We here at the USCCA are veterans of SHOT, and if there is one thing we can all agree on — aside from the liberal use of hand sanitizer — it’s the impossibility of seeing everything on the show floor. To put that in perspective: The exhibit space is the size of 10.9 football fields (that’s 656,000 square feet, 13 acres or the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza. In other words, to see all 12.5 miles of aisles in only four days of open floor hours, you’d be limited to 22 seconds per booth). For those reasons, we worked as a team to bring you some of the most interesting, innovative and flat-out cool products of SHOT 2019.
#1) LaserMax Centerfire Laser with GripSense Activation — LaserMax.com
It may seem like a small thing, but having a reliable laser with a logical twist on function is fantastic. Rather than relying on grip strength or finger reach, the LaserMax Centerfire Laser with GripSense Activation is activated by motion. Move your hand into a proper firing grip and the laser turns on; remove your hand and it turns off. And yes, there is also a button-operated function to change it from pulse to steady or to turn it off entirely.
Centerfire Laser with GripSense Activation from LaserMax. MSRP $109. (Photo by Kat Ainsworth)
#2) CZ-457 AT-ONE Varmint — CZ-USA.com
The AT-ONE Boyd’s stock used on the CZ-457 AT-ONE Varmint rifle makes it a stellar choice for learning the ropes of firearms. The AT-ONE is easily adjusted by simply pushing a button and has an adjustable length of pull between 12.5 and 14.5 inches. Comb height is also adjustable, with up to 5/8-inch of rise. The rifle is chambered in .22 LR and has a 16.5-inch threaded heavy barrel and an overall weight of 7.73 pounds.
The CZ-457 AT-ONE Varmint is a good option for those learning to use long guns. It’s also awesome for seasoned shooters. MSRP $660. (Photo by Kat Ainsworth)
#3) Dan Wesson Wraith — DanWessonFirearms.com
Considering the vast array of handguns available, it can be difficult to choose only a select few as SHOT favorites. That said, the Dan Wesson Wraith made an impression due to its exceptional quality and excellent hand fit. This is a Government-sized 1911, meaning it has a 5-inch barrel and full-sized frame, but it can still be concealed (yes, really). The Wraith has a precisely fitted bushing, an amazingly crisp trigger and overall beautiful fitment. It’s available in both 9mm and .45 ACP, has a distressed Duty finish and sports comfortably textured G10 grips.
Dan Wesson Wraith is a Government-sized 1911. MSRP $2,077 (Photo by Kat Ainsworth)
#4) Crimson Trace LS-250 Laser Saddle — CrimsonTrace.com
The Laser Saddle is a brilliant aftermarket product brought to us by Crimson Trace. This inaugural model is made for the Mossberg 590 Shockwave and is, quite frankly, a game changer for owners of the diminutive firearm. The Crimson Trace LS-250 Laser Saddle solves the point-of-aim versus point-of-impact challenge the Shockwave (originally offered in 12-gauge, with a 14.375-inch barrel and birds-head grip) presents. The Laser Saddle has a green laser and is adjustable for windage and elevation.
Crimson Trace LS-250 Laser Saddle is scheduled for release in March 2019 and was designed for drilled-and-tapped 12-gauge Shockwaves. MSRP TBD. (Photo by Kat Ainsworth)
#5) Crimson Trace CTS-1200 Compact Open Reflex Sight — CrimsonTrace.com
The CTS-1200 is an open reflex sight for pistols and is new to the Crimson Trace lineup for 2019. Features include a 3.25-MOA aiming dot, externally accessible battery compartment and a rugged, shockproof housing. It’s a well-made reflex sight for rapid target acquisition and longevity. After handling it at SHOT, I have to say I’m actually excited to run it this year. It’s that awesome. This sight is eligible for Crimson Trace’s Batteries for Life program; simply contact the manufacturer and they will send a new battery every year. The CTS-1200 mounts to pistols using standard mounting interfaces.
The Crimson Trace CS-1200 Open Reflex Sight is a high-quality, rugged sight with a 3.25-MOA circular red dot. MSRP $299.99. Shipping summer of 2019. (Photo by Kat Ainsworth)
#6) LaserLyte Trainer Target Quick Tyme — LaserLyte.com
There is something to be said for having gear to back up your dry-fire time. Dry-fire is an important part of your handgun training, after all. Enter the LaserLyte Trainer Target Quick Tyme, made for use with LaserLyte training lasers. Aim the training laser at the Quick Tyme target and squeeze the trigger and the trainer records shots fired for accuracy and speed. Laser trainers are wonderful tools to significantly improve your marksmanship. This one has 62 LED lights to show shots fired, but there is also a slightly pricier LaserLyte model with 147 LED lights. Either way, you’re covered.
