...is it Christmas yet? Got back in the country, took a deep breath and went to Tulsa to film SHOT SHOW TV...and yes, I saw some cool stuff, including a new product from Caldwell that you ARE going to buy! Trust me on this, and it's not going to break the bank. In fact, MarshaI and I have asked our friends at Battenfeld for several of them to give away on DRTV. It's not going to break the bank, either.
The new Daniel Defense rifle teased on their Facebook page (and here at Jerking the Trigger) is indeed sweet. Also, this is not new news, but with the superhot AR bubble now rapidly cooling, we can expect to see the superb integrally suppressed .300 Blackout, the DDM4ISR (Integrally Suppressed Rifle) in the wild, so to speak. This is a superb rifle...I've shot it at SHOT and at Daniel, and I will pay the painful MSRP and long wait to have one of my own!
I do think SHOT is going to be another evolutionary, as opposed to revolutionary, year in new products...especially in the AR arena. Keep in mind that the market has been so crazy for so many months that it was all the manufacturers could do to meet orders on existing lines...adding new products simply didn't make sense. The majority of the new products I've seen are extensions of existing lines, which makes sense. In handguns, we'll see increased options for the CCW carrier. I would say that the mini-9mm has superseded the .380 as the carry platform of choice, at least in terms of current sales. On the AR side, 2014 may well be the year of the 7.62...obviously, a lot of players are already in the niche, but I expect to see the larger caliber guns in as many "flavors" as their smaller siblings.
I wouldn't be willing to say it's a full-blown trend, but I think the steady uptick in hunting numbers, especially among returning veterans, bodes well for the 7.62 AR-10 platform guns for hunting. I believe many states still have their prohibition of using .22 calibers for larger game,including whitetail deer. Few of the regular deer hunters I know would consider the .223 as an optimal cartridge for anything large. Obvious, the 6.8 and the .300 Blackout bring the AR-15 platform into the hunting fields for larger game. But the .308 is probably one of the most popular hunting cartridges in the U.S. (since it pretty much duplicates the ballistics of the old and venerate 30-06 in a short-action package). There's so many different 7.62/.308 loads you can actually find some of them on the shelf! LOL! You can get the superb Hornady Superformance 165-gr, which is a laser beam in my bolt guns, with a GMX bullet, which compares favorable with the .300 Win Mag 165-gr Superformance International I used in Africa.
BTW, Hornady is a sponsor of RAPID FIRE...so sue me. I would like to note that no less than my friend Kyle Lamb speaks glowingly of the Hornady 165-gr GMX in Guns and Ammo. In competition with the 7.62 Colt 901 I've shot the not-a-sponsor 168-gr Federal Sierra Match King Gold, which is like throwing dollar bills out of a car window. The Ruger shoots great with the Federal stuff (I've yet to find a 7.62/.308 that doesn't shoot great with it), but my goal is to use 7.62 ball on the shots that aren't in other counties and save the pricey match ammo for longer ranges.
In the AR-15 platform, I think we'll be seeing 5.56 ARs losing weight, a continuation of a trend that started last year. Why carry the weight of a quad rail, a coffeemaker, a genuine fake grenade launcher and a tactical swizzle stick if you don't need it (although if you think about it, a swizzle stick that mounts on a standard Picatinny rail could be a real lifesaver out in the bush). You all know how happy I've been with the DoubleStar C3, which is the lightest AR out there. DoubleStar is getting serious about their training offerings, and I'd like to take one of their carbine classes with the C3. Hopefully, after the Cosmic Powers That Be add an 8th day to the week!