It’s common sense that most industries thrive on innovation; the firearm industry might be the best example of that statement. In recent years, it felt like firearm innovation has been at a standstill. However, 2018 felt a little different.
Looking back at everything released in 2018, it appears manufacturers put their thinking caps on and tried some new things. Some you might agree are innovative, some you might say are a gimmick and some you might just say, “Why the hell would anyone ever buy that?”
You don’t have to agree with our choices, but there were a lot of things to like in 2018 as far as firearm innovation is concerned. We’re genuinely looking forward to seeing even more in 2019. Part of that excitement is likely because we have the inside track on several embargoed products that are truly revolutionary. Don’t worry, you’ll be the first to find out as soon as we can release the information. But for now, let’s check out our favorites from 2018.
Hornady’s new 300 PRC Cartridge (Precision Rifle Cartridge), which is claimed to surpass the performance of the tried-and-true .300 Winchester Magnum and .308 Norma Magnum. The performance, which we saw first hand at the 2018 Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous, isn’t exaggerated. Don’t believe us? It was good enough for the U.S. Department of Defense. The DoD awarded Barrett a contract to provide an undisclosed number of MRAD rifle systems chambered in 300 PRC. For information, please visit Hornady.com.
Remington aficionados will remember the XP-100 bullpup bolt-action pistol that still has its cult following. The 700CP (Chassis Pistol) is looking to pick up where that pistol left off. It is a true bolt action, but with a pistol grip and a short barrel. The barrel comes in two different lengths, depending upon which of the three calibers it is chambered for. The .308 model has a 12.5-inch barrel, while the .223 and .300 AAC Blackout models have a 10.5-inch barrel. For more information, please visit Remington.com.
Umarex Hammer .50-Caliber Airgun
The long-anticipated Hammer is an American-made, regulated PCP in .50 caliber that can deliver over 700 foot-pounds of energy. It is currently the most powerful production airgun on the market. Operating on 4,500 psi stored in the onboard carbon-fiber cylinder, the 2-shot, magazine-fed bolt action can give two full-power shots using up to a 550-grain slug. For more information, UmarexUSA.com.
Mossberg 590M 20-Round Mag
Mossberg released its 590M mag-fed shotgun at SHOT Show 2018. Available with optional five, 10, 15 and 20-round capacity mags, the options of use are endless. We’re focusing on that big ol’ 20-round magazine. Think about it: 20 rounds of 12-gauge, pump-action beauty. Does it get better? We kid, but Mossberg will likely answer that question in the affirmative and come out with a 30-round mag. For more information, please visit Mossberg.com.
The EXPS2 is one of EOTech’s latest entries in its line of holographic optics. It’s a much more compact form factor as the company utilizes a CR123 battery within a transverse battery compartment at the front of the sight. This frees up a good amount of real-estate on the user’s rail for easier mounting and the addition of other accessories. EOTech released the new green-reticle model due to the many requests received from customers and because of, well, science. Due to how the human eye is configured, it is more attuned to shades of green than any other color. EOTech also has its XPS2 Green, for a different take on the green reticle. For more information, please visit EOTechGear.com.
A lot of noise was made in 2018 about this little package that’s still pretty big, if that makes sense. Micro-sized pistols present two inevitable design challenges: Reduced ammo capacity and poor handling during live fire. But for SIG Sauer, these hurdles proved surmountable — hence the P365. The difference with this micro? The P365 features a capacity of 10+1 rounds (9mm Luger). It easily outguns many similar size pistols that top out at 7+1. For more information, please visit SigSauer.com.
Federal Premium announced its .224 Valkyrie in 2017, but it officially hit the market in 2018 and, appropriately, took off with a head full of steam. Shooters immediately embraced this long-range precision round and manufacturers were more than happy to oblige with dozens of offerings. Expect this trend to continue in 2019. For more information, please visit FederalPremium.com.
Trijicon MRO Green
Trijicon’s MRO has been a hit from Day One, and rightfully so. But shooters were clamoring for a green version. As previously mentioned above, green is easier on the eyes and seen more easily in daylight. Ask and ye’ shall receive. Trijicon stepped up once again in the illuminated sight world providing yet another top notch choice for anyone in need of a proven sight. For more information, please visit Trijicon.com.
Henry Big Boy All-Weather
Henry Repeating Arms introduced the Big Boy All-Weather in 2017 after seeing the tremendous success of its .30-30 and .45-70 rifles with the All-Weather treatment. Though the original Henry Big Boy features a brass receiver, the All-Weather gun uses a steel receiver, and both it and the barrel are plated with an industrial hard chrome to provide plenty of corrosion resistance, giving this rifle the ability to stand up to the elements or long periods of inattention while it sits in a truck. The version you see here features some serious upgrades, including the Midwest Industries M-LOK handguard, Trijicon RMR and Crimson Trace Rail Master Pro. For more information, please visit HenryUSA.com.
Mossberg’s 500, 590 and Shockwave are a given for home defense. You know what makes them even more reliable for home defense? A laser sight. Queue Crimson Trace. Available in both red and green laser versions, Crimson Trace announced its Lasersaddle in October. The Lasersaddle fits closely over the top of the receiver. Installation is a simply do-it-yourself job. The sights secure at the sides using existing pin holes and along the top with the existing screw holes used to mount a Picatinny rail. In fact, users can install the rail on top of the saddle without adding much to its overall height. For more information, please visit CrimsonTrace.com.