Last year was a tough year for most people in the firearms industry. There was no long-term political reason for firearms enthusiasts to run to their local gun shop and buy up stocks of guns and ammunition. Add to that the fact that many manufacturers and dealers had stocked up on firearms and ammunition in anticipation of another administration that was unfriendly to the firearms industry. None of that was evident at the 2018 SHOT (Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade) Show at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. I saw nothing but enthusiasm, product line extensions and innovation. Roughly 60,000 industry professionals attended the 40th annual SHOT Show, which covered 15 acres of floor space, to meet with the representatives of 1,660 exhibiting companies representing most major shooting, hunting and outdoor-related products.
For firearms enthusiasts, the 2018 SHOT Show provided us with more firearms and firearms-related products to view than we could possibly do justice to in only four days. On the Monday before the SHOT Show began, Industry Day at the Range took place at Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club. This event allowed many in the media to have “hands-on” time with some of those firearms.
There were several innovative firearms, such as the ARCHON Firearms Type B 9mm pistol and Franklin Armory’s Reformation. This year was the year of the .224 Valkyrie chambered rifle, with at least six manufacturers giving live-fire demonstrations of their rifles (five MSRs and one bolt gun) using Federal ammunition. Here are some “new-for-2018” firearms that we found most interesting.
In 2017, Brownells introduced a line of four “Retro” AR-15 rifles based on the famed Eugene Stoner design that became the M-16 service rifle issued to the United States military during the Vietnam War. Now, in 2018, Brownells is expanding its offerings to include two AR-10 rifles: the BRN-10A and the BRN-10B.
The BRN-10A brings back the original Eugene Stoner lightweight .308 battle rifle. It features a heavy barrel with aggressive fluting under the handguard, three-prong, Dutch-style flash hider, brown retro furniture to mimic the original fiberglass stock, 7075-T6 aluminum billet receivers, a trigger-style charging handle underneath the carry handle and a 20-inch barrel assembly. The BRN-10B substitutes a lightweight barrel assembly, closed-prong, Portuguese-style flash hider and black retro furniture.
ARCHON Firearms (pronounced AR-KON), formerly known as Arsenal Firearms USA, introduced the Type B (formerly the Stryk B) compact, striker-fired polymer pistol in 9mm. The barrel moves straight back instead of tilting during recoil, giving the Type B a very low bore axis—which helps reduce muzzle flip. While firing the Type B during Industry Day at the Range, I found the flat-face trigger to have a better-than-average feel and a short reset. The multi-angled blocks on the grip felt a bit foreign but allowed for a good grip on the pistol.
Four 15-round Mec-Gar magazines are provided with the gun, and both front and rear sights are Glock-compatible. A front rail is provided, as are front and rear slide serrations. The weight, including an empty magazine, is 29.6 ounces.
The Franklin Armory Reformation received more pre-SHOT Show hype than any other item. It was billed as a non-NFA firearm with an 11.5-inch barrel and a conventional Magpul SL stock. Even when we fired the Reformation at Industry Day at the Range, we were not told what the “secret sauce” was.
On the first day of the SHOT Show, Franklin Armory announced that the Reformation was not a rifle or a shotgun—as defined by the ATF—because of its NRS (“not a rifle or shotgun”) technology. It has straight-cut lands and grooves, so there is no “rifling” to make it a rifle; yet, it retains a standard chamber.
The benefit is an SBR-like (short barrel rifle) firearm, except no NFA stamp is required because it’s not a rifle. So, yes, this can be shouldered. Initially, the Reformation will be available chambered in .300 Blackout. A 5.56 NATO version will be available shortly thereafter. Off-the-shelf ammunition has been shown to provide 4 MOA results in the straight lands-and-grooves barrel. Franklin Armory is developing fin- and flare-stabilized projectiles that will provide 1 MOA accuracy.
