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2022 SHOT Show After Action Report – Part 6

posted in: Firearms, Shooting 1

As I begin the last segment of my 2022 SHOT Show After Action Report, I wanted to point out that new products are not the only things to come out of SHOT. Athlon Optics announced their Shooting Sports Giveback program going into SHOT 2022.

The Athlon Shooting Sports Giveback program is designed to promote the shooting sports by providing more enticement to shoot in matches. Athlon Optics has a registration form on their website for any shooter to log their match participation.

Athlon will “draw 4 names throughout the year, meet the winner at their next match, and present them with $5,000 cash along with a $5,000 prize package.”


So if you participate in any shooting match, whether it is IPSC, IDPA, NRL22, PRS Centerfire, NRA Silhouette, or any other discipline, you can log it on the registration form for another entry. No need to use an Athlon Optic.

But there is a bonus if you win a match using an Athlon Optic. According to Athlon:

“To pay it back, if you take first, second, or third using an Athlon Optic, you will be qualified to enter the Grand Prize Drawing: $20,000 cash and $5,000 in optics—to keep you shooting for the next year. So, get out there and make an impact!”

This is a great gesture by Athlon Optics and all match directors should promote this program.

During my walk around the SHOT exhibition floor, I came across the LifePod products at the Vaultek booth and saw a new modular case system dubbed the LifePod XT.

On first glance you will think it’s simply a Pelican-style case with organizers built-in. This is true in some regard as the case is a synthetic hard shell weathersealed case with locking latches. The internals can be pluckable foam or precut and locking pistol and pistol magazine holders.

The modular holders can be swapped out and reconfigured based on the load out. There are also options for lid organizers and there is support for a lockable cable tether.

But the LifePod XT also incorporates the LifePod electronic lock technology with a weatherproof keypad. Furthermore, there will be the option on certain XT models to have biometric unlock capabilities using fingerprint recognition. Initial pricing is TBD. I anticipate these to be around $300-350 USD given the smaller LifePod portable safes are $125-$150.

These appear to be a very versatile transportation option for pistol shooters who carry multiple firearms and magazines. Of course, there are DIY options using Pelican-style cases (e.g., Harbor Freight Apache cases), but the LifePod XT is a cleaner, purpose-built option.

I have become a fan of the CKYE-POD after acquiring a Gen 2 in early 2021. While I feel the CKYE-POD is an incredibly versatile bipod, the cost is a detractor for many at $600. MDT has released a new bipod option dubbed the GRND-POD.

Pronounced “Ground Pod”, the GRND-POD is a budget friendly bipod that offers durability, strength, and stability at a lower price point.

The GRND-POD is made out of 6061 aluminum, carbon fiber, and polymer. The legs themselves appear to be carbon fiber and polymer with interchangeable feet (Atlas-compatible). The adjustable height range is 4.5″ to 9″ and the legs will pivot from 0 to 50, 90, and 180 degrees.

The GRND-POD comes in either Picatinny mount or Arca dovetail mount. There is no dual mount option and I do not think you can swap heads / clamps.

The price for the GRND-POD is $199.95 USD. Some might feel that it might be too much like a Magpul with regards to the use of polymer, but I feel that the GRND-POD is more like a lightweight CKYE-POD with hints of Atlas-CAL.

Personally, I would not get the MDT GRND-POD because you have to choose between Picatinny or Arca and there is no option to use your own clamp (e.g., ARMS-17S or RRS mount) to get dual clamp capabilities. If the GRND-POD came in an ARMS-17S or RRS mount option, I would change my opinion on this bipod. For many, this is not an issue though, and they would be content with either clamp option that fit their rifle in question.

MDT also released the CKYE-POD Lightweight which is a lighter version of the original CKYE-POD designed for hunters were weight savings is important.

The CKYE-POD Lightweight weight savings come primarily from the bipod body section, which does not have the barricade stop and is streamlined. It still retains 360 degree panning capability along with 170 degrees of cant. The feet are interchangeable for Atlas-compatible feet.

This lighter weight version of the CKYE-POD comes in a dual-clamp option that supports Arca and Picatinny or a sling-stud clamp option.

The CKYE-POD Lightweight is actually more expensive than the MDT CKYE-POD Gen 2, and rings in at $699.95 USD. The CKYE-POD Gen 2 is supposedly went into price increases as of the start of 2022 in Canada, but the USD prices listed on the MDT website appear to be the same as 2021.

Speaking of bipods, Harris Bipods has a direct to MLOK interface option.

