3 things at SHOT Show range day that made me stop in my tracks
I was expecting to tell you all about the different guns that were showstoppers, but the products that stopped me in my tracks were not guns
I just got back from SHOT Show 2020 Industry Day at the Range. I was expecting to tell you all about the different guns that were showstoppers, but the products that stopped me in my tracks were not guns. When it comes to the Gen-12 Shotgun below, it sounds like the showstopper is the shotgun, but I’m really impressed with the magazine, which can be considered an accessory.
Before I get those, “Why didn’t you…” or “How about the guns you shot?” questions, I did shoot the Ruger 57, the Springfield Armory Hellcat and the Glock 44, all contenders for the Showstopper Award. However, I think you’ll like this list.
One of our first stops was at the Genesis Arms/Franklin Armory range, where Cody Cohen ran us through the Genesis Arms Gen-12 Shotgun. The Gen-12 Shotgun is designed around an AR-10 base, which, to the uninitiated, is an AR-15 built to fire larger cartridges like the .308. It uses a short recoil action to cycle 12 gauge shells in a semi-auto package.
The Gen 12 Shotgun could easily be confused with an AR-10, including the fact that the Gen-12 can mount on an unmodified AR-10 receiver and fire 12 gauge shells. Since it looks and operates like AR platforms, the learning curve of operation for this package is completely flat. Anyone who has been behind the badge for the past generation can operate one. There is something to be said for a shotgun that can mount the full inventory of accessories and a lower that can pull double duty.
I asked if it would handle 3” and 2 ¾” shells. Cody told me, “Basically if it will fit in the magazine, it will fire it.
The upper is a feat of engineering, but the magazine is the key to this gun. You see, although everyone knows the general dimensions of a 12 gauge shell, there really isn’t an industry standard. That is, the diameter of shotgun shells can vary by a couple of millimeters. This doesn’t make a difference in performance, but that variance can determine whether shells in your magazine are going to stay in the magazine when it is shaken.
The Gen 12 Shotgun Magazine is a 5 round box, with squared off sides and feed lips that are flexible tabs. The tabs grip the shells until they are needed. It also has an internal feed ramp and an anti-tilt follower. There is a 5 round mag available now, and a 10 round model going into production soon.
I put a few magazines of 12 gauge down range. I can’t lie to you: The short barrel version is a bruiser on the shoulder. Having said that, it was accurate with slugs, cycled quickly and smoothly, and handled naturally.
Predator Precision Silencers
We headed over to the rifle range to look at some of the offerings from Zenith Firearms, where Roy Couvillion showed me the inside of the suppressor mounted on a couple of the firearms on the range. Roy works with Zenith Firearms, providing Predator Precision Silencers by Acadian Armament, LLC, for some models. Before I stepped up to shoot one of the guns, he told me to notice that his suppressors don’t have the blowback typical of many law enforcement suppressors. That is, there isn’t a bunch of partially burned stuff shooting out of the action into the shooter's face. This is a common thing with most suppressors.
Couvillion pulled a 9mm suppressor from his pocket and began to disassemble it. Rather than having the usual baffling system that bleeds gases incrementally, it had a series of snail-like chambers. This suppressor looked more like a marble maze than an ordinary silencer.
Couvillion explained that he builds application-specific devices: “I handle gases and solids separately. If gases pulled away from the path of the bullet in a conventional silencer, asymmetry takes place.” He said that most suppressors throw the bullet off the path slightly because of the asymmetrical operation. The different chambers of his products prevent turbulent gases from disturbing the path of the bullet.
Couvillion told me, “I am a mechanical engineer by conception.” Translated: He is a born engineer.
Couvillion addressed some of the more common problems that law enforcement has when they use suppressors. First, some products require that the separated parts and the barrel are aligned each time it is remounted. He said that his products don’t require a “fingernail polish mark,” referring to the fact that many users put a dab of fingernail polish on the receiver, and separate parts, to make them align each time. Second, his product can be disassembled hot, using a 10 mm Allen wrench, which is applied at the muzzle. Believe it or not, the part where the bullet comes out is a 10mm wrench socket.
Third, he applied his mechanical engineering skills to make the serialized part of this product a simple cylinder, which is not part of the blast structure of the suppressor. In simpler words, the numbered part is not the part that wears out over a lot of shooting. He makes one of the few suppressors in the industry where shooters can show up with a bunch of spare parts, and replace the parts that wear in the field, never having to “re-tax stamp” the serialized part, which is not subject to wear. (Editor’s note: For a different approach on this concept, Armor Specialties LLC has a suppressor whose parts are also replaceable.)
I put some rounds down range in an MP5 platform. At least once or twice out of a 30 round magazine I pinged steel downrange. Couvillion was correct. The muzzle barely jumped, and burning stuff didn’t blow back into my face. I have shot a few suppressors, and this one is a showstopper.
Alien Gear Rapid Force Holster
Alien Gear has a new duty holster. The Alien Gear Rapid Force duty holster is an injection-molded polymer holster that has level III characteristics, which includes an ejection port lock and a full hood over the back of the gun. It is drawn by manipulating two levers, both of which are pushed down by the thumb when it acquires the master grip. One lever pushes straight down, the other pushes toward the rear of the holster. Both motions are almost naturally accomplished by the thumb when it acquires the master grip. The draw is straight, once the two retention devices are overcome. There is a protrusion on the front of the device that prevents someone from operating the release levers from the front of the gun.
I spent more than a few minutes playing with this holster. The draw is smooth and natural. Nothing rattles. The hood had a safety device that prevented someone from coming up in simply jamming it down, thus overcoming the retention. The thumb protrusions are completely adjustable. The holster comes with thumb extensions so that the individual user can configure it. The front of the holster is configured so the officer can run it with or without an optic. This does not interfere with the operation of the hood. It can be mounted on a quick disconnect platform and adjusted for a low, medium, or high ride. Since the gun is retained by its ejection port, this holster does not care if the officer has a mounted light or not. There is enough room in the holster body to accommodate most mounted lights.
Alien Gear had its prototype holster set up on a duty belt, which I donned and drew a blue gun for a few minutes. Although I wouldn’t put something like this on duty until I had about 500 draws, I was pretty comfortable after presenting the blue gun about 10 times. It is quick, natural and looks like a product that needs to be sworn in.
I’ll be out walking the floors at SHOT Show in just a few short hours. Stay tuned for more showstoppers.