Gang, as of this entry, the Backwoods Home firearms blog coverage of the shooting industry’s biggest show worldwide continues. I’m tag-teaming out, and what you get henceforth comes via the eyes and ears of my old friend and colleague Russ Lary.

A retired chief of police, Russ appreciates that the law enforcement sector of the Show has become larger every year. On Wednesday he caught Safariland’s presentation of several officers telling how their body armor had saved their lives. One was the very first save with the Safariland vest, from the early 1970s, named Sheehan. The name rang a bell, and I did a quick search: it turned out I had interviewed then-Patrolman Sheehan about his experience for an article called “The Blunt Truth About Blunt Trauma” in the August, 1978 issue of the police professional journal Law and Order. It’s a small world indeed, and I’m glad that the vest was there to stop the bullet that would have killed him more than 35 years ago.

On the sporting side of the house, Russ was quite impressed with Winchester’s new Blind Side shotgun shells. Ever since the industry had to go to non-lead shot for waterfowl, adequate penetration and “stopping power” has been a problem. Blind Side, Russ explains, uses hexagonal pellets with rounded edges. In BB and #2 birdshot sizes, these pieces pack much more efficiently inside the shell, using what would otherwise be wasted air space to give the shooter as much as 15% more pellets per shot. The unusual shape and its Diamond Cut Wad are designed to not only pattern well and duck and goose shooting range, but Winchester says, “The shot is designed to hit the waterfowl like high velocity tumbling bricks.” This, they believe, will better insure quick, clean, merciful kills and reduce lost and wounded birds. It is available only in three-inch and three-and-a-half-inch 12 gauge loadings at this time.

Some new products cross lines and are suitable for both service and sport. One example is that quintessential red dot optic sight series, the Aimpoint. That company’s latest has a new always-on dot with a battery system whose life is said to be measured in years rather than hours: small, light, and rugged, Russ likes the way it makes a rifle handle. It’s as useful for a turkey hunt, or for the sort of thing a farm kitchen shotgun is for, as it is for cops and warfighters. They have a new micro-size one for handguns, too, and there are those in the combat pistol world who think that particular technology may be the coming thing, especially for us old Boomers with boomers whose eyesight is starting to fade.

Finally, remember that the SHOT Show is sponsored by NSSF, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an industry voice that has been most generous with grants to gun clubs and shooting organizations over the years, as well as a powerful voice for gun owners’ rights in Washington. Former president of NSSF Doug Painter was on hand to sign his new book on the history of that outstanding organization.

A big Thank You to Russ Lary for being the Backwoods Home firearms blog’s point man at this “Show of Shows” for gun people!