I start of Part 5 of my 2020 SHOT Show After Action Report with a bit of frustration. I shared Part 0 on /r/firearms which seems to be a far more saner subreddit compared to /r/guns. But all the comments were about how I only talked about rimfire guns and didn’t talk about the stuff they wanted to see (e.g. Palmetto State Armory).
First off, my AARs have always been multi-part. I don’t write one huge report and publish it. If I did, I’d end up releasing the full report a month after SHOT Show. Second, my AARs have always been a relatively broad coverage of things that I thought were interesting. While I don’t just stick to one topic or area, I do have a different view and perspective compared to others. So what I talk about will not be exactly the same as another person.
Anyway, I find it aggravating that there is so much negative criticism when I make a valid and concerted attempt to report on my experience at the recent SHOT Show. It is what it is and I do accept that there’s people out there on the Internet who simply can’t help but be cynical. Had I not even started off Part 1 and Part 2 covering rimfire products, and rather reordered it to talk about everything non-rimfire, I feel like people would not have complained.
Moving on to actual SHOT Show related discussion, Heckler & Koch was showing off their SP5, which is the semi-automatic version of the infamous MP5.
The SP5 runs an 8.86″ barrel, which essentially means it is being sold as a pistol to the general civilian market, and the stock is an arm brace. The SP5 uses the roller-delayed blowback operating system also found on the MP5, make the SP5 a true clone.
As you may probably be able to see in the above photo, the MSRP is $2799 USD making for quite the sticker shock. Even if the retailer pricing were 10% below MSRP, $2500 is a lot to pay for a ‘civilianized’ MP5.
I want to mention Savage Arms who exhibited at 2020 SHOT Show as an independent company (sold/split from Vista Outdoors).
Savage had a few new things to point out. One is their new 110 Elite Precision package that takes a 10/110 action and bundles it with an MDT ACC Chassis. The MSRP is pretty stout for a Savage a $1989, but the price premium is because of that MDT ACC which starts at $1100 alone.
I do have to mention the two new rimfire offerings from Savage Arms in the form of the A22 Precision and the B Series Precision rifles.
The A22 Precision is a semi-auto .22LR in a custom one-piece MDT billet aluminum chassis, while the B Series Precision is a bolt action rimfire (.22LR, .17HMR, or .22WMR) also in a custom one-piece MDT billet aluminum chassis.
When I first saw the press releases in the weeks prior to SHOT Show, I thought the MDT Chassis for the A22 Precision and B Series Precision looked ‘cheap’ for the lack of a better word. But handling both rifles in person will change your mind. The rifles handle quite well and I can see how these custom chassis unit specific to the Savage rifles are actually functional.
While interesting from a lower end rimfire standpoint, I think the Savage A22 Precision and the B Series Precision are late to the party since they are going head-to-head with the Ruger 10/22 and Ruger Precision Rimfire, which are already well established and serve that $500 and under price point.
Speaking of MDT, they did announce the XRS, which stands for Crossover Rifle Stock.
The MDT XRS is billed as a hybrid chassis in that it is more like a traditional stock, with a polymer shell over 6061 aluminum chassis and V-block bedding system. For all intents and purposes, this is competing directly against the KRG Bravo Chassis, which I am sure has taken a lot of market share from MDT as well as other higher priced chassis manufacturers.
The MDT XRS does have a 12″ MLOK compatible forend. While I am not all that keen on MLOK, it does open up the XRS for Arca-Swiss dovetail rails (e.g. Area419) of which MDT will also be selling in-house. The MDT MLOK to Arca-Swiss rail appears to have the MDT logo engraved in it, but from what I recall in conversation at the MDT booth, it might actually be contracted out.
The MDT XRS has an MSRP of $500 and given the reputation of MDT for a quality chassis system (notably the ACC), I anticipate may bolt rifle shooters looking for a lower cost stock will seek out the MDT XRS. I am honestly considering one of these since my Remington 700P (.308) is still stock-less/chassis-less (long story).
I did mention KRG and I happened to take note of new stocks that they had at their booth.
The KRG X-RAY Gen 4 has a few improvements, mainly with regards to the tool-less adjustments on the stock, the enlarged barrel channel to accommodate 1.25″ straight contour, and redesign of the rear stock to be a single molded piece.
MSRP for the X-RAY Gen 4 is $499.
KRG is also jumping on the rimfire bandwagon with a Bravo chassis for the CZ-457 and 10/22.
I think these could be successes for KRG since many precision rimfire shooters on the CZ 457 and 10/22 platforms look for aftermarket stocks and chassis. With an MSRP of $369 for the CZ-457 Bravo and $249 for the 10/22 Bravo, this puts the KRG options into a nice pricepoint for the average rimfire consumer.
