I was amazed. The line consisted of about 40 people in a serpentine path, all lined up to fire shots through a real gun. Sam, the young man working the counter at The Gun Store, on Tropicana Avenue, in Las Vegas quietly said, “Ninety five percent of them don’t live in the U.S.” It dawned on me that this line of people came from places where the ability to own and fire a gun aren’t taken for granted.

We had just left Media Day at the Boulder City Shooting Club. Media Day is the kickoff for the biggest shooting industry show in the world, SHOT Show. At Media Day, members of the shooting media are invited for a first glimpse and a chance to shoot the best the manufacturers have to offer. The highlight of my Media Day was a shooting session at the Cabot Arms booth. Cabot builds probably the finest 1911 I’ve ever had in my hands and part of my little session was shooting a left and right hand 1911, one in each hand, at two targets at one time. My coach for the attempt was no less than Brian Zinns, a History Top Shot finalist, and many time National Champion Pistol shooter. I managed to hit the targets but I couldn’t quite get both guns to go off at the same time.  After my tries, Brian demonstrated and succeeded on the second try. As we were shooting, Chris Cerino, of Chris Cerino Training Group, another Top Shot finalist, came up. Chris hit both targets every time and then rang a full sized silhouette 100 yards away, five shots in a row.

As I looked at the gun starved line of tourists, it occurred to me that Americans are very blessed to be guaranteed the right to keep and bear arms. In these troubling times, we should not be complacent. This week, I’ll be covering the show and reporting on some of the most innovative shooting products for 2013. During the upcoming months, look for reviews and tests of these guns and shooting related products.

So far, I am really impressed with the Cabot 1911s. These are handmade match grade guns capable of winning a national championship right out of the box, as Brian demonstrated this past July at Camp Perry, Ohio. The fit and finish are impeccable and there are design features that make an old 1911 lover drool. One of the most impressive things I noticed was the sights. Cabot has designed the most graceful and unobtrusive adjustable rear sight I’ve ever seen on a handgun. The rear sight is rounded enough for easy concealed carry yet adjustable for both elevation and windage. The front site is a standard Patridge type sight with a fine white line engraved vertically to a point at the top center. The finely defined sight allowed Chris to favor into the wind on the 100 yard shot and hit the silhouette every time. This is a truly fine handgun and simply the best of the best.

I was also impressed with Winchester Ammunition’s new AA TrAAker load, the first shotgun shell to feature a weighted wad that actually tracks with the shot string. This allows the shooter or an instructor to quickly determine where the shooter is missing – making it easy to adjust and nail flying targets shot after shot.

“A new shooter now can learn how to lead a clay target or game bird almost immediately – that’s the results you get with AA TrAAcker,” said Brett Flaugher, Winchester Ammunition vice president of marketing, sales and strategy. “The new AA TrAAcker is a great training tool for shooters, hunters, and shooting instructors.”

It has taken me years to learn to look from behind my students and see where they’re shooting and this new load is going to be a boon for instructors, both professional and amateur. The wad comes in two colors to make it identifiable in different light conditions and there are two loadings to replicate low and high velocity loads. For now, it’s available only in 12 gauge, but I’m hoping it will soon be available in 20 gauge as well.

Viridian had their green laser sights at Media Day and I was pleased to have a chance to see a laser in the bright Nevada sunlight. As far as I know, there is no other laser light that really shows up in broad daylight, but this one shows up bright and strong. Green lasers show up better than red ones but they’re known for being hard on batteries. Viridian has solved this problem with their unique holster system that turns the laser off when it’s in the holster and relights it when you draw. This is an amazing system that can work for both defense and competition and I look forward to wringing it out in the future.

Image by Cherie Jones

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