We burned good boot leather running down the standout rimfire and centerfire firearms at this year’s SHOT show. Here are the exciting new entries you’ll want to check out…
by Larry Case
The SHOT Show (Shooting, Hunting Outdoor Trade Show) is the greatest shindig on the planet for commercial guns, ammo, and any hunting gear that you can possibly think of. This year marked the 42nd anniversary of this industry gathering, the first one being in St. Louis in 1979.
SHOT attracts more than 60,000 professionals from the shooting, hunting, outdoors, and law enforcement industries and more than 2,000 members of the outdoor media. Attendees from all states and over 110 countries visited around 2,400 exhibitors spread out over 16 acres or so of the Sands Expo and Convention Center. That came to over twelve miles worth of aisles, and I think your humble outdoor scribe walked all of them every day in search of the most interesting new firearms for 2020. Here’s what we came up with…
Taurus 856 Defender Revolver
Based on the original Taurus 856, the Defender 856 was developed for those who favor the easy carry, low profile, and comfort of a compact revolver. Unlike most compact revolvers, the Defender 856 features a factory-installed front sight post with an integrated tritium vial, allowing for quick sight picture acquisition in the lowest light conditions. To ensure fast sight alignment in elevated ambient light conditions, the front sight post face surrounding the tritium element is bright orange. Chambered for .38 Special +P ammo, the Defender 856 has a six-round capacity and DA/SA action with a transfer bar safety. The Defender 856 debuts in four standard models—all feature an ergonomic Hogue rubber grip for maximum recoil absorption and a no-slip grip. The 856 has a stainless-steel frame with matte finish, ultralight aluminum alloy frame with matte finish, stainless steel frame with black Tenifer finish, and an aluminum alloy frame with hard coat black anodized finish. Taurus also offers the Defender 856 in two upgrade versions featuring special grips and finish treatments. The Two-Tone model has a stainless-steel matte finish frame and barrel with a black cylinder. This color combination pairs well with an aggressively textured VZ grip in matching gray and black. Shooters who appreciate solid hardwood grips can opt for the Tungsten Cerakote model Defender 856 (frame, barrel, and cylinder) with a stylish Altamont walnut grip. Price is $429-$477, depending on model.
Rock River Arms BT 9X19mm AR Pistol
Rock River Arms expands their series of semi-autos chambered in 9x19mm with the new BT92152. Designed to work with GLOCK® style magazines for optimal cross-compatibility with GLOCK back-up carry pistols, the 4.5-inch BT-9 Pistol features an SBA3 Arm Brace. The 4.5-inch BT-9 is based on Rock River Arms’ billet aluminum lower receiver with a GLOCK magazine-compatible flared magazine well. Integral to the lower receiver is a unique winter-style trigger guard that offers comfortable room for the trigger finger when wearing tactical or cold-weather gloves. The pistol includes RRA’s latest extruded aluminum upper receiver and comes standard with RRA’s 4.25-inch pistol length lightweight free-float M-LOK-compatible handguard. $1,350.00.
REMINGTON 870 .410 Turkey TSS
Remington brought out a discontinued standard 870 in .410 last year, catering to the demand for a .410 shotgun given the current TSS craze. This year, we have an 870 in .410 tricked out as a true turkey gun. Dressed in Realtree Timber Camo, this little shotgun features a TRUGLO Picatinny-style optic rail with a ghost ring-style rear sight, high visibility front sight, and a 25-inch barrel. The screw-in extended choke tube is optimized for TSS shot and has RemChoke threads for those who want to go aftermarket for another choke. This is 870 ruggedness and reliability in a .410 turkey gun. $699.00.
Winchester Wildcat .22 Rifle
Winchester brought us a new concept in a .22 rifle with the Wildcat. This is a striker-fired .22. The lower receiver assembly of the Wildcat is easily removed from the upper assembly by pushing a single button located at the rear of the upper assembly. No tools are required. The manual safety button is easily reversible for both right- and left-handed shooters. The slide lock button on the front of the trigger guard allows you to manually lock the action open for added safety during storage or transportation. The Wildcat features a fully adjustable rear ghost ring sight, a ramped front sight, and a precision button chromoly steel rifled barrel. Maybe best of all, the Wildcat is compatible with all the Ruger 10/22 style magazines, and they are legion. It’s a lot of .22 rifle for $249.99.