Circling back to Savage while talking about stocks and chassis, Magpul did announce the Magpul Hunter stock for Savage short actions, dubbed the Savage Hunter 110 Stock.
Savage used to be quite neglected when it came to aftermarket stock support, but that has changed in the past few years with higher end chassis manufacturers inletting for the Savage actions. So I am surprised Magpul never came out with the Hunter stock for the Savage footprint sooner.
I honestly think Savage will become a very marginal player in the precision bolt rifle market considering that the Remington 700 footprint has become the defacto standard for rifles whether mass production (e.g. Remington, Bergara) or custom (e.g. Defiance, ZAI, Surgeon). There are so many different stocks, chassis, and triggers for a 700-style action.
Now that Savage Arms is an independent company (for now), maybe they can put significant focus on ways to be more attractive to consumers.
Speaking of aftermarket Remington 700-style triggers, TriggerTech was showing off their Diamond 2-stage.
There is no published data on the pull weight adjustment ranges, but from what I understand, TriggerTech is still in the final stages of testing. This trigger was supposed to be out last year, but was pushed to 2020. The TriggerTech 2020 SHOT Show literature indicates 2020 Q1, but this could push depending on their real-life testing data.
I am a long-time proponent of 2-stage triggers in a precision bolt rifle. Given a ‘heavy’ pull weight of 1.5lbs or 2lbs (or even heavier), it is much better to have a 2-stage where you can split the weight and allow a shooter to prep the trigger pull. With a single stage at a weight such as 2lb, most shooters can’t tell if they are pulling 1lb or 1.5lbs on a 2lb trigger. Being able to have that positive feedback of a first stage wall allows someone like me to prep a trigger for a shot instead of just resting some pull weight by sense of feel in a single stage.
Now if you are running a trigger for a range gun only, going really light is feasible and can negate the need for a 2-stage to mitigate the heavier pull weight. I know people who run 8 ounces (1/2-lb) and even lighter pull weights on some of the more exotic triggers. That’s fine when you’re in a controlled environment, but even it’s in a shooting range environment, unless it is benchrest, I don’t feel comfortable running an ultralight trigger pull on a single stage.
I will admit that my Vudoo has a TriggerTech Diamond (single) set to 12 ounces. I run the bolt pretty hard sometimes, and I half expected the rifle to slam fire when I took it to range for the first time. (Knock on wood) The trigger is stable at that pull weight.
Someone asked me out of band regarding how SHOT Show was this year compared to last. He indicated he was unable to attend this year due to external factors, and had heard that SHOT was lacking this year in terms of swag and ‘celebrity’ appearances.
My response to that inquiry is that SHOT felt just as busy as previous years. The swag was around the same, although I didn’t see some of the less common swag from last year (e.g. decks of Kel-Tec playing cards, mini-towels from various firearms manufacturers). I did pick up way more hats than last year, more coffee mugs and drinking glasses, and about the same amount of shirts.
Note: Shout out to the guy at Nightforce Optics who gave me two hats to give away at the NRL22 matches. I totally forgot your name, but thank you.
If anything, SHOT Show had way more free beer that last year. Maybe it was the same, but if it was, you didn’t have to look for it. Pretty much every aisle had some booth giving away free beer, whether it was DS Arms pouring their own in-house Gun Craft Brewery beers or Arc’teryx pouring Stella into their branded glasses.
But SHOT Show shouldn’t be about free stuff. Sure, it’s nice to get free trinkets at conventions and trade shows, but SHOT is about the industry.
Anyway, that concludes Part 5 of my 2020 SHOT Show After Action Report. I didn’t mean to start of this segment of the series on such a down note, but as a freelance independent writer and content creator, nonconstructive criticisms can be such a demotivator.
Look for Part 6 of my 2020 SHOT Show After Action Report in the next day or two. Refer to 2020 SHOT Show After Action Report – Part 0 for the index of all parts in my 2020 SHOT Show AAR series.
Here are some rewards for anyone that read to the end of Part 5:
- 30% off geissele.com code – 2298826
- 35% off SSA and SSA-E triggers on geissele.com – ZND0RY
- 30% off abeandmoe.com – S8VXTTS
The above codes are one-time use, expire on 02/29/2020, and are not valid on SSF, armorer’s kits, or Magpul products sold on geissele.com (as indicated on the coupon). If none of the codes work, you were too late to redeem. I actually have a few more Geissele coupons, so if you missed on the ones above, I will post more in the future 2020 SHOT Show AAR posts.