Day One of the Blue August Expo in Orlando just wrapped up today. For those of you who are not familiar with the Blue August Expo, it is an invitation-only mini-convention at the Orlando Gander Mountain Training Center, where smaller manufacturers can have, essentially, an hour long one-on-one with just the media, introducing their newest products and engaging in a Q&A session and a range session afterwards.
Some of the biggest announcements came from Aero and Spike’s Tactical, both of whom are introducing from-the-factory suppressed weapons. Aero is collaborating with SilencerCo on their M4E1-SD upper – an all Aero-manufactured .300BLK 7.5″ SBR upper that comes complete with Aero’s KeyMod free-float upper and a SilencerCo Omega suppressor. MSRP is $1599 – not a bad deal, considering the Omega costs $1100 alone.
Aero also had many other exciting reveals including limited edition upper-lower-rail combos that will be made in limited runs, never to be made again. The newest will be a limited run of “battle worn” Duracoat by BlownDeadline Customs (of Boba Fett-pattern/Instagram fame).
Further, Aero is releasing complete ARs: the C-15, a mil-spec M4 that will MSRP at $699 complete, and the M5E1, a well-outfitted .308 accepting DPMS-pattern mags for $1300. Aero is also going to expand their complete upper line to include .223 Wylde, .300BLK, and 7.62 NATO, starting at $300 for the most basic models.
Aero also unveiled its new partnership with premium barrel manufacturer Ballistic Advantage, and discussed the upcoming integration of Ballistic Advantage’s barrels with the Aero AR line.
Aero further introduced its partnership with VG6 Precision with its introduction of the extremely effective Epsilon brake system, which also includes the option for a muzzle-blast reducing blast cage – an innovative solution to the most common issue with brakes.
Spike’s is introducing the Recluse, which is a 16″ integrally suppressed 9mm AR15 that shares a critical quality with the MP5SD: It will reduce supersonic rounds to subsonic speeds. Accordingly, one can run 115gr 9mm through the Recluse, and still prevent the normally supersonic round from producing a sonic boom. Because the Recluse is 16″ with the suppressor, it is a one-stamp gun. It will retails for $1999 MSRP, but Spike’s believes that the price may come down by the time it hits production in a few months.
Eagle Imports also had a strong showing. Eagle is importing the Slovakian Grand Power K100. I got some range time with the K100 and the many variants Eagle brought to the expo, and I was extremely impressed with the trigger and uncommonly short trigger reset of a quarter inch. The K100 uses a rotating barrel locking system like the Beretta Px4 Storm – the barrel and slide move backward together for about 3/8 of an inch while the barrel is rotated, causing a delay in rearward travel. Eagle claims this reduces recoil significantly, and I tend to agree from my experience. There were several models of the K100, from compact-concealables to tournament guns.
Eagle brought the Classic American and MAC line of 1911s from the Philippines. These 1911s will start at $499 MSRP for the Classic model (add $100 for the hard chrome – not nickel, not stainless, but hard chrome – versions of the gun), and the higher end MAC models will be much more expensive, but seem to offer a lot of bang for the buck.
Finally, one of the things I was most excited about was the opportunity to shoot the Bersa BP9cc, Bersa’s 8-shot single stack 9mm. Many people look past this relatively obscure gun, but this is truly an oversight, as it has an excellent trigger and great feature set (including Glock-compatible sights) at a great price. I must reinforce how good the trigger is with this gun.
Bond Arms brought almost its entire fleet of double barrel pistols (they don’t like to call them Derringers because of the connotation associated with these antiquated weapons) in 9mm, .45, .410, .38, and so on. These are surprisingly mild shooters in a variety of configurations, and the entire crew was outstanding, including their trick-shooter, Garrett, a three-time Derringer shooting World Champ. Bond also has a line of holsters for their guns that are highly praised in the community.
Finally, American Manufacturer’s Group brought many new and interesting components to the expo, including the “Glock, Stock, and Barrel”, a conversion kit that turns the Glock into a reliable 16″, M4-stock accepting rifle for only $249; the KynShot Marksman, an AR pneumatic recoil buffer in the $100-$150 range (that really, really works); a kit that will allow shooters to reload .22 ammo by mixing their own primer (really targeted towards you preppers); and LeadOff hygiene products, which are the only CDC/US Government-sanctioned products approved for removing lead and other heavy metals after shooting (in fact, LeadOff is issued to the military and used in the Gander Mountain Training Academy).
That’s all for today, I’ll brief you guys on the rest tomorrow!