2018 SHOT Show Roundup
by Gordon D. Smith
SHOT Show 2018 was held from January 23 – 26 and showcased most everything in the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades under one very large roof. Encompassing over 630,000 square feet of show floor, it is owned and sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. This year, exhibitors, buyers, media and other industry professionals made up the more than 64,000 attendees and hailed from all 50 states and 111 countries. Each year the competition in the industry drives manufacturers to innovate and come to the market with exciting new products. The 2018 SHOT appeared to be the year of “entry level” priced Pre-charged Pneumatic air rifles and more easily portable, less expensive air compressors. This bodes well for the consumer as healthy competition and the ingenuity of engineers and designers continues to drive exciting innovations in this segment of the shooting sports.
NOTE: Prices on some items were still being finalized or otherwise not available at the time of this writing.
Action Sport Games – Better known as a leader in licensed replica airsoft guns, ASG also produces a line of BB firing CO2 replica handguns. New for this year is their full metal BB firing replica of the CZ Shadow SP-01. The slide cycles through blowback action and it has a rubber grip with a very nice trigger and over-travel adjustment screw just like on the real counterpart. The drop-free magazine holds the CO2 cartridge and 17 BBs. It is also field strippable similar to the original. Retail should run in the $140 range. Another new offering is the .177 pellet firing version of the Dan Wesson Valor 1911. A non-blowback metal pistol, it has the heft of the real deal and utilizes a drop-free magazine to hold the CO2 and pellets. Retail is in the $80 range. Contact them at: www.actionsportgames.com. Phone: 805-529-7707
Air Arms – This British airgun manufacturer announced two new members to the S510 family, the TDR, or Take Down Rifle and the S510 Ultimate Sporter XS. Fed by a 10-round rotary magazine and available in adjustable ambidextrous Walnut, laminate wood or a black Soft Touch stock, the XS is available in .177, .22 and .25 calibers and both are suppressed. MSRP is in the $1700 range. Contact: www.airventuri.com. Phone: 216-292-2570
Airforce Airguns – Announced they purchased Rapid Air Weapons (RAW) of Tennessee. Airforce will lend their modern manufacturing capabilities of the Ft. Worth, Texas operation to RAW in order to speed production and delivery of that brand. They also gained rights to begin manufacturing Theoben air rifles again through the deal. After many years out of production, Airforce plans to start producing them again in the future. Also announced was the carbine version of the Texan big bore in .308, .357 and .457 with an overall length of only 39 inches. It has all the features of its big brother and the same air tank capacity, just in a smaller package for $1055. A new table-top sized compressor rounds out the line to assist shooters in keeping those powerful Pre-Charged Pneumatics filled. The E-Pump is lightweight, quiet and capable of filling to 4500 psi. As a bonus, it can run off a 12 volt automobile battery to handle fill ups while in the field. MSRP is $900. Contact them at: www.airforceairguns.com. Phone: 877-247-4867
Air Venturi – This manufacturer, importer and distributor of multiple lines of airguns, announced the exclusive worldwide license to produce Springfield Armory replicas of the M1, M1A, Saint Edge, XD pistols and the Range Officer Elite 1911. Initially being produced in airsoft versions, all use CO2 for propulsion and should be available later in the year. Pricing was not announced yet, but rest assured these will be some awesome replicas. Another exclusive only available through AV is the Diana Stormrider entry-level PCP. The European beechwood Monte-Carlo stock is checkered on the forearm and semi-pistol grip. It is a bolt action repeater fed by a rotary magazine and will be available in .177 and .22. The .177 magazine will hold 9 pellets and the .22 will hold 7. MSRP is just under $200. The Dragonfly from Seneca airguns, is a lightweight multi-pump air rifle in .177 and .22 with wooden stock. Pumped 8 times this bolt action will launch a 7.3 grain .177 pellet up to 800 fps. A 9-shot rotary magazine comes with the .177 and 7-round magazine with the .22 at a retail of $180. In their CO2 powered lineup, AV is coming out with their new tactical Hellraiser line starting with an AR style BB firing carbine called the Hellboy. This carbine is full-metal construction with