The LaserLyte Trainer Target Quick Tyme works with Laserlyte training lasers. MSRP $200. (Photo by Kat Ainsworth)
#7) Kahr Thin Blue Line PM9 — ShopKahrFirearmsGroup.com
At a height of 4 inches, a length of 5.3 inches and a slide of .9 inches, the PM9 is already one of Kahr’s most popular models with concealed carriers. This iteration has a cyan blue stripe down each side of the slide in honor of the sacrifices made by those in law enforcement. The Thin Blue Line model of Kahr’s PM9 spoke to me on multiple levels as someone who has lost an LEO family member. The PM9 has proven itself as a reliable, accurate, concealable pistol that outperforms its price point, and this nod to fallen officers only increases its value, in my opinion.
Kahr’s Thin Blue Line PM9 honors fallen officers with a blue cyan line on each side of the slide. MSRP $899. (Photo by Kat Ainsworth)
#8) Galco Gunleather Paragon IWB Holster — GalcoGunLeather.com
Yes, I admit it: Galco Gunleather is one of my preferred holster manufacturers. I’ve had great success using these holsters for concealed carry, open carry, high-round-count classes and even hunting. This inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster features a claw-style stabilizing wing to position your firearm at a better angle away from your body and to hold the gun securely in place. From its Kydex construction to its dual tuckable belt clips, the Paragon IWB Holster is well-designed — perfect for those who carry IWB at 11 o’clock or between 1 and 4 o’clock.
The Galco Gunleather Paragon IWB Holster’s first run is made for Glock and Smith & Wesson firearms. MSRP $79. (Photo by Kat Ainsworth)
#9 Altamont Company Grips — AltamontCo.com
When it comes to custom grips and stocks, no one does it like Altamont. The company had countless gorgeous grips on display, and it was impossible to choose just one (so I’m mentioning the entire company). Altamont is family-owned, with a specialty in high-speed machining and more custom options than you can even begin to imagine. From high-end custom grips and stocks to basic-but-quality G10 grip panels, Altamont does it all.
The blonde-wood revolver grip and fire-breathing dragon rifle stock were only some of many gorgeous grips displayed at Altamont’s SHOT Show booth. MSRP varies by product. (Photo by Kat Ainsworth)
#10) Butler Creek ASAP Electronic Magazine Loader — ButlerCreek.com
This is one of those products so cool you cannot pass it up. The Butler Creek ASAP Electronic Magazine Loader is currently available for AR-15s chambered in .223 Remington or 5.56 NATO. It’s a ridiculously simple loader. Load the 60-round-capacity hopper with ammo — just dump it in — push a button to select the round count you want loaded and hit start. The AR magazine you inserted at the loader’s base is then loaded; the machine orients rounds in the proper direction all on its own. If you accidentally select a capacity beyond the magazine’s ability, the loader will automatically stop. This is a fantastic tool for those taking or teaching high-round-count classes, among other things. It captivated me.
The Butler ASAP Electronic Magazine Loader is a great tool for firearms academies and high-round-count AR shooters. MSRP TBD. (Photo by Kat Ainsworth)
#11) DeSantis Variable 13 — DeSantisHolster.com
DeSantis is a family-owned company known for designing and manufacturing quality holsters in a variety of materials. The Variable 13 is made from premium saddle leather and molded to the shape of your gun for superior retention. This is a 50/50 flat-molded holster with removable, reversible belt loops available in tan or black. It’s a beautiful holster that holds your firearm snugly in place while allowing a smooth, quick draw stroke; the mouth remains open for re-holstering. Sidenote: The holster gets its name from the movie Clear and Present Danger (if you don’t get the reference, go watch the movie).
The DeSantis Variable 13 can be worn OWB either straight or with an FBI-style cant, or add the Y94 Tuckable adaptor (sold separately) to wear IWB. MSRP $78.99. (Photo by Kat Ainsworth)
#12) Colt King Cobra — Colt.com
This list would not be complete without a revolver, and the Colt King Cobra in .357 Magnum is THE revolver for inclusion. The King Cobra was MIA for two decades; now that it’s back, it’s immediately rocking it. Many fans of Colt’s snake-gun line have been concerned fitment and overall quality might be lacking due to major changes in the manufacturing process, but this gun should put those fears to rest. It fits my hands as though it were made for them, the angle of the grip is fantastic, and even the finger grooves are well-placed. The revolver’s cylinder neither shakes nor shifts, and the six chambers remain properly aligned with the barrel as the cylinder rotates. It’s the trigger that’s the real standout, though. Whether fired double-action or single-action, the King Cobra’s trigger boasts an impressively smooth pull and clean, crisp break. This gun was the standout of my SHOT 2019.
The Colt King Cobra is back and features a phenomenal factory trigger and well-fitted components. MSRP $899. (Photo by Kat Ainsworth)