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The show's fastest-growing segment attracts heavy traffic, unveils extensive range of new products.


The Law Enforcement and Tactical market had a significant presence at the 33rd annual SHOT Show in January, continuing a major trend at the industry's largest trade show. NSSF reports this segment is the fastest growing of the show, with law enforcement and security personnel converging on the Sands Expo & Convention Center in record numbers.


"Law enforcement encompasses 28 percent of the floor space, and law enforcement attendance has grown from just 8 percent to 19 percent," said Chris Dolnack, NSSF senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "I think our law enforcement education program has helped increase attendance, and that's the intent. But, in general, when you look at the market, the bulk of the interest and order support comes from traditional firearms retailers."

Dolnack says NSSF continues to evaluate how to best address this growing segment at the show.

"The last two years we have conducted exhibitor and attendee focus groups onsite. While our law enforcement and tactical exhibitors are concerned about their place in the SHOT Show, we clearly are listening to them, heeding their advice and making the show more law enforcement friendly--without forgetting our roots in hunting and shooting sports," Dolnack said.

Attracting Attention

LaserMax introduced its newest laser, the Genesis, at the show.

"It's designed specifically for short-frame pistols, and it's rechargeable. It's a green laser, which everyone wants. It has right and left activation switches, and a USB port for recharging. It has a 1 1/2hour runtime on a full charge. You can also get a setup so you can charge it off your computer," said Marshall Schmitt, LaserMax law enforcement liaison.

The Patrol Rifle Optic received a lot of attention at the Aimpoint booth.

"It's for authorized law-enforcement dealers only," said Kristi Elrod, marketing director. "It lets us give the patrol officer a complete kit at a low price. It's just as durable and rugged as our other sights; the only difference is the battery life is three years instead of five years. We think it's going to be really good for agencies."


Colt Defense drew a lot of attention at the show with the introduction of the LE901 carbine.

"The great thing about the LE901 is it has a multi-caliber lower receiver," said Jeffrey Radziwon, Colt Defense marketing manager. "It can be switched from 5.56 to 7.62. The dealers love it. It's the weapon for any mission; you have the .308 for longer distances, and the shorter barrel for shorter distances. It's light enough to carry both barrels, if that's the mission intent."

At the Boyt Tactical booth, the company inaugurated a series of hard-sided/soft-case combo cases.

"We make a bag so a rifle can be secured with Velcro straps," said Janet Cady, L.E. Division of Boyt Harness, of the TAC550 Tactical Case. "Officers love it because they don't have to transfer their rifle and ammo from a hard case to a soft bag, and then back to their hard case."

K-9 officers were interested in Creative Pet Products' K-9 rescue kit.

"It has an aspirator/respirator system. You put it over the dog's muzzle, and create a vacuum to pull out debris or narcotics. You then give the dog a controlled amount of air until it's able to breathe on its own," said Don Knutson, Creative Pet Products president.

At the Bushnell Outdoor Products booth, the company unveiled its new Elite Tactical scope series. Built for military and law enforcement, all models feature mil-dot reticles and multicoated lenses with RainGuard HD and the new Ultra Wide Band (UWB) Coating.


Dealers were interested in GG&G's bipods with a new quick-disconnect feature.

"You just rotate a lever, and they come off in your hand. In our sighting systems, we have a red dot system, and behind it, a mount that can go from night vision to three power, or back to one power--just with the rotation of a lever," said Travis Crawford, of GG&G.

At the Blueguns booth, Carl Ring, company president, said they are introducing training versions of some of the newest firearms.

"We have the Ruger LCP and LCR. We also have all the Smith & Wesson M&Ps in the three different grip sizes. We're putting in many guns that are just being introduced at this show; a lot of people are asking for them," he said.

At the SIG SAUER booth, the sub compact SIG P290 drew a lot of attention from L.E. and security personnel. Designed as a backup carry gun, the 9mm has a polymer frame and holds a single-stack, six-round magazine. The gun has interchangeable grip inserts for custom fitting.

Armament Technology presented its newest Elcan sights at the show.

"Our Dual Role scope, the SpecterDR, has the capability to provide 1x magnification with a red dot for close-quarters combat. The same scope provides higher magnification for longer-distance engagements when the user flips a lever that changes the magnification. The zero point stays the same, so the operator can solve different problems with a versatile scope," said Jack Davidson, sales manager.

Security Equipment Corp. unveiled a number of new law enforcement products, including the SABRE Crossfire GEL. It has a range of up to 20 feet, and its crossfire technology provides for better target placement, with reduced wind blowback. SABRE Phantom OC, designed for extracting someone from a confined space, is a more powerful fogger, with the fog becoming invisible after it reaches a few feet. It has an immediate effect, but doesn't require a long decontamination period.