a removable carry handle, collapsible stock and a drop-free magazine that holds the CO2 cartridge and 18 BBs and is claimed to launch BBs at 495 fps. It also has a front takedown pin allowing for easy maintenance and storage. It should be available starting in March. The TR5 Youth Target Rifle is a .177 caliber pellet firing sidelever cocking spring piston rifle incorporating a 5 round stick magazine and multi-position adjustable synthetic black stock. Perhaps the most unique announcement out of the AV booth was the double barrel .50 caliber air shotgun called the Double Shot. It has a single trigger and side cocking bolt with a rotating dial to switch between right and left barrels. Capable of firing round ball, shot or the patented Air Bolt full length carbon fiber arrows, this air shotgun is also made by Seneca and the price is not yet finalized. Contact info: www.airventuri.com. Phone: 216-292-2570
American Tactical – Is a firearms manufacturer and importer that has ventured into the airgun arena with the introduction of a PCP, a couple of break-barrels and a multi-pump. The Nova Freedom is available in a black synthetic stock or wood stock version. This rifle incorporates a built in pump that “frees” the user from needing another source of high pressure air and at the same time has an HPA fill port for use with tanks or compressors in order to bring it up to its maximum 3600 psi. Available in .177 and .22 it uses a 10-shot rotary magazine and will retail in the $380 range. The AT-97 is a tactical styled .177 break-barrel resembling a sniper rifle. MSRP will be around $200. Styles introduced in .177 for the younger shooters include the Trail Boss break-barrel, the Lil Pup single-stroke pneumatic and the X-Pup, a multi-pump. These will retail for $87, $50 and $63 respectively. Contact info: www.americantactical.us. Phone: 800-290-0065
Anschutz – A German maker of high-end Olympic competition style air rifles and pistols offers the new Model 9015 One 3 Position PCP .177 caliber air rifle. Expressly designed for 3-position air rifle disciplines, it can be configured a myriad of ways to custom fit the shooter. The Basic model retails for $3250 with the top-end fully customizable model coming in at $4295. Contact: email@example.com. Phone: 205-655-7500
Ataman – Ataman is a Russian airgun manufacturer that incorporated in 2005 to create homegrown PCP guns that could compete at international levels. They succeeded and their line has expanded to include a number of bullpup models as well. The BP17 was introduced last year, but had not been available in the U.S. until this year. It is a micro bullpup PCP repeater in .177, .22 or .25 and is an intriguing and unique airgun. More information on pricing and availability can be obtained through www.airventuri.com. Phone: 216-292-2570
Beeman Precision/Marksman Products – Introduced an entry-level PCP rifle this year. Named the Beeman Chief, it operates on 2,000 psi and is available in .177 and .22 calibers. A bolt action single-shot with a European hardwood stock, it resembles the Benjamin Discovery. Also new this year is the QB78S, a CO2 powered bolt action air rifle now sporting a black synthetic thumbhole stock and available in .177 and .22 as well. Contact: www.beeman.com. Phone: 800-227-2744
Brocock – This British airgun manufacturer released a new tactical model PCP called the Bantam Sniper. It is a regulated side lever cocking multi-shot fed by a rotary magazine. It is equipped with dual gauges to show remaining reservoir pressure and air available to the regulated valve and is suppressed. It’s housed in a synthetic thumbhole stock and a larger bolt handle which is something end users had been asking for. A walnut stocked version called the Bantam Mark2 was also announced. Distributed in the U.S. by Airguns of Arizona you can find out more at: www.airgunsofarizona.com. Phone: 480-461-1113
Crosman – A well-known name in the world of airguns, Crosman unveiled an entry level PCP last year and upped the ante this year with the Benjamin Fortitude coming in at under $300 without optics. It is a lightweight synthetic stocked bolt action rifle in .177 or .22 that is fed by a rotary magazine. It is also regulated to provide more consistent shots per fill out of its 3000 psi air reservoir. New in the Benjamin break-barrel line up is the MAG-Fire multi-shot retailing for $199 and the Vaporizer single shot. Available in .177 and .22, the MAG-Fire has a pistol grip synthetic stock and is fed by a 10-round rotary magazine. Affixed to the muzzle is the Crosman gold level SBD suppressor. The Vaporizer has an ergonomic