Some quick thoughts from the 147th Annual Meeting of the National Rifle Association in Dallas, TX. I’d like to start with a quote from Shooting Illustrated contributor Kelly Grayson: “It seems like everyone is making 1911s and AR-15s, to the point where I just don’t care about them any more. I have a few, they work fine for me, but I really want to see something new.”
In fairness to Mr. Grayson, he had only been at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center for about an hour after making this comment. I think that he probably found a lot of exciting new items that weren't 1911s or AR-15s. Here’s a handful of new items I found interesting:
1. ATI 9 mm conversion kit. This is a slick idea -- generally, to run a 9 mm AR-15 you need a dedicated rifle. Lowers don’t interchange like they do between .300 BLK and .223 Rem. With the ATI mag well, you can bring a .223 Rem. AR to the range and convert it to 9 mm simply by removing the .223 Rem. upper, putting on a 9 mm upper, swapping the buffer (for now; they’re working on something that will work for both calibers, according to company reps) and putting the 9 mm insert in the mag well. We’re interested in taking a closer look at this new system.
2. Magpul Bipod Available in three different attachment methods (M-Lok, Picatinny rail and 17S), two different colors and two different sizes. As Magpul continues their quest to make all the things, they keep expanding into areas that make great sense, fit into their current lines seamlessly and offer solid products customers need for great prices. It’s not hard to see why they continue to be so popular.
3. SIG Sauer BDX System. Standing for Ballistic Data Xchange, the SIG BDX system incorporates a riflescope, laser rangefinder and smartphone app to gather information on wind (you’ll need an anemometer), distance and elevation, combine it with the ballistic profile of your round, and provides the long-range shooter with a shooting solution. The first step is to download the app and input your ballistic profile. Next, sync the app with the rangefinder. Range your target, then pair the rangefinder with the riflescope (Yes, they need to be SIG Electro-Optics).The scope will display holdover points in the form of an LED dot. It’s practically magic!
4. Smith & Wesson Model 19, Classics line. It’s about time Smith & Wesson brought back the iconic model 19. This model sports a 4.25-inch barrel, lustrous blue finish and appropriate diamond stocks. Sadly, for purists, it does have the “zit,” but if you’ve always wanted one of the Combat Magnums without dirtying up a classic, here’s your chance.
5. Tactical Walls coffee table. We’ve covered some of the “hide in plain sight” items from Tactical Walls before, but this is something new. It looks like a standard living room coffee table, but underneath lies a secret: There’s an RFID-enabled shelf that drops down, concealing a rifle, shotgun or handgun of your choice. It’s not a safe, of course, but it is secure and out of sight.
There were so many other cool things at the 2018 NRA Annual Meeting, of course; we’ll be covering more of them in future articles here on Shooting Illustrated. Stay tuned!