The 10 Best New Guns and Accessories from SHOT Show 2016
Matt Korovesis 01.26.16
SHOT Show 2016 is already in the rear-view mirror. Even though it seemed like many of the “new” products on display were more iterative improvements to proven designs than industry-upsetting innovations, there were still plenty of fascinating products on the firing line and show floor.
Here are 10 of the guns and accessories that struck me as the most appealing and downright cool for one reason or another. They are presented in no particular order.
IWI US Tavor X95
The IWI US Tavor SAR is undoubtedly one of the hottest guns to hit American shores in the past several years. Whereas many “new” firearm platforms (read: anything that isn’t an AR, AK, or based off of one of several common shotgun and bolt gun patterns) disappear from the market due to a lack of manufacturing capacity or lackluster performance, the Tavor SAR had the benefit of being made by a company with deep roots in Israel and was proven in various Middle Eastern conflicts.
The Tavor X95 is a refinement of the Tavor SAR and is just as battle-forged—the X95 supplanted earlier versions of the Tavor as the Israel Defense Forces’ service rifle in 2009. The X95 retains its predecessor’s base chambering in 5.56x45mm—and an optional conversion kit to 9x19mm—while improving the fire controls and offering an overall more user-configurable package. In addition, the X95 features an incredibly improved trigger over the SAR. The X95’s trigger breaks around the five- to six-pound mark, while the SAR breaks at around 11 pounds.
IWI US is planning for a retail release of the X95 within a few months and it will retail for $1,999. The original Tavor SAR’s release was subject to several delays, so I hope the X95’s introduction goes a bit smoother. You can learn more about the X95’s features and see more pictures of it here.
Zenith Firearms Z43 Rifle
Most Americans are familiar with the MP5 and G3/HK91 line of firearms. The German-designed, roller-delayed blowback guns chambered in 9x19mm and .308 Winchester, respectively, are prolific and are widely regarded as some of the most reliable arms ever made. Less well-known, but equally deserving of praise, are the roller locks (what roller-delayed blowback guns are often called) in 5.56x45mm.
Though Heckler & Koch sold various select-fire versions of 5.56 roller locks—and the rights to make them—to a number of countries, semiauto variants can be hard to come by in the United States. Aside from a few budget builds from big manufacturers several years ago, they’re typically relegated to the expensive and time-consuming custom gunsmith world. Zenith Firearms’ Z43 Rifle aims to change that.
The Z43 is a semiautomatic roller-lock 5.56x45mm rifle made by MKE in Turkey. Zenith’s MP5 clones have been well-received by the shooting community as some of the best production roller-locks out there. If Zenith can maintain the level of quality present in their MP5s and keep the Z43 Rifle at an affordable price point (they’re hoping to hit around $1,500 MSRP, which is quite good for a 5.56 roller-lock), I think they’ll have a winner. Shooting the Z43 was one of my highlights from Industry Day—5.56 through a roller-lock is an absolute dream. There’s hardly any felt recoil and the gun was quite accurate. These will hopefully be available in the next several months.
Modular and multi-caliber silencers were all the rage this year. SilencerCo’s Hybrid was one of the highlights of the burgeoning “universal” suppressor trend.
The Hybrid can handle just about any common rifle or pistol cartridge in most common barrel lengths, from .223 and 9x19mm all the way up to .45-70 (including .338 Lapua out of an 18-inch barrel). It was designed as a “one can fits all” solution for shooters and can attach to rifles via a direct-thread mount and pistols using the appropriate piston.
SilencerCo had a Marlin lever-action rifle in .45-70 equipped with a Hybrid at Industry Day, and it was quite impressive. It helped tame the powerful cartridge a bit and helped rein the cartridge’s report down toward hearing-safe levels (though SilencerCo claims on their site that the dB level with .45-70 is still just above the hearing-safe levels mandated by OSHA, so you should still wear hearing protection).
The Hybrid is available now from SilencerCo for $999. It weighs 13.8 ounces with a direct-thread mount and is 7.8 inches long. It is not user-serviceable.
Dead Air Silencers Ghost-M
The Dead Air Silencers Ghost-M is another modular, multi-cal can that piqued my interest. The Ghost-M is designed for pistols and submachine guns and is full-auto rated for .22 LR, subsonic 300 BLK, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, 10mm Auto, and 9x19mm.
The Ghost-M can be used in “full” and “compact” lengths. When configured in the full length (shown in the image above), it weighs 12 ounces and is 8.75 inches long. When you want to run it in a more maneuverable and lightweight format with the extension removed, the Ghost-M weighs 9.6 ounces and comes in at 6.2 inches long. You sacrifice a bit of suppression by removing the extension, but dB levels will still be hearing-safe.
The Ghost-M is available now from Dead Air and sells for $949. It is user-serviceable.
