The 40th annual Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show was held at the Sands Expo Center inside the Venetian resort in Las Vegas this past January 2018. The massive event was attended by over 60,000 industry professionals and two of your RevolverGuy cohorts. Mike Wood certainly looked professional, especially at the Kimber shooting range stall as he took notes from Kimber’s engineers. This was my seventh SHOT Show, so at least I was able to keep the huge grin off my face…most of the time. Let’s make it at least 60,002 professionals.
Editor’s Note: Mike and Steve traveled to Las Vegas and attended SHOT Show 2018 on their own dime(s). I know they both had a heck of a lot of fun, but they also worked their butts off and got us some awesome contacts that will be putting revolvers in our hands and reviews on these pages. Please let them know how much you appreciate their willingness to spend their own cash, take photos, and pass out cards, and special thanks to Steve for writing up this awesome article. I know I appreciate it! ~Justin
The SHOT Show starts on Tuesday and runs through Friday. However, the Monday preceding the show is the Industry Day at the Range, hosted at the Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club. It’s an impressive range with too many bays to count, each with a firearms manufacturer gladly letting media and licensed FFL holders shoot the newest guns. Free ammo and we don’t even have to clean the guns. The ranges start at 7 yards and continue all the way out to more than 1200 yards in the gorgeous tan desert backed by magnificent mountains.
Mike and I enjoyed shooting new revolvers at the 100-yard steel targets instead of the up close 7-yard paper targets. We cheated a bit, spotting for each other to see where the sand kicked up and then using a bit of Kentucky windage to adjust our holds. On the show floor, we tried to ignore the new slab sided semi-auto pistols and focus just on handguns with cylinders. We found some neat new guns and revolver accessories. Here’s the report:
The Altamont Company in Illinois has been making custom grips since the early 1980s when I helped my father and grandfather sell them at local gun shows (full disclosure, I love their products!). I always enjoy stopping at their booth to see what they have new. Their wood handles for the new Colt Cobra feature an actual Cobra snake in the grip along with the Colt and NRA logos.
They also showcased a new Roper style handle in olive wood that was stunning to look at and even better to hold. At $89, it’s about one third the price of comparable grips.
Cimarron imports some of the finest single action Italian revolvers made to their own specifications. They were showing off their new Doc Holliday single action in stainless steel. It has a birdshead style grip and short barrel. Cimarron can also furnish a replica of Doc’s special, low slung shoulder holster and a boot knife with faux ivory handles to match the ones on the handgun.
There was talk concerning Colt’s much smaller booth space at this year’s SHOT Show. I believe they’re maintaining cost effectiveness and they’ll be just fine for many decades still to come. Their Colt Cobra, introduced last year, has a new stable mate in the Colt Night Cobra with a matte black coating over its stainless steel finish. The hammer is bobbed so it won’t snag on clothing during your draw and new G10 grips line up the front night sight for an instinctive grip. We shot this gun at the range and it was impossible to miss with on steel targets.
Proving that its K6S revolver wasn’t just a fun distraction from making 1911s, Kimber introduced three new versions of its 6-shot .357 Magnum revolver. The K6S DC (Deep Cover) has a black DLC finish, tritium front night sight, and dark G10 grips (hmmmm, sort of a Chicken/Egg thing with the new Colt Night Cobra?).
The CDP (Custom Defense Package) comes with the DC black frame, but the rest of the revolver is brushed stainless steel and it has rosewood grips and a tritium front sight.
Kimber also presented a 3-inch barreled version of the stainless steel K6S. Its trigger pull is smooth and the slab sided cylinder helps keep the revolver’s width low profile. The sights are outstanding with a low mounted black rear sight that is easy to see with its wide notch that lines up well with the tritium front bead.
Germany’s Korth is the Rolls Royce of double action revolvers. The actions, fit, and finish are all hand fitted and provide for a unique range experience. They’re also beyond the price most of us can afford. At the SHOT Show, Korth displayed a new left-handed revolver. It is a true mirror image of their standard .357 Magnum with interchangeable (by just the push of a button) 9mm cylinder. I mention this innovation as it would not be beyond contemplation for a company like Kimber, Ruger, or S&W to come out with a lefty revolver themselves in a few years.
Korth also displayed an over-the-top engraved and inlayed dragon motif version of their handgun.
Nighthawk (know for their custom 1911 pistols) has also teamed up with Korth to market the German guns through Nighthhawk, with models like the Sky Hawk, Mongoose, and Super Sport.
