My first meeting was over at Vortex and I think it was very productive.
I saw lots of their new optics and I must say, as in years past, they did not disappoint.
I was very impressed with the new Razor riflescopes (all of which are made in Japan). The new Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27x56 should become a top seller for them.
In the Razor Gen II they also introduced a 3-18x50 which will fill a popular power range.
These two scopes are heavy 48.5* and 46.5* but they are built to funtion next to the best of the best and perform.
Designed and engineered for dialing percision long range shots in extreme environments. APO objective lens system and HD extra-low dispersion glass gives high resolution images and great color fidelity.
6x power range, 34mm tube and one piece aircraft alluminium alloy construction.
They say that most of the new product line should be available by April. I have hope but we shall see as all delivery times are suspect.
I had a great surprise looking at and through their new Vulture HD 15x56 bincoular. It is a little heavy @ 43.6 ounces, however, the weight is easily overlooked when I saw the optical quality and the price of just $499.99. They will have a great seller in this BigEye unit IMO.
In the Crossfire II line up they have added a 1x24 Muzzleloader with 3.8" of ER and 95' @ 1000 yards FOV. This Utah Special @ $99.99 will be a great addition for them.
They also added a 3-12x56 AO Hog Hunter @ $299.99. Big objective for lots of light and an illuminated dot reticle.
One new scope I saw, which I am not to sure of popularity on, but they seem excited about, is their Viper XBR Crossbow scope @ $599.99. It is a 2.5-10x44 with an XBR-1 (MOA) reticle.
On the special side of things they have lowered the price on their Raptor 8.5x32 to only $99.99 making it a fantastic value in a knock around/truck binocular.
I know many of you were hoping that we would be reporting that we would be getting more of the 6.5-20x44 Viper's we had on special last year. That is something still in the works, however, this Summer we will take delivery on a Viper 4-12x40 V-Plex at a special Forum Member price.
I had a few minutes before my next meeting over at Leica so I stopped by a few smaller vendor booths that were on my list.
1st was T-REIGN Outdoor Products who make retractable gear tethers and cases used to secure electronics or tools when hunting, fishing, hiking, tracking or for any outdoor activity. T-REIGN products are rugged and corrosion resistant, and many offer a lifetime service policy. Every retractable gear tether is designed and assembled in their factory in California.
I have had great success with their line at my offshore fishing store, Pelagic Outfitters and thought it was time to add their products to the Camera Land product line-up.
Next stop was to at ScopeCoat to visit with Annie and see what was new. Part of what makes coming to SHOT great is seeing all the folks that I only see but once a year and Annie is one of those folks. I was excited to see they have added covers for the Leica CRF-1000 and 1600 series. We'll be getting these in shortly after I return.
We will also be carrying their spotting scope neoprene covers for Zeiss and Swarovski spotters.
Having grown up in the industry I know many of the industry people basically all my life as they have been selling to Camera Land for decades. One such person is now with Carson so I stopped by to say hi. I was thrilled when he showed me their new Universal Optics Adapter. This unit pairs your smartphone to spotting scopes, microscopes, binoculars, telescopes or night-vision scopes for easy viewing and close-up photography. It attaches in seconds to all popular smartphones, with or without a case, and self-centers automatically. An easy to use unit that we will be able to offer for about $70.00 and will work with any phone with pretty much any optic.
It was time to run over to Leica for a meeting with the boys in charge to see what was what. Things are progressing on the Geovid HD-B delivery status. They say that 2014 should be a better year. We sat down and formulated a plan to keep inventory levels flowing. I believe it will make things much easier and prevent many of the out of stock issues we have had.
They also, as in years past, sold us the contents of the booth. Hopefully we will have the delivery within a week or so and be able to offer great savings across the board on these now sampled Leicas.
Off to Steiner I went, with great reservation. In 2013 they went through 3 management changes and confusion was all that became of it. I have always liked their products and thought for the money they offered a great value. They have improved upon that now with their Steiner Heritage™ Warranty. Covering all binoculars and riflescopes sold in North America, it offers the repair or replacement of any damaged or defective optic for the life of the product. Not only to the original owner but for generations to come that inherit the optic.
They showed me their new GS3 Hunting Riflescope which for the features I think is priced right. It is built well and features "game sensing” CAT (color adjusted transmission) lens coatings to amplify contrast in the peak human vision sensitivity range. The optimized contrast effectively separates game from leafy or shadow-dappled backgrounds, exposing your target to a clean, accurate shot. The GS3 5x zoom range lets hunters from eastern whitetail country to western big game ranges pair their new scope with their favorite centerfire, rimfire or muzzleloader rifle.
These are priced from $799.99 - $999.99
We worked out a very nice opportunity for continuing a demo program so please feel free to contact us if there is something you may be interested in.
