SHOT Show Day 3: Frankford Arsenal, Dillon Rifle Company, Hiperfire, Armanov, C-More, Caracal

The Hebrew Hammer Blog’s SHOT Show coverage continues today with a tour of the more interesting (to me) exhibitors in the Caesar’s Palace show extension. For those of you unfamiliar with SHOT Show, most of it takes place at the Sands / Venetian, but this year, there was an extension into the Caesar’s Forum right across the road. They did this with an aluminum extension bridge, which was kind of neat. I think you could make a pretty compelling argument that they didn’t really need to do this after Sig, Beretta, Ruger, et al pulled out, but I suppose you can’t really alter floor plans and reservations like that last minute.

Frankford Arsenal: It’s no secret that I’m a heavy reloader, and so progressive presses are of particular interest to me. Frankford Arsenal has been teasing the X10 press for quite a while now, so I was excited to go down and take a look at it.

Good news: it felt silky smooth when I hand-cycled it (I assume due to the ball bearings), and I thought some of the improvements they made were quite intelligent (built-in lights, magnetic low primer rod, spring-loaded case locators, etc.). Check out the demo of the low primer alarm:

Bad news: it’s been delayed again, and is now coming in late summer / early fall 2022. Ugh. Also, no powder measure included in the base price. As consolation, here’s a cool video of a dumb electric motor (NOT AN AUTODRIVE) turning it:

I still think the X10 has the potential to make a huge impact on the reloading market, and I am definitely going to be pressing Frankford Arsenal for a review unit.

Dillon Rifle Company: Another big announcement from Dillon at SHOT was the launch of the new Dillon Rifle Company. Their initial product line includes some various bags and so on, but let’s be real: the trigger is what everyone wants to hear about. TL;DR: it’s safety-oriented, but has a pretty good trigger pull on the whole. It has a Glock-esque blade that will block your trigger from releasing the hammer if it’s not pulled. Check out this very terrible video I made of how it works on their giant mockup:

The takeaway here is that it makes NO IMPACT on the interface between the hammer, trigger, and disconnector. It will merely block release. It does not make your pull any better or worse.

They have a couple different models. One of them is a bit more forgiving to trigger finger position. The other requires a genuinely “finger pad on trigger, pull straight back” maneuver to work due to a lack of rounding. The rep felt it would promote proper marksmanship, and he might not be wrong. They’re available to buy right now from DRC’s website for $265. This may seem steep, but consider the following demo of a “sling in trigger guard” situation:

It pulled absolutely fine when I gave it a try in the normal fashion. This rep took a while to pull it with a sling, and let me tell you that he was not playing around when doing it.

Hiperfire: I own four Hiperfire triggers (three Eclipses and a Blue Line), and I was eying a fifth by the time SHOT swung around. Now, it’s looking like that may be more like “a fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth”, because Hiperfire had some very exciting new products on display today.

First, the new hotness: a two-stage trigger system. I gave it a few tries, and it works exactly a Hipertouch with more initial takeup. The actual break is that same phenomenal Hipertouch break: light, sudden, and with very little overtravel. For a gun meant for precision work, being able to stage the trigger a little further than the normal Hipertouch triggers may prove quite useful.

But, in my opinion, the really impressive product I saw was their AK triggers. These are priced competitively (top end is $95!), and more to the point, they are fantastic. They’ve also got some trigger pins and an improved, adjustable safety coming out. The feel of the safety was perfection due to the adjustment possible; this could be a really great upgrade for guys with meh factory AK safeties.

Armanov: You probably haven’t heard of Armanov. Or if you have, it was because you were searching for some reloading accessories and ran across them. These guys are based out of Slovenia, and they are a small business making various (quality!) reloading parts. I was extremely impressed they made it out, so I made it a point to talk to them.

Their pride and joy – and deservedly so – is their new Dillon 1050/1100 toolhead. These are CNC milled, and they look SWEET. They couldn’t quite figure out how to implement their own QD die system like they did on the 650/750 heads, so they milled it out for Hornady LnL bushings. Keep in mind that this toolhead also has its own built-in lighting system, and from my brief perusal, it looks like it’s going to work very, very well.

Besides their toolheads, Armanov had a couple other great reloading products. One was a click-adjustable wheel for adjusting the Dillon powder measure. The other was their pistol case gauge system, which can check for min OAL, max OAL, case dimensions, and then dump everything straight into an MTM case… one hundred rounds at a time. They also had a configurable version for 223 cases that could accomplish much the same things.

I love the thought that Armanov is putting into their products. It’s clearly a company run by reloaders for reloaders, and I hope they get more publicity soon… they deserve it.

C-More: I visited C-more because I own a few of their optics and wanted to see what was coming up.

Bad news first: the C3 is not scheduled for a refresh anytime soon. This is a shame: it’s an excellent scope that could really benefit from a fiber optic reticle.

But, good news: C-More has heard you all loud and clear that the Railway could use better battery life and a green reticle. The latter isn’t really in the cards (lens coating being an issue), but the former is being explored as part of their research into their other red dots like the RTS2. There are technical challenges I won’t get into, but they get that the people like the Railway’s form factor and just want a more efficient LED solution.

C-More’s big product for SHOT was a concealed-carry optimized micro red dot using a Shield SMS mounting pattern called the CRC. I took a couple pictures for you!

Caracal: Finally, we’ve got a fan favorite, which is Caracal. Caracal was making HK416 clones for a while, which was great news for everyone who wanted an HK416 but didn’t want to go broke buying one. Well, I am pleased to tell you that Caracal has made a bunch of them, and is in the process of getting them to distributors. MSRP on the 816 complete rifles is ~$1850, but the uppers are a far more affordable $1254. Not sure what street will be, but presumably less than MSRP.

They also showed me their enhanced quick action pistols. You’ll recall that the original pistols had some issues leading to their complete recall and refund. Well, they’re back as the “Enhanced F Pistol” line, and they’ve got the option for their (in)famous quick sights with super short sight radius. Now, these do work, but the reality is that reliable single-plane red dot sighting systems have made this kind of thing a lot less useful than perhaps it was in the past. The trigger pull was also not exactly great.

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