The big news from Bighorn Arms is a controlled feed action. The new action, the TL-3 or Tactical, still utilizes a Savage floating bolt head and barrel nuts like the company’s other models to allow for easy caliber changes. Going from .223 to .308 can be done in a matter of minutes without a gunsmith. The controlled feed/ejector means short cases like .223 and 6BR will eject with ease and not fall in the ejection port. These actions will be available in late spring.
This year a knife from Chris Reeve caught our eye. The Inkosi (Zulu word for “Chief”) is a smaller version of the excellent Sebenza. The Inkosi has titanium scales and a 2.75-inch blade. The blade is also a touch thicker than most of the company’s other blades, making it suitable for some heavy-duty cutting. Despite that thick blade, the knife weighs in at just over 3 ounces, making it a very comfortable knife to carry every day. It’s available now directly from Chris Reeve.
Big things are in the works at JP. The company’s .308 AR-10 rifle went on a diet. John Paul figured out a way to trim a couple pounds off the beast and make it a very light, good-handling AR-10. The new rifle also features his side charging handle instead of the traditional T-shaped charge handle at the rear of the receiver. Despite its light weight, the rifle still shoots under 1 MOA. Like other JP rifles, this one will get the job done—but if you find you’d like to hone your skills even further, John Paul and shooting instructor Brian Whalen will be teaching long-range classes at the company’s new training facility in eastern New Mexico.
Leupold is always a favorite stop, plain and simple. Four buggered-up rifles adorned an outside booth wall, each with a tale of truly abusive woe—one 11 years in length. And to each shamble was affixed a still-working Leupold optic. That’s food for thought, and a decided encouragement about what was inside the booth. It didn’t take us long to find a gotta-have either—the DeltaPoint Pro. This micro reflex style sight boasts the large “window” of its predecessor, as well as the choice of a dot (2.5 MOA) or triangle (7.5 MOA) reticle. Mighty fine, as we’ve said in the past, but not precisely new. But new and mightily welcome isn’t far behind: Toolless battery swaps, an integrated rear sight for co-witness, push-button on/off with motion sensing override, and click POA adjustments. A better word than “sublime” does not come readily to mind.
Lots to see at the Remington booth, but a little pistol was drawing a big crowd when we arrived—the RM 380. As the designation hints, it’s a .380 ACP defensive pistol designed for extremely discreet carry, and the 2.9-inch barrel and 12.1-ounce weight certainly qualify. Good ergonomics are scattered about the pistol wholesale: Grip texture is solid and comfortable, and magazines with and without a “pinkie” rest are standard. In a class of pistols not well known for easy slide manipulation, the Remington also and pleasantly differs there. We’ll bug the folks in Ilion for a review pistol on your behalf.
There’s so much to see in the SIG booth that we worried about a loitering citation. New offerings—both long and short—seemed parked in every nook and cranny. But in all of SHOT, not much has brought us up quite as short as the exceptionally full-featured Legion pistols, and particularly the P226 SAO. We’ve long admired the reliability and ruggedness, but struggled with the trigger pull: Granted, that’s all on us. But the “SAO” suffix stands for “single action only,” which you should read as “we can’t wait.”
The big news out of Thunderbeast Arms this year is a takedown model of the company’s excellent .22 rimfire titanium suppressor. While taking apart a .22 suppressor is not mandatory, rimfire ammo can be really dirty, so some high-volume shooters like the ability to keep the baffles clean. The entire suppressor is made of titanium and rated for .22 LR, .22 Magnum and .17 HMR. With a street price under $400 plus a $200 tax stamp, this is an excellent way to get into the suppressor game.