Parting SHOTs: Best of Show

Rifles:

The MEAN Arms roller-delayed upper is going to be a big deal for the competitive shooting community, because it will bring another non-direct-blowback option at a reasonable cost. The use of the MEAN magazine conversion will also allow shooters to use their same belt for PCC competition as 3gun competition, which is a nice bonus.

The Desert Tech Quattro 15 (which I didn’t cover) is something that’s gotten me really excited. Big magazines, fully ambi lower, and a surprisingly reasonable price ($300)? Sign me up. I could see converting to these for 3gun.

Shotguns:

Didn’t see a lot that was genuinely new in the shotgun category. I think the influx of cheap and reliable Benelli M4 clones like the SDS S4 and Tac-12 was a real game changer in 2021, and I’m still waiting to see where that trend goes with the second round of those clones. SDS has already promised an improved stock in 2022, and I absolutely think there’s a market for a competition version with a hogged out loading port, larger buttons, short field stock, and so on.

In general, I expect Turkish shotguns to be massive sellers next year when the cheap Turkish lira drives prices down on high quality shotguns to crazy low levels. I can’t be the only one who’s thinking about a pair of VR80s for open shotgun if they drop to below $400.

Pistols:

I didn’t see anything jaw-dropping for pistols. 30 Super Carry was a bit of a meh release for me, and the focus on 5.7×28 continues to be inexplicable. Don’t even get me started on bringing back the Browning High Power… I don’t know what people think these pistols are, but they’re not as great as they think.

The Dasan / Alpha Foxtrot 1911 with the swappable frames was maybe my favorite of SHOT. At least this is a pistol that has a purpose in life, even if it’s niche. Hopefully the parts are not too dissimilar to standard 1911s and 2011s, and that maybe we could get an optics-cut version.

Optics:

The Eotech 1-10x is the winner for me. It has every indication of looking a lot like a Razor Gen3 competitor at a substantially lower price. In fact, it may even be better at 1x if the brightness can keep up (which is a bit of an open question, even though it looked good on the floor).

A close second was the Blackhound Evolve 1-6x, if only because we’re finally starting to see fiber optic reticles migrate to lower price points. Once these get BDC and/or MRAD reticles, it’s going to driving some real innovation across the entire market space.

The Holosun SCS is another one I’m excited about. The MSRP on this is a bit high-ish, but it’s bringing some unique capabilities to the table in terms of being MOS direct mount, being solar-driven, better light sensing, etc.

Honorable Mention:

The Maztech / Magpul X4 collaboration looked amazing. The world is ready for a new rifle-mounted LRF with a heads-up display, and the implementation looked a lot more flexible than others I’ve seen. It’s not cheap, that’s for sure, but it’s within the price range of someone who really wants one. If they implement some sort of support for linking to other LRFs (perhaps the Vortex or Sig?), it’s going to be amazing.

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