August 08, 2005
Shoot-out @ Blackwater
Ultimate gun show packs latest in firepower
By C. Mark Brinkley
Times staff writer
MOYOCK, N.C. — Forget that two-hands stuff, crybaby. We play tackle football. Full contact. Third and long, getting dirty. We’ve never met a “do not touch” sign we didn’t ignore. That’s how we roll.
So the average gun show is not built for people like us.
Listening to product reps drone on and on, not a target in sight, makes us long for a single bullet to end our own misery. Oh, how we yearn for the sound of clinking brass.
So we built our own gun show.
Every year, the Military Times papers and our friends at Armed Forces Journal descend on the Blackwater Training Center, bringing along dozens of military weapons experts and defense industry reps to the nation’s top civilian shooting range for a two-day Gunapalooza.
We call it the “Shoot-out at Blackwater.” Our guests call it “fun.”
Unlike other trade shows — all look and no play — our friends get to shoot everything on the table and tell us what they think. With luck, those reports trickle down to the people who buy your guns and ammo.
If you weren’t picked to play this time, don’t feel bad. There’s always next year — ask a Cubs fan.
In the meantime, we’ve got your box scores right here. Reading about the shoot-out is the next best thing to going there.
Got bad guys? Say hello to our not-so-little friend, the AA-12. Sounds like an alcohol recovery program? Well, there’s nothing anonymous about this thing.
The Auto Assault-12, made by Military Police Systems Inc., is a 12-gauge, automatic shotgun designed specifically for lashing out with great vengeance and furious anger. It can empty a 20-round drum in seconds with deadly accuracy and minor recoil, never needs cleaning or lubricating, and weighs only 13.5 pounds fully loaded.
“We think it’s the answer to a lot of the Iraqi problem,” said company owner Jerry Baber. “We’ve had kids as young as 9 years old fire this thing. Little women, about 100 pounds, just disintegrate things with this.”
At $3,800 a pop, it’s a pricey investment. But if the streets need sweeping, the AA-12 will catch all the dirt. Be careful, though, pulling the trigger, Baber warned.
“It’s not for the faint of heart,” he said.
Glock and load
Hey, good things really do come in small packages.
Now that it’s been on the market for two years, maybe you’ve heard of the Glock 37 — small like a 9mm pistol but chambered for .45-caliber Glock Automatic Pistol ammunition.
Now, meet its little brothers.
This year, the company is introducing its newest flavor in sizes and shapes for everyone. The compact Glock 38 and subcompact Glock 39 both pack the same wallop, without compromising such things as accuracy and handling.
Although our big hands didn’t do the small, six-round 39 justice, we’d be happy to have it stashed in a pinch. The eight-shot 38 was actually easier to handle than the full-sized Glock 37, but losing a half-inch on the barrel and a quarter-pound on the weight wasn’t worth trading two extra rounds in the magazine.
Will the new .45 GAP ammo really perform like your Grandpa’s old .45 Automatic Colt Pistol, better known as the ACP? We doubt the bad guys will live to debate the negligible differences.
All you’ll notice is the price, about $550 for the civilian market.
Get full product specs at www.teamglock.com.
As seen on USMC
For a while, only a few of The Few and The Proud had ever laid hands on Kimber’s newest .45-caliber ACP, modeled on the venerable M1911.
The weapon many call the “Det One pistol” was produced strictly to specs for the Marine Corps’ special-operations detachment. Then, the collectors came calling.
Now, there are two civilian versions available for anyone with an itchy trigger finger and $1,200 — the Warrior and the Desert Warrior.
The Desert Warrior is the flashier of the pair, with its green-brown finish and tan grips (the Warrior comes like a good beer, in black and tan).
“Both of these guns are back-ordered five to seven months,” said Chris Corino, a Kimber rep. “Heavily, heavily back-ordered.”
For good reason. The Kimber is a smooth fire, easy for both men and women, despite the considerable punch it packs. It has an ambidextrous thumb safety, which we liked, and Tritium night sights, which we liked even better.
It also had weird laminated Fiberglas handgrips, which reminded us of a country fair waffle cone and felt uncomfortable in our hands.
But that’s an easy fix. We’ll take two, one for each pillow.
Have a look at www.kimberamerica.com.
KRISS me deadly
This thing looks more like a carwash nozzle than a submachine gun, but looks can be deceiving.
The KRISS, a prototype from Transformational Defense Industries, is a work in progress. Once it’s complete, it promises to virtually eliminate recoil from automatic weapons.
So far, it works like a dream. We emptied a magazine of .45-caliber ammo on full-auto and barely got a rise out of the weapon.
Did we mention we fired it one-handed?
“Right now, it’s just a demonstrator,” one company rep said. “This whole thing will go into a more traditional form.”
If they get this right, you’ll be holding an M60 with one hand and feeding the belt with the other. Look out, Rambo.
Get a grip at www.transformationaldefense industries.com.
DAK of all trades
Our hands-down picks for best pistols, the SIGARMS P226 DAK and P229 DAK, were amazing.
But don’t take our word for it. Ask the Department of Homeland Security, which signed up to buy 65,000 new pistols over the next five years, most of them DAKs.
What is the DAK? It’s a revolutionary, double-action-only trigger system that delivers something that similar triggers only dream about: a smooth, consistent, 6.5-pound pull. So we get the added safety of a double-action-only without the hassle of a hard-to-squeeze trigger.
