Day 1 is a VERY busy day. What was I thinking when I made all these appointments?
Today is the opening day of SHOT Show. Very excited to see what's new, who's new, and what exciting products are being shown for the first time. Our store assistant manager Mat is attending the show with me this year to get intense Sports Optics training. He has decades experience on the camera side of the business and now he's learning the Sports Optics side as well. Glad to have him along for this adventure.
Our first meeting was over at Vortex. Seems I kick off SHOT Show every year with Vortex. Gets my week off to a great start.
The new products that were announced are very exciting.....
"The Razor® HD AMG™ @ $2499.99 is the culmination of several years of careful research and testing and is made right at Vortex Optics in Middleton, WI.
From precision long-range shooting and tactical applications, to maximizing effective range on open-landscape western hunts, the Razor HD AMG is the ideal riflescope for an extremely wide range of shooting scenarios. At just 28.8 oz, it's the lightest weight, full-featured long-range riflescope on the market - putting it in a class of its own.
Unique to this Vortex scope, it is 100% made in the USA. Every component, from the Type III hard-anodized body, to the smallest screw even the index-matched lenses are made in America. If you're looking for a top-tier long-range precision riflescope, look no further than the Razor HD AMG.
"The Golden Eagle HD @ $1499.99 is the perfect scope for bench rest and F-class competition shooters and comes with an impressive array of accessories."
Specifically designed for long-range, known-distance target shooting, such as bench rest and F-class. This match-ready scope features a 4x optical zoom, side focus, generous eye relief, and a ruggedly constructed single-piece main tube.
Competitive shooters require a very specific set of features to stay ahead of the competition, and The Golden Eagle hits the mark (pun intended). The 15-60x magnification, fine reticle, and resolute increments of adjustment are perfect for fine tuning that perfect shot. Plus, the relatively light weight29.5 oz.allows shooters to adhere to strict competition weight limits.
They also added a Hunting Version of their top end glass, the Razor HD LH (Light Hunter 1" Tube) Riflescope
This will be available in:
3-15x42 ($899.99), 2-10x40 (799.99) and a 1.5-8x32 ($749.99).
These scopes feature these new Reticles:
HSR-4 RETICLE (MOA)
The HSR-4 Reticle (MOA is an ideal reticle for those who want enough information to utilize personalized ballistics, but prefer a clean look. A fine crosshair, coupled with MOA based hash-marks (2 MOA spacing), promotes fast and accurate shots from close to extended ranges.
G4 BDC (MOA) RETICLE
Combining a target dot for pinpoint aiming,BDC hash-marks for longer range shots, and hints of the classic German Number 4, the new G4 BDC is the perfect blend of features and functionality. Slightly heavier subtensions make it easy to pick up in low light conditions. Simple, versatile, effective—that’s the G4 BDC.
In the Crossfire II series they added a 2-7x32 Scout V-Plex #CF2-31002 Riflescope which will sell for only $149.99. "With an incredibly generous 9.45” eye relief to accommodate forward mounting, and a 2-7 zoom range, the Vortex Scout Scope is the perfect optic for any job you and your scout rifle want to throw at it." I think they've got a winner here.
An item I am VERY Excited about is the Ranger 1500 Laser Rangefinder . "Primary HCD (Horizontal Component Distance) mode provides an angle-compensated distance reading. Three brightness settings let you customize the illuminated readout to accommodate varying light conditions."
After years of success with their Ranger 1000 they have released a longer range addition at $479.99. This is a product I have been hoping for.
The Diamondback Binocular Line has once again been updated and refreshed. With sizes:
8x28, 10x28, 8x32, 10x32, 8x42, 10x42, 10x50 & 12x50 ranging from $139.99-$259.99 these binoculars are perfect for anyone and everyone. In it's price class I feel this will be a go to product for value and quality.
To the popular Raptor Binocular Series they added a Raptor 10x32 for $99.99. Personally I can take or leave this new addition. In all my years selling binoculars the 10x32 is the least asked for size. It's a nice glass and for $100.00 bucks you can't go wrong but a 10x32, why?
As a side note, we extended our agreement on the Viper 6.5-20x44 BDC reticle riflescopes at $299.99 which has been a huge success.