Arsenal, Inc. suppressor-ready AKs
Arsenal, Inc. doesn’t want the Stoner kids (heh) to have all the silencer fun. This year, they’ll be introducing a line of premium, suppressor-ready AKs.
The company will offer suppressor-ready variants of their stamped- and milled-receiver lines in 7.62x39mm and 5.45x39mm. Arsenal will also be selling a line of subsonic 7.62x39mm ammunition (no word on 5.45x39mm yet) to fully reap the benefits of a suppressed firearm.
Arsenal partnered with Gemtech for the endeavor. Gemtech will be producing a line of silencers designed specifically for the AKs, which will sell for about $800 to $900 each. The guns themselves will be priced roughly $150 to $175 above their “standard” counterparts. Arsenal hopes to have everything available for purchase through K-Var within 30 days (if you hit up their site, don’t forget to check out the Kalashnikov Visual Recognition Playing Cards—they’re a neat novelty). You can learn more about the new AKs and why suppressing an AK can be difficult in my hands-on article here.
SilencerCo Maxim 9
This is the last silencer-related item on this list—I promise.
The Maxim 9 is SilencerCo’s stab at making its own integrally-suppressed pistol. Looking like something out of an ’80s science-fiction movie, the new prototype of the Maxim 9 the company had on display at SHOT differed significantly from the early versions shown in summer 2015.
This current generation of the Maxim 9 sports a 3D-printed frame (the final versions will not be printed) and feeds from Glock 17 and 19 magazines. SilencerCo’s goal is to make this new handgun hearing-safe with any type of 9x19mm ammunition. It still clearly has a few rounds of development to go through, but the company hopes to sell them for the price of “a good handgun and suppressor,” which would probably mean it falls near $1,500.
Media personnel were able to see a live-fire demonstration of the gun during Industry Day at the Range. You can see that in this video.
Hill & Mac Gunworks STG
The Hill & Mac Gunworks (HMG) STG was one of the more unique firearms on the SHOT floor this year. It’s a modernized and refined version of the classic World War Two-era German Sturmgewehr. Thought it features the same looks and action as the original assault rifle, HMG has made a few smart changes to their version of the gun.
First, the HMG STG features an AR-pattern magwell (yes, that is an AR-pattern magazine in image above). Second, the HMG gun features a barrel-nut system similar to that of an AR, allowing barrels to be easily swapped. Finally, the rear sight base is removable and can be replaced with a short Picatinny rail for optics.
HMG will offer the gun in 5.56x45mm, 300 BLK, 7.92x33mm (8mm Kurz), and 7.62x39mm. They hope to release it around June 1 with a price point of $1,799 for pistol and rifle configurations. You can read more about it here.
Hi-Lux manufactures some of the finest affordable optics around. I’ve used their CMR4-AK762 1-4x24mm scope extensively and I love it. At SHOT this year, they were showing off a prototype model of their CMR8—a first focal plane, 1-8x26mm scope with a 34mm tube. After playing with it, I walked away very impressed.
The CMR8 will be one of the lightest and most compact 1-8x scopes on the market. It will weigh around 22 ounces and be roughly 10.5 inches long. The reticle features a horseshoe design that is eminently usable at a variety of magnifications (check out Tim Yan’s pictures of the reticle to get a better idea of how it works). The best part about the scope is that they’re aiming for an $800 price point—which will also make it one of the most affordable 1-8x scopes out there.
Hi-Lux is currently planning on a May release for the CMR8. It will be a great optic to keep an eye on.
M+M Inc’s M10X with a Zhukov stock
M+M Inc’s new Kalashnikov derivative, the 7.62x39mm M10X, garnered a good deal of attention at last year’s SHOT. I had the opportunity to test an early production model in late 2015 and I found it to be a very interesting rifle with a lot of promise. One of the things I disliked was the use of a non-folding, AR-style buttstock on the gun.
M+M has addressed that problem this year with an update to the M10X. Going forward, the M10X will be available with a different rear trunnion that is compatible with folding Magpul Zhukov stocks. This is an excellent adjustment that improves the ergonomics of the gun without any drawbacks.
The new models will be available around June and will run $50 to $100 more than the AR-stocked M10Xs. Zhukov-compatible rear trunnions will also be sold separately for any M10X owner that wants to swap theirs.
Triumph Systems Pivotal Trainer
I first got a glimpse of Triumph Systems’ Pivotal Trainer at Big 3 East in fall 2015. The company had a final production version on display and available to order at this year’s SHOT. I’m looking forward to seeing more of these in the hands of professional and recreational shooters alike—they’re well-made and affordable training aids. Anyone interested in improving their shooting skills and discretionary training should give them a look.
Those are my picks for this year. What’d I miss?