The buzz at the Zeiss booth was their new 15x56 Conquest binocular. At $1599.99 it is a big $$$$ jump in their Conquest line, however, with the change in the now discontinued Swarovski 15x56 SLC @ $1599.99 being replaced with an upgraded $2500.00 version it should be a lateral replacement for the now discountinued Swarovski with what they claim is equal quality (Obviously, I had no way to do a side by side of those two but this is their claim). Zeiss is also adding a host of new riflescopes:
3-15x50's in all reticles
5-25x50 #20 Plex Hunting
They have also added 42mm & 50mm Terra scope sunshades.
Word is all new product will be available March/April.
I had a nice sit down meeting with Trijicon. We discussed delivery times, product development and what direction our future working together is headed. More to be revealed later this year.
Time to get an ice cream cone for my burning throat and call it a day. I think I walked at least 5 miles and talked 3 days worth. Nothing like the first day of SHOT.
Minox was a VERY good meeting as they have an exciting 2014 ahead....
Great news, Minox actually listened to your input. Shocking that a mfg listened to what the comsumer suggested and responded. Very refreshing.
They have redesigned their ZA-5 series riflescopes. The zooming action on all their scopes has been made tighter. The Turrets are also lower profile while making the the grip slightly wider making for easier handling & grip. The new ZA-5 3-15x42 now features side-focus. It is refreshing to have a mfg respond to input from the consumer and IMO Minox has stepped up.
BTW, all these ZA-5's are 1/4 click MOA with the exception of their newest 1.2-6x24 which is 1/2 click MOA.
They have also introduced a Rapid Target Acquisition (RTA) System. The RTA provides a significant reduction in vignetting of the light beam on the field of view, creating a clear image, friendlier eyebox and an undisturbed full field of view as well.
Designed and engineered in Germany and assembled in the USA these scopes all carry their no fault lifetime warranty. They offer an exceptionally high degree of precision, quality and reliability; all are equipped with the Rapid Target Acquisition system, and HD glass, with some models also available with illuminated reticles.
I was excited to see what will be the "Coming Soon" 1-8x24 (which unlike the 2010 announced S&B 1-8x24, which never came, this will be available this year). This scope features a unique illuminated reticle.... When you zoom from 8 power down, and the power gets to about 2.5x, it automatically changes from a FFP LR XR MIL reticle to a SFP Dot.
Made in Germany
34mm main tube
Tubes machined from solid-‐bar stock 6061-‐T6 aircraft-‐grade aluminum alloy 2-‐3x thicker than any traditional riflescope, yet weight remains relatively low
Fast focus, lockable eye piece (prevents accidental movement)
FFP illuminated reticle, Gen2 Mil-‐dot
Integrated illumination control Automatic red dot in 2nd focal plane that can be either fine dim in low light or bright visible in day light Switching between twilight illuminated crosshair in 1st focal plane and day-‐light dot in 2nd focal plane is done automatically by switching magnification Under 2x the bright dot is turned on, above 2x the dim illuminated crosshair is turned on
11 illumination intensity settings, with automatic switch off
Exposed tactical turrets
Highest quality German glass
10 mrad single turn elevation (1m at 100m, 75 MOA), in a single turn
0.1 mrad (1cm) click values
117 MOA internal adjustment range
Shock proof – tested at 700g’s for 10,000 cycles
Waterproof – 10m (32 ft) submersion under water for 4 hrs
Field tested by the US Marine Corps
For long range to close quarters this will be a scope to look at. They claim late Spring to early Summer for delivery.
Lastly, but certainly not least they have introduced a ZV series 4.5-14x44 SF riflescope in Plex and BDC reticles starting at only $269.00. I think this is a wonderful addition to the sub $400.00 riflescope offerings available today.
As a camera dealer we have sold Nikon since we opened in 1957. It's always more of a visit than a meeting for me when I go to "Fort Nikon". If you've ever seen their booth at SHOT you'd understand the "Fort Nikon" term as it is a two story log cabin looking booth with a center section sporting a "campfire". I always feel like its "Fort Apache" from F Troop (I know I'm showing my age here). Anyway, during our visit we discussed their new Aculon laser rangefinder which will sell for $169.95. With a range of 6-550 yards and a size of only 3.6 x1.5 x2.9 in it should be a great addition to their line.
We are also discussing some super deals on some of their demo EDG binoculars so stay tuned for more details on that.
I was looking forward to arriving at Swarovski as I have some very good friends there. Today is social as well as business. I kinda figured day two would be good for this as it takes some of the SHOT pressure off. After shooting the breeze about kids and how things have been I was shown the new Swarovski SLC 15x56 WB and was informed they should be available in the Spring. These are a streamlined designed 15x56 and lighter weight than the one they are replacing. Very narrow IP which for those of you with close set eyes is a major plus. HD glass gives these improved edge sharpness. They also feature a bigger ocular for more eye relief. Yes, these are a bit more expensive than their predecessor, however, they recreated them and did make significant improvements.
