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Life’s A Niche And Then You Die

Life’s A Niche And Then You Die

One of the more interesting things to come out of SHOT Show 2024 was the continuing interest in revolvers and thermal vision and the resurgence of lever-action rifles. 

New AR-pattern rifles were few and far between at this year’s show. Daniel Defense was talking about their re-release of the Hudson H9, and most others were more interested in talking about their new suppressor and precision rifles rather than anything with a bolt-carrier group.

Which makes a certain amount of sense. The post-AWB surge of interest in AR-15s has been over for at least five years (even COVID couldn’t bring it back to life), and now the market is moving on to other things, and those other things are rather interesting. 

Let’s pause for a moment and talk about Gun Culture 3.0, where the right to keep and bear arms as moved from its food security roots (Gun Culture 1.0) into the realm of personal security in an urban/suburban environment (Gun Culture 2.0) and is now concerned with neighborhood/regional security in a time with local law enforcement is lacking or missing altogether. What sort of guns and gear would be useful in such an environment? 

Well, for starters, it’d be the classic weapon of the partisan/guerilla, the sniper’s rifle. One competent sniper can keep a company (or more) of troops pinned down and make patrolling of a given area a rather sketchy proposition, and what has been big for the past five years or so? That’s right, suppressors and precision rifles. Suppressors being popular just makes sense, as they’re a safety device that should be on every gun you take to the range or out in the field, but precision rifles? How many ranges are there east of the Mississippi where you can go out to over 1000 yards? A dozen? Two dozen? So why the continuing interest in the long range game?

Next, let’s talk about optics. If the recent conflict in Ukraine has taught us anything, it’s that the side with the better thermal optics wins. Let’s acknowledge that the state of the art in civilian night vision will always lag behind the .gov and the .mil, but now you can buy a thermal monocular for about the same price as a pistol, meaning there is no reason why you shouldn’t have SOME form of thermal nearby. Sure, it’s useful (really useful) on a hog hunt, but is that also a handy sort of thing to have when protecting a neighborhood? Oh yes. 

Finally, revolvers and lever guns. The people of New York, Massachusetts, California and other places outside of America are starting to realize that the “Assault Weapons bans” which they live under won’t be going away soon. Now before you blame my employer for this situation, there’s not a lot we can do. Leftover inertia from 1934 is driving this sort of infringement, and that’s not going to go away overnight. 

In the meantime, the people in those locations realize they need to defend themselves and their community, so revolvers and lever guns are looking rather attractive right now. On top of this, “Yellowstone” has been the #1 on TV for quite some time now, and there are lever guns popping up all over on that show. 

In short, the guns of SHOT Show 2024 reflected a move away from the personal into the niche of extended-range protection, where we think in terms of protecting not just ourselves, but those around us as well, and I fully expect that trend to continue for quite some time.