synthetic stock with soft inserts at gripping points and it sports the silver SBD suppressor. Both are powered by the Nitro Piston Elite gas spring, the next generation of these powerplants, and have the adjustable two-stage trigger plus come with a 3-9x40mm scope. Next up is the Ironhide single-shot in .177 or .22 with an ambidextrous synthetic thumbhole stock, two-stage adjustable trigger, SBD suppression and a 4x32mm scope. Also new to the break-barrel line up were the Hunter Express and the 777SB in .177 and .22. They also have two-stage adjustable triggers, are powered by the Nitro Mag and come with a 4x32mm scope. In the Remington brand, the 725 VTR break-barrel in .25 was inspired by the Remington 783 and sports an ambidextrous black synthetic stock. Powered by the Nitro Mag gas piston it can produce 30 fpe and comes with a 3-9x32mm scope and adjustable two-stage trigger for under $200. Under the Crosman name the new Quest, Thrasher and Diamondback single shot break-barrels made their appearance. Each is synthetic stocked, available in .177 and .22, sports the gold level SBD sound suppressor and comes with a 4x32mm scope. The Diamondback has a more tactical look due to the pistol grip stock. The Tyro is a synthetic stock youth sized model in .177 only and retailing for $105. For just plain plinking fun a new full-auto CO2 BB launcher patterned after the DPMS SBR will fill the bill. It has realistic weight and functions plus blowback action, and a 30-round drop-free magazine that holds two 12 gram CO2 cartridges and BBs. Sporting a quad rail forearm, 6 position adjustable stock and boasting an insane 1400 rounds per minute rate; all that for $180 MSRP. Crosman announced their entry into the compressor arena with the Benjamin Traveler, a lightweight, portable 4500 psi compressor that runs off a 12 volt auto battery and comes with an inverter to run off house current. It won’t be available until mid-year and will have an MSRP around $600. All new break barrel and PCP airguns also now come with a 5 year warranty. For information: www.crosman.com. Phone: 800-724-7486
Daystate – A household name in British airguns, Daystate unveiled fully regulated air rifles in their existing models such as the Wolverine R in .177, .22 and .25 with dual gauges. They also listened to the marketplace and have changed to side lever cocking handles as well. The new Serie Rosso in .177, .22 and .25 caliber offers several options of stocks made by the Italian firm of Minelli including a striking red laminate version. Called Red Wolf LE and Red Wolf HP, the LE model sports the programmable and fully adjustable MCT electronic trigger. The HP is the high power version and comes in an additional caliber of .30. An LCD display provides status on shot counts, remaining pressure, etc. These high-end models come with true carbon fiber barrel shrouds providing suppression and carbon fiber wrapped reservoir tanks for an MSRP of $2995. A 5 year warranty is now provided with all Daystates. Distributed in the U.S. by Airguns of Arizona you can find out more at: www.airgunsofarizona.com. Phone: 480-461-1113
Diana – A German manufacturer with a long history of airgun making introduced their entry level PCP in the Stormrider last year which is exclusively offered in the U.S. through Air Venturi. Other new models announced as part of their “Action Line” were two regulated PCP guns. The Outlaw in .177, .22 and .25 comes in a walnut stained German beechwood stock with a 2-stage adjustable trigger, side lever cocking and fully shrouded barrel to quiet the rifle. The .177 rotary magazine holds 13 pellets, the .22 holds 11 and the .25 holds 9 and the MSRP will be around the $600 mark. The Skyhawk model is a rotary magazine fed bullpup available in .177 and .22 and .25 calibers. It is 29 inches in overall length with a shrouded barrel and 2-stage adjustable trigger. They will be offered in thumbhole style stocks made by the Italian firm of Minelli in walnut, one version in a bright silver finish with a black stock plus a laminate version. The rotary magazines will hold 11 pellets of .177, 9 pellets of .22 and 8 pellets of .25. Availability is expected in May and pricing was not set yet. A new PCP pistol offered in .177, the Bandit, was also announced. It is a bolt action and comes with a 9 round rotary magazine and the bolt is on the left side so right-handers are not reaching over the pistol to cock it or changing hand position to reach the bolt. Its velocity is restricted to meet European power limits of 6 foot pounds of energy (fpe) or less. Contact www.airgunsofarizona.com, or www.airventuri.com.