Not every gun made by Ruger is listed on Ruger’s website. Lipsey’s is a large distributor that orders versions of firearms made to their own specifications. Due to their large buying power, Lipseys can talk a gun maker into almost anything. While they market dozens of other firearms makers, they had Ruger make a 5-inch GP100 with a half lug ejector rod housing in blued steel with a new style walnut grip. The grips had Ruger medallions and an understated oil finish. The grip feels great and the 5-inch barrel balances superbly no matter which caliber it shoots. This Lipsey’s exclusive is available as a 5-shot .44 Special, a 6-shot .357 Magnum, or a 7-shot .327 Magnum. A 4-inch, full lug, .44 Magnum Redhawk with a round butt and black Micarta handles was another notable Lipsey’s exclusive on display.
Lyman had an unusual new product on display and a bit out of their usual wheelhouse of reloading products. It’s a black polymer revolver grip for S&W J-frames that appears to be a simple boot grip for easy concealment. However, when gripped and drawn, a small pressure switch up under the grip behind the trigger guard releases a spring-loaded extension.
This extra bit of grip length gives the shooter a better, longer grip to hold on to the little snub nose. Mike and I both thought it was a unique idea. We wished the grip material was a bit softer and noted that we had to reposition our grip once the extra length was deployed.
North American Arms
Known for their miniature single action 5-shot .22 revolvers, North American Arms displayed their new Ranger II break-top in .22 Magnum with a .22 Long Rifle interchangeable cylinder.
Standard mini-revolvers need to have their cylinder pin removed and their cylinder taken out to punch out empty cases and reload the cylinder. This nifty little gun uses a break top mechanism to simply tilt the barrel forward to empty and reload. Their holster grip will work on these new revolvers as well. I’ve got one on my standard .22 LR NAA and it works well, providing a much larger grip.
Ruger continues to amaze with their new product releases. They seem to be capable of filling every firearms niche knows and creating some that are unknown. At the range, we were very interested to try the new Super Redhawk 10mm double action revolver. Everything about it felt familiar in that it’s a big, bulky gun designed to shoot the .454 Casull and the .480 Ruger. But dropping full moon clip holding six 10mm semi-auto pistol rounds into the cylinder was a unique experience. Recoil was minimal compared to the big boomer revolver cartridges this 6.5-inch gun usually sends downrange. It was terrific fun to watch Mike hit the steel target 100-yards away with this Super Redhawk that can also fire all that .40S&W ammo you have laying around that you were never going to use.
Ruger also introduced their 5-shot SP101 .357 Magnum in a Match Champion version. The stainless steel, 4.2-inch barrel revolver fully adjustable sights with a green fiber optic front sight and finger groove wood handles.
Smith & Wesson
S&W proffered 4- and 6-inch models of their 686 Plus .357 Magnum revolver from the Performance Center. Both of these 7-shot guns come with an unfluted cylinder, blaze orange front sight, and an oversized/extended cylinder release lever. Shooting the 6-inch barrel gun, I couldn’t miss the steel targets up close so I tried for the 100-yard steel instead. I still hit, but found the big cylinder release lever a bit odd. After a few tries, I got used to it, but this gun is intended for competition.
20 thoughts on “New for 2018: SHOT Show Revolvers”
Curious about the 7 shot GP100; did Ruger show it off?
Old School, yes they were there. But, they look so similar to the standard 6-shots that they’re virtually indistinguishable. It’s about time Ruger came out with a seven shooter GP100 right?
Thank you gentlemen for digging up the goods! Looks like there’s something for everyone. Some of those photos are beautiful, especially the dragon!
Glad you liked it Rileyguy! The Korth revolvers are over the top and that dragon motif engraved Korth was over the top, down the mountain, and then over the top again. I can’t even imagine how much that gun would cost. Korth sure was having fun showing it off in their booth.
There are a number of cool things there. Thanks for going and sharing. Did Ruger have any of their new 7-shot GP100’s there? Other than holding an extra round, there isn’t anything too amazing there, but I am curious about the choice to produce a 2.5″ instead of 3″ barrel version. I wouldn’t think it would affect balance much, but some times small changes have a bigger impact than expected.
I’d love to see a full review of the Lyman/Pachmayr Guardian grips if possible. I saw those online about a month ago, and thought they had the potential to be awesome or a complete failure (or anything in between). Since they also make them for the LCR, I might be interested in a pair, but I just can’t decide yet. If Lyman will provide an evaluation set, that would be awesome.