We also picked up a deal on their Diamondback 8x42 Binocular for only $149.99 reduced from $219.99
Something rare in the industry also happened....On their very popular series Kaibab 15x56 and 20x56 Binoculars Vortex reduced the prices by $100.00. Yes, reduced I am excited to report.
For those of you who have been frustrated about availability of their Razor Gen II series riflescopes, fret no more. The 4.5-27x56's will flow steadily to us this year so please feel free to place orders as they will be delivered in a most timely fashion.
Lastly, they just announced a Defender Flip-Cap series and for the month of February we will include these at no charge with every Viper PST riflescope order.
Stop # 2 of the morning was with Leica. I always enjoy this meeting as I am friends with all the guys here. It's more catching up and the like than a meeting (at least to me).
We started our meeting with a long discussion about customer service and they are spearheading some major changes that I feel will make them a customer service leader. I was very pleased the way this discussion went.
I got to check out the new Leica Trinovid HD binoculars
10x42 @ $999.00
8x42 @ $949.00
For the money they are great, IMO a "Best Buy" under $1000.00. I'm not thrilled that they are replacing the Trinovid and are called HD as the new name lead me to believe they would be an improved version of the Trinovid they have replaced and that is not the case. They are an excellent optic, however, I feel that the Trinovid was slightly superior.
Along this same line of "Leica reduces prices" is their new Leica Geovid -R Series Rangefinder Binoculars. These are available in Yards or Meter specific and range in price from $1749.00 for the 8x42's, $1799.00 for the 10x42's, $2199.00 for the 8x56 (I've never seen the appeal of the 8x56) and $2499.00 for the 15x56's.
Great price point as I was getting embarrassed quoting people close to and over $3000.00 for a premium rangefinder binocular. These are worth a look for sure.
Once again I looked at and was very impressed by their line of riflescopes, however, since the ones that impressed me last year ran into some issues and could not be delivered I think I will hold off on getting excited about these until they are released. What can I say, I'm jaded.
They did say they do expect the 3-15x56, 2-10x50 and 4-20x50's in both 4A and Plex by early Spring.
As usual we purchased the contents of their SHOT Show booth so we will have all kinds of deals on as new display goods in the next couple of weeks.
Off to Zeiss for the next meeting. I have been very curious about how this meeting would go.
A Quick history. I became very good friends with their Director of Sales a few years back. We grew the business by working together and we became one of the largest independent Zeiss dealers in the USA. He then left to pursue other things. His replacement was from outside the optics industry and was a mystery to me. We met at SHOT a few years ago and started to develop a working business relationship. Things were moving along nicely and right before this past Christmas I received an e-mail that he was leaving the company. So, here I am again, walking into a meeting knowing my rep (who is also new to me as of October or November) and meeting the new guy in charge.
I was very happily impressed with the new head of Sports Optics Marketing. Tom seems to be serious about similar objectives as well as willing to do what needs to get done to maintain Zeiss as a top brand.
I was shown the new New Victory V8 Riflescopes. These are now their elite top of the line, very impressive scopes. These V8's
Priced from $2599.99 - $3699.99 they are for a select market, however, they do have the finest optics and construction which I have come to expect from a top of the line Zeiss. Set for release in early Spring I look forward to this addition to the Zeiss line-up. I'd like to think they will be worth every penny and will earn the right for folks to think "I could have had a V8" (I'm sorry, I couldn't resist)
Next up is Hawke Optics . A new brand for us. The local rep came by our new store a few times, seems like a nice enough person who is upbeat and excited about their line of optics. He brought in some samples which looked to be quality both optically as well as construction so we arranged to meet and discuss becoming a dealer. After meeting with him as well as the "boss" we decided to sign up and become a dealer.
They have a lifetime warranty.
Offer both Tactical as well as Hunting lines of Riflescopes (all of which are airgun rated), and Crossbow scopes.
Their Frontier Line Of Riflescopes
2.5-15x50 SF @ $629.99 & 5-30x50 SF @ $699.99 are home runs. 6x zoom, parallax correction down to 10 yards and 30mm tube. These appear to be $1000.00 scopes at a fraction of that cost.
Next I went to go see Roger at Bushnell . Roger has been our rep for as long as I can remember. Great guy, like a distant cousin at this point.
We've never been a huge Bushnell dealer, however, maybe this is the year that changes so off to their booth I went.
