Products I’m looking for in 2014

Arms

  • Supply in the firearms industry is finally starting to converge on demand. But reloaders are still grasping for powder, and .22LR is still absurdly scarce. We’re looking for both of those shortages to end by the middle of this year.
  • Expanding subsonic rifle bullets: Looks like this is finally the year for these to hit the mainstream market. Outlaw State Bullets and Lehigh Bullets have had some expensive offerings. But this year Norma is supposed to begin importing their Plastic Points, and Remington should finally have an offering tailored for their 300BLK.
  • .38 Supercomp Sig and Glock conversions. The caliber offers the ballistics of .357 Sig in the diameter of 9mm, which translates to more magazine capacity. Also, as a straight-walled cartridge it’s easier to reload.
  • Laser Doppler Anemometers: Solid-state devices for shooters, similar to laser rangefinders, that can measure downrange winds. Winds are the last primary ballistic factor that can’t be measured outside instrumented ranges. Even the most skilled long-range marksmen in the field have limited indicators from which to read and compensate for windage. Admittedly this technology is still some years off from commercialization.
  • Chemical laser guns. Well maybe not this year, but the technology is there for it.

Cars

Video

  • High-speed consumer video cameras: GoPro may be inching back into this niche left by Casio four years ago. Their top offerings can now sustain 240fps at 480p, but I’m still looking for thousands of frames per second in a sub-$1000 camera, which is no stretch given the state of the art.
  • Reasonably-priced HD IP security cameras: For some reason these persist at over $200 when the state of the art should have them closer to $100.
  • Digital thermal and night-vision gear: No manufacturer seems to want to lunge for the tipping point. Equipment that is currently produced at a small scale, and therefore costs 4- or 5-figures, could be profitably mass-produced and sold for 3-figures to the sport and non-military security markets.

7 thoughts on “Products I’m looking for in 2014

  1. Less Than Favorable

    I’m wondering if the new striker fired Sig Sauer P320 has caught your interest? I know you’ve stated that your preferred “tactical” handgun is Glock however it’d be excellent to hear your thoughts on it. Though it’ll probably be plagued with the same problems the early P250s had, even issues in the newer ones aren’t unheard of.

    Though I’ve never handled either the 250 or 320 I’ll admit it doesn’t sound like it’ll have many positive advantages over any Glock, despite my slight bias toward Sigs. Higher bore axis and higher cost certainly doesn’t attract good thoughts.

    http://www.sigsauer.com/CatalogProductDetails/p320-full-size-nitron.aspx
    us.glock.com/products/model/g17
    On a side note even the URL looks less attractive.

  2. federalist Post author

    Good question — I’ll add it to my review list. The problem with competing in Glock’s space is there are no drawbacks or shortcomings to Glocks. The exception being that they don’t fit all hands, though the Gen 4 interchangeable grip panels have increased the range hands that Glocks will properly fit.

    Maybe the Sig P320 can beat the Glock trigger, although for the price you could buy a Glock and one of the new $150 after-market triggers (which I also have on my review list: Zev and McNally).

    You mention another feature I might have added to my “list of things I’m waiting for:” An autoloading pistol with a lower bore axis. I guess I didn’t include it because Arsenal has promised this with their Strike One, although that still hasn’t made it to the market.

    Another clever autoloading design I’m keeping an eye on is Boberg’s reverse-feed pistols, which maximize barrel length for a given profile. At pistol sizes every inch of barrel counts. But it doesn’t seem like Boberg’s products are reliable enough yet for defensive use.

  3. Less Than Favorable

    I agree, there’s very few valid shortcomings of any Glock that I know of. Even though I prefer Sigs I always recommend Glocks to anyone I know seeking a handgun. However I’ve heard some claim to have feeding issues with the 9mm Gen4 Glocks, fortunately my hands fit fine with Gen3 and I’ve not experienced any issues of the sort first hand.

    Sig has a great reputation in triggers, though it doesn’t really matter to me since I grew up on DA revolvers. It looks like a P320 will have all the features and cost about the same as a Glock with added night sights and a custom trigger job, just with a higher bore axis.

    As for a low bore autoloader I’m yet to hear of one that beats a Glock, though in revolvers there’s always the interesting Rhino with it’s barrel-on-bottom design.

    Until now I’m yet to hear of Arsenal’s Strike One or of Boberg’s pistols. From a quick Google the Strike One looks incredible. I love the ambidextrous magazine release in particular, I’ve heard the ambi mag release on the HK45 is much less intuitive than “traditional” ones. The Boberg looks clever, though it seems ammunition is a pretty big issue.

    I’m assuming the Boberg works as in this video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TSva89jbNM

  4. federalist Post author

    Yep that’s the Boberg. The ammo thing isn’t really their fault: Before their design nobody thought to worry about low-recoil rounds undergoing such abrupt rearward acceleration, and if the bullets are crimped it’s not a problem. My impression is that even with crimped ammo it’s still not reliable enough — which is to be expected given the design novelty and low production numbers. Hopefully the novelty keeps buyers lined up so that Boberg can refine the design and production until it meets “defensive” standards.

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