It comes in 9mm, .357- and .40-caliber varieties, in either the full-sized P226 or the compact P229.
“Our claim to fame is quality, accuracy, reliability and dependability,” said Kevin Tapia, a SIGARMS rep. “It’s a system that was designed 30 years ago with only a little upgrade over the years.”
Sounds good to us. Give ’em a pull at www.sigarms.com.
At last, a mobile home built to withstand a hurricane.
And a .50-caliber, armor-piercing bullet; 81mm mortar; 120mm mortar; 1,000-pound bomb dropped 90 feet away. ...
We could keep going, but you get the point.
Kontek Industries builds a guard shack made of nearly 6-inch-thick sheets of blended metal. It comes with access ports for returning fire, air conditioning and electrical outlets.
The only thing missing is a crane to drop the thing in place. The one we tested weighed in at about 38,000 pounds, so be sure you put it where you want it the first time.
At $95,000, your new office might cost more than your real home, but you’ll feel just as safe inside. A few Air Force bases and other government sites are already putting them to use.
Have a look, and tell ’em what you think at www.kontekindustries.com.
Return of the six-gun
There are times when having a single-shot grenade launcher attached to your rifle is a beautiful thing.
The MGL140 is made for all the other times.
Produced by Milkor USA, the launcher has a six-shot revolving barrel capable of pumping 40mm grenades out so fast, you’ll fire the sixth one before the first one hits home.
The only kick you’ll get is from watching your target disappear, as the MGL140 packs only half the recoil of a traditional M203 launcher. It weighs 14 pounds empty, 15.5 pounds fully loaded, and fires everything from nonlethals to high explosives.
Throw a sight on there, and even a child can shoot it. Really, we watched a 9-year-old plunk practice rounds into a car window from 75 yards away.
At $6,000, it costs about five times as much as a traditional M203, but that’s money well spent.
Eat your heart out, Wyatt Earp.
Shoot to kill
If there were such a thing as Kryptonite bullets, they’d be made by LeMas.
We’ve seen this company’s blended-metal rounds turn beef roasts into hamburger and bulletproof glass into shards. So why don’t you have a magazine full of them in your hip pocket, for all those “just-in-case” moments?
Blame the hippies.
It seems that LeMas rounds are just too powerful, the kind of bullets that rip a man’s arm off so you can beat him with it. We’re told that such power violates a zillion different treaties and agreements.
They’re still fun to shoot, if you can get them. Check out old demo videos at www.armedforcesjournal.com/blackwater.
Silent but deadly
We always wanted to be ninjas.
Quiet but deadly, able to move on to our second target before the first one even knew he was dead.
Gunsmith John Tibbetts wants us to live the fantasy.
New from John’s Guns are flash/sound suppressors in .223 and .308 varieties (think 5.56 and 7.62mm) that’ll turn any black-ops mission green with envy.
“It has a lot of sound rejection,” Tibbetts said, after we popped off a few rounds. “And it takes about 40 to 45 percent of the recoil out of the weapon.”
The drawback? Always money. The .223 version sells for about $895, while the .308 goes for about $995.
Ah, well. One can dream.
Thank you, Xbox
Finally, validation for all those hours spent playing “Halo.”
Forget about dodging bullets from the gopher hole. Researchers at Utah State University have developed a prototype system that uses a joystick and camera system to put steel on target from inside your Humvee.
“It was a little bit of a chore to talk the powers that be at a university to get involved with a weapon system,” said researcher Jack Rhodes. “You’re playing a video game. That’s all it is.”
Sight your target on the little screen, press the button and watch your enemies drop like rocks. Rhodes had it hard-wired to a 7.62mm system, but with wireless technology and a variety of calibers to play with, the possibilities could be endless.
“I hope so,” said Duane Hill, another demonstrator for the prototype. “It’s sure a lot smarter than sticking your head up through the roof.”
There are so many variations of the M16 on the market — upper receivers in various calibers, redesigned lowers — only the geekiest of gun enthusiasts can keep up.
But Heckler & Koch has tried to set itself apart with the new HK 416 Enhanced Carbine, a crowd favorite at this year’s shoot-out.
New this year, the HK 416 comes as a replacement upper receiver for a standard M16 or as a complete unit. It carries a 20,000-round, long-life barrel and an innovative firing mechanism that cuts down on grime, both of which impressed our shooters.
“Little to no cleaning?” asked one evaluator. “That’s going to replace the M16.”
People have predicted that rifle’s demise for 40 years, and still it keeps coming. But with twice the barrel life and a fraction of the required cleaning, the HK 416 stands a chance.
“I’m going to get one,” the evaluator said later, offering the weapon up as his pick for Best in Show. “Maybe two, one for each hand.”
deserves a bump
Great report, but oh boy, this part is going to be fun.
Do these magic bullets still have the ability to distinguish between cold sides of beef and warm human flesh, and then act accordingly?
My favorite post nthe subject- by DocGKR at Tacital Forums:
It would be cool to get a invite to that someday
A lot of interesting reading on future weapon systems like mentioned above, here
Of particular interest in the 40MM man-portable thermobaric system, which is basically operate like the fuel-air bombs, but on a smaller scale. Shoot one in a window, and the entire building's interior becomes a fireball.