Between The Berms: Notes From The NRA Show

May 8, 2013
Oh The Humanity... Holy crap were there a ton of people at this year's NRA Show. It seemed that at no point was there not just throngs of people crowding every aisle of the show. This year really was a perfect storm of political climate and location. Simply put, Texas is just a great state for hosting an NRA Show, and I can't wait to go back.
Taurus' was one of the many booths that seemed to be packed wall-to-wall throughout the show. Photo: P. Erhardt
Actually, There Were New Guns At NRA... So, while I was right about companies holding back on new guns, it seems I was also wrong about what we'd find at this year's NRA Show. Both Beretta and Colt introduced new pistols. For Beretta it was the PICO and for Colt the Mustang XSP. Tactical Wire Editor Rich Grassi has photos and info on both as well as other new products that caught his eye during his travels on the show floor. Read his NRA Show wrap-up here...and for God's sake subscribe to The Tactical Wire so you don't have to get Rich's insights secondhand. Apex's Polymer Triggers... There's no doubt that the M&P is an excellent pistol and even less doubt that the geniuses at Apex Tactical make it 'excellenter' with their drop-in parts. At the NRA Show Apex unveiled their Polymer Forward Set Trigger for use with their Forward Set Sear Kit. Apparently it's kind of popular since they sold out at the show. Not too shabby considering the MSRP is $129.95 (includes full kit). They also introduced their new Polymer Action Enhancement Trigger for use with all their other M&P trigger kits. That one costs $39.95 and includes trigger, sear spring and slave pin. Look for both on the Apex website in the very near future.
Sold out! Apex's new Polymer Forward Set Trigger was a hit among M&P shooters visiting the Apex booth. Photo: Courtesy Apex Tactical
Apex Shoots Square (And Flat)... Looks like nobody explained to Apex Tactical Specialties that they can't make part for rifles as well as pistols and revolvers. At the show they also unveiled their Square Shooter, a compensator designed specifically for the AR or 5.56 rifle. The Square Shooter costs $74.95 and provides less felt recoil and, more importantly, neutral muzzle rise. Many compensators eliminate muzzle rise but end up delivering a negative, or downward, muzzle movement - thus taking your sights off target. Not so with the Square Shooter. The funny thing about this product is that it's one that Apex has been sitting on for a while. Randy Lee had done the design work but it sat on the back burner until Scott Folk found it and helped push it forward to market. For those of you shooting 3-Gun, or like to trick out your rifle pretending you do, this is right up your alley.
The Apex Square Shooter compensator is designed to keep your sights on target shot after shot. Photo: Courtesy Apex Tactical
Safariland's New Competition Gear... Safariland introduced their newest Model 014 holster. The 014 is a race holster and it's pretty much the top dog among those used in open gun competition. This new model of 014 is designed specifically for use with the open Glock models made by companies like S&J Customs. And considering what Team Glock's K.C. Eusebio is doing with an open Glock, it's probably a safe bet that demand will increase for the tricked-out race gun and associated equipment. Also on display in Safariland's booth was the new USPSA Holster Adaptor Kit. This is the concept that Rob Leatham had been working on when Rich Grassi and I visited Safariland back in September. The adaptor, part # USPSA-KIT, will work with any Safariland three-hole pattern and is legal in all divisions. Both new products should be available at and your favorite competition retailers.
Open Glock shooters rejoice, Safariland has a Model 014 race holster just for you. Photo: P. Erhardt
We Don't Need No Stinkin' New Rules... Well, actually, you do. And whether you like it or not, IDPA introduced their new draft rulebook yesterday. During the NRA Show, Joyce Wilson, the organization's executive director and (wait for it, Kitty) High Priestess of All Things IDPA, was previewing some of the changes. Joyce spoke with ShootingUSA's John Scoutten on the ShootingUSA Podcast and with Ron Larimer from the When the Balloon Goes Up! Podcast. The new rules will be available for member comment for the next three weeks. IDPA members can login to to review the rules and comment.
Cam Edwards interviews Texas Gov. Rick Perry from the floor of the NRA Show in Houston. Photo: P. Erhardt
The Lone Star State's One-Man Dept. Of Business Recruitment... Texas Governor Rick Perry was crisscrossing the show floor in Houston. A well known gun enthusiast it's hard to tell if he was spending most of his time shopping for guns or gun companies. Texas has put the full court press on the firearms industry, working tirelessly to recruit companies away from their anti-gun home states (think Magpul and Colorado). To appreciate the difference between Texas and other states all you need to do is turn on the evening news where defensive use of firearms stories are routinely reported without even the slightest hint of prejudice against the gun owner. I ran into one company contact who told me that while in Texas for the show his company execs met with Governor Perry and Texas officials about relocating. It's a big name company but one I'm unfortunately not at liberty to disclose. However, it's safe to say that Texas is not afraid to approach even the industry's biggest manufacturers, and the accompanying transition costs involved, to bring them to Texas...make that The Republic of Texas. NRA's Next Great Show... During the show I followed the guys from Apex to their 2014 booth selection appointment to see where they'd planned to set up, and to get a look at the Indianapolis floor plan. While waiting for Apex's turn to select we met the guys handling the Great American Outdoor Show. What's that you ask? Why, it's the Eastern Outdoor Sports Show sans Reed "You Can't Show A Black Rifle" Exhibits. The NRA announced some changes two weeks ago and were actively promoting the show to NRA Show exhibitors, giving them an opportunity to get in early. Overall this is great news for the show and the 200,000+ that regularly attend it. Of course, for those in the industry that have to work it the bad news is it's still nine long days and it's still in lovely Harrisburg. Anybody that has had to work it before knows exactly what I mean.
Michael Bane, sporting his Shooting Gallery colors, addresses the crowd at Little Woodrow's where everybody gathered to celebrate his birthday. Photo: P. Erhardt
And Finally, Cinco De Bane... Sunday, May 5th was, of course, Cinco de Mayo but it was also Michael Bane's birthday. In traditional Bane fashion, the early celebration on May 4th involved a bar, over 140 friends, colleagues and bloggers, and an undetermined quantity of beer. Oh yeah, there was a food truck with an awesome menu there too. Hosted at Little Woodrow's, the event was a short walk from the back door of the convention center and turned out to be the social event of the show...but what else would you expected from the one and only Michael Bane. - Paul Erhardt, Editor, the Outdoor Wire Digital Network Got shooting sports news? Send us an email at