I rather like the push-button exchangeable cylinder on the Korth (by the way, Taurus has had that on their 992 .22 LR/Magnum for a while – I’m not sure if it pre-dates Korth or not, but I think so*). I don’t know how much I would actually use the 9mm cylinder, but I still like the idea. Unfortunately, the only DA revolvers I know of that incorporate that feature in .357/9mm are Korth and the new Taurus 692. I can’t afford one and I am concerned about the quality (and porting) of the other.
Since I want to be able to place my thumb on the hammer while reholstering and I also want a 3″ barrel, I’m hoping Colt will produce that Night Cobra in a 3″ version and/or Kimber will produce an exposed hammer version (factory bobbed DAO like the Night Cobra would be awesome, but probably not likely) of the 3″ K6S. It probably is a bit optimistic to expect either, but if one of those happens, my search for a 6-shot carry revolver might finally be over.
Thanks again for the report.
* If, in fact, the Taurus easy exchangeable cylinder pre-dates the Korth, it just reinforces my belief that Taurus should generate ideas and then let other companies produce the products.
Say what you will about Taurus, they aren’t afraid to mess around with new and innovative ideas. Unfortunately some of the bad ones catch on (like the Judge) but so do some of the good ones. The 692 may well be one of the revolvers we try to review this year, but again, like you, I could do without the porting (I’m not sure why they think that is a necessary “feature” on damn near every revolver they produce).
We will definitely see if we can get a set of those Lyman grips, too! Thanks for letting us know what you want to read about,
Taurus really only puts porting on the Tracker line, but that line is the one that contains the guns that interest me. What really bugs me is that the barrel stops short of the porting (or, at least, that is how it works on my dad’s Model 44 Tracker), so you functionally lose an inch of barrel along with gaining the downsides of porting.
I have been really happy with my old Taurus 85, made in the 90s. Not sure their QC is what it was, however. I love the .22 WRM round for varmint control, and I have wondered about its efficacy on two legged varmints when shot from a revolver. I think Ruger has a SAO revolver with .22 and .22 WRM cylinders, but for home defense I would prefer double action. May have to find a clean Taurus 922.
Greyson, Mike and I both experimented with the Lyman grip at the show. It worked exactly as designed. With the standard boot grip, it would be concealable as any boot grip is. No difference there. With both of our large hands, we would grasp the gun and naturally depress the release lever on the underside of the grip. However, our pinky finger would wrap under the grip (as it would on any boot grip) and the extension would not be able to extend. It would be released, but our pinky would keep the extension from springing open. Moving the pinky finger a little bit would allow the extension to spring open and do it’s job. So if a fast, one motion, draw and fire were needed, the boot grip would fire like a boot grip and the extension would not release. But if you drew the gun and had a moment before firing (heard a noise, saw a movement, your spidey sense went off), you could easily point your pinky and release the extension and then have a more controllable grip for shooting.
Thanks. Part of what I wondered about was the extension shifting/pinching under recoil. Does it lock in the extended position well? It doesn’t really seem like it could because you will have your hand wrapped around the release. I could also see the pivot for the mechanism wearing and becoming sloppy and unstable with long-term use. I realize you can’t speak to some of those concerns with the handling you did, but those are just some of the things I wondered about.
GREAT JOB Steve! That was a fun review of all the neat stuff we saw!
Steve is being modest, folks. I was just trying to keep pace with his display of marksmanship!
In all seriousness, your RG Team can really shoot. I’ve sent rounds downrange with both Justin and Steve, and these guys know their way around guns. You can’t say that about a lot of gun scribes, even some of the more popular ones. When my RevolverGuy buddies talk about guns, you folks can be assured that you’re getting solid info from guys who can walk the walk.
Some of you guys asked about other guns that Steve didn’t mention. Yes, there were other guns out there, but it’s hard to wrap your arms around everything at SHOT because it’s such a massive display, and trying to summarize the highlights in a short space is difficult.
We did indeed shoot the 7-round GP100 in 4″ flavor, and it shot great. No surprises there, for those who know the standard 6-round model. While we’re on the subject of Ruger, we also shot the new 3″ SP101 in .327 Federal Magnum (Wow! That’s a seriously high-energy cartridge!), the 9mm SP101, and the 9mm LCRx. We learned interesting lessons about each of them that we’ll be sure to roll into later coverage.
