After attending this year's S.H.O.T. Show, I am of the opinion that this may be the year of special guns and gear. I thought I would give you a quick look at some of the firearms and accessories that really grabbed my attention. Let's kick this review off by looking at some of those special guns and gear.
Winchester is celebrating the 100th anniversary of John Wayne's birth by offering special Model 92 carbines and commemorative ammunition.
I had a good visit with Alex Hamilton, an officer of the American Pistolsmiths Guild, who also operates his own Ten-Ring Precision shop in San Antonio, Texas. As usual, the American Pistolsmiths Guild's booth showcased some of the nicest handguns to be found at this, or any other, show. The one that caught my eye was a very special 1911 the members of the Guild have built for President George W. Bush.
The President's 5-inch-barreled 1911 sports ivory grips, custom sights, and some really nice engraving and gold inlay work. And let me tell you that the scroll engraving and gold inlay are really set off by the pistol's beautiful blue finish. It's not gaudy--it's what is called a "First Class Barbecue Gun" in the Southwest, and any Texas Ranger would be proud to be packing it on his hip.
Federal law requires a sitting president to place all gifts in his presidential museum or the White House; therefore, the American Pistolsmiths Guild plans to wait until Mr. Bush returns to life as a private citizen and then present the 1911 to him at his home. I suspect that President Bush will enjoy sending some lead downrange from this beautiful .45 ACP auto pistol.
This year marks the 100th birthday of John Wayne, and United States Fire Arms Mfg. Co. intends to recognize the Duke with a commemorative ivory-handled single-action revolver and accompanying authentic gun rig. The prototype I examined had those aged, mellow-yellow grips that the Duke favored, and the blued finish has the faded, worn look of a "usin'" gun. Production of the gun is currently pending approval from the Wayne Family.
Two of the models in S&W's new Classics line are the 6.5-inch-barreled .44 Magnum Model 29 in blued or nickel finishes (T) and the 4-inch-barreled .44 Special Model 21 in blued, nickel, and color-case finishes.
In addition, Winchester is producing two versions of the Model 92 carbine that Duke first carried in Stagecoach, director John Ford's 1939 movie masterpiece. Both models have the large lever ring that became a John Wayne trademark.
The High Grade model features a silver nickel receiver that is scroll engraved with portraits of Wayne. The Custom Grade Model 92 has a richly blued receiver with portraits in gold tone. Both guns have 18.5-inch barrels and are chambered for the .44-40 cartridge. Winchester Ammunition puts the icing on the Duke's birthday cake by offering John Wayne Commemorative ammo in fancy collector's packaging.
Besides being one of the greatest film stars, John Wayne was a hunter, gun collector, and staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment. I applaud these companies for honoring the man who was a hero to us all.
In keeping with the special guns theme, Smith & Wesson is bringing out a whole family of guns in its new Classics line. I was especially pleased to see that one of the guns is the Model 40 (Centennial) complete with the original grip safety. The late Col. Rex Applegate worked with Smith & Wesson to design the original Model 40 (produced from 1953 until about 1974), and it continues to be one of the best choices for a belly gun that a man can find.
Also in the S&W Classic line is the Model 21. This is the N-Frame, 4-inch-barreled, .44 Special revolver that was originally produced from 1950 until about 1964. Big-bore sixgunners back then really treasured this one. The new Model 21 will be offered in nickel finish, blue finish, and blue with color-case finish. It will also feature the small wood grips that were typical of the era back when the first models were produced.
SIGARMS's new Revolution Compact C3 .45 ACP 1911 features a 4-inch barrel, alloy frame, steel slide, fixed combat sights, and checkered rosewood grips.
The final Smith & Wesson Classic revolver that caught my eye is the rebirth of the 61/2-inch Model 29 in .44 Magnum. These new guns will be offered in a choice of blue or nickel finish and can also be ordered engraved. And they'll come with checkered walnut target grips just like the original.
SIGARMS has really gotten into the Model 1911 business in a big way. The company is offering numerous models to meet the needs of their customers. The SIG 1911 that caught my eye was the new Revolution Compact C3 pistol. This is a 4-inch-barreled .45 ACP that has a black alloy frame beneath a stainless slide. Sights are of the fixed combat variety, and the grips are attractive checkered rosewood. The gun also comes with a dark Nitron-finished slide on the anodized alloy frame. The SIG Revolution Compact C3 pistol is a good-looking handgun that should be of particular interest to defensive handgunners.
DeSantis Holsters has several new models for 2007, but the one that caught my eye is the Style 38 Scorpion. This is a Kydex in-the-pants rig with fore and aft belt clips that accept up to a 13/4-inch belt. Desantis reports that the holster is specifically designed for all-day wearing comfort. In addition, the holster's Kydex construction allows the holster mouth to stay open for one-handed reholstering of the handgun. It is available for most popular defensive pistols.
Using harness plates and mushroom-shaped pins, the Galco Matrix M1X can be worn as either a shoulder rig or as a belt holster.
Galco International has added a new model to its line of thermoplastic holsters. The Matrix M1X holster comes with both a shoulder harness system and a belt attachment system. Using harness plates and mushroom-shaped pins, the M1X can be worn as a shoulder rig or as a belt rig, at the s
hooter's discretion. This is a truly unique gun rig that is made for the most popular defensive pistols. Interestingly enough, this Galco gun rig also carries the NRA logo because a portion of the sales will go directly to the National Rifle Association to support the fight to protect the 2nd Amendment.
The spirit at the 2007 S.H.O.T. Show was upbeat and positive, but it is clear that gun owners are faced with serious threats to our sport and our right to keep and bear arms. Recent events in national politics make it clear that the move is on, once again, to grab our guns. We need to do what we can to support the National Rifle Association and to encourage all of our shooting friends to do the same thing.
So that's the wrap on the recent S.H.O.T. Show. Keep an eye on the pages of Shooting Times for more new-product announcements as well as in-depth reviews of the hottest new guns and shooting products. We'll put them to the test and give you the report just as soon as they become available.