I was pleased to hear that their new warranty ( good on the following products: Trophy, Trophy Xtreme, Legend, Elite and Elite Tactical Riflescopes, Binoculars, and Spotting Scopes ) reads:
"We make them waterproof, fogproof, shockproof, trampled-by-an-ATV proof, and even bear-snack proof. Regardless if it got broken, busted, shattered, cracked or crushed. No matter what happens, the answer will always be, “YES, THAT’S COVERED.” It’s Bushnell’s absolute, everlasting pledge to honor your purchase with the security of our No Questions Asked Lifetime Warranty. We’re proud to guarantee your complete satisfaction, and promise to repair or replace your product and ship it back to you at absolutely no charge."
Very exciting and great news. Perhaps we need to start stocking some more Bushnell products. With this in mind we looked at their product line and arranged an extensive meeting for next week with our rep and his marketing manager to go over product.
Please send me some e-mails or PM's with your opinions of different Bushnell products and which items you'd like to see us carrying. Thanks
The past couple of years we have really expanded our business with Meopta.
If you recall last year we arranged an exclusive scope:
MeoPro 3.5-10x44 Z-Plex Reticle GDLE which we reduced in price from $649.99 to only $349.99 Yes, for those of you who know me and have figured it out GDLE stands for Gr8fulDoug Limited Edition. We are confirmed to continue to offer these scopes at that very low price which I think is great.
New this year at Meopta is 6 different versions of a 6.5-20x50 Meopro riflescope, ($949.99-$999.99).
"Meopta adds to its popular 1-inch MeoPro® riflescope line with the addition of the new 6.5-20x50 and 6.5-20x50 HTR (Hunt/Tactical/Range). Designed for long-range hunting and precision shooting, these scopes feature a powerful magnification range and side turret parallax adjustment. The MeoPro 6.5-20x50 is ideal for hunting predators, varmint or big game at long distances, and its HTR variant for long-range hunting, tactical applications and target shooting. Bench rest shooters will especially appreciate the precise tracking and superior resolution of this scope.
The MeoPro 6.5-20x50 is available with capped hunting turrets, and the MeoPro 6.5-20x50 HTR version features exposed target turrets. Four different reticle options are offered to meet a variety of shooters’ needs: Z-Plex, BDC, McWhorter HV and Windmax 8. These second focal plane reticles are non-magnifying thereby covering less of the target as power is increased.
“These new scopes are ideal for long-range shooters seeking accuracy and reliability,” said Reinhard Seipp, general manager and chief operating officer of Meopta USA. “The MeoPro 6.5-20x50 is an all-purpose, long-range scope that is an outstanding choice for hunting varmint, predators or big game while the HTR version, in addition to being a great hunting scope, is also excellent for tactical applications and target shooting when precision is paramount.”
Designed for the American hunter and assembled in Meopta’s Long Island, NY facility, MeoPro riflescopes deliver exceptional optical and mechanical performance. The 50mm objective lens, MeoBright™ multi-coated lenses and SCHOTT glass deliver unsurpassed clarity and high contrast for seeing detail from afar, while the brightness of this scope gives hunters extra precious minutes of shooting time in the low light of dawn and dusk when it matters most.
Made of rugged aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, this scope is built to withstand heavy recoil. Eye relief is constant at 3.5 inches and the quick-focus eyepiece ensures a crisp, clear and sharp image. This scope also features ¼ MOA windage and elevation adjustments and is waterproof, fogproof and shockproof. Like all Meopta optics, the MeoPro 6.5-20x50 and MeoPro 6.5-20x50 HTR are backed by Meopta’s North American Lifetime Transferrable Warranty."
In Tactical they introduced the ZD 6-24X56 2nd FP MilDot- II RED @ $1,799.99
With the introduction of these new scopes they discontinued their Meopro 6-18x50's so we snatched some up and reduced the price to:
Plex @ $599.99, BDC & MilDot down to $669.99
I wandered around for a while looking at different products and came accross UST (Ultimate Survival). They have some awesome flashlights, knives, and assorted small accessory items that I believe we will bring into the store. Great "must have" gear that impressed us at very low prices.
I cannot believe I scheduled so many meetings for the first day. Never again. Remembering from last years show how great it felt on my dried out throat I stopped on the way back to my room for an ice cream cone. I went with Cheesecake flavor. Great choice.
