SHOT Show is over for 2023, and I saw four trends:
- An utter lack of new G48/P365-sized guns. Like nobody came out with anything new this year to play in that market space, which was a bit of a surprise. These types of guns were one of the biggest things at last year’s SHOT, and this year, there was literally nothing new to be seen. This will change, as all things do, but for now, the market is heading in a different direction.
- Single-action, double-stack pistols. These have always been a thing, but now Beretta and Springfield are getting into the game, and Staccato and Wilson Combat continue to roll out awesome new guns. Heck, an argument could be made that the new Hi-Powers from Springfield and FN are a continuation of this trend, as is that new Glock trigger makes it into a single-action (-ish) gun.
- The compact .380 and 5.7x28mm market is alive and well. The new Beretta Cheetah is one heck of a gun, and the LC-380 is just a joy to shoot. On the 5.7mm side, both Smith & Wesson and Palmetto State Armory came out with new pistols, and KelTec came out with a rifle version of their P50 pistol. REALLY want to get my hands on some of that Gold Dot 5.7mm ammo, and look for Palmetto State to get into the 5.7mm ammo production game as well.
- Red dot sights, especially closed emitter pistol sights, are a thing. A big thing. Closed cell emitters are not my jam, but I can spot a trend when I see one, and Ken Campbell mentioned that 60 percent of the pistols they see at Gunsite have dots on them. The analogy he used (and I think he’s right) is that pistol dot sights are now where rifle dot sights were 20 years ago. Price is the only reason not to change these days, but that drops every year as new models come out.
What will happen next year at SHOT? Holosun’s new low light optics are a potential disruptor of that market niche, so look for more changes there, and I’m expecting to see even more dry-fire training aids as well, The biggest thing, though, is the potential for the recent pistol brace rules to wipe out the NFA regulations on short-barreled rifles and shotguns, which could change EVERYTHING.