by John C. Krull
Gun Week Production Manager
The venue for the 2007 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show was in Orlando, FL. This is not exactly my favorite town or state, but then I don’t have any say in the matter. I have always preferred Las Vegas, NV, for this annual event and for the next several years I may get my wish. It just seems that Vegas is so much easier to get around in and it certainly has good night life, and I’m not talking just about the gambling.
This year the hall seemed to be bigger and covered more area than ever and it probably did. Several companies had multiple booths, usually one in the area for sporting goods and another in the police/military area. My guess would be that they have to do this because SHOT has just gotten so big that even if all you have to do there is visit the vendors it can’t efficiently and completely be done in the time allocated without suffering physically. The walking, the carrying of the massive amounts of literature that you can acquire and sometimes even samples, standing and being on your feet all day really makes you pay the toll.
Somehow it always seems that the people that I know of who have new products that I want to see are the one that are farthest from Gun Week’s booth. This was the case with BlackHawk. They could not have been any further away from us than they were. So, I got there once but never got to talk with Laura Burgess like I had hoped to.
That’s enough for a little background on the show itself. Let’s get into what I saw. While there are guns and ammo there, I also like to cover the “none gun” items so we will start with one of those.
I was approaching a booth that had several stuffed dogs, and at first I couldn’t figure out what their real product was. I found out that they are Pup Light (CPA Systems, 1S 699 Birchbrook Ct., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137; phone: 866-787-5444, on-line: www.puplight.com) and that the stuffed animals were displaying their product. This is a lightweight (2.5 ounces) 3 LED light and collar to be used while you are out walking your dog at night. Now you might think at first what does you dog need a light for, they can see where they are going. Well, can they?
The unit itself is just about 2˘ inches square with a swivel bracket, which attaches to the provided collar. It is powered by 3 AAA batteries and will shine for 150 hours or more. It is designed so that the bracket not only is used to attach but also shields the light from the dogs face so that they aren’t blinded by it. The case is water-resistant, as it should be for its intended use. The collar adjusts from 8 inches up to 26 inches so it should fit just about any canine out there, large or small.
You might still be asking, why does my dog need one of these? I can think of several reasons. It will help light the path for both you and your dog. If “Fido” gets away it would be a means of letting you know where he is. One of the biggest and best reasons I can see to have a Pup Light is for emergency preparedness. Animal owners need to make emergency preparations, not only for their family but also for their pets. Last year a good part of Western New York got hit by what came to be called the “October Surprise.” We had 24 inches of heavy, wet snow that clung to the trees that had not yet shed their leaves. Thousands of trees were lost. At home, my family had no power for 8 days except for a small generator. At night when I would take Benjie our dog for a walk, there was absolutely no light. No street lights, no vehicle headlights (the streets were impassible with downed trees), and no light coming from homes. It would have been nice to have the Pup Light at that time.
To get a Pup Light you can order on-line or call their toll-free number. The Pup Light retails for $20 and is also available at the 750 PetCos.
There are certain companies that I gravitate back to each year. Mountain House (525 25th SW, Dept. GWK, Albany, OR 97321; phone: 800-547-0244; on-line: www.mountainhouse.com) is one company that always draws my attention. It might be that there is always a crowd of people around their booth, who are waiting for a sample of the simply delicious food they are continually preparing.
Mountain House has a very large selection of freeze dried foods that come in several serving sizes from the large #10 cans, to complete meals, entrees, deserts, and veggies. They are packed in different portion sizes for campers and backpackers who want full meals on the trail without having to worry about the storage and spoilage or about the weight of the items they are carrying in.
In years past, we have tried several of the Mountain House meals. We have fixed them right at home and the family has had them for supper. Of all the samples that we have tried, I think my favorite is the beef stroganoff. You wouldn’t know that it was cooked in and came out of an aluminum bag.
The food supplies that come in the #10 cans have a suggested retail price of somewhere between $18 and $35 but are sometimes offered at discounted pricing by some emergency preparedness websites. When one of these sales is on would be a good time to stock up. Some of the meat products are between $45 and $54, but then meat always costs more.
