SHOT Show 2017: Gotta-Have Gear!

By Kevin Reese

SportEar Custom 360, by AXIL
SportEar Custom 360, by AXIL
Kevin Reese
Kevin Reese

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- SHOT actually stands for Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade show. Thus, the SHOT Show, much to the surprise of some, is NOT just for firearms and their accessories; in fact, it’s a mosh-posh of all things outdoors.

In the spirit of SHOT’s eclectic array of exhibitors, here are six great gotta-have products from the SHOT Show floor Hell bent on turning up the heat on your future hunts!

SportEar Custom 360, by AXIL

One of many booths I came across at SHOT Show was SportEar, by AXIL. Considering my history, I thought it would be great to learn more about products designed to enrich my outdoor experiences; it was worth the visit. While I was there the SportEar staff conducted a hearing test; I failed miserably. They also took molds of my ears… just in case. I was glad they did. Shortly after SHOT Show, I ordered the Custom Edge 360s and can’t wait to share the results with you.

Custom molded to fit my ear canals and, as a result, ultra-comfortable, AXIL’s SportEar Custom Edge 360 Degree Hearing Enhancement and Protection devices do deliver true 360° sound and even better, those sounds are directional. With previous systems, discerning the direction noises came from was challenging and often let me nearly as surprised as if I had not heard anything; I could hear animals coming… but from which direction?  SportEar finally answers that question.

The SportEar Custom Edge 360 system features 48db volume enhancement, suppression over 85db, 27db noise reduction rating and even customized programming based on your test results. For tinnitus sufferers like me, SportEar’s dynamic masking helps me maintain my sanity. I am now able to wear the same hearing amplification and suppression device whether I’m shooting at the range, bowhunting or just watching television.

SportEar offer a has a selection of great products online but watch for a full review of their custom product soon!

Pulsar Trail Thermal Imaging Riflescope

Pulsar Trail Thermal Imaging Riflescope
Pulsar Trail Thermal Imaging Riflescope

Walking the leading edge of thermal imaging seems like hard work but Pulsar has it down to a science with the new Trail Thermal Imaging Riflescope. Like 1,000-dollar VCRs now cost $20, the cost of consumer thermal imaging also seems to be dropping. Just a couple of years ago, I wrote a feature about affordable thermal imaging; at the time, costs ran about $3,500. Comparable thermals nowadays, from Pulsar and others, now run about $2,000, maybe even a tad less. Of course, if you want the best, it still costs but even then, flagship thermals run about $1,000 less than even last year!

As an example, the high-tech Pulsar Apex XD75, with an MSRP of $6,599.99, detects adult-size heat signatures at up to 1,750 yards and features a OLED display, 38×288 resolution, picture-in-picture, video out and 10 reticles and 3-6 magnification.

In comparison, Pulsar’s flagship Trail XP50 Thermal Imaging Riflescope is expected to have an MSRP of around $5,500 and boasts an adult-size heat detection range of 2,000 yds, 640×480 core, 640×480 AMOLED display, picture-in-picture, 50Hz frame rate, onboard video recording, 13 reticles, 1.6-12.8x variable magnification, wireless remote control, 8-hr. battery pack, Wi-Fi and more. The Wi-Fi can be used to upgrade firmware, transfer data, turn your smartphone or tablet into a remote control and stream to YouTube as well as other online video platforms. Hunting buddies can even watch your Trail’s display on their smartphones and tablets. One thing is for sure, the Trail XP50 caused a ton of buzz on the SHOT Show floor. Pulsar has a great range of thermal products to fit a variety of budgets.

Aguila Ammunition Minishells

Aguila Ammunition Minishells
Aguila Ammunition Minishells

I had heard about Aguila Ammunition’s Minishell ammo but hadn’t given them much thought until SHOT Show’s Industry Day at the Range. Late afternoon found Chris Reed, History Channel’s Top Shot season 2 winner, and me browsing the shotgunning area and watching folks break scores of clays. Walking into Aguila’s shooting area just as a shooter was finishing up turned out to be a godsend. Chris and I took turns dusting clays with Aguila’s Minishells and I became an instant fan; of course, Chris shoots everything like a top shot… Me? Not so much. I broke only half my clays but was truly impressed with the Minishell’s performance.

Aguila Ammunition’s Minishells pack jaw-dropping punch in a compact 1.75-in. shell, with velocities, depending on the type of ammo (7 ½, Buckshot or Slug) of 1,175 up to 1,250 fps. The benefits of the Minishell were immediately apparent. The shooting was quieter, there was less recoil, and I managed to load more shells than ever before as a result of their short profile. That said, their size did not seem to impact my ability to break clays at all, even at longer distances. One Minishell experience is all it took to make me a fan!

As a side note, I have used Aguila’s .223 and 5.56 ammo extensively and have been seriously impressed. Given precision rifles, I have routinely grouped sub-MOA, often ½-MOA using Aguila’s ammunition. Why is that work mentioning? I expect the same quality and performance from Minishells and I suspect Aguila has no problem delivering the goods.