Marlin 1895 Lever Action .410 Shotgun
To those who say “Why?” to a .410 lever gun, I say, “Why not?” This shotgun is built on the same platform as the tried and true Marlin 1895 rifles.
I saw this shotgun carried over much of the LBL land in Kentucky on a squirrel hunt in less than perfect conditions and never witnessed a malfunction. The 1895 .410 has a 2 ½-inch chamber and is offered in two versions—one with a fixed cylinder bore choke and one with screw-in chokes: full, light modified, and Improved Cylinder. The shotgun has a four-round capacity, American black walnut stock and forend, polished blue receiver and barrel, and a semi-buckhorn adjustable rear sight. MSRP is $847.00 for the fixed choke model, $934.00 with the screw-in chokes.
Mossberg 940 JM Pro Shotgun
In truth, I never thought there was anything wrong with the Mossberg 930 Pro. This included a trip to Gunsite Academy in Arizona, where I saw hundreds of rounds go through the 930 with no recollection of any hiccups. But time marches on. Mossberg listened to shotgunners and worked with world-class shooters Jerry and Lena Miculek to extensively overhaul the 930 and bring us the 940 JM Pro. The changes include a new gas system on the 940 that will run up to 1,500 rounds before cleaning and will reliably cycle any type of quality factory-made 2 ¾- or 3-inch ammunition. A stepped and vented-spacer component has also been incorporated that keeps the gas system running fast by shedding any moisture or carbon build-up every time it cycles. While many changes on the 940 could be noted here, what’s most important is that Mossberg engineers worked to get a shotgun platform that would give shooters an accurate point of impact/point of aim. I’m glad that a manufacturer is addressing this. Other features include an enlarged loading port to negate pinch points, a HIVIZ TriComp sight system, and a set of Briley extended chokes. The receiver is anodized for durability and the controls (charging handle and bolt release button) are oversized. Internal components are nickel boron-coated, and the 940 JM Pro has a 9+1 magazine capacity. $1015.00.
Rossi R92 Triple Black Carbine
This new rifle from Rossi may be an ideal truck or saddle rifle as the 16-inch barrel R92 Triple Black carbine is designed to resist the worst of elements. The stock and forend are wood painted with a durable all-weather black-on-black paint. All metal parts are coated with black Cerakote finish for added durability. The R92 Triple Black comes with an aluminum angled Picatinny base to accommodate a red dot optic or scope and includes an adjustable rear peep sight for those who favor open-sight shooting. The loop lever is sized for use with gloves and is wrapped with black leather for added comfort and style. The R92 Triple Black comes from the factory with a threaded barrel and thread protector, giving the shooter the option of using a suppressor or muzzle brake. It is offered in .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum chambering with an 8-round capacity. The .357 model weighs 6.1 pounds, the .44 Magnum 5.7 pounds. $857.00.
Mossberg made its first pistol in a hundred years when they brought out the subcompact MC1 9mm. It’s a nice little pocket carry pistol that shoots great (see our earlier review). It was only natural for Mossberg to follow up with a slightly larger version—a compact, great for concealed carry pistol with more firepower in 9mm. The MC2c grip was designed to be extremely narrow for its capacity, engineered using slim profile double-stack magazines, and retains the superior ergonomics of the pistol’s grip and palm swell. When you pick up this pistol and assume your grip, you may not believe that the flush fit magazine holds 13 rounds and the extended mag holds 15. The double-stack magazines have high-visibility followers, easy-to-remove floorplates, and are made of coated steel that offers low friction and superior wear resistance. It has the same easy takedown and disassembly as the MC1 with no trigger pull. Integrated blade trigger, stainless steel receiver, crossbolt safety is optional, weighs 22 oz. loaded. Cost is $490 to $595.00 depending on if you get the Tritium sights.