At the U.S. Armor booth, the company introduced new models of its throw-over plate carriers for body armor. They are designed for officers who are already wearing standard armor, but need additional protection.

"The officer just throws it over his shoulders and attaches it on the sides, and he has 10"x12" high-velocity protection," said Georg Olsen, U.S. Armor general manager.

To help dealers with sell-through, U.S. Armor offers a 60-day guaranteed-fit program.

"The end user has 60 days to wear it, use it, get used to it, and try different attachments. If he's unhappy with the fit, we fix it," Olsen said.

At the KWA USA booth, the company introduced its new Electric Recoil Gun (ERG) series.

"The RM4A1 has new technology we call a 'kinetic feedback system,'" said Michael Hou, account specialist. "It's an electric gun that's able to give simulated recoil while it fires in semiauto or automatic mode. In addition, most electric airsoft guns continue firing even after the magazine is empty. However, this electric gun stops firing until you eject the magazine, put in a new one, hit the bolt catch and start firing again. So it's very similar to the real thing, but it's still battery powered."

LaserLyte featured its Subcompact V3 laser at the show. It requires less than 3/4" of Picatinny rail space, making it compatible with the smallest of subcompact pistols. It has an auto-off feature that activates after five minutes. The company's Rear Sight Laser is now available for Ruger Mark I, II and III pistols and 10/22 rifles, as well as Smith & Wesson Sigma pistols.

Officers visiting the Turtleskin Protective Products booth were interested in the company's new hypodermic-resistant gloves.

"They have enough sensitivity for officers to operate weapons, but still provide a high level of needle resistance. Most officers want to have some cut resistance as well, so these gloves also provide twice the cut resistance of traditional gloves," said John Cronin, product manager.

Crimson Trace had a second booth at the show to introduce its recently launched new division, CTC Defense. Two of the first products offered by CTC Defense are Lasergrips for the SIG SAUER P226 that incorporate a red laser and an infrared laser for use with night vision, and the MVF-600, a rail-mounted vertical foregrip for the M4/AR series of rifles that includes a white LED light, and red and infrared lasers.



"These products meet the requirements needed on the battlefield because of close-quarters encounters and new technologies," said Dale Suzuki, the division's director.

SOG Armory drew a lot of attention with its new Marksman rifle.

"The rifle has a 20" Lothar Walther barrel from Germany; we're the only ones who have that barrel and configuration in a 20" Marksman rifle. It's very accurate; we guarantee less than one-half MOA at 100 yards right out of the box. With someone who really knows how to shoot, it will put bullet after bullet in the same hole," said Mark Kinsler, owner.

At the Badger Ordnance booth, the company introduced its new night vision products.

"We have a night vision mount that connects a current-issue spotting scope to all the current-issue, in-line night vision equipment. We also have another device that's simple and inexpensive, and allows the user to put a PBS14 on the back of the same scope, so you have different options in how you use your night vision equipment," said Martin Bordson, company president.

At Insight Technology, Samantha Millett, senior account specialist, said two of the hot items in the booth were the WL1AA Weapon Light and the WL1AA Weapon Light/Laser combination.

"These are our first AA battery weapon lights, so now officers have lights with readily available and less expensive batteries than some of our Legacy lights and other lights. These are LED units that have 150 lumens of white light out front and a strobing feature," Millett said.

The new Benchmade 915 Rescue Knife drew a lot of attention from law enforcement, EMT and rescue personnel. The knife has a modified sheepsfoot blade and an ambidextrous thumb-stud opener. The tool also includes a built-in safety hook and carbide glass breaker.

At the Wiley X booth, the company highlighted its Saber Advanced from its Changeable Series. They have 3mm thick lenses that meet military standards for ballistic-impact resistance. Available in two- and three-lens color sets, Sabers feature a "Take Flight" nosepiece that fits a wide range of faces. The frames can also accommodate a prescription insert.

At the Counter Assault booth, Kirsten Johnson, vice president and CFO, said she sees a trend toward less lethal products.

"I believe that officers truly prefer less lethal options, but they have to be comfortable with those options," Johnson said.

Counter Assault offers two options in pepper spray for officers, Johnson said, one of 40 grams and one of 85 grams.

The Mako Group highlighted a number of new holsters, including the Ready and Safe. It's designed for a Glock that's carried with a round in the chamber.

"Many units in Israel--where these holsters are made--carry Glocks with a round in the chamber. The Ready and Safe holster is a leather holster with a Kydex insert that gives better retention, and helps prevent anything from catching on the gun. It also has a cutout, where you can reach in and feel the extractor to be sure a round is chambered," said Dylan Saunders, regional manager.

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Comment:The show's fastest-growing segment attracts heavy traffic, unveils extensive range of new products.(SHOT SHOW: 2011 LAW ENFORCEMENT & TACTICAL)
Author:Boyles, Carolee Anita
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:May 1, 2011
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