11 Feb

SHOT Show 2012 Part One

Steven K. Ledin,


Perpetually my favorite stop at SHOT


Our daily chartered bus picked up almost two dozen OP employees from three different rental houses and dropped us off in front of the Sands Convention Center where we hit the ground running in wildly diverse directions like dropping a handful of BBs on a countertop. The first day of SHOT was officially started. Most of our folks were there from our purchasing department, but others were from Merchandising and Marketing, with me alone representing Product Intelligence until Trevor got there the next day.

SHOT is a dealer only show swimming with professional gun and outdoor sports monkeys. Some swim upstream, some down. It’s just plain hard to walk a straight line. I usually start at a least crowded place on the bottom floor, go fast and straight, then turn right, go fast then left, and repeat hundreds of times until both floors and all auxiliary rooms are covered. I take notes throughout all and stop often. When I’m done I do it again but more focused, then again and again. Many miles are walked. My heavy backpack straps usually don’t remove any skin, but my shoulders do stay red for a few days afterwards.

Leupold not only had the coolest new product that we’ll sell this year, but the THREE coolest products we’ll sell. Those three are the new Mark 4, Mark 6s, and the incredible new Mark 8 3.5-25×56 M5B2. Yow! What a scope. This new Mark 8 gets my vote for the coolest new product at SHOT that we sell. It had a 35mm tube, Horus H58 reticle, and the superb pinch and turn turrets. This is the most awesome scope I know of, period. It gets my “2012 Best at SHOT Award” this year. In second place is the new Mark 4 6.5-20×50 ER/T with M5A2 push button turret has a 34mm tube, Horus reticle, and is the optic on our newly adopted XM1200 sniper weapons system. Third place goes to the new Mark 4 3-18×44 with 34mm tube, M5B2 pinch and turn turrets and Horus reticle. These three scopes represent the pinnacle of cutting edge riflescope technology available today from any manufacturer, bar none. Of course, you gotta pay the man for what you get. These are not price point optics. Quality control at Leupold is as good as a company gets. I personally saw it in Beaverton when I toured the facility and shot in their tunnel.


The most awesome new scope at SHOT, the Mark 8 3.5-25×56 M5B2 with Horus H-58 reticle

The next manufacturer’s product that I was especially enamoured with this year was the new Bushnell Elite Tactical DMR 3.5-21×50 with the excellent new G2DMR ranging reticle. It’s only 13.2″ overall in length with a 34mm tube. The Elite Tactical 1-6.5x CQB was also a real winner.

New Bushnell Elite Tactical 3.5-21x50 FFP with G2DMR reticle and Legend HD

Burris has the Fastfire III this year, with an easily changed battery and adjustments that don’t require a special tool. The Fastfires are maybe the best value in a upper quality mini red dot on the market. I really like them a lot. Burris also has the new AR-536 and AR-132 prism sights that will fill a niche. Kudos to Burris.

ATN had a good amount of new thermal products.

One of the many new thermal devices from ATN


Nikon had a load of new M-223 scopes including a new M-308 scope. Some great new mounts, too.

Nikon's new P223 3x32 carbine scope


EOTech’s Zombie Stopper was a big hit. The new G-33 Slap to Side magnifier will automatically be included in our OPMOD MPO II and MPO III kits when they become available. The new IFL (Integrated Forearm Light) is a great product at a never before seen price.

New G-33 Slap to Side magnifier


The Streamlight TLR 4 is finally here. A compact weapons light with integrated laser and light that will even fit on a Walther P-22 or Sig Mosquito.

Streamlight's new TLR4


Trijicon’s new TAR (Trijicon Advanced Riflescope) is a 4-15×50 riflescope with the latest technology and typical Trijicon quality. I got to shoot with one mounted on a Steyr SSG-08 at media day.

Vortex is a company that in just a few short years has reached a level of quality on par with the best in the business. The Viper PST scopes are top notch. They have a new mini red dot that looks like it will compete with any existing MRD on the market.

More to come, stay tuned.




About Steven K. Ledin

Steve has never not known guns. Before motorcycles, money, or girls, they have always been part of his life. He was tenured as General Manager of one of the country’s largest gun stores and ranges, a buyer in a big box sporting goods store, and is currently OpticsPlanet’s Director of Product Intelligence. He was a US Navy gunners mate, and is an NRA certified instructor in ten categories, as well as an Illinois CCW instructor. He shoots competitively and has hunted from Alaska to Africa. He thoroughly loves life with his beloved wife, Shirley, and their three wildish dogs Tinker, TranRek (pronounced “Train Wreck”), and Crash Almighty. He is a stubborn stage 4 cancer survivor not yet ready to cash in his chips.

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