This year???s Shooting, Hunting and Outdoors Trade Show was overshadowed by executive orders, threats of new legislation and wild rumors. The threat of protesters was laughable, as I only managed to find about 10 standing outside the Sands Convention Center one morning.
The main topic of conversation this year was the incredible backorder of sales that have now consumed the shooting industry. How deep is the backlog? Some manufacturers who asked not to be identified were willing to say that if an order was placed today, the gun would ship in 12 months at the earliest.
It is looking like 2013 will be a year of shortages. For a time in 2012, Ruger stopped taking orders due to an increasing number of backorders. Smith & Wesson reported a $332.7 million backorder as of Oct. 31. Both of these reports were before the November elections and the more recent push for new gun bans. Anyone want to guess if those backorders have increased?
Taurus to Buy Freedom Group?
Bloomberg.com reported that Taurus may be looking to buy Freedom Group. The Freedom Group is a conglomeration of firearms-related companies including Remington, Bushmaster, DPMS, Marlin and others. Since the Sandy Hook massacre, the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, current owners of Freedom Group, has been looking to unload the companies.
Taurus is one of the largest firearms companies in the world, and while the Freedom Group is a very large collection of companies, Taurus may be able to pick it up at a bargain. Considering the size of the Freedom Group, the bargain will likely have to be significant. The folks at Taurus not surprisingly declined comment at the show.
Even with the incredible backlog of orders, many manufacturers were showing new products.
Springfield XDs 9mm – Springfield Armory showed a new compact pistol that they hope to ship later in the year. The new XDs is a single-stack 9mm that is compact and shoots great. I was able to put several magazines of ammo through the gun the day before the SHOT Show started, and I found the gun to be easy recoiling and accurate.
It comes with a red fiber optic front sight, aggressive texture on the grip and all of the ergonomics that many people like in the XD style pistols.
The new XDs has a 3.3-inch barrel, carries seven rounds in the flush fitting magazine and measures only 0.9-inch wide. Weight is 23 ounces (unloaded.) The Springfield rep I spoke to said they were not given a ship date or exact MSRP, but expect second quarter and about $599.
Kahr CW380 – An inexpensive .380 ACP pistol was the main announcement from Kahr this year. The CW380 is a polymer-framed pistol that is recoil operated, not blowback as is sometimes found in other small, .380 handguns.
The CW380 weighs a mere 10.2 ounces (without a magazine) and is only 0.75??? wide at the slide. The slide stop adds a little more width. The flush-fitting magazines take six rounds.
The price on the new pistols is pretty affordable: $419 MSRP. When they show up at your dealer???s store, I would expect a sub-$400 price tag.
Rock Island Armory 10mm 1911 – Rock Island Armory had several new 1911-style pistols at the show chambered in 10 mm. Everybody and their brother seems to make a 1911, but few chamber them in 10mm, so this will be a welcome addition by many in the Cult of 10.
The new pistols will have 5??? barrels, full-length guide rods, fiber optic front sights and 8+1 round capacities. Shooting the 10mm can be stout with heavy ammo, but I did not have any problems shooting the Rock Island Armory guns. I watched a lot of people shoot these guns at Media Day, and I observed no malfunctions.
The new 10mm 1911 pistols are supposed to ship in the second quarter of 2013. No MSRP has been announced.
Glock 30S – Also known by some as the Franken-pistol, the new Glock 30S is a .45 ACP handgun made by mating a model 36 slide to a 30SF frame. The result is a thinner slide on a pistol that carries ten rounds instead of six.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, owners of the SHOT Show, is very committed to the future of the shooting industry. I had the chance to speak with a NSSF executive who was very positive about the direction of the industry and was very welcoming of all shooters regardless of their reason for gun ownership, background or type of gun.
The current political climate is not favorable, but by following the example set by the NSSF, and coming together, we can weather this storm and emerge on the other side stronger than ever.