I showed up) for helping me out.
Friday, January 21, 2011
SHOT Show Day 3 continued
Trijicon: Everyone knows I love these guys and we sell quite a bit of Accupoints and ACOGs too. What I was holding my breath on was a ACOG-reticled variable (in like a 1-6x or something). Make no bones about it, the Trijicon rep said no dice for this year, and maybe even the next. Apparently this has been on the table for many years but there are just other priorities for the guys in Wixom, Michigan right now. Boo Hoo. Proceed accordingly. Other than a nifty new luminous bow hunting sight, nothing new for Trijicon for 2011.
Hawke Optics: I am going against my own advice here (on avoiding scopes named after birds of prey) but Hawke Optics has three things going for them: First, a huge selection of scopes with many ballistic and "tactical" reticles. Second, they've got some really nice guys that work there (Brad Bonar to name one) that take pride in their work and take criticism well. Last but not least, Ilya Koshkin, of www.opticsthoughts.com and internet fame, has spent a lot of time with the brand over the last few years and says they are the one company that maintains consistent quality in Chinese manufactured scopes, they are holding up, and the warranty has been improved from 5 years to lifetime to the original purchaser. In today's economic reality, a lower price point scope make sense for many. I do not take Ilya's recommendation lightly and he is the reason we are going to give these guys a try. So, look for them on our website in the next few weeks.
Steiner: Two things I've learned in this business, is to never underestimate the power of new blood in a venture, and never underestimate the power of corporate spending, particularly when military contracts are to be won. I've always been pretty ambivalent about Steiner, but they introduced a new series of military scopes that bear watching. Currently being planned in a 3-12x50, 3-12x56, and 4-16x50 models, what's amazing is that these scopes come right out of the box with features we've been asking for for awhile, so someone's been listening. Made from 100% German parts and assembled by Burris in Greeley, CO (the connection is that both Steiner and Burris are owned by Beretta, which owns many other shooting related companies now, if you haven't noticed......there is the corporate backing that can result in market share), the new scopes have eyepieces that show a distinct Burris Black Diamond heritage. All models feature 34mm tubes, about 15.5-16 inches long, 34-36 ounces, and feature variable eye relief of 3 to ~~3.5 inches. The large 1/10 mil knobs are easy to grab and feature 10mils per turn, CCW rotation, decent clicks. 19.5mils (70moa) of travel, which is a bit on the light side for a 34mm tube. The windage knob is similar. Like Premier, the red illumination (powered by a CR2450 battery) is located in the focus knob, and the FFP G2 mildot reticle has the 1mil-spaced dots alternating with the 0.5 mil hashes. Optically this scope is very good. Everything works as it should, although I felt the illumination could be a bit crisper. The only real issue (nitpick) I saw was when you look into the inside of the scope (I know, not how you are supposed to do it, but believe me, someone will notice) you can see the edges of the reticle housing with its pins and screws and I see this as a potential distraction. Overall the scope has a lunch bucket appeal with a high end optical system. Priced right in the middle of the $2000's which is actually a market segment not very crowded at this time. This will be an interesting option once this arrives.
Other notable items are the Steiner Nighthunter XP binos and the new Predator Extremes, both redesigned for 2011. Very impressive glass that beg to be taken out. The last item of interest are the 10x50 military rangefinding binoculars. Introduced last year, and designed for ease of use and performance, the 1600 yard laser range is matched by the Bushnell Fusion LRF's at 1/3 the price, so it's hard to find a compelling reason to get them. Additionally, the Steiner version uses a individual eye focus, with the laser display found in the right barrel; while you may be in focus with the optics, the actual LED display may not be, and vice versa (I had to rotate the right eye focus to get the display sharp but that put me out of optical focus on the target......)
Wrapping up here, I want to say Steiner has two guys that were great faces of the organization, Director of LE Sales John Miklovis and Assistant Sales Manager LE Division Sky Leighton. These guys epitomized class and professionalism and I feel really good that constructive feedback on their products would be listened to and action would be taken if necessary. They were easy to talk to and made my visit very enjoyable. Thanks guys.
Schmidt & Bender: What's new and exciting at S&B is what's new and exciting, starting with a nicely executed 3-20x50 PMII...for $3149 MAP you get either FFP or SFP, 34mm tube, illumination, P3, P4, P4 fine or Klein reticles, 26mil DT-MTC knobs with locking feature on windage and elevation knobs, 100+moa of total travel, 3.5" of eye relief, parallax adjustable down to 25m....15" long and weighs 32.4 ounces, all I can say is, what's not to like? The scope has the usual S&B glass and controls and will be a high demand item in the upper end scope market.
The other big news is the arrival of the 1-8x24 PMII Short Dot scope. 30mm tube, FFP mildot reticle and SFP dot, day and night vision modes, locking turrets, this scope has a "CC" mode that has a parallax set for 10m and a true 1x. Not sure how necessary this is but that's the spec. Length is 11.4" and weight is 19 ounces or so. While this isn't my cup of tea this scope is super versatile and is what the market has been clamoring for, $2699 MAP.
We are getting setup with S&B, so this is an exciting step for us. BTW, the Military and LE sales guru for S&B is Sylvia Ehinger, I found her very knowledgeable and she knows darn near everybody it seems. Thanks to Mark Cromwell (he's been around since before
I showed up) for helping me out.
I showed up) for helping me out.
Weaver: No question, my "out of nowhere" surprise scopes of the show were a pair of new Weaver Tacticals...a 3-15x50 illuminated FFP mil/mil and a 1-5x24 FFP. The catalog amusingly states these optics are for those who value "Molle over Armani" Let's start with the long range dog. This scope was really nice. 30mm tube, mil/mil, illuminated FFP, locking turrets, extra hard coating on exterior lenses, side focus, resettable turrets, argon purged, 100moa, 6mils per turn, 13.5 inches long, 27.5 ounces, fast focus eyepiece, are you paying attention? The reticle is an etched EMDR (Enhanced Mildot Ranging). Knob feel isn't anything super great but they do lock. 4" of eye relief. Price? I'm TOLD (nothing in writing) around $1000, available in spring. This is likely the Viper PSTs only competition, but I've got a gut feeling these scopes are going to surprise. The other scope that is even better executed optically and has very crisp daytime illumination is the new 1-5x24. Capped turrets with finger adjustable/resettable knobs (much like the Elite 6500 knob, which is a tipoff who makes these) the CIRT (Close Intermediate Range Tactical) reticle is similar to the horseshoe dot reticle with symmetrical hashes and windage holdover points. FFP reticle! 10.3" long, 4.25" of eye relief, under 15 ounce, there really is nothing not to like here....price is told to me around $800....we will see. We look forward to getting our hands on them, the Weaver booth folks were very nice. Remember, Weaver is owned by ATK, big $$ and lots of clout, and these scopes exude ruggedness. Just sayin'....
Leica: Nothing too much to report here except that if the CRF 1600 works as advertised it is a very compact little rascal and would be the easiest to carry of any of the major manufacturer (read: quality) LRFs....I still like the optics in the Zeiss LRF better but this Leica is just plain handy...
OK, one more day to go!!
Thanks for stopping by!