Day 3, while a bit quieter than the first two days of the NRA Annual Meeting, had plenty to offer. Here are a few of the interesting finds.
The Story Behind the Galco VHS Holster and Beretta M9
Part of the fun of wandering the halls of the NRA Annual Meeting is learning interesting back stories. Way back in 2005, troops deploying to overseas combat zones were buying Galco’s VHS (Vertical Holster System) for their issue Beretta M9 pistols. Why the Galco VHS? When zipping around foreign countries in helicopters, handguns must be carried in a muzzle down orientation, which the VHS is designed to do.
In early 2005, Galco was temporally sold out of the holster due to the large number of troops deploying. A customer called in to order one for “civilian” use and was told they were backordered and the reason why. He ordered his holster, then asked if he could pay for an “extra” that Galco would donate to a soldier headed overseas. The light bulb went on and the folks at Galco started the Holsters for Heroes program. Donations flowed in and over $100,000 worth of holsters were given to our men and women in uniform.
Now you know the rest of the story.
Burris XTR II Extreme Tactical Riflescope with FastFire Red Dot
In the midst of the total chaos known as the NRA Annual Meeting, I was fortunate to get a tour of the new Burris offerings from Marketing Director Lori. What jumped out at me was the XTR II. Here’s why.
Here's the new Burris XTR II on a Beretta ARX 100
It’s a dual focal plane tactical scope. Not first focal plane, not second focal plane, but both. With a first focal plane scope, the hash marks indicate consistent trajectory at any magnification zoom level, but the reticle itself shrinks and grows as you zoom in and out. With a second focal plane placement, the reticle itself appears to stay constant size, but the hash marks only indicate proper bullet drop at one magnification level.
The new Burris has a lit horseshoe reticle in the second plane, so it stays the same size for quick short-range shots at any magnification. The ballistic drop compensation pattern is in the first focal plane, so 400, 500, 600 and 700 yard hold points are accurate at any zoom level.
The mounted FastFire Red Dot is useful for quick, shorter range shots. it's also a great way to spot distant targets. Get in the vicinity using the FastFire, then shift your eye to the scope for a magnified view.
If you shoot rifles for most any reason, you need to check out the Bullseye Camera System. The concept is simple, but the execution and design are fantastic. You place the Bullseye camera downrange - anywhere from zero to 1,000 yards away - and it beams back images and/or video of your hits. Back at your shooting bench, or truck or porch, you see what’s going on with the Bullseye app that runs on PC’s, iPads, iPhones and Android devices. The software tracks hits and lets you archive shooting sessions.
The beauty of the Bullseye Camera System is the packaging and organization. The whole kit is stored in a custom tool box. Just open the box, plug the color-coded wires in, aim the laser at your target (to align the camera) and head back to the shooting bench. It's beautifully self-contained. And now, the downrange toolbox configuration is more compact than ever. If you shoot rifles, get one.
New from Advanced Armament is promotion that sticks it right to the federal tax man. To provide more explanation, we regular civilians have to fork over $200 to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for each silencer we want to purchase, even though using a silencer is just plain considerate to the neighbors. AAC’s “Damn the Man” program takes the buyers pain away by rebating each AAC Silencer purchase with $200 of credit with AAC. You’ll need this to buy mounts, muzzle brakes, compensators and all sorts of pistol and rifle accessories. Of course you can take advantage of this program by getting a new AAC SR-7, or any other AAC silencer.
The SR-7 is really designed for the multi-purpose user. While it’s for 7.62 / .308 caliber rifles, it’s shorter than a full-length .308 suppressor to provide versatility. You’ll want this model if you plan to use your silencer with multiple guns. 300 Blackout? Sure. .223 Remington / 5.56mm rifles like the Beretta ARX 100? Sure. 6.8 Remington SPC? Of course!
You also might want to put the SR-7 on the new…
Beretta Tikka T3 CTR Rifle
New for 2014 is the Tikka T3 CTR. Offered in .308 Winchester or .260 Remington, it’s handy tactical model. It’s got a fixed pad for proper cheek weld. While the magazine looks like a 5 round box, it’s really a double stack design, so it holds 10 rounds. The magazine release is just forward of the trigger guard - push down and the box magazine drops out for quick magazine changes. The bolt handle is oversized for quick manipulation with or without gloves and the barrel is threaded and ready for a brake, flash suppressor or silencer. If you’re into barrel geekery, it’s cold hammer forged.