They even have what they call the “Just in Case…72-Hour Emergency Meal Kit. In the box are 12 different meal packages that contain 6 entrees, 3 vegetables and 3 breakfast meals. These will serve one adult for three days. I’m sure that if it was a real emergency you could stretch them for at 1 or 2 days more. This package will cost you $46, and could save your life. What I find to be the amazing part is it weights just 1.68 pounds. You will also need 11˚ cups of water, in most cases boiling water, to prepare these items. That is ∫ of a gallon or 3 quarts for those who don’t know how much a cup of water is. The only one not requiring a cup was the granola cereal pack. In an emergency situation you will need additional water so if you are going to stock up on some Mountain House rations don’t forget an appropriate amount of water.
I can’t say enough about the quality and the taste of Mountain Houses products. You are going to have to try them to see what I mean. They also have a shelf life of 7 years according to the can, but you know how that works. Their lawyers have probably advised them to not overdue it, so you can probably count on a longer time then this. They do recommend that once you have opened one of the #10 cans, that you use it up in a week’s times, this I do strongly agree with. Try them you’ll like it.
Birchwood Casey (7900 Fuller Rd., Dept. GWK, Eden Prairie, MN 55344; phone: 800-328-6156; on-line: www.birchwood-casey.com) is one of those companies that I have found makes my life as a gunowner and a shooter much easier. They have some of the best gun cleaning supplies on the market. Their Shoot?N?C Targets always go to the range with me.
One of their newer products are several different packings of Sanitizing Hand Towels. You can get them in a 25 pack box ($7), a 100 Pack Jar ($25.50) for the dealers to have at their checkout points or in a 2,000 pack box ($425.30). This product is also available in a 2 fluid ounce spray bottle ($5.40). The formula will kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria that you can contact through ever so many means. Their towels will remove dirt, blood, lead, grease and bacteria. They evaporate so they leave no sticky residue or odor. I’m now carrying a couple in my everyday work bag, on my bike, in my car and have some in each of my 72 hour bags for the family. I think they are a must.
Another new product from Birchwood Case is their Barrel Cots Gun Barrel Protectors. With the Barrel Cots it is easy to keep debris, rain, snow, mud, bugs and just about anything out of your barrel. Simply roll the Barrel Cot onto the barrel of your firearmwhen you’re ready to shoot, go right ahead. The Barrel Cot does not have to be removed and does not reduce your accuracy. It protects the barrel of your gun without sacrificing any performance! One size fits all barrelspistol, rifle, shotgun and muzzleloader. You can think of these as little “condoms” for your guns. They are black in color and come in packs of 20 Cots per bag and have a retail price of just $4.30.
BlackHawk Knifes (BlackHawk Products Group, 4850 Brookside Ct., Dept. GWK, Norfolk, VA 23502; phone: 800-694-5263; on-line: www.blackhawk.com) has again added to their line of impressive knives with the Silent Partner.
This knife was designed by noted custom knifemaker Howard Viele. The Silent Partner combines the compactness of a gentleman’s pocketknife with the strength and reliability of a purpose-designed tactical tool. Built on a framework of solid stainless steel and textured G-10 handle slabs, its blade locks open via a rugged integral frame-lock mechanism. Its hollow-ground drop-point blade is precision machined from tough 440C stainless steel and features both an ambidextrous thumb stud and an index finger “flipper” to ensure rapid and reliable one-handed opening.
The blade is 3.2 inches with the Silent Partner having an overall length of 7.75 inches. The blade has a very appealing bead-blasted matte finish, and comes either plain or partially serrated. Personally I prefer the plain, never have liked serrated blades. It has a pocket clip on the right side for a tip-down carry. Suggested retail price is $60.
I could probably write a whole article, and probably will, on just the BlackHawk products that I have seen and used, but there just isn’t room here. You will have to visit their website to get the full effect or acquire a copy of their catalog.