After several years of development, Israel Weapon Industries has taken the 5.56×45 NATO Tavor X95 platform and transformed it into one chambered in the 7.62×51 cartridge. At ¾ inch longer and 1 pound heavier, the Tavor 7 is only marginally bigger than its little brother, the X95, and has the same barrel length, at 16.5 inches.
While the basic design is the same as the X95, numerous improvements have been incorporated into the final product: The safety now has a 45-degree throw, rather than 90 degrees; several sling attachment points have been added; the ejection side can be changed quickly in the field without any special tools; and the bolt can be locked to the rear by pulling the charging handle to the rear and rotating it up into a notch, as on an MP-5.
M-Lok attachment points are provided on the handguard, and a four-position gas system is provided. Standard SR-25 magazines are used.
For 2018, Savage has not only refreshed the entire line, it has also dropped the dual numbering system in favor of the three-digit version. It hasn’t dropped the short action; there are now just short-action and long-action versions of the 110 model based on the cartridge for which the rifle is chambered. Additionally, certain other models, such as the 11/111, 16/116, 12 FCV and 11 Scout models, have been incorporated into the model 110 family. An AccuFit stock has been added to all but the Trophy model 110 versions.
The Savage 110 is now available in 10 models. Right- and left-hand versions are available in some models, and each model has several chamberings available. The AccuTrigger, AccuStock and button rifle barrels are retained. The AccuFit stock allows the length of pull to be adjusted in ¼-inch increments, and the comb height can be adjusted in 1/8-inch increments. The model 110 family now includes the Hunter, Storm, Predator, Tactical, Long Range Hunter, Long Range Hunter .338 Lapua, Varmint, Scout, Bear Hunter and Wolverine. The Trophy model 110 rifles do not have a comb height adjustment and come in Hog Hunter, Brush Hunter, Lightweight Storm and Engage Hunter XP versions.
Ruger PC Carbine
The 9mm PC Carbine from Ruger takes the traditional pistol-caliber carbine to a new level by providing magazine interchangeability across both model and manufacturer lines in a takedown platform. The PC Carbine allows the use of both Ruger (SR9, American and Security-9 magazines) and Glock magazines with a changeable magazine well system.
The takedown design is taken from the tried and true 10/22 takedown rifle. Additional flexibility is provided through a reversible magazine release and a reversible charging handle. (See the April 2018 issue of Gun World for a full review of the PC Carbine.)
All new for 2018, the Springfield Armory 911 is a 1911-style, single-action .380 ACP micro-pistol for everyday carry. The flush-fit magazine holds six rounds, and the Mag X-Tension magazine holds seven rounds. The 911 is 5.5 inches long, 3.9 inches high, 0.9 inch wide and weighs 12.6 ounces. It features a 7075 T6 anodized hard-coat aluminum frame with G10 grip panels, a 416 black nitride slide with loaded chamber indicator and rear cocking serrations.
It also has an extended, ambidextrous thumb safety; full-length guide rod assembly with flat wire spring; 2.7-inch 416R stainless steel barrel with black nitride finish; G10 pivoting trigger; and drift-adjustable Pro-Glo tritium night sights. It will also be available with a stainless slide and Viridian green grip laser.
Mossberg has taken the 590 shotgun to a new level with the addition of the detachable magazine-fed model 590M. The 590M takes the time-proven tubular magazine pump shotgun and incorporates the flexibility of detachable magazines with 5-, 10-, 15- and 20-round capacities. This gives the shooter the advantages of greater initial capacity and faster reloads for competition, home defense or in tactical situations.
The 590M is available in 2¾-inch 12-gauge only, with an 18.5-inch barrel. The standard models use a single-bead sight, while the Tri-Rail model uses a ghost ring rear sight with a ramp front sight. The Tri-Rail model also has a heat shield. Both models weigh 7.75 pounds with an empty 10-round magazine.