Gamo USA/Daisy – PCPs added to their product lineup included two Korean made wood stocked models under the Winchester licensed name. Built to resemble the Model 70, these air rifles come in .35 and .45 calibers. Set in Beechwood stocks, they have 2-stage adjustable triggers and side lever cocking. Fed by rotary magazines, the .35 will hold 6 rounds and the .45 will hold 5 rounds. These high powered repeaters are not suppressed. MSRP will be in the $850 range. Two other PCPS in large bores were also introduced, the TC35 in .35 and the TC45 in .45 caliber. They are tactical styled single shot air rifles with carbon fiber 480cc air reservoirs, 2-stage adjustable triggers and integrated suppression. Capable of delivering 150 fpe the .35 will handle predators and the .45 can be used for taking medium-sized game animals. The MSRP will be in the $1000 range. Also new is a follow on to the Swarm Maxxim 10-shot break-barrel introduced last year. Gamo upped the ante this year by introducing the Swarm Magnum in .22 caliber. It has all of the features in the Maxxim plus the Inert Gas Technology (IGT) Mach 1 gas ram for increased power levels. The Swarm Magnum comes with a 3-9x40mm scope and 5 year warranty for an MSRP of $330. Contact them at: www.gamousa.com. Phone: 954-581-5822
Hatsan USA – For this year HatsanUSA added entry level priced PCPs in the Flash and FlashPup. The Flash is a rifle configuration in a skeletonized synthetic stock and the FlashPup is a bullpup with a wood stock. Both are available in .177, .22 and .25 and are bolt actions with the Quattro adjustable trigger. They utilize Quiet Energy (QE) suppression, have onboard pressure gauges and are fed by a Roto-index magazine. The Flash will have an MSRP of $299 and the FlashPup comes in at $399. Also new is the Hercules Bully bullpup PCP version of their popular Hercules model. Available in .177, .22, .25, .30, .35, and .45 calibers, this is a versatile and powerful platform. The stock is advanced polymer in a tactical, skeletonized configuration and the MSRP is $899. Hatsan’s entry into the economical CO2 pistol replica arena is the H-1911, an all metal, non-blowback pellet firing model with a rifled steel barrel and drop-free magazine that holds 12 pellets and CO2 cartridge. It will retail under $80. They also announced their entry into the HPA air compressor market with the TactAir line as part of their “complete airgun fill solution”. The line includes the TactAir Lightning water cooled compressor ($1299) along with two variations of hand pumps, a carbon fiber 6.8 liter tank plus accessories. Contact them at: www.hatsanusa.com. Phone: 877-278-4448
Kalibrgun – The newest addition is the Capybara, a regulated semi-auto bullpup in .22 with the cocking bolt on the left side. Using an 18-round rotary magazine and sporting a square barrel, it sounds weird but actually looks nice on this rifle as well as contains sound moderation to make the Capybara a very quiet shooter. No information was available as to price and availability is about 4 months out. You can find out more at: www.airgunsofarizona.com. Phone: 480-461-1113
Pardini USA – An importer of Italian made Olympic style competition airguns that were used to win 7 medals and set two records in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Pardini USA showed their .177 caliber K12 PCP pistol with a new trigger mechanism and new compensator. Adding the new “Absorber”, a patented active counterweight system, mitigates movement upon firing. Their KID PCP .177 air pistol is worth mention as well. Although it has been available for a few years, youngsters introduced to the shooting sports are the future voters that will help to keep the sport growing. Youth getting into serious competition shooting would do well to look at this model. Having an ambidextrous and adjustable grip, it allows modification as the young shooter grows in the sport. Pistols start at the $1950 mark and their GPR1 rifle models start around $2650. Contact: www.pardiniguns.com. Phone: 813-983-9839