The name of the game is adult precision airguns and the name of the gun is Gamo (3911 Southwest 47th Ave. Suite 914, Dept. GWK, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314, phone: 954-581-5822; on-line: www.gamousa.com). At home, I have several guns from Gamo and always have been happy with their accuracy and their terminal velocity. My daughter, Caitlin, and I have terminated more squirrels in the backyard than we can keep count of. I came home one day last summer and saw a muzzle sticking out of her bedroom window and knew that some squirrel was doing his last damage to our backyard.
At SHOT, I could see the Gamo booth from aisles away. It’s one of the big ones.
I always have to see what they have that is new in airguns. This time I especially found interest in one of their Professional Series models, called the Varmint Hunter. This baby is really decked out. It has a light for night shooting and also is equipped with a laser. These are mounted above a weatherproof 4x32 scope with a special bracket. You have a choice of where you want the switches to be for both the light and the laser. As set up from the factory, the switches are right to the rear of each unit, but included are remote switches that you can install on the stock for remote activation of both the light and/or the laser with the stock-holding hand.
The stock is a one piece composite all weather with double cheek pieces for left or right handed shooters. The safety is what I would call a military type safety located within the trigger guard directly in front of the trigger. I like this configuration very much. It is very easy to operate.
Gamo rates the velocity at 1,250 fps with Performance Ballistic Alloy (PBA) hunting pellets. This we will have to measure for ourselves during testing.
Unfortunately no PBA pellets came with the gun, but I do have a couple of sample packs. PBA is the first lead-free, environmentally friendly alloy ammunition, which delivers match-grade accuracy at extended distances. Now you can extend the effective hunting range of your airgun by using PBA pellets. All in all I’m impressed once again by this Gamo air rifle, but you will have to wait a couple months until I finish my shooting and evaluation for the complete report.
Squirrels are a real problem in my neighborhood and we all have a good time hunting them. I’m sure this new addition to our airgun arsenal is going to prove worthy, and might even be the best of the bunch. The suggested retail price for the Varmint Hunter is $250.
I have covered products from Brunton (620 East Monroe Ave., Dept. GWK, Riverton, WY 8250; phone: 800-443-4871; on-line: www.brunton.com) in these pages in the past and will continue to as long as I am in this business. Everything that they have is real quality and you won’t ever go wrong by buying Brunton gear.
Last year, John Birbari had told me about their new backpacker’s stove that they were going to come out with. This isn’t really a new product, but one that has been improved. You can now use almost any kind of liquid fuel in it, even butane. While Burberry has gone on to retirement, his successor has promised that I would be receiving one of these new stoves very soon.
It is called the Vapor AF All Fuel Expedition Stove. The All-Fuel Expedition Stove is the ultimate stove; not only does it burn butane, but every liquid fuel, toowhite gas, kerosene, diesel #1, auto fuel, jet fuel and others. With a simple turn of the burner cup, you can adjust for any fuel you want to use without replacing jets or fiddling with loose parts. The new revolutionary design makes older-style liquid fuel stoves a thing of the past. It’s convenience from a device that, until now, was never designed to be convenient.
Brunton has won many awards in the past for their innovative products, and I’m sure this one is going to be another winner.
Here are the specifications of this new stove: Self-purging flipstop pump; Overall dimensions are 4.1x5.2x2.3 inches folded; Weight is 16 ounces; the approximate BTU rating is 10,000 with Liquid fuel, and 12,000 with Butane; Burn time is up to 2.5 hours on high output; Boil time (1 liter of water) is down to 3.5 minutes, and besides all that there is a Limited Lifetime warranty. The retail price of the All Fuel Expedition Stove is $149. This seems like another must have item for your 72-hour bag with the advantage being that it will burn any fuel available. I’m going to be interested in seeing if it will work on things like Jack Daniels or Grey Goose vodka. I bet it will, but this is my idea and not one presented by Brunton. You are going to need one of these stoves to heat the water to prepare your Mountain House freeze dried food.
While there is a lot more that I could report on from the 2007 SHOT Show, there just isn’t enough room in this article for more. Remember that whenever you contact any of the companies mentioned in this article to be sure to tell them that John at Gun Week sent you.