MSRP: $721 (Standard); $801 (Tri-Rail)
A much-anticipated pistol at the 2018 SHOT Show was the SIG Sauer P365 9mm micro-compact, striker-fired polymer pistol. This high-capacity, micro-compact pistol features a center-feed, modified double-stack, 10-round-capacity magazine, which gives it a capacity of four rounds more than a Glock 43 and three rounds more than a S&W Shield M2.0. It comes standard with SIGLITE night sights. All of this comes in a package that is 4.3 inches high, 5.8 inches long, 1 inch wide and weighs 17.8 ounces with an empty magazine.
It ships with one 10-round flush-fit and one 10-round extended baseplate magazines. An extended, 12-round-capacity magazine is also available. A slim-line rail accommodates SIG light and laser accessories. At SIG Sauer’s Range Day, we found the P365 very comfortable to shoot and control. (Watch for a full review of the P365 in a future issue of Gun World.)
Daniel Defense has added the DDM4V7 P pistol to its extensive lineup of AR-15 and AR-10 rifles for 2018. The DDM4V7 P comes chambered in either 5.56×45 NATO or .300 Blackout, along with an SB Tactical Pistol arm brace or a Law Tactical folding buffer tube arm brace. Because it is classified as a pistol and not an SBR, even with the 10.3-inch-long barrel, no ATF paperwork or tax stamp is required.
In 5.56×45 NATO with Law Tactical folding arm brace configuration, the DDM4V7 P uses an MFR 9.0 rail system, is 30¼ inches long, weighs 6.17 pounds and has a 10.3-inch-long barrel with an improved flash suppressor. The receiver is CNC-machined from 7075-T6 aluminum and is Type III hardcoat anodized. The barrel is cold hammer forged from chrome-moly vanadium steel with 1:7 twist rifling and a government profile. The pistol is available in black and MIL-SPEC+ Cerakote.
Windham Weaponry has taken its .450 Bushmaster “Thumper” rifle and made a pistol version for 2018. The .450 Thumper Pistol is a semiautomatic AR-15-style pistol with a direct impingement gas system. The overall length is 26.25 inches, and it weighs 5.8 pounds without a magazine. The forged receiver is made of 7075-T6 aluminum with a hardcoat black anodized finish. The 9-inch, medium profile barrel is made from 4150 chrome-moly vanadium 11595E steel with an M4 feed ramp. It has a melonite QPQ finish and a .450 compensator.
A full-length 1913 MIL-STD rail runs the length of the upper receiver and continues on the 7-inch Windham Weaponry free-float handguard. The handguard has M-Lok attachment points at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions. The polymer flip-up front and rear sights are made by Kriss. The Thumper Pistol uses a Hogue pistol grip, and the arm brace is by SB Tactical.
The 9mm G19X is Glock’s crossover model, which uses a G19 slide on a G17 frame. This is similar to the model developed for the U.S. military, minus the external safety. It’s Glock’s first-ever factory-colored slide (in coyote) using a PVD coating to prevent corrosion. The G19X features the Glock Marksman barrel, bilateral slide stop levers, Glock night sights, a lanyard loop and no finger grooves in the grip. Two 17+2-round capacity magazines are furnished with the pistol.
The G19X is 7.44 inches long, 5.47 inches high (with magazine) and 1.30 inches wide. It weighs 24.83 ounces with an empty magazine (31.39 ounces loaded). As an added touch, it comes in a Coyote-colored case.
The new Walther PPQ SC 9mm subcompact, striker-fired polymer pistol has the best factory trigger I have felt on a striker-fired pistol. The ergonomics of this subcompact are also excellent. The PPQ SC features a Tenifer coating on the slide, barrel and internal parts; low-profile, three-dot polymer sights with a 5.6-inch sight radius; bilateral slide stop levers; 1913 MIL-STD front accessory rail; bilateral magazine release; and three internal safeties.
Two 10-round magazines are provided. Overall dimensions are 5.4 inches long, 4.4 inches high, 1.3 inches wide and a weight of 21.2 ounces with an empty magazine.
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the May 2018 print issue of Gun World Magazine.