Today was the opening day of SHOT Show. Very excited to see what's new, who's new, and what exciting products are being shown for the first time. As we have in the past we are looking to expand our offerings this year, if there's something great to add. Looking forward to what this week will bring.
2018 was a very interesting year for us. We added Athlon,to the stable of brands that we carry. We expanded greatly with Hawke, Meopta, Steiner and Schmidt & Bender bringing you special deals and hard to find product.
My first meeting this year was with Athlon Optics. We first started carryingAthlon at the end of 2017 and they have been one of the fastest growing brands out there. Big in the Tactical Scope arena. As I reported last year, they offer a line of both Hunting and Tactical Riflescopes, Binoculars, Red-Dots and Spotting Scopes. The interesting thing about Athlon is that they have many parallel products to other very popular brands and manage to offer their items for 20-40% lower priced than the competition without cutting corners. Great quality, great customer service, great variety of offerings and lower prices. All in all impressive.
They had some great new products to unveil.
A Cronus 10x50 Laser Rangefinder Binocular. Yes, 10x50, 2000 yard unit for $1,299.99. These actually showed up at the store the day before I headed off to SHOT. I didn't have a chance to give a good look as I was pressed for time, however, after checking them out here I feel confident in recommending them. Very bright and the buttons are perfectly placed for ease of operation.
Cronus 15x56 Binocular priced at only $699.99. No these are not Swarovski SLC's, however, there's NOTHING in a 15x56 available near this price that's as nice as these binoculars. They come with both a hard travel case as well as a soft case, and include the tripod adapter. Nice touch :)
Midas 10x25 Compact Binocular which is quite a nice little pocket/glove compartment bino for only $169.99. These arrived into us a couple of weeks ago and we passed them around the store and all the guys were pretty impressed with them.
They added to the Cronus BTR 4.5-29×56 APRS1 FFP IR MIL their floating dot reticle which has been available and become quite popular in the Ares ETR. These too have started to arrive and we have been shipping them as quickly as we can get them in.
Midas BTR Gen 2 Riflescopes in 1-6x24 and 4.5-27x50. These have nicer Turrets than the original Midas BTR's.
We discussed accessories and Athlon will be releasing rings and Cantilever mounts later this year.
Stop #2 of the morning was with Steiner. Last year at SHOT I had a great meeting with Steve, my Steiner point person and we worked on a program to expand our business working together. This worked out wonderfully. Well, as the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished (speaking selfishly). Steve was promoted to VP of Operations for Steiner/Burris and we no longer work together. Today I met Derick, for the 1st time. We started working together back in November and I was glad to finally be meeting him and putting a face to the voice and many e-mails.
Steiner announced a host of new products for 2019:
Steiner Military series scopes: the M7Xi and M8Xi, and the amazing M7Xi IFS. "The IFS is the Intelligent Firing Solution that pairs the scope with a built-in ballistic calculator and customizable display, all connected via smartphone app. Transfer data like temperature, air pressure, inclination, wind drift and more directly to the scope eyepiece. The M7Xi is also available without the IFS option. The 7x zoom gives the operator more flexibility and higher resolution at all distances. The scope builds and improves on the incredibly solid tradition of the M5Xi military scopes that are now in service by military units and tactical competitors worldwide. Available soon with three reticle choices, including the MSR2." These scopes have solid turrets, great glass, smooth focus and zoom. Priced very fairly. I think they have a winner.
IFS looks like early Summer delivery
7xi looks like possibly May delivery
8xi might or might not be this year
"The ultimate CQB sight - lightweight, compact and simple to use. The reticle has three distinct modes, making it extremely effective at extremely close ranges out to significant distances. Perfect for tactical operations or home defense".
"The new Predator AF binoculars come in two sizes (10x42 and 8x30), and there are two main things to point out: the porro prism design allows the binos to remain constantly in focus at any distance over 20 yards. No fumbling with a focus wheel while tracking fast moving game. And they come with Steiner's proprietary CAT™ lenses - it's a special coating that makes game pop from the background. Nothing unseen, nothing escapes". BluHorizons
"These binoculars, 8x22 and 10x26, have a neat trick that makes them perfect for travel: they automatically adjust to light conditions, giving maximum clarity in bright conditions. No shimmer or glare from water, sand, snow or sky. No squinting, no guessing or eye strain. Just a perfect image. The two compact sizes makes them easy to pack, and they have our Heritage lifetime warranty". We got these into the store a few weeks ago and they are very impressive compacts.
