Updated: Feb 25, 2020
SHOT Show is an annual trade show in Las Vegas that brings together thousands of people and hundreds of vendors in the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor industries. It fills the Sands Expo center and gives your legs a workout. While we weren’t able to see everything at SHOT Show 2020, there were a number of items that we felt lend themselves to airsoft and realistic military simulations. We'll break from our usual style of posts to give you some insight into the gear we saw.
*Full disclosure - we received a demo model of the LazerBrite light, but we haven't received any compensation from any company for featuring them below.*
Zello continues to be one of the primary communications tools we use to reach across wide areas. However, finding reliable accessories to fully utilize Zello on cellphones is still a problem. One of the most interesting communications products we saw was OTTO Communications' new REVO RC2. This Bluetooth 5.0 speaker mic works with Zello and other PTT radio apps, and includes military standard dust and water resistance. The REVO RC2 comes with optional 2.5mm and 3.5mm sealed port for an earbud.
OTTO’s RC2 is likely comparable to AINA’s PTT Voice Responder, but with a more military-style and form factor. It’s exciting to see new communications equipment companies entering the network radio market with quality products. We added them to our article on Zello Accessories for Military Simulations as items to watch.
In other communications news, we had solid conversations with Pryme and TEA to discuss the need for a reliable dual communications solution that merges UHF radios with Zello. We’ll add details to this post as our engineering conversations develop.
Operations Centers are going to appreciate the products offered up by SpyPoint and by Pelatron technologies.
SpyPoint is a trail camera company well known to hunters. One of their recent developments is a cellular data enabled camera. These cameras come with a preactivated SIM card that allows the camera to send pictures to the user’s app instantly. With the Link-Micro starting at about $250 CAD, this tech becomes an affordable option for remote monitoring of trails and target areas.
While a number of vendors were displaying this technology at SHOT 2020, there are two features of the SpyPoint camera that make it attractive. First, the app can have multiple hunters which means you can send notifications and photos to multiple operation center personnel or to assets in the field. The second is their free pricing option. If you use less than 100 photos, there is no monthly charge for the cell plan.
Pelatron Technologies provided a really exciting glimpse into their location tracking tech. Airsoft and military simulation has long been seeking a reliable and easy tool to show friendly units and waypoints. Pelatron has developed an app that allows it to see any cellphone logged in to the system. This data is viewable on any of the phones, as well as on a desktop app for the operations center. The extra bonus is an augmented reality system built into the app. The same cell phones can be used to overlay friendly locations and waypoints onto the real world using the camera. Pelatron is also in the development of hardware that enables a heads up display for goggle systems.
There’s a lot of nylon and gadgets at SHOT Show. One of the things we enjoyed was a product by LazerBrite. Developed by people who felt the Krill Light wasn’t effective enough, the LazerBrite light is a modular flashlight glowstick. Each device comes with two coloured heads and a series of different tubes and domes that create different lighting solutions. Do you need a small marking beacon for personnel? Pair a solid or flashing head with a small dome. Need a focused light? Pair a head with a single tube.
We were most excited about the Iris Light Control Tube. This blackout tube has a rotating barrel that allows you to output a spectrum from zero to full value light simply by twisting. It’s a great solution to hiding under a poncho to turn on your headlamp. The form factor is bigger than your standard Krill Light, and we think that if they’re able to reduce the size of their lights, they will be a no-brainer piece of kit.
There was no booth for gear manufacturer IC13, but their kit showed up in the displays at Otte Gear. IC13 has been building the INVRT - a low profile modular magazine bandolier for about a year. The standard kit includes space for two mags, a proprietary medical pouch, and a single pistol mag pouch. You can custom build your own, or just buy the bandolier. The PALS webbing will let you incorporate your choice of pouches onto the platform. During some of our low profile operations, we struggled to gear up quickly upon entry to a site. We mused about using a bandolier pulled from a bag and this is the first product we’ve seen to fit that bill.
Speaking of low profile operations, another challenge we encountered was how to move a primary weapon into a site without drawing any attention. A company called Saviour Equipment has a clean and attractive solution. Saviour builds hard plastic guitar cases with customizable foam on the inside. They were on display at a SHOT Show party held by Grayman and Company filled with some of H&Ks finest.
Finally, if you have ever struggled with the smell of your gear, it turns out a product originally developed for athletes is making a play for the tactical market. Gear Halo produces deodorizers that drop into your gear bag (or boots!) and suck out the stink. We shared this with our regular participants and some of them had already been using them. Their response was a ton of praise and confirmation that they no longer have an odour problem with their gear.
Hawaiian shirts are trendy. You can already purchase your favourite floral designs laced with ARs or Carl Gustav launchers. But if you want something more subtle you can go to Otte Gear.
Their limited edition Aloha Now shirts are copies of tiger stripe camo but looking closer you’ll find the silhouette of PBRs, F4 Phantoms, B52s on arc light runs, and the ubiquitous Huey. It’s hard not to love the way they look.