Monday, June 15, 2015

Events: SSAA SHOT show 2015

I attended the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) Shooting Hunting Outdoor Trade (SHOT) show in Melbourne over the weekend of the 23-24th of May.

It's a big trade show that cycles around Australia, and is in Melbourne every two years. I went two years ago, and reported on it here.  It seems to be only a small shade on the big Las Vegas events put on in the US especially when you consider the BreachBangClear coverage.

That said, I had a good time, and got to see a lot of cool stuff.

I will just give you a few lines here and there to go with the pictures, and the like, as there was a lot to see at the hundred or so stalls, with everything from taxidermy to targets, bow-hunting to rifles and scopes.

The focus was almost entirely sporting shooting and hunting, as there isn't a big tactical and personal defense market in Australia.

 The Beretta stall had this display of pistols, with a variety of their pistols from the M92 range, as well as some old cap-and-ball style too. It was really nice to see the old along side the new.

This big bad rifle from SAKO (in 308WIN or 338LM) caught my eye. I've always been one to lean towards "bigger is better" when it comes to my arm-chair firearms assessment.

Weighing in at over 6kg, (13.2lbs) this was a big piece.

There were a variety of different gun-dealers, (go figure) and Gun Emporium was one of the big ones. All manner of hunting and target rifles, and kit. 

Here's a very cool little gun that I saw, a folding skeletonised folding Rimfire rifle, in 22LR or 22WMR, the Little Badger. 

This folds up into  a small package and comes with its own nylon carry-bag. Perfect for a pack in the wilds, or if you're gong to be salvaging in a wasteland.

Blaser had a impressive lineup too, some very well made pieces on display.

LEGear had a stall again, filled out with all the 5.11 GEar I've come to expect. No new gear that I noticed, but their heavy winter coats look good.
I met up with some of my mates from Q-Squadron ZERT .

I hadn't ever met these guys in person before, but it was a great chance to shake hands and out faces to names. ZERT on!

 I had a good drool over the Accuracy International rack. Some very fine looking pieces of nail drivers there.

I especially admired the thumbhole grips, which were a modular design accessory for these pieces. Again, offered in the big bore 308WIN or 338LM.

As well as all the rifle sellers, there were numerous hunting and trecking suppliers, as well as archery and bowhunting suppliers to browse.
There was no shortage of things for sporting shooters and hunters to peruse, but it was all very light on tactical or survival gear.
I did get to play around on the ATV's on display, thanks to Polaris, and if I had significant disposable income (or some actual practical need) I'd be well tempted. They offered singles, doubles and even quad-capacity vehicles, for all your dune-jumping and mud-bashing needs ...

One of the most tempting items I saw for sale were the new boots in the MUCK boot company range.

Waterproof, ruggedised and comfortable, they have three new boots, and well worth looking at if you find yourself often in wet, cold or sloppy conditions.

I was delighted to see Platatac having a stall, and got to catch up wit hthe guys, who showed off the HHA ASOT-01 again, but also had on display their just-about-to-be-released stretcher pack.

This innocuous sustainment and medic's pack comes fitted with a variety of external and internal loop-field and PALS/MOLLE attachment options.

The magic is in the pull-away top and bottom panels which deploy a last-ditch stretcher for rapid CASEVAC. I saw these in the factory months aga, and they're getting ready for retail sale. Stay tuned!

I also really liked the looks of the Warwick Firearms AR-looking straight-pull bolt actions, an Australian company.
These are offered in .223 and .300 BLK chambers, with three barrel lengths and two different upper lengths. They build these to spec, so if you're in the market for a very professional looking piece capable of being fitted out with all the bells and whistles, you might want to give them a look.

Always a sucker for big-bore, I spotted a Barrett M98b in .338 Lapua in the Clatton Firearms display.

Such a size-queen ...

having not brought myself to capture any of the Barbi-Pink camouflage on display "for the ladies" and enplaned to the horrified, practical and ever fashion conscious Omega why Blaze Orange can be a legitimate stalking colour-scheme, we agreed that we'd both prefer Real-Tree or one of the more widely accepted military patterns, she was delighted to come across this dapper sporting shooters outfit at the Beretta stall.

Not quite my thing, but, she's someone I'm willing to make concessions for, there weren't many other partners in attendance at the SHOT show, and perhaps sporting shooting and hunting is mostly a boys-own club, but I'll take capable and engaged family in a survival situation any day!

I enjoyed the SSAA SHOT expo this year, and made some good contacts, which will hopefully be fruitful and informative in the weeks to come. Stay tuned!

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