Whilst dodging the bomb-sniffing wolves and attack cops in pursuit of major trends and developments, it’s easy to miss smaller, but extremely worthy gear items at the SHOT Show. Here, in no particular order, are some that I saw.
1. Pelican gun cases are the only ones I’ve used that have never been damaged or outright wrecked by ramp apes. Everything else has. But there has always been the problem of cutting the liner foam to fit your gun. When I do it, it looks like I used a tournament chainsaw with a snowmobile engine.
No more. Pelican has just introduced a new technology that enables you to make a computer image of whatever you want your case to hold, send it to Pelican, and they do the custom cutting.
To see exactly how this works, go to pelicanfoam.com. If it requires computer skills beyond what you have, your kid can do it for you.
2. Trijicon AccuPower 1X-8X Scope: I’m a big fan of Trijicon. Their scopes are optically excellent and very, very tough. This newest one is in the most useful power range for a military/hunting scope in that it lets you aim from point-blank to long range. It employs a 34mm tube, which I like, and a first focal plane reticle, which may seem complicated at first glance, but which is very well thought out and allows very quick target acquisition. The MSRP is $1,699, which ain’t cheap, but it is a hell of a lot less than competitive scopes of the same power. Trijicon.com.
3. Winchester Super X Subsonic Power Point: Noise, as the remains of my middle ears can tell you, is not good. Even when you wear headphones you’re doing damage. So it was with vast interest that I shot Winchester’s new Super X Subsonic Power Point ammo, which comes in .308 and .300 Blackout. The .308 is loaded with a specially modified 185-grain bullet that’s designed to shoot accurately and expand reliably at 1, 060 fps, and an odd-looking thing it is, but it works. The .300 BLK uses a 200-grainer at the same speed.
Do they cut way down on the noise (and in the process, recoil)? Yes, they do. I’ve heard canary farts that were louder, back when I could still hear a canary fart. Prices were not available at press time. Winchester.com/products.
4. Knives of Alaska founder Charles Allen is both an Alaska guide and a game biologist, so it’s no surprise that he understands how to unjoint an ungulate. This year, Mr. Allen has introduced the Bobcat Combo, a knife/hatchet set that can handle the whole job. The Bobcat is a mini-hatchet that’s specifically designed to split the pelvis and divide the sternum of whatever you’re working on, and has a nice, big gut hook to unzip the belly. It’s combined with the Alpha Wolf, a small drop-point hunting knife that can handle anything else that comes along and also happens to be a first-rate kitchen knife. Indeed, if you buy the Bobcat Combo and have a brain in your head you’ll put the Alpha Wolf in your kitchen knife drawer and use it all year around. It may be tough having a kitchen knife that stays sharp, but I’m sure you’ll adjust. The Combo is $149.99. knivesofalaska.com.
And: DiamondBlade Knives is a subsidiary of Knives of Alaska, whose products hold an edge like nothing else, but which until now have been priced like custom cutlery, because they are custom cutlery. This past year, by modifying its manufacturing methods and investing in proprietary machinery, DiamondBlade has been able to cut costs dramatically. Go look. Diamondblade.com.
5. White River Knife and Tool has been around only a few years, but has gained a following by coming up with intelligent and practical designs, and making top-drawer knives by hand at reasonable prices. New this year is the Firecraft series, which comes in 4-, 5-, and 7-inch-blade models at $240, $280, and $320, respectively. The steel is S30V and the handles are canvas micarta. Included in the handle is a stainless-steel bow-drill divot, and on the sheath, a ferro rod, in case you get yourself into a situation where you need Serious Firemaking Backup.
The 4-inch model makes an excellent hunting knife, while the two larger ones favor the survival side of things. White River does not re-invent the wheel. They simply make a hell of a good wheel and let it go at that. Whiteriverknives.com.