Next stop Meopta and my good buddy Randy. Randy took over Meopta Sport Optics right before SHOT last year and to say I thought this was awesome is an understatement. You see Randy had been with Nikon for a couple of decades. We always wanted to work together, however, Nikon has a corporate policy that they will not sell "blood sport gear" to Nikon photo dealers so we could not buy riflescopes from Nikon. Now that Randy moved to Meopta we got down to business. Randy revamped the pricing structure and we had our best year ever with Meopta. As I am sure you've seen we have been offering some exceptional opportunities on their Riflescopes and Binoculars.
They announced the Optika HD binocular line. Available in 8x42 HD and 10x42 HD, "these lightweight, rugged, magnesium-alloy binoculars are encased in a newly designed shock-proof, rubber-armored exterior for a modern look and feel. The advanced HD lenses, combined with phase-correction and dielectric coatings, deliver incredible brightness, superior color fidelity, edge-to-edge sharpness and increased contrast, allowing hunters to see better in low light. The twist-up eyecups on the Optika HD binoculars are metal with a soft rubber exterior, making them extremely durable and comfortable while eliminating the risk of breakage in the field. Like all Meopta binoculars, the Optika HD series is nitrogen purged and fully sealed for fogproof and waterproof performance in the most demanding conditions. The Meopta Optika HD binoculars offer hunters, shooters, and outdoor enthusiasts a high-performance, rugged, European binocular at an exceptional price point," For only $299.99 for the 10x42 and $289.99 for the 8x42's these will be a go to glass for many folks. I was very impressed. Looking like a May delivery.
Optika6 line of premium riflescopes. "This newest Meopta riflescope series features a 30mm tube, 6x zoom, zero-reset turrets and advanced MeoBright lens coating that delivers edge-to-edge clarity and exceptionally bright, sharp images.
The Optika6 Shooting series is available with numerous first focal plane reticle options, including new DichroTech reticles, which feature battery-free illumination in any light conditions.
The Shooting series is available in the following models: 1-6x24, 3-18x50, 3-18x56, 4.5-27x50. There is also a 34mm 5-30x56 model with ED glass to eliminate chromatic aberration at high magnification. All Optika6 Shooting series riflescopes feature rubber-armored target turrets for a non-slip grip. The Optika6 Hunting series is available with numerous reticle options in the second focal plane, including new DichroTech reticles, in the following models: 1-6x24, 2.5-15x44, 3-18x50, 3-18x56 and 4.5-27x50. The Optika6 Hunting scopes with capped turrets feature rubber-armored metal caps for the perfect combination of durability and functionality".
The Optika6 Shooting and Hunting scopes also come with illuminated reticle options and windage and elevation adjustments in either Mil or MOA. All Meopta Optika6 riflescopes are made of aircraft-grade aluminum alloy and feature:
- One-piece tube design
- Zero-Reset setting for quick return to zero
- Zoom ring with a multi-position throw lever
- Rear-facing zoom display for easy viewing of power setting from behind the scope
- Locking turrets
These scopes are well made, come with flip caps and a throw lever and priced between $499.99 - $899.99. These will be taking sales away from MANY other companies I am sure. Also looking at a May delivery date Meopta also announced a straight Meopro HD 80 Spotting scope, coming in April.
From Meopta I headed on over to Hawke. Hawke in an English company very big in the AirGun world as all their riflescopes are AirGun certified. They have made great strides the past few years and have some GREAT offerings priced below what you'd expect. We picked up a couple of fantastic deals:
Panorama 5-15x50 AO 10x 1/2 MIL DOT #15140 for only $229.99 & Panorama 6-18x50 AO 10x ½ MIL DOT #15150 also for only $229.99 We have sold so many Hawke FFP scopes in the last few months, due to the quality and reasonable price, that I think if you start asking around you'll know someone using and loving Hawke.