Marlin Dark Series
Marlin expanded its Dark Series line of lever actions this year by adding the .30/30 caliber in the 336 Dark model and the .45/70 in the 1895. The Dark Series rifles feature custom-grade enhancements that include a stealthy-tough black matte parkerized finish, black-webbed hardwood stock, threaded barrel, big-loop lever, and XS Lever Rail with ghost ring peep sight that also accommodates a wide variety of optics. The Dark Series is available in Model 336, Model 444, Model 1894, and Model 1895. Paracord sling and Big Loop lever Paracord wrap included. $949.00.
Stoeger M3500 Predator/Turkey Special
Stoeger expands the popular M3500 line with the versatile M3500 Predator/Turkey Special shotgun. The Predator/Turkey Special features a SteadyGrip pistol grip buttstock for a rock-solid grip while the ported barrel reduces muzzle rise and recoil, allowing shooters to get back on target quicker. Chambered to take shells from 2-3/4 up to 3.5-inch magnum loads without adjustment, the shotgun’s receiver is drilled and tapped to mount the included Weaver 93 base. A fiber-optic front sight sits atop the 24-inch barrel. Fully camoed in Mossy Oak Overwatch, the M3500 Predator/Turkey Special also comes with two extended Mojo hunting chokes to deliver consistent and deadly patterns. An included paracord sling offers a convenient carry option while in the field. $929.00.
Benelli 828U 20 Gauge
Benelli’s acclaimed 828U is now available in a 20-gauge configuration. The 20-gauge version has been scaled around the smaller shotshell. Functionality and safety of the 828U is achieved with an auto-safety, easy-operating opening lever, and steel lock-plate opening system. The shotgun’s impulse-driven ejection keeps unfired shells handy. All 828U shotguns are equipped with Crio barrels and Crio chokes, a weight-reducing carbon-fiber rib, and a high-grade alloy receiver complimented by AA-Grade satin walnut on the stock and forend. Durable steel-on-steel hinges and easy-to-remove trigger system make for easy cleanup. The new 20-gauge version is available with 26- and 28-inch barrels, and weight is 6 pounds. $3,199.00.
Rossi Tuffy Turkey .410 Shotgun
Rossi is expanding its line of single-shot, break-action shotguns with the introduction of the new Tuffy Turkey .410. At 26 inches, it is the longest barrel among the Tuffy .410-gauge shotguns. This cylinder-bore, 3-inch chamber shotgun includes an “extra full” choke tube installed on the barrel to provide increased pellet density in this .410 platform. This combination can be matched with turkey .410 specific loads such as the Federal TSS and brings you a ready, out-of-the-box turkey hunting platform. The gun also comes with one “modified” choke in the box, allowing it to be used for other tasks and not just during turkey season. The unique stock includes a thumbhole-style pistol grip and a recess that contains a built-in, five-cartridge shell holder for fast reloading. A thick rubber butt pad assists in recoil reduction. The new Tuffy buttstock comes with a removable extended piece, allowing it to be used as either an adult or youth buttstock. Up front, the forend is contoured and textured, and includes recessed finger grooving for an optimal grip even when wearing gloves. Although the Tuffy Turkey comes with a front bead sight, an aluminum Picatinny rail is mounted to the receiver to accept a red dot optic. Additional features include a thumb-break action, spurred hammer, and a cross-bolt safety system. The polymer furniture is Olive Drab with matte black barrel and receiver finish. Sling studs come pre-installed at the factory. This is a lot of single-barrel shotgun for a kid’s first shotgun and to keep you in the .410 TSS craze for $210.00.
Uberti USA Bird’s Head Revolver
Maybe like me, you appreciate the idea of a single-action revolver for concealed carry. The bird’s head grip was originally designed for Colt Derringers in the 1850s. In 1877, Colt incorporated the distinctive and comfortable grip style into full-frame revolvers called Bird’s Head Colts. The bird’s head grip design has been incorporated into Uberti’s Cattleman series of 1873 Single Action Army revolvers in both standard and Stallion (smaller frame) designs. They are available in various barrel lengths and calibers .45 Colt, .357 Magnum, and .38 Special. These revolvers feature color case-hardened frames, steel back straps, and trigger guards. $589.00.