SpyPoint Link-S LTE Trail Camera

SpyPoint Link-S LTE Trail Camera
SpyPoint Link-S LTE Trail Camera

I have used SpyPoint cameras for years as a result of their truly groundbreaking innovations. From Wi-Fi connected black boxes to stealth LEDs and cellular service. SpyPoint works hard to stay out in front of industry trail camera trends. In all honesty, I struggle to come up with negative attributes of SpyPoint’s performance. Not only do the work well, they set the bar high for competitors.

My affinity for SpyPoint cameras began years ago with the Tiny W-2, a compact camera system featuring a black box. The purpose? When the camera captured a photo, a copy was immediately sent via Wi-Fi to the black box hidden nearby – for me, in a tree behind just 10 yards behind my hunting setup where nobody would ever find it. The benefit? If someone took my camera, I still had a photo of the perpetrator.

SpyPoint put an exclamation mark on their ability to lead trail camera innovation with the Link-S LTE! The SpyPoint Link-S LTE Trail Camera features an integrated solar panel for truly unlimited battery life, 12mp still photo resolution, 2-in. display, rapid .07s trigger speed, 42 low-glow LEDs and a 100-ft. flash range. The SpyPoint Link-S LTE is compatible with AT&T and other service providers and includes a pre-activated SIM card. SpyPoint’s Sebastien Gagnon confirmed customers are eligible to receive a free monthly cellular plan with the purchase of a Link-S LTE beginning in April!

Sure-Shot Yentzen One Duck Call

Sure-Shot Yentzen One Duck Call
Sure-Shot Yentzen One Duck Call

Years ago, as I planned for my first duck hunt with a guy who later would become No. 1 duck hunting buddy, he gave me three pieces of homework to prep for our first outing – make sure I had a shotgun (at that time a Mossberg Ulti-Mag Pump Action, borrow some chest waders and buy a duck call… but not just any duck call; he was quite specific. “You need a Sure-Shot Mallard 550 Duck Call.”

Many years have passed but I still have that Sure-Shot duck call. While that little call means a lot to me for some odd reason, Sure-Shot certainly does craft better calls; the Yentzen line comes to mind. While I still love the Yentzen Classic, the Yentzen One caught my attention immediately as I walked up to the Sure-Shot booth. I appreciated the stylistic nod to the Yentzen One but this “One” is so much more!

The double-reed Yentzen One boasts a proprietary CNC-turned barrel constructed of the strongest, reportedly loudest material in the duck marsh. The Yentzen One also features a SCREW-LOCK design and customizable Cerakote-finish band. This Sure-Shot Yentzen is ONE perfectly suited to take up space on my lanyard!

Flextone Thunder Chick and Thunder Creeper Turkey Decoys

Flextone Thunder Chick and Thunder Creeper Turkey Decoys
Flextone Thunder Chick and Thunder Creeper Turkey Decoys

With turkey season fast approaching, I spent a good amount of time on the show floor chasing after decoys, calls, ground blinds and other gear designed to give me the upper hand on America’s almost-national bird. Let’s be honest, equipment does count in the cat-and-mouse game we play in the turkey woods, especially given the notion a turkey can see you blink at 50 yards. In their world of eagle-eye color vision, blending in is critical and so is as much of a degree of authenticity as we can muster.

In terms of authenticity and perfect for cost-conscious turkey hunting addicts like me, Flextone’s 2017 turkey decoys deserve serious consideration. The company showed off their decoy line at the shot Show and I was most impressed with both the Thunder Chick hen and Thunder Creeper tom.

Both models are as realistic as any I have ever used. The Thunder Chick has a dominant posture designed to make her stand out but I would not hesitate to set her down in the grass to play a submissive role with a jake or young tom easing up behind her to really upset that boss tom you’re after.

The Thunder Chick features durable, molded hard-rubber construction and a richly detailed feathering and paint scheme. The most notable feature of the Thunder Creeper Jake Decoy is its size. While height and width are standard, the body length is essentially cut in half for a more compact easy-to-carry design. Like the Thunder Chick, the Thunder Creeper, a jake decoy, is constructed of heavy-duty molded rubber with realistic coloring life-like detail. The Thunder Creeper includes short beard and synthetic fabric fan; however, the fan can easily be replaced with an authentic one for even better realism. Both decoys include built-in carbon two-piece ground stakes designed to fold into the decoy body so you never have to worry about losing them.

About Kevin Reese:

Kevin is an award-winning outdoor writer, photographer, videographer, speaker, host of Global Outfitters TV Show’s GO Tips and a Marine Corps veteran. He owns and administers www.mainbeammedia.com and Main Beam Blog at blog.mainbeammedia.com. The Main Beam Blog offers great articles, press releases, outdoor industry news and reviews.

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