SHOT Show 2015: What about the revolvers?

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As you may have heard, I just got back from the 2015 SHOT Show. Pickings for revolver enthusiasts were slim, but there are a couple of things to talk about!

SHOT Show 2015 is a wrap and, as usual, I came back with a nasty sickness. No, not the infamous “Vegas Itch”, but the equally infamous “SHOT Show Crud”!Whenever you put 60,000+ people in a relatively confined space for four days and let everyone handle the same items again and again you have a perfect vector for disease. SHOT is worse than other trade shows as people are picking up rifles and holding them to their faces, looking through scopes, and playing with pistol after pistol — not to mention all of the handshaking and hugging going on. Given all that it should come as no surprise that it’s incredibly easy to pick up someone else’s virus. Colds and flu run rampant at SHOT, and despite ample precautions I managed to get yet another nasty cold at SHOT Show 2015!

I’m finally recovering, at least enough that I can get some thoughts on paper. Well, on computer screen anyhow!

I spent most of the show traveling from one appointment to the other; most of those meetings were focused on the defensive training and equipment part of my business. I hit the show floor about 10:30 on Tuesday, immediately went to a meeting, and then it was pretty much non-stop appointments for the rest of Tuesday and all of Wednesday. I’d intentionally planned nothing for Thursday, which was my last day there, but I ended up in three impromptu meetings which took up most of my remaining time. As a result I really didn’t get to see much of the show.

Before diving into SHOT things, though, I wanted to share a fun happenstance: through a series of events I was upgraded from a pedestrian room to a 1,200 square foot penthouse suite at the Mirage Hotel! It was the only time I’ve been in Vegas that I didn’t loathe my stay, and to quote Ferris Bueller “if you have the means I highly recommend it.” (What kind of means? According to Priceline, the best deal one can get on that room is $987 per night. Plus tax and “resort fee”, of course.)

Now back to our show coverage: the big revolver news was the introduction of the Korth Sky Marshal 9mm revolver. This is their attempt to build a 9mm revolver that does not use moonclips, an idea which has been tried by others with not terribly great success. I had high hopes for this gun, but it appears that I was overly optimistic: it’s not as good as I’d hoped.

I didn’t go to Media Day this year and thus didn’t get to shoot the gun, but I talked with five people who did. Two reported that it functioned acceptably, but three others said that it had serious extraction issues. This doesn’t surprise me; extraction of rimless cartridges without the aid of moonclips has always been problematic. I’d really hoped that Korth had found a solution, but it appears they haven’t.

I did have a chat with one of the people who shot the gun and found no issues; he belittled the experience of the others by opining that the Korth is a Ferrari and that the “best” of any breed has issues. This is a viewpoint I can’t accept; if a firearm can’t perform the basic functions of the job, I don’t care what the provenance is nor do I care about such intangibles as “pride of ownership”. I’ll tolerate increased maintenance requirements and inflated costs, but I expect the gun to chamber, fire, and extract perfectly no matter what the price point. Extraction issues aren’t acceptable on a $300 Charter Arms, so why in the world should I accept them on a $1,000 Korth? I won’t, a stance which will no doubt rankle some of the Korth apologists out there.

In other news, I had a long chat with Brent Turchi at Colt. Brent runs production and is in charge of the Custom Shop, and he’s always a great source of information about Colt products and the situation at the company. He tells me that engineering on a new revolver is continuing but on a very sporadic basis; they’re still not in good financial shape and need to concentrate their resources on their current product lineup, but they’re managing to steal time here and there to think about double action revolvers. They’ve pretty much settled on a design; I won’t say more other than it should make a great concealed carry piece if and when it comes out.

Naturally, we talked about the Python. As he’s told me in years past, the Python as we all know and love it isn’t coming back. The name might, but it won’t be the same gun. This time, though, we played a little “what if”: what if Colt did have the means and the desire to bring back the Python? Could they make one of high quality, and what would it sell for?

As Brent told me, he felt that they could bring back the Python and build it to the same quality as any they’ve ever built. He said that their new manufacturing processes and equipment, along with some very talented Custom Shop gunsmiths, could produce a Python to rival the best Pythons.

The trouble is that they would have a limited market due to the cost. I asked him if they’d done any cost analysis on a resurrected Python, and he smiled and confirmed that they had in fact done so. Naturally I asked the question: how much? The answer was about what I’d expected: a new production Python would need to sell in excess of $3,000 for them to make any money. At that price point neither of us sees Colt selling sufficient units to make it worthwhile.

In other wheelgun news, the silly Taurus View is no more. Taurus finally figured out that a Lexan sideplate was a bad idea, so they scrapped the gun — but it’s been re-introduced with a metal sideplate and very little publicity. The mantra at Taurus seems to be “the View is dead, long live the View!”

Nothing really new to report about Smith & Wesson or Ruger, but a revolver company I’ve ignored — the Turkish firm of Sarsilmaz — has actually expanded their line. A few years ago they were showing one model, a 4-inch .357 Magnum; this year they were showing guns with 2.5- and 6-inch barrels, and the actions have been much improved. I didn’t get a chance to talk with anyone there as I was hurrying to yet another meeting, but I’m going to contact them and see if I can get a test gun sent out. They may be pedestrian, but they looked good and I’m sure the price points will be attractive.

That’s it for my time at SHOT. You can find more great SHOT Show 2015 coverage at Guns, Holsters & Gear and The Firearm Blog.

-=[ Grant Cunningham ]=-