What Will We See at SHOT Show 2020?

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It’s that time of year again in the gun industry: show season. And since it’s January, that means SHOT Show is upon us. Although there’s a plethora of new products out there — some already pre-SHOT launched, some about to launch — there are also some trends to follow. Rather than focusing on the products that have launched in recent weeks, let’s consider the trends we’ve been watching grow for SHOT Show 2020.

What’s Old Is New

This isn’t just about Colt’s re-do of the iconic Colt Python (although it was a long time coming and people are pretty excited). A number of manufacturers are taking what’s old and making it new again. Whether it’s a brand-new version of a much-beloved gun — ahem, Colt Python — or launching an existing firearm chambered in a round designed in the 1980s — hello, Ruger 57 in 5.7x28mm — it does seem they’re paying some attention to what the market demands. Gun owners have been letting manufacturers know what they really want for years, and for SHOT 2020, some manufacturers are stepping up.

What does this mean for you? Well, we can’t give away secrets, but let’s just say 2020 does involve some answers to long-begged requests. They might be the answers you’ve been looking for or they might answer something you didn’t even realize you wanted.

The Not-an-AR-Revolution (Sort of)

Sure, there are new ARs being introduced in 2020. There are always new ARs. But we’re also seeing a greater number of non-AR long guns being designed and launched. For example, Marlin Firearms has been on a stellar roll putting out new lever-actions, and Rock River Arms now has a line of chassis bolt-actions. We’re seeing a lot more bolts and levers hitting the market, and that is a good thing. ARs are cool, and we should all have more than one, but it’s all too easy to forget the awesomeness and precision of a good bolt-action or the significant energy and fun factor of lever-actions.

In 2020, don’t limit yourself to ARs. Get out there and check out the latest offerings in bolts and levers. There’s a whole wide world of long guns out there, and it’s time they were appreciated and used seriously, not just treated as safe queens or your grandfather’s old whatever.

Bigger-Is-Better Optics

We’ve had the Year of the Red Dot and the Look at This LPVO. Those are still with us (and always will be), but there have also been quite a few bigger optics being made as of late. Everyone from Vortex to Trijicon to Leupold is making optics with greater magnification, longer-lasting ability in low light, and #alltheturrets, throw levers and onboard technology. This is a good segue into the fact that PRS shooters are getting some new gear and toys for 2020, which is a trend I’m happy to see take place.

Here’s the thing about the Bigger is Better glass: Whether it’s a scope or a rangefinder, it does need to fulfill your specific needs. Make sure your choice of new optics suits what you plan to do with it — whether that’s PRS, long-range hunting or challenging your own long-range skills at the range. And by all means, learn how to use those big optics. Might I suggest Outdoor Solutions Long Range School (www.OutdoorSolutionsCorp.com)? It’s fantastic, and you’ll know how to run your long guns and optics like a champ by the time you leave. It isn’t enough to have the equipment; you have to know how to use it.

If Wishes Were Tourniquets…

This is a wishful-thinking portion of 2020’s possibilities in the gun world. There has definitely been an uptick in attention paid to first-aid training and products. That’s excellent. It hasn’t reached as far and wide as we’d like to see though. For example, the morning I wrote this, I watched a bunch of gun owners on social media talking about how their belts and shoelaces are fine tourniquets. Some industry guys who should know better pitched in to agree.

Let’s make 2020 the Year of the IFAK. You are statistically more likely to need your tourniquet than to need that gun you carry on a daily basis, so why not carry one? But don’t stop there. Attend a good Stop the Bleed class, hit the Dark Angel Medical website for first-aid training times and build a solid IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit). Yes, there is some new medical gear being introduced for 2020, but it isn’t as much as I’d like to see. Make it your goal — your New Year’s Gun Resolution, if you will — to acquire a proper tourniquet (meaning not a RATS) and learn to use it. Carry it everywhere you go. When you can, get another one and throw it in your car’s glove box. Have one readily available at home. Train family members in its use.

Make this the year you master not only your Dot Torture Test but also your lifesaving skills. That’s a trend I’d like to see for 2020.

What would you like to see announced at SHOT Show 2020?

About Kat Ainsworth

Outdoor writer Kat Ainsworth has been carrying concealed for 15 years and hunting for more than 20 years. She writes for a variety of industry publications, covering hunting, ballistics and self-defense, though she has a background in K9 Search-and-Rescue and emergency veterinary medicine. Kat enjoys traveling as part of her gun-related lifestyle. She has yet to find a firearm she didn’t want to fire.


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