved the idea that I could get a new Mustang. I was crazy nostalgic for the old gun. And I carried it for a few months. But I was never as comfortable with it as I was with any of the other .380s I regularly carry (a GLOCK 42, or a Kel-Tec P3AT).
The new 911 looks a lot like Sig’s take on the Mustang. It has those ultra angular lines that provide all kinds of grip surfaces. If you are a Springfield fan and a .380 fan, this one is for you. As for the rest of us? Meh.
The 6” 10mm, though…. Sign me up. I want one of those.
The GLOCK 19X
While we’re on the topic of product creep, I’d like to add my thoughts about the new GLOCK. The GLOCK 19X is a “crossover” they say. Essentially, it is a 19 upper on a 17 lower. This gives you a bit more on the grip, and a few more rounds. And it is tan.
Obviously this isn’t going to draw the same crowds that came out for the GLOCK 43’s launch. Even the 43, though, was an obvious evolution. Taking two different guns, though, and crossbreeding them? Hardly original.
The PPKS from Walther may be the best known. It is, to be reductive, a PP frame topped with a PPK slide and barrel.
Walther had really compelling reasons to make the PPKS: import laws. Bond had made the PPK a household name. Import laws of the day, though, meant Walther couldn’t bring the compact gun into the US. By adding some length to the grip, they managed to skirt the regulation.
The difference between a 17 and a 19, though, has always been about the length of the grip and the barrel/slide. A 17 comes in at 8.03”. The 19 is 7.36” That is less than ¾ of an inch.
So now the GLOCK 19X is a GLOCK 17, minus .67”. But it is tan. I’ll give it that. Grant Cunningham, posting about the GLOCK product drop, summed it up perfectly. “Bless their hearts.” I won’t bother to translate Cunningham’s sue of the Southern idiom. There are enough people in Smyrna who know what that phrase means.
GLOCK fans will line up to see it. GLOCK flew in media to cover the launch, as if you might need to put your hands on one of these in order to understand that someone managed to get a 19’s frame on a 17’s slide. Just look at the coverage I’m accidentally giving it now. Meh.
Those are two big ones, but there are others. In no particular order, I offer these three show stoppers
The Ruger EC9s
A less expensive Ruger 9mm concealed carry gun is going to sell amazingly well, even though it won’t draw crowds at the show. This is a familiar gun with fewer features. It is a regression, of sorts, meant to bring down the price. As I’ve opined about before, this is a sign of Ruger’s incredible dedication to the industry, even if it won’t be celebrated with fireworks.
The Beretta APX
Beretta should bring an APX in .45 ACP. There will likely be a few new options in 9mm, too, that are suppressor ready.
The APX is a rock solid gun, and I don’t want to discount it, but…. Beretta is reeling from the loss of their government cash cow, and it shows. They will weather the storm. That’s what 500 year old companies do, but it won’t be on the back of the APX.
So what do you do if you’re one of those companies that made too many guns in 2016? You look for ways to make them new. If you can paint them, blue them, or dye them like Easter eggs, you can build up some SHOT Show buzz.
North American Arms
Check out what North American Arms is doing with their novel little pocket-rimfire.
Look at the list above. Google “SHOT Show rumors.” What you’ll see is a bunch of people trying to make the best out of a rough couple of years. The guns coming to SHOT this year will, for the most part, look familiar.Is that a problem? Only if you rely on buzz to sell your guns.
I’ll end with this. I have a deep respect for each of these companies, for different reasons. These guns are calculated business moves from careful companies. So much of this is simply conservative business basics.
David Higginbotham is a writer and editor who specializes in everyday carry. David is a former backcountry guide in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Boundary Waters Canoe Area who was a college professor for 20 years. He ultimately left behind the academy for a more practical profession in the firearms industry and was (among other editorial positions) the Managing Editor for a nascent Mag Life blog. In that Higginbotham helped establish The Maglife’s tone and secure its early success. Though he went on to an even more practical firearms industry profession still, he continues to contribute articles and op-eds as time and life allow.