Today was a busy old day hitting up both the ever-enjoyable FirstSpearRange day for the 4th consecutive year in the morning as well as the ATAC Global range in the afternoon. With that in mind I focused pretty much purely on the shooting rather than the gear that was on display, since the gear is usually all on show in the main part of SHOT whereas you can’t exactly blast off rounds inside the convention centre.
TRIARC Systems were in strong attendance with their Glocks, 1911s, 2011s and AR-15s. The 2011s start in the price range of $3k and if you ever want better proof of how the gun absolutely doth not maketh the shooter then these are it, because you can put a gun that expensive in my hands I will still be a really terrible shot with a pistol. The triggers are like fresh Norwegian icicles of course and all the controls feel simply incredible with immaculate stipple work and surface finishes, but personally I’d shoot a stock Glock basically the same because my pistol skills are that unrefined that the gun itself has almost no impact. My key point here being that if you’re the sort of person who can own a handgun and/or you carry one regularly and you have access to training, then training is where you absolutely must put your money. I practice with airsoft pistols all the time and I often get in a few dry fire reps with the real thing in work, but no amount of that can get rid of my involuntary flinch with live ammo and the finest quality weapon in the world won’t ever improve your marksmanship just by picking it up. Real life is not an RPG where your armament passively imbues +4 accuracy when equipped, sadly.
Luckily the TRIARC ARs were a bit more my speed and I’m reasonably competent at getting more hits than misses when using a rifle. They have a new handguard based on the ZEV M-LOK rails which were in turn based on the Hodge Defense Systems wedge-lock, though TRIARC have incorporated steel QD sockets on both sides which is always nice in the long term. To cover the most absolute basics, they manufacture some top shelf receiver sets and barrels and really cherry pick the finest components available from the rest of the industry to incorporate in to their builds. Radian charging handles and 45 degree selectors, Geissele triggers, the list goes on, everything you manipulate just feels supremely sharp and crisp. A standout for me was getting to try out the new Unity Tactical Aimpoint, Inc. mounts, including the brand spankin’ new Flip-to-Centre (yep) magnifier mount, which is by far the best solution for a red dot magnifier I’ve encountered so far.
I was very pleased to see a strong showing yet again from IWI US to include numerous Tavors and Galils. They didn’t have 40mm rounds available but I obviously picked the carbine equipped with the UGL anyway to do some pinking at the steel up on the hill side. Really good triggers for any type of rifle let alone a bullpup. I can get along with the L85 but trying to break shots cleanly with the X95 is just so much easier. The grenade launcher is also very impressive in terms of weight – with a lot of movement towards standalone 40mms now brought about by a desire to lighten the 5.56 rifle (given that you don’t shoot the 40mm nearly as much as you’re carrying it) it was interesting to handle a launcher that had so little adverse affect on the overall weight and balance point of the host rifle itself. Sadly the Negev NG-7 wasn’t available to be fired, but I couldn’t pass up the posing opportunity.
The one piece of kit I’d have to highlight is the new Wound Club from Phokus Research Group. I mentioned their Wound Cube last year which is a brilliant tool for allowing people to train and practice the packing of wounds with combat gauze/celox bandages and the like, an area of training that is woefully lacking certainly throughout the British military and certainly by comparison to training on tourniquets. The Wound Club allows you to practice physically squeezing a bloody vessel shut by pressing the afflicted area up against the fake bone running through the simulated flesh, forming a seal. Saline can be run through the red tube that simulates the blood vessel, spraying outwards at a fair rate when unrestricted, so you very much know if you’re correctly squeezing the blood vessel closed in the required manner. This is something I’ve never had any training on or real practice with in my time in the service and there’s no doubt in my mind it would make an amazing addition to medical training for anyone who might possibly encounter gun shot wounds or very deep lacerations in the line of their work.
Thanks to all the organisers and RSOs who made the event a very enjoyable and informative one and to Femme Fatale Airsoft for taking a lot of these images.