January is “new gun intro” season in the firearms industry, with the major trade show mid-month being the stage: SHOT, the Shooting and Hunting Outdoor Trade Show. I won’t be there this year (trial schedule conflict) but will try to keep you apprised of what I can find out remotely.
Some new introductions will be window dressing, such as Mossberg’s series of “Duck Commander” motif firearms, mostly shotguns with a couple of ARs thrown in. (Exactly what AR15s have to do with ducks escapes me, unless it’s suitability to amphibious operation, but…)
Some will be radical for their kind. Consider the Remington R51, a sleek 7+1-shot 9mm pistol with some elements of that company’s famous old Model 51 design, including flat super-thin profile. There are profound differences, of course: the new one is locked breech in design, and built for 9mm Luger +P, while the original was a .380. Pundits who’ve seen it are divided as to whether the design is “retro” or “ultra-modern.” I see it as some of both. The swooping, sculptured lines and overall shape remind me of what “futurists” who touched on guns half a century ago predicted pistols might look like today. (An interesting taste of that can be found here , though Asimov didn’t touch on firearms.) Price point is remarkably low, and I for one am looking forward to putting one of these new Remington pistols through its paces.
Since December, I’ve been working with a couple of guns I can’t talk about yet. The manufacturer is so serious about the “media embargo” going through to January 6 that I’ve had to have everyone on my test team sign non-disclosure agreements from the company. One is an especially interesting departure for the manufacturer in question, while the other is much more evolution than revolution, and all of us who are shooting them like them but can only hold our hands over our mouths and mutter, “Mmmff. Mmmff!” Will have more to say on these next week when the embargo lifts.
So far, advance press releases to us gun writers indicate a lot of minor and often cosmetic changes, but there’s always something that represents at least a small step forward, if not a giant leap. We’ll talk about the new stuff more this month as all of it unfolds.