I also was shown their new & improved PBC - personalized ballistic cam which is designed to provide hunters with optimum support and to make long-range shooting even more reliable. "Every ballistic turret can now also be fitted with a cam that has been specially customized for your ballistic data, with your personal shooting distances legibly engraved on it. The custom-made PBC gives hunters the chance to read several distances instead of the current three markings on the ballistic turret. They can easily read the shooting distance from the personally engraved turret, select the relevant setting in a matter of seconds, and stay on target. You can switch at any time between your personalized ballistic cam and the standard system that uses the rings, without any need for you to sight in the firearm again.
The numbers and line markings are also easier to align using the index point. Adhesive labels are no longer needed to mark the distances. You can have a number of distances engraved around the cam, depending on the caliber."
They also changed the build on it from three piece construction to a one piece making it even more durable.
This new PMC should be available Spring.
Last SHOT we got more active with Meopta. We had been selling a few of their items but not too many and last year we expanded what we offered, somewhat. My issue with Meopta is a simple one....They make a great product, however, they keep it a secret. They do very little marketing so most people are unfamiliar with their line.
We discussed having them build some MeoPro 3-9x40's, 4.5-14x44's and 4.5-14x50's for us to fill the void left by Zeiss discontinuing their Conquest scopes. IMO, if we can work this out we will be able to deliver a fantastic scope to you priced as it should be. More to report once plans get finalized.
Take a moment and look at Meopta's site. I think you'll be glad that you took the time to do so. Great products foolishly kept secret.
Leupold signed us up as a dealer last year at SHOT and it was a great year with them. We baby stepped our way learning about their products as well as which products best suit the needs of our clients. Overall it has gone great and we look forward to an exciting 2014 growing our relationship with them.
We do still request your assistance in knowing what we should keep in stock. Their product offerings are way too vast to always have everything here in the store. If you enjoy a particular Leupold item and feel it is something we should stock please let us know. We can only serve your needs if you work along with us. We do appreciate your assistance.
Yesterdays ice cream cone was so refreshing I went off to get another one. This one too was very good and just what my throat needed.
Today I only had a few meetings and then I wanted to walk the show a bit and also see about adding one more optics line. Each year at SHOT I try to add a new line that during the prior year people have requested we look into. We do not feel adding more than one optic line a year would be advantagous to our clients as it is near impossible to learn one line a year so more than one would not be a good idea. This year we met with Nightforce. The meeting went well, IMO, and we applied to be a dealer. They have a very exciting line of optics including their new SHV hunting scope. Once all is gtg we will let you know. As with Leupold we request your assistance in guiding us with what to carry in inventory.
Next stop was to my buddies at Pentax with hope in my heart and doubt in my mind. Their product line has been so stale for so long that it is more of a social call than anything else. As with Nikon we, as a camera store, have carried Pentax products forever and I know a couple of the Sports Optics folks for more than 25 years.
I arrived at the Pentax booth to see a large Ricoh sign above it as now Pentax is a Ricoh owned company. This is great for the camera side of the business but apparently not for the Sports Optics side. They will no longer offer riflescopes in their line of Sports Optics as Ricoh is a worldwide company and the detail of worldwide riflscope distribution is not something they want to contend with. Too many regulations I assume.
They have assured me that they have warehoused a generous quantity of riflescopes to cover any repair/replacement issues.
They showed me a new Porro Prism binocular they have in the works, 8x30 and 10x30. I guess the folks at Ricoh never saw a Vortex Raptor 8.5x32 or a Leupold Yosemite 8x30 as they are planning pricing around 50% higher than those sell for. IMO they just don't get it. A shame as they offer great glass.
After more than 20 someodd years of being my Swarovski rep my friend Mark was downsized. He is now with Celestron. I spoke with him last month and set up a meeting. He feels a few of their products may be a good fit for us. More research will need to be done before a decision can be made. He feels they have some products that offer more for less $ as well as some products with a difference making Celestron a possible addition sometime in the future. We will keep you posted as this develops.
Yes, one more ice cream cone was waiting for me. Yes, as good as the one from yesterday. There is never a time, nor an age, that a good ice cream cone does not hit the spot.
Today was my last day as I have some family things that needed attention. I did my best to cover the show and work with the mfg's to arrange for new product delivery, demo/samples and inventory control to keep the "out of stock" issues to a minimum.
If I can answer anything for you as always it will be my pleasure. For those of you who took the time to read this entire report please mention this to me when you place your next order and I'll add a bonus into your shipment. Nice to know that you're taking the time to read the whole thing when I take the time to write it, lol.
As always, thank you for all the support we receive. We are nothing without you, and we know that.
Have a great day