The Best New Firearms of 2011

If you want to know what is hot in the gun industry you have to get to the annual Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoors Trade (SHOT) Show held every January.  Manufacturers, retailers and even we members of the press all descend on Las Vegas to see what products will dominate the market in the coming year.

Earlier this month, the 2011 SHOT Show gave us a pretty clear view of what cool new guns to expect this year.   Here is a sample of just a few of the great new guns coming out.

Ruger LC9

The Ruger LC9 is an example of the new trend in concealed carry firearms: thin, single stack 9mm pistols.  The LC9 is a double-action only, hammer-fired pistol that is slightly larger than its very popular .380 ACP cousin, the LCP.

The sights on the LC9 are better than most pistols of this size, using a three-dot system.  Barrel length is a touch over 3”, width is less than one inch and the unloaded weight is about 17 ounces.

Recoil on the LC9 is only marginally snappier than the LCP, but offers the benefit of a “full-power” cartridge.  Expect to see a “street price” of less than $400.

Taurus Raging Judge 28 Gauge

Upping the ante in the “big boom” revolvers, Taurus is now chambering the Raging Judge in 28 gauge.  Where some people could argue the 410-chambered Judge was underpowered for self-defense, few people could argue that the 28 gauge Raging Judge isn’t up to the task.
This Raging Judge holds five shells, has a double-locking cylinder for added strength and uses a red fiber optic sight.

While rumors of an ATF ban on this gun swirled around the SHOT Show, Taurus said the gun will be ready for import into the USA later in the year.  A MSRP is not yet set but I guess around $800.

MGI Belt-Fed Hydra

How can you improve the most versatile AR-15 on the market?  Make it belt fed of course.
The MGI Hydra MARCK 15 rifles allow you to swap barrels and magazine wells in seconds, meaning you can change from 5.56 to 7.62×39 using AK mags and without swapping the entire upper.  Now the Hydra can be belt fed, too.

Whether you are taking on a battalion of prairie dogs, or just blasting away at the range, the Hydra is ready for all you can feed it.  MSRP is $3,999.99.

Diamondback DB9

Diamondback Firearms introduced a single-stack 9mm pistol to complement the .380 ACP they brought to market last year. 

The DB9 is a double-action only, striker fired pistol.  The pistol is very thin at only 0.8” wide, but still holds 6+1 rounds of 9×19.  The DB9 has a 3” barrel and weighs only 11 ounces (unloaded.)

The DB9 definitely can pass as a pocket pistol, but in a more powerful caliber than the .380 ACP normally found in similar sizes.  The DB9 should ship later this year and street price should be $400.

Charter Arms CARR

Ever want to shoot a rimless cartridge, like a 9mm or .40 S&W, in a revolver, but without the pain of using moon clips?  Then you want to take a look at the Charter Arms Rimless Revolver (CARR).

The CARR uses an ingenious system with floating plungers to allow you to use rimless cartridges just like rimmed.  The rounds just drop in and extract as easy as a regular .38 Special. 

The CARR could be the perfect back-up gun for many people, as it gives the owner the ability to maintain the same ammo as his or her primary auto-loading pistol, yet still offer the rugged reliability of a revolver.

The .40 S&W version should ship by midyear, with the 9mm version of the CARR shipping toward the end of the year.  MSRP will be around $450.

H&K MR556

One of the fabled rifles that most of us will never be in a position to buy is the HK416 rifle.  The good news is Heckler & Koch is now making a civilian version called the MR556A1.

The MR556A1 is a gas pistol rifle that is equipped with a two stage trigger, free-floating, quad rail and a 16.5” cold hammer forged barrel.  The barrel is not chrome-lined.  H&K states the 416 bolt can not physically be inserted into the MR556, so don’t get any crazy ideas.

The M556A1 should be available by mid-2011 and come in under $3,000.

Sig Sauer 556R

Sig Sauer is bringing the 7.62×39 cartridge to the popular Sig556 rifle.  The truly exceptional move on Sig Sauer’s part was to make the rifle compatible with the large number of reliable and affordable AK-47 mags that are in the marketplace already.

Responding to customer demands, the Sig556R is a combination of a superior rifle platform with a widely available intermediate power cartridge.  The 556R has a folding and adjustable stock, 16” barrel and an A2-type flash suppressor.

The 556R will ship later in 2011 and cost around $1,100.

That is my short list of the best new firearms of 2011.  Leave a comment on any new firearm or product for 2011 you would like to share with the readers.

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