Hop Versus the Top 5 Trends of SHOT Show 2024

by Hop

Every year after the SHOT Show, James Reeves likes to round up his top 5 picks in several categories. Unfortunately, Hop is too deeply cynical to say anything nice (and not polite enough to keep his stupid mouth shut), so we’re rounding up the Top 5 Industry Trends of SHOT Show 2024. The show this year was flooded with prototype guns, lever actions, and throwback retro builds. Are any of these trends going to stick around? Let us know if you’d actually buy any of this stuff.

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2 of 7 comments
  • Andrew Andrew on Feb 06, 2024

    Hop, lever actions can, in fact, feed rimless cartridges. Doesn’t matter, though. The rim isn’t what hampers levergun cartridge performance.

  • Armed Partisan Armed Partisan on Feb 07, 2024

    I agree with most of what Hop says here, to which I will add this:
    The reason AR-15's became the best-selling, and consequently, the most mundane rifles in America is because of the 1994 Crime Bill, AKA "The Assault Weapons Ban"; when it finally sunset and was not about to be renewed, every gun company with a CNC machine tooled up to make an AR clone exactly like what you couldn't get for those ten very dark years; flash hiders, collapsible stocks, bayonet lugs, quad rails, folding sights, etc.

    Once that demand was met, people had to distinguish themselves by coming out with innovative new features, like new styles of free-floating forends, and new ways to mount accessories, off-set sights, new gas systems (although those have always been around), new flash hider and other muzzle device designs, new furniture, new optics, new calibers, new magazines, etc, etc.

    Once everyone had that, it was PCCs and other impractical-but-fun things, like the current wave of retro-designs, which are out-classed by modern tactical designs for fighting and competition, but everyone already has some of those, and now they want something that they couldn't have/couldn't afford during the AWB; the epitome of this trend is the new H&R series (complete with Cold War H&R gov't markings) based on the NoDak Spud retros, based on uber-rare law enforcement only models that were never available to civilians that, frankly, guys my age couldn't get as teenagers. For proof of this point, see the new 18.5" Ruger K-Mini-14-GB-F in the Samson Mfg A-TM stock; when these came out, I bought the stock and then bought a Michigan Dept of Corrections surplus K-Mini-14-GB to put in it just so I could have the retro-rifle I wanted as a kid, but that Bill Ruger refused to sell me.

    As someone who has owned and loved lever-actions for many decades, I am totally baffled by that trend, especially because they're all based on the Marlin 336 or the AR platform, which would have made tons of sense to me during the AWB, but makes almost no sense now. Lever-actions are surprisingly unreliable, folks; just like revolvers are. They're romantic, but they're not as good as modern designs. It's just a fact.