SIG Sauer – SIG ventured into the break-barrel airgun realm with release of their Advanced Sport Pellet line ASP20. In .177 & .22, the rifle comes in a black synthetic stock with a SIG designed and a Minelli produced wood stock option. It is a powerful adult air rifle only requiring 35 pounds cocking effort due to advanced design providing a mechanical advantage. It delivers over 20 fpe in .177 and 23 fpe in .22, so it is suitable for taking small game/pest control. Utilizing an all metal receiver and barrel the new design offers an elegant solution to an old problem of solid barrel-to-receiver lockup. The breech block and forks are tapered in a wedge shape and match drilled in one process to ensure a solid lock up. Additionally, the adjustable trigger was a collaborative effort between SIG firearms and airgun engineers and is smoother than typically found in break-barrels. MSRP is $489 for a wood stocked model and $399 for the synthetic stocked model. Another new airgun being introduced is a CO2 BB firing replica of the “We The People” 1911 firearm. An all metal air pistol, it sports the patriotic stars motif on the scales and uses some CO2 to realistically cycle the slide. The magazine holds both the 12 gram cartridge and 17 BBs and the takedown lever is functional to allow partial field stripping. It will retail for $119. SIG also previewed a prototype CO2 pellet version of the SIG handgun recently accepted by the U.S. Army to replace the M92. Named the M17 not much is available on it other than it will be an exact replica and partially field strippable. Contact www.sigsauer.com. Phone: 603-610-3000
Stoeger – Part of the Benelli family, Stoeger Airguns released a new underlever cocking air rifle named the F40 in .177 and .22 calibers. It is a powerful spring airgun stocked in wood with an adjustable 2-stage trigger. Loaded by way of a pop up loading gate this rifle will retail for $199 in either caliber. A combination with a 3-9x40mm scope adds $30. Their new pistol, the XP4 is a recoiless, composite framed, single-stroke cocking pellet pistol in .177 only. An automatic safety, two-stage trigger and adjustable rear sight with fiber optic inserts are standard and the MSRP comes in at under $90. Stoeger offers a 2 year warranty on their airguns. Contact them at: www.stoegerairguns.com. Phone: 800-264-4962
Steyr Airguns – This Austrian manufacturer offers their new Hunting 5 PCP in .177, .20 and .22 calibers. Utilizing a 5-shot horizontal stick magazine, the New Challenge Field Target comes with an infinitely adjustable ball bearing trigger and multiple adjustment forearm and buttstock. It also incorporates the Steyr Stabilizer system and a double chamber compensator. Price: $2995 for the base rifle. Refer to Anschutz as Steyr is a partner company. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: 205-655-7500
Umarex USA – This manufacturer and distributor usually announces a bunch of new airguns at SHOT and was true to form this year. Starting with the long anticipated Hammer, it will be made in their Ft. Smith, Arkansas facility and should start shipping by the summer. This .50 caliber PCP can deliver over 700 foot pounds of energy and is currently the most powerful production airgun on the market. Operating on 4500 psi stored in the onboard carbon fiber cylinder, this bolt action is regulated and can use up to a 550 grain slug in its 2-round horizontal magazine and incorporates 3 safeties. Retail on the Hammer is in the $800 range. The Gauntlet, a regulated PCP in the $300 price range released last year in .177 and .22 was well received in the marketplace. This year it will be available in .25 caliber with an 8-shot rotary magazine. In break-barrel guns Umarex announced the new Syrix, a .177 synthetic stocked air rifle using their patented Turbo Nitrogen Technology (TNT) gas piston powerplant. For youngsters being introduced to the sport of shooting there is the Embark, a shorter, lightweight airgun with an ambidextrous synthetic stock in a lime green color. Cocking effort is only 16.5 pounds and retail is less than $100. It is also the official airgun of the Student Air Rifle program that is reaching kids in grades 4 through 12 in Missouri and working to expand across the U.S. Under their Ruger license comes the new Yukon Magnum, a dark wood stocked rifle in either .177 or .22 requiring 47 pounds of cocking force in order to produce those magnum power levels. It has a 2-stage adjustable trigger, is suppressed with Umarex USA’s Silencair technology and comes with a 3-9x32mm scope. Lastly in the new break-barrels is the Walther branded Classus, a German made wood stocked .177 or .22 with an adjustable match trigger, nice checkering and a limited lifetime warranty. As far as BB launchers goes, Umarex introduced a number of those as