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First Gear

First Gear


1. FN Herstal
Fans of FN pistols for concealed carry will want to check out the new 509 Midsize, which combines a 4-in. slide and barrel with a midsize frame, retaining full-sized pistol performance in an easily concealed package. The 9 mm pistol ships standard with 15-round capacity and is compatible with all FN 509 magazines with use of a sleeve. The improved controls aid in manipulation. The new improved texturing on the two included backstraps provides better recoil management. And a new, flatter-faced trigger allows for more controllable trigger press and a cleaner break. The striker-fired, semi-automatic pistol has an overall length of 7.4 in., a width of 1.35 in. and a height of 5.2 in., and weighs 26.5 oz. $649; fnamerica.com

2. Aimpoint
Developed for use on pistols and other weapon platforms requiring a small, enclosed red-dot system, Aimpoint’s new Acro P-1 is the only sight in its size category that was fully tested for shock, vibration, temperature span and other environmental stress. The smallest enclosed system on the market, the P-1 was tested with 20,000 rounds on a .40-cal. pistol slide. Featuring a 3.5-MOA aiming dot, the unit is only 1.9 in. long, 1.2 in. wide and 1.2 in. high, and weighs in at only 2.1 oz., including battery. Optimized for pistol and applications that require a low-profile red-dot system, the Acro P-1 operates on a type CR1225 3-volt lithium battery, which can be changed while the sight is mounted. $660; aimpoint.com

3. Leupold
If a range-finding binocular is on your wish list, you’ll want to consider the new RBX-3000 TBR/W from Leupold & Stevens Inc. The unit combines excellent glass with incredible ranging distances of 3,000 yards on reflective objects and 2,600 yards on soft targets. The company says the binos, designed for the most relentless hunters and competition shooters, “redefine the range-finding binocular category.” The unit features easy-to-read, high-contrast data on a red LED display and dual eyepiece diopter adjustment. An on-board atmospheric sensor will display temperature, air pressure and humidity. And the top-tier optical prescription is reinforced by Leupold’s Twilight Max HD Light Management System. About $3,000; leupold.com

4. Bergara
The new Premier Series Ridgeback Rifle from Bergara is built with precision rifle shooters in mind, and features Bergara’s Premier action in combination with the company’s medium Palma-tapered, stainless steel barrel. The rifle’s Trigger Tech trigger comes standard and utilizes frictionless release technology. Weight of the rifle is 10 to 10.5 lbs., depending on caliber, and overall length of the rifle ranges from 39.5 to  46 in., depending on barrel length. The new Ridgeback  series is currently available in six different chamberings—.223 Rem., 6.5 mm Creedmoor, 6 mm Creedmoor, 6.5 mm PRC, .300 Win. Mag. and .300 PRC. An AICS-style detachable five-round magazine is included (6.5 mm PRC magazine holds seven rounds). $2,000; bergarausa.com


5. Winchester
New to the successful line of Winchester Super X shotguns, the 20 Gauge SX4 is sure to please those looking for an autoloader built for speed. The 20 gauge version is touted to be just as fast and reliable as the 12 gauge, but has been slimmed down into what many will consider the ideal upland shotgun. Weighing in at a svelte 6 lbs. 10 oz., the new shotgun, which functions with the reliability the SX4 Active Valve gas system is known for, is available with a 26- or 28-in. barrel. Chambered for 2 ¾-in. or 3-in. shells, the 20 gauge has the same enlarged controls as the 12-gauge version. $939.99; winchesterguns.com

6. Stoeger
Better known for its affordable shotgun lines, Stoeger recently launched its new STR-9, a polymer, striker-fired pistol. The semi-auto pistol is chambered in 9 mm, and boasts a capacity of 15+1. It also features interchangeable backstrap grips for an optimal fit and a 4.17-in. barrel for easy concealment and quick deployment. The STR-9 has a low bore axis that allows for a reduced muzzle flip and ships with three-dot sights, and with Tritium night sights available as an upgrade. The moderately priced pistol also has a smooth-pulling, crisp trigger that houses an internal safety for extra security. Overall length is 7.4 in. and weight is 1.5 lbs. The gun comes with a five-year warranty. $349; stoegerindustries.com

7. Federal
We told you last year about Federal Syntech’s unique polymer-jacketed ammo, which eliminates lead and copper fouling and drastically reduces damaging heat and friction in handgun barrels. Now the company has introduced its new Syntech Defense, providing dynamic terminal performance with a hollow-point bullet that separates into three segments and a deep-penetrating core on impact. The manufacturer reports that the core achieves 12 to 18 in. of penetration in both bare ballistics gel and through heavy clothing, and the segments create three secondary wound channels more than 6 in. deep. Federal Premium's Syntech Defense line of ammunition is available in 9 mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP, each of which is sold in boxes of 20 rounds. Starting at $19.95; federalpremium.com

8. Winchester Ammunition
Winchester’s new 350 Legend cartridge is designed for hunters wishing to deliver massive downrange energy transfer with improved penetration from a modern straight-walled cartridge. Utilizing a modified, straight-walled .223 Rem. shell case and a .357-in. bullet, the 350 Legend boasts more muzzle energy than the .30-30 Win., .300 BLK and .223 Rem. And according to Winchester, it has 20 percent less recoil than the .243 Win., with 20 percent more penetration. The new cartridge, which many deer hunters will likely want to take a closer look at, is currently available in five different offerings—150-grain Extreme Point, 180-grain Power-Point, 145-grain FMJ Flat Nose, 160-grain Bonded JHP and 265-grain Open Tip. MSRP to come; winchester.com

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