Next up, which for the 1st time in all my years of going to SHOT, I was excited to go to Bushnell. Reason being is we have had the same, dead from the toes up, sales rep. for a couple of decades and in 2018 I started working with the head of sales and now maybe we will be able to get in on some of the deals and opportunities that my old rep could never seem to offer. Unfortunately, Marty did not make it to SHOT so some of the wind came out of my sails. I met with Tom and I think we had a good meeting. He needs to meet with some folks at Bushnell and get back with me to work out a program. More as it develops.
Down stairs to see Tim over at Carson. We get binocular tripod adapters and Universal digiscope adapters from them. I found a very cool new item that I think is a great addition to what we carry, their MonoPix MP-842IS
This is an 8x42 Monocular and Smartphone Adapter bundle. The monocular is 8x42mm with fully coated lenses. The included smartphone adapter fits most smartphones, including dual-camera phones. Simply attach the monocular to the smart phone adapter and your smartphone. There are no additional parts needed. Take pictures and videos and use as a great Monocular.
I've talked with Thomas at Vanguard a couple of times but never really gotten Vanguard fever. I have read some very positive reviews on some of the birding sites about their binoculars and spotting scopes so I made sure to meet with them. Their Riflescopes look good. Nothing really original, however, our discussion revealed them claiming superior quality through and through to the other mfg's similar products and a slightly lower price. I checked out a 15-45x60 spotting scope that is only $249.99 that looked surprisingly sharp and bright. Their Tripods are quite nice offering some high quality heads and priced extremely competitively.
Last stop today was Swarovski. Great friends over here so I was excited to see them. I gave a heads up on their new products in my Off To Shot post last week....
CL Companion NOMAD 8x30 (leather armoring and bag in wooden box)
CL Companion NOMAD 10x30 (leather armoring and bag in wooden box)
ATX Interior Spotting Scope (includes special tripod head and tripod)
CCT Compact Carbon Tripod - legs only
PCT Professional Carbon Tripod - legs only
CTH Compact Tripod Head
PTH Professional Tripod Head
CCT Compact Carbon Tripod and CTH Compact Tripod Head
PCT Professional Carbon Tripod with PTH Professional Tripod Head
Tripod Plate for PTH
DS 5-25x52 - 4A-I Digital Riflescope
Z5 2.4-12x50 - PLEX
Z5 2.4-12x50 - BRH
Z5 2.4-12x50 - BT-PLEX
Z5 2.4-12x50 - BT-4W
The new Z5's are quite nice and priced well, starting at $1,099.00. IMO a 2.4-12x50 is a perfect hunting scope for the majority of folks. They've actually already started shipping these and we've sold a few. Great scope. Their tripods have always been quite popular and these I am sure will be as well. Extremely well made and perfect for field work.
The DS 5-25x52-4A-I Digital Riflescope is a marvel of engineering for a very niche market. With a 40mm tube and a price of $4,499.00 it obviously is not for everyone. It is as state of the art as any other riflescope in this room, and that's saying something as EVERYTHING is in this room. If you're a high tech/gadget/latest and greatest kinda shooter then this is for you for sure. "This product will highlight the optical features of a conventional rifle scope and combine the technology of digital targeting to form an impressive, complete device.
The new dS shows not only the correct aiming point, but also the key ballistic data in the head-up display without any distraction and in real time. The key benefit for hunters is that the correct aiming point will be displayed automatically in the rifle scope. With the press of a button, the dS measures the exact distance to the target, having factored in the magnification setting, air pressure, temperature, and angle. This takes into account the personal ballistic data for your firearm/ammunition combination. The windage mark intervals are calculated based on the distance measured, the wind speeds set, and the ballistic data.
The display shows the distance information, bullet energy, and other features in a high-resolution head-up display that clearly provides you with all the hunting data that can contribute to a successful hunt. The scope requires networking with a smartphone. Exchanging data is simple and straightforward via the Bluetooth® interface. The personal data supplied when sighting in the target are input directly into the app and transmitted immediately".
Remembering from years past how great it felt on my dried out throat I stopped on the way back to my room for some ice cream. I switched things up this year and went to the Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shop. Got a milk shake, 2 parts Cookies and Cream and 1 part Chocolate. Great choice.
OK, Day 1 done. Tomorrow is another day :)