Working in the shooting, hunting, and outdoor industry has its perks. Not the least of which is attending the shooting, hunting, outdoor trade show, better known as SHOT Show. As much as you may want to attend, unless you get a sales or marketing job in the industry that will send you there, or you start covering it as media, there’s no harder ticket in the world because it is a closed show, open only to those who work in the industry.
But you’re smart, you follow us, and we do what we can to get you inside the doors and on the floor from the show so you can experience some small part of it. Here’s some of the best things we saw from SHOT Show 2023 that you need to be keeping your eyes on in the coming year.
Finding a bigger fan of Mantis products than me is NOT easy. Since I was introduced to their X10 system back in 2019 I’ve become a dedicated user and proponent of their entire suite of products, including the Blackbeard trigger resetting system and laser academy training system. The BlackbeardX takes the original Blackbeard and rolls the functionality of the X10 system into it and then some. So instead of just providing a trigger-resetting laser system that allows you to do dry-fire training with your AR, you can now track the dynamic movements of that training to improve transitions, delays, and travel.
Every time I turn around Mantis is doing something else cool and exciting, and this year was no different. Mantis has a product to help you be a better shot no matter what you’re training with, handgun, bow, shotgun, AR-pattern rifle. Check them out, you’ll be glad you did.
Woox Solo Camp Axe
Maybe it’s my Viking lineage, but there just aren’t many things cooler than an awesome camp axe. Beyond being one of the most useful camping, hunting, survival tools out there, they’re just awesome. It’s like the lever gun of hand tools. If you can run a lever without feeling like John Wayne for at least a minute, we probably can’t be friends. And if swinging a quality camp axe doesn’t have you feeling like you should build a boat and go upriver to plunder, we don’t have anything to talk about.
The new Solo camp axe from Woox is stunning to look at and feels just as good in the hand. The head design is stylish and purposeful, while the overall the balance and usability is off the charts.
Real Avid Master Gun Workstation
I’m focused on the Master Gun Workstation, but if memory serves, Real Avid launched something like 13 new products at the SHOT Show, and honestly, I want at least one of each. But back to the Master Gun Workstation. I stood there checking this new work station out for about 10 minutes, struggling to come up with something they didn’t think of in this design. I couldn’t manage to come up with anything. When I think back to the stands I’ve used over the years to get by, and then look at this, I am strictly in awe.
It’s been said that only a poor craftsman complains about his tools, but it’s irrefutable that quality tools can make any craftsman better. Real Avid is quality tools, and the Master Gun Workstation is just the latest proof of that.
Mossberg Patriot LR Tactical
If you’ve been sleeping on Mossberg rifles, that’s on you. Across the board, these things flat out shoot, and the new Patriot LR Tactical slides right into that serious long-range hunting rifle, or competition rifle slot that so many hunters and shooters are looking for. Available in .308, 6.5PRC, and 6.5 Creedmoor, the Patriot LR Tactical features an adjustable length of pull and cheek weld, along with a user-adjustable trigger from two to seven pounds.
The action is smooth, and the ergonomics are incredible. Best of all, for all the rifle you are getting, the price tag is downright astounding.
Rise Armament Iconic Trigger
Triggers matter. A lot. If there is one part of a gun that newer or inexperienced shooters fail to fully appreciate, I think it’s the trigger. Everyone has their own trigger preferences, but shooters who know what they’re doing are looking for predictability. They want a repeatable process that they can fully understand and anticipate. A crisp, clean break is going to produce the best trigger pull, and good single-stage triggers usually provide that, while two-stage triggers provide some flexibility and context for the trigger pull. So how do you get the best of both worlds? With the new Iconic trigger from Rise Armament. The Iconic is a true, independent, two-stage trigger. The wide trigger face, more than a quarter inch, is the first phase and has a fin on the back that travels into a skeletonized trigger frame. This is the first stage. Once the trigger face seats on that rear skeletonized portion, you’ve reached the second phase. Every time. The first phase has a 1-pound pull, while the second has a 2-pound pull. Folks, I’m here to tell you, this thing is CRISP.
I pulled this trigger about a dozen times. I tried to use different grips, move my hand position, pull with different parts of my finger, and every time it performed flawlessly, and almost immediately I was able to figure out the cadence of the trigger pull. There wasn’t any guessing. I’ve sat behind some mediocre triggers, and some pretty good ones, and for this is the best of the bunch. If you’ve been thinking about an upgrade to the trigger system on your AR-style rifle, this is the one I’m recommending.
Pulsar Thermion Duo DXP50
More than ever hog and predator hunters are turning to thermal scopes to increase their chances against wary targets who are quick to change their patterns when they know they are being hunted. The cover of darkness offers the best chance to pursue these animals, and nothing sets the state for a successful hunt like a thermal optic. The new Pulsar Thermion Duo DXP50 is the world’s first multispectral riflescope, delivering high-tech thermal imaging, as well as full-color daytime optics. The picture-in-picture features lets you view a target and track it through fog or cover with thermal, while keeping an eye on the surroundings in full color 4K HD. The viewing screen is crisp, and thermal technology always blows me away.
If you’ve been on the fence, this is one to make you jump, and whatever you think the price tag is, I’d bet it’s less than your thinking. If there’s one thing Pulsar does, it’s bring value to thermal like nobody else.
Honestly, this list could go on for days. The sheer volume of new products at SHOT could fill hundreds of pages every year, but these were some of the very best things we saw that can bring you most value, fun, and up your performance in the coming year.