While I personally would not want a direct MLOK attached bipod, there is a market for it with the AR-15 segment, and that is who Harris is targeting. The Harris representative did indicate they are looking into a direct to Arca interface. While this would make sense in order to address this segment in-house, they will be competing directly against the likes of Really Right Stuff who actually makes a very high quality Harris to Arca adapter. But if Harris can make something that costs less and is nearly as good in terms of finish and function, it will be a worthwhile effort.

One scope that was recently released that I wanted to check out is the Zeiss LRP S5 scope line.

The Zeiss Conquest series is overlooked by many precision rifle shooters. The scopes are of high quality, but given the options out there in the respective price range, the Conquest is not a scope you will see on the firing line.

However, the new LRP S5 has been highly spoken of when it was released late last year. There are two primary models, the 3-18×50 and the 5-25×56.

The standout feature of the LRP S5 is the large amount of travel in the elevation turret: 40.7 MRAD or 140 MOA (MIL or MOA scopes, respectively). This is being done with a 34mm tube.

The parallax adjustment range is 27 yards to infinity.

In handling the LRP S5, one can see characteristics of high quality. The finish appears solid with clean and clear markings.

The turrets with crisp, sharp clicks and good feedback and an interesting choice of 12 MIL per revolution on the elevation turret.

With limited through the scope viewing on an exhibition floor, I feel the scope image looks to be on par with the higher tier segment and has a good eyebox.

The LRP S5 is using a new Zeiss reticle dubbed the ZF-MRi.

The ZF-MRi is a very coherent tree-style reticle with an open crosshair, center dot designm and two-tenths MIL hash marks, as well as dots for the one-half MIL mark. Again, it is hard to gauge in-scope viewing inside a building and not on the range, I can say that I could use this reticle. I am a huge fan of two-tenth MIL hashes on the crosshairs.

I do not know what the MSRP is for the Zeiss LRP S5, but the prices I have been seeing are $3299.99 and $3599.99 USD for the 3-18×50 and 5-25×56, respectively. This price point places the Zeiss LRP S5 directly against the likes of Kahles and Nightforce, and arguably against Zero Compromise Optic.

I did make a quick stop by the Zero Compromise Optic booth to gawk at the new ZC840 that was announced just prior to SHOT Show.

In a nutshell, it is a 36mm main tube scope with magnification from 8-40 with a 56mm objective. Unlike the ZC420 and ZC527, both of which have a parallax of 25 yards to infinity, the ZC840 will focus down to 15 yards.

However, the ZC840 does not have 35 MIL of elevation travel like the ZC420 and ZC527. Rather, the ZC840 has 28 MIL of elevation adjustment. I will confirm an observation I made from product photos released prior to SHOT.

Turret of the ZC840 dialed all the way up.

The ZC840 has the same turrets as the ZC527 which has markings going all the way up to 35 MIL even though it only goes to 28 MIL.

As far as the ZC840 and whether I would get one, I actually favor the ZC527 because of the 35 MIL elevation travel. Since I use the ZC527 on an all-purpose rimfire rifle, I want to zero at 50 yards, but still have maximum elevation for Extreme Long Range rimfire shooting. I do not have a Charlie TARAC setup or similar type system, so I am dependent only on the capabilities of the scope for ELR.

One last product that I wanted to mention that caught my eye is the Master Gun Vise by Real Avid.

The Master Gun Vise is specifically designed for firearms work in mind, unlike your traditional bench vise. It is based on an articulating ball head design, much like a camera ball head. This gives it a lot of motion for reorienting the object in the vise as the operator needs.

There is a single lever to lock the ball in place. Naturally, a ballhead may not have enough torque resistance with the lever lock. But there is a locking pin that will allow the ball to be locked into one of two orientations (the ball is keyed).

Thus, if you need to install or remove a barrel nut, remove a muzzle device, or conduct some other task that would exert a high amount of torque on the object in the vise, you can do so. Note that there is a warning in the Master Gun Vise instruction manual to not use more than 100 ft-lb of torque at any time. The warning does not indicate if there is a limitation on the vise. Generally, you would not need to exert over 100 ft-lb of torque in a DIY / at-home gunsmith scenario. But this is something to keep in mind.

Continuing on, the vise itself has reversible jaw pads that with different surfaces to accommodate the scenario at hand.

Also, the Real Avid Master Gun Vise has some features that will allow it to interface with other Real Avid gunsmithing tools (such as upper vise blocks).