well. In their Legends line of CO2 airguns Umarex introduced the Cowboy Rifle. This BB rifle is a copy of an old Winchester lever action and uses simulated cartridges to hold BBs. The cartridges are loaded into the side loading gate just like the original and after firing, working the lever ejects the cartridge. MSRP is a little north of $200. A replica of the Walther PPS M2 with authentic look and feel incorporates blowback action of the slide and holds 18 BBs in the drop-free magazine. For those who like to spray a lot of BBs quickly, check out the new Steel Strike. Powered by 2 CO2 cartridges held in a drop-free magazine along with the BBs, it resembles an AR carbine with a collapsible stock and is capable of firing 6 shot bursts. Lastly, the new baby brother to the Peacemaker models released over the past couple of years is the Legends Ace in the Hole. This CO2 replica of a short barreled Colt SAA revolver launches pellets rather than BBs and should retail in the $140 range. Other news was the inking of the deal with Glock as exclusive distributor of Glock branded airguns and airsofts. Those should be shipping by this summer. Contact them at: www.umarexusa.com. Phone: 479-646-4210.
Lastly, Umarex has moved into the law enforcement training realm by introducing the T4E line of products. These are airguns and accessories designed to provide realistic force-on-force training with rubber, chalk or paintballs. The new T4E line is only available to law enforcement organizations and handled by a different division of the company at: www.t4eguns.com.
Xisico USA – An importer of Chinese made airguns, they introduced their first PCP air rifle to the U.S market as well as their first CO2 powered air rifle and pistol this year. The Sentry, available in .177, .22 and .25, has an onboard tank holding 3000 psi and it is fed by a rotary magazine. The stock is wood in a thumbhole design with a forearm attachment of polymer to provide a short picatinny rail. The XS60C is the first CO2 rifle released by Xisico USA and available in .177 and .22 caliber. Stocked in wood, it uses two CO2 cartridges to power the bolt-action rifle. The XS25SFB is a break-barrel in .177 or .22 and happens to be the first production air rifle in the world with a bamboo stock. It is an interesting open/skeletonized stock in what Xisico calls a “shark-fin” style. Prices and availability were not forthcoming at the show; for information contact Airgun Depot: www.airgundepot.com. Phone: 866-477-4867
Without ammunition and accessories needed to propel ammo downrange airguns wouldn’t be much use. New shapes, weights and alloys of pellets are being developed every year but this year the new kid on the block is actually a BB. Air Venturi (www.airventuri.com) announced a U.S made frangible BB, the Dust Devil, which disintegrates on impact and will virtually eliminate the ricochet problem inherent with steel BBs. This frangible BB still has steel in its composition so will work in airguns using a magnetic feed system, but are lead-free. Because they are lighter, they will shoot approximately 10% faster. Many manufacturers have their own line of pellets and BBs but there are also several makers/importers of pellets, as well as slugs/bullets for the big bores, accessible via the web. Predator International (www.predatorpellets.com) and Hunters Supply (www.hunters-supply.com) are U.S. based and a newcomer to the U.S. market is Rifle Ammunition out of Brazil (www.rifle.ind.br), the supplier of pellets to the Brazilian Olympic shooting team.
PCPs are generally sold sans optics, and airgun manufacturers usually have a limited number of scopes to mate to their products. There were a number of scope manufacturers and importers represented at SHOT. A few that stood out with innovative and economical offerings of quality scopes were: MTC Optics America (www.mtcopticsamerica.com) with a First Focal Plane reticle offering that breaks below the $400 level; Sun Optics (www.sunopticsusa.com) carries a number of quality airgun scopes, red dots and reflex sights as does Leapers (www.leapers.com).
Of course, any accessory you can dream of to enhance, clean, colorize, stabilize or make your airgun shoot better or make it uniquely your own was also showcased at SHOT. Additionally, small companies unable to display at SHOT but accessible via the World Wide Web are also innovating and making it truly a great time to be an airgunner.