That 10mm Super Redhawk though . . . what a hoot. We really were hitting steel at 100 yards with it, shooting double action and standing on our hind legs, as the Good Lord Himself intended! We snickered as all the Tactical Teds used the bench–and missed anyhow–but had to cut them some slack since they were handicapped by the lack of a red dot sight, sling, laser rangefinder and Kestrel-equipped spotter, and bipod. ; ^ )
Your comment about .327 Federal being a high-energy cartridge caught my attention. I’ve never shot it, but I’ve always wondered about the advice you read saying .327 Federal is a lower recoil option to .357 or .38 +P. I realize that felt recoil can be different, but in a 3″ SP101 it has mathematical recoil values almost exactly between .38 +P and .357 (also in a 3″ SP101). We are talking about a range of 1-2 ft/lbs and 2-3 fps; I don’t think that isn’t going to going to make enough difference to worry about.
Wow! I proof-read that 4 times and still screwed up the last sentence. That should say: “I don’t think that is going to make enough difference…”
Greyson, I’d read similar things in the gun press and I was really excited to get a chance to try it out for myself. We were shooting the Federal American Eagle loading (I think it was the 85 grain, not the 100 grain, but I’m not positive) and I would definitely class it as a near-.357 load. It definitely felt more like a .357 than a .38 +P.
Methinks the initial advertising was a bit misleading. I recall the ads praising the .357-like energy with milder recoil, and while it may be true in a strictly numerical sense, you’re probably not going to walk away thinking that you got something for nothing. It has a bark. It’s not abusive by any means, but this ain’t your daddy’s.32! Folks looking for a milder recoil option would be best advised to stoke it with .32 H&R Mag or .32 S&W.
Greyson, Old School GG,
You’ll be glad to know I checked out the Taurus lineup, which included the Raging Hunter in .44 Mag (with full length Pic rail on top), the 692 (with the push-button cylinder removal, and the 9mm conversion cylinder), and the 856 6-shot revolver. They all looked like they were being made to the standard we’ve come to expect from Taurus.
That last bit isn’t meant as a criticism. Taurus makes guns to meet a price point, and that determines the level of fit and finish, materials, action quality, and so on. If you could make a Python and sell it for $300, that’s what everyone would be doing, but you just can’t. Something has to give when you price a revolver in that range, and when you buy a brand new revolver today for the same price that a S&W cost you 30+ years ago, well, you understand that when you put your cash down on the barrel. You know you’re not going to get a match grade action for that much, but you will get something reasonably good.
Taurus has always exhibited a high level of ingenuity and creativity, and their revolvers have generally been better values than their autos. I was happy with what I saw from them and will try to get some T&E samples for RG. Stay tuned.
Thanks for the terrific field work, gentlemen. Very nice write-up, Steve.
Nice to see us wheel-gun fans getting some love! My pocket book is already sweating that Lipsey’s GP100 in .44 Special. Five inches and nice, understated, oiled-walnut grips…. hmm.
And how is it you can be so drawn to something you don’t own and have never experienced? Altamont grips seem like a class act in so many ways… I just need to stop perusing their website and pull out my credit card.
If I ever win the lottery (which is a particular stretch for me… as I’m pretty sure you have to buy a ticket) one of those Korth’s will be high on the list. The legend of German engineering is (mostly) deserved… and I can imagine how wonderful an Anschutz-esque revolver must be!
Well, the Korth would have a home after that Freedom Arms single-action…
Thanks again, guys!
While your getting things from Lyman get some of their (Pachmayr) speedloaders, especially the 5 shot model.
Dean, it’s great to hear from you. Thanks for stopping in!
Yes, the new aluminum speedloaders will definitely be on our list!
Would be nice if Ruger would bring the GP100 out with a half lug barrel in their 4″ .357. Seriously considering having a gunsmith meld mine into a half lug configuration.
And have the 5″ GP100 in stainless, too.
Ruger has done a 5″ full-lug stainless GP100 Distributer Exclusive for Davidison’s/Gallery of Guns a few times. They actually have it listed on their site at the moment (of course, it has those hideous finger-groove Hogues). I have had the same thought of getting one and having it “half-lugged” (if that is a term). I realize there are some functional benefits to a full lug, but aesthetically, all revolvers should have half/partial lugs (in my opinion, which is, of course, right).
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