I feel the Master Gun Vise is a valid tool for many DIY gun owners. It offers a lot of capabilities in a vise that a person would need to work on their firearm. There are plenty of gun owners who do not have a standard bench vise because they do not do other at-home projects that require a vise. Yet they find themselves working on their firearms and need a vise. The Real Avid Master Gun Vise might be a better option for them rather than buying a traditional bench vise (e.g., anvil vise).

The MSRP is $299.99 which more expensive than your run-of-the-mill, imported consumer bench vises which can be had for as low as $30 (e.g., Harbor Freight or Amazon). But there is a lot of features and capabilities in the Master Gun Vise that explain that price point.

While I feel the Master Gun Vise appears to be a versatile gun vise, I am still a bit wary of the ball head design and the torsional force rating, as well as the strength of the jaws. I would need to put one through the paces before I could really recommend this product. But it is definitely something I would not mind trying out.

To end this last part of my 2022 SHOT Show After Action Report, I want to provide my closing opinion and editorial of this year’s SHOT Show.

There is no doubt in my mind that this show was lighter in attendance than any other SHOT prior. I would ‘guestimate’ that 5% of the exhibitors were absent, nearly all of which had booth space reserved, but was void of personnel. Off the top of my head, these were the exhibitors I recall as not being present:

  • Benelli
  • Beretta
  • Burris
  • CZ
  • Remington Arms (* This SHOT would be the first show when Remington Arms was sold)
  • Savage Arms
  • Sig Sauer
  • Springfield Armory
  • Steiner Optics
  • Swarovski (and Kahles)
  • Vortex Optics

Furthermore, it also appeared that some of the major exhibitors scaled back their presence for this year in terms of booth size, number of personnel, and the reduced activities at the show (e.g., scheduled appearances or presentations).

As far as the attendees, it definitely felt like less people on the floor at any given time than in prior years. My gauge for this is simply based on the fact that I never got stuck behind people clogging up aisles by walking slow with carts or standing still blocking the way.

I was trying to find officials numbers from the NSSF regarding attendance, but was not able to find anything. News outlets have reported 42,000 registered attendees for SHOT 2022 which is a significant drop from 2020 which had 55,000 registered attendees.

There is a lot of speculation and rhetoric on the reasons for less attendance. Of course, travel restrictions do affect some of the international attendees. Then there are others who are concerned about health and wanted to avoid a convention.

The more controversial reason is that people refuse to acknowledge mandates to wear face masks. I do agree that people did not attend (if they normally do) because of this issue. I have read grumblings from people on social media and other Internet forum outlets complaining about face masks. I personally know people who do not believe in masks (or vaccines) who normally go to SHOT and did not go.

I think it is a bit disconcerting that the issue of wearing a face mask as a safety measure is so divisive. What is even more disheartening is how people were actually wanting SHOT and the NSSF to fail because they were following the Nevada State mask mandate.

I do not know how to even address this with people and I frankly won’t even try. It is worse that trying to convince a pro gun control person that we do not need more gun control.

That being said, while there was a mask mandate, there was a good portion of people who disregarded it while on the show floor and I am frankly surprised I did not get sick given the state of Omicron at the time. I am not overreacting or exaggerating this statement based on the fact that I literally felt the spittle of some booth representatives on my arm when they were speaking to me (unmasked).

Although, my hygienic practices at this year’s SHOT was the same as any other year other than the fact I was wearing a mask and I used hand sanitizer more often than usual (carried a bottle in my backpack, used after every booth visit).

With regards to the new products at this year’s SHOT Show, other than the new Kestrel KST1000 shot timer, there was not anything particularly life-changing for me that is a must have. Granted, given this industry, there really is not going to be huge innovative advancements in actual firearms, but rather the ancillary products like optics. At least not until we get into an area many don’t want to go: smart gun technology.

Was the 2022 SHOT Show a success? I certainly think so. It definitely was not a failure. There was plenty of attendance by exhibitors, media, and general attendees. There was plenty of business being conducted with new products announced, and the continued strength of the firearms shooting industry was on display.

If anything, I feel as if the 2022 SHOT Show proved to everyone that even with health and safety restrictions that are less popular with the segment of society SHOT would be patronized by, the show can take place and still be effective.

That is my coverage of the 2022 SHOT Show. As stated early, my After Action Report is not meant to be an all-inclusive summary of the show. There are things I left out (and even missed). I encourage you to check out the SHOT Show coverage from some of the several hundred other media in attendance to get more details from SHOT 2022.

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  1. Grant Bussard

    Can’t shoot if there’s no primers , or ammo. I can’t feed a $4000 rifle if there no ammo. I’m not paying $100 a box for match ammo.

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