I started my day at Swarovski. It's always a great idea to start the day with good friends, which are the folks at Swarovski.
As I'm sure you're aware Swarovski revamped their Swarovision EL Series of Binoculars at the end of 2015. Great optics that once again are greater than the series they replaced.
For those of you interested they released a CL Companion Polaris Edition Binocular 8x30 and 10x30. These come with a Water Repellent roll top bag, floatation and wrist strap and (are you ready) are a Blue rubber armour. I guess this is geared towards the boating and Arctic adventurer crowd.
The other late year release was the X5i 3.5-18x50 and X5i 5-25x56 riflescopes. Great scopes that are worth taking a peek at. Great optics (as we have all grown to expect from Swarovski) and a precision scope make this a wonderful addition to their line-up.
The next meeting I was really looking forward to. My buddy (you remember, the past Director of Sales for Zeiss) was meeting me over at the Trijicon booth. Years ago we stopped carrying Trijicon as it was frustrating. They constantly had backorder issues and we were the ones dealing with disappointed customers. They made a great product but seemed to always have a 4-12 week wait to get things. Tony asked for a meeting saying things are much better so off I went to meet him. Seems like most of the bugs have been ironed out and we plan to meet again next month to see what we can do. Please stay tuned.
Carson has wanted us to become a dealer for a while now. Last year we brought in their Universal Smartphone Optics Adapter which has been a great item so we are now looking to expand further into their product line.
They had a very nice 15-45x60mm spotter that comes with a case and tabletop tripod which we will be bringing in. We worked it out that we can offer it for only $159.99. Overall we feel this is a fantastic value.
Down the aisle from Carson is ScopeCoat so we stopped in here to place an order and see what was new. ScopeCoat is a small priced way to protect your optics. "Its simple design safe guards optics for any kind of scope from dings, scratches, dust, dirt, and moisture. The shock-absorbing Neoprene pulls moisture and condensation away from your scope and helps protect it from the elements."
They had a few new products, one of which is a Slideboot to protect your pistol. Great idea and for $19.99 well worth it.
For the third year in a row I was going to Steiner to meet another unfamiliar face. I REALLY want to do more business with them as I feel they offer a great product at reasonable prices, however, it is difficult building a business relationship with ever changing people.
So, I met Steve, who seems to be excited about their products and extremely pumped up about their new P4Xi series 1-4x24 close-combat scope with 30mm tube, generous FOV and new P3TR reticle for fast target aquisition. IMO, @ $579.99 they have hit a home run. They say late Spring/early Summer delivery.
Next was their new HX Series 15x56 binocular @ $1199.99. This looks like a great optic and I am guessing price point to compete with the Vortex Kaibab. It had a great image, however, I was inside a convention center and not in a great place to really check them out.
We also discussed us buying open box goods and it looks as if we have struck a deal. Very exciting meeting.
As you may know, or maybe not, I am affiliated with Pelagic Outfitters which is a specialty offshore fishing tackle shop. Our Daiwa rep called me last week and informed me he is now representing NiteSite and asked me to stop in and take a look. From their web site "At NiteSite we design and manufacture patented night vision products for hunting, security, and zero light observation.
We utilise infrared in a unique way to make our products more affordable, reliable and user friendly than traditional light amplification technologies. Our products deliver crisp, ultra-clear night vision, regardless of ambient light conditions.
The true beauty of a NiteSite is that it converts your day scope (there’s no need to remove it) into a powerful night vision system that is quick and simple to set up."
A very interesting product. Please take a look at their site and let me know your thoughts, we'd appreciate it.
Next in the area of "new to us" is a meeting with Fuji. We have been an authorized Fuji camera dealer for years, however, we have never even looked at their Sports Optics. Right after New years our Fuji rep came into the store and discussed their binoculars with me and I agreed to a meeting here at SHOT. They have one small offering that is not much different than most other made in China roof prism's. We chatted and agreed to meet again once they expand their line.
My fiance saw some cool items at a booth under the name Ultimate Survival Technologies so we stopped to take a look.
After checking out their offerings we picked up:
10 Day Lantern: "The 10 DAY™ Duro Lantern is a bright, clean light with up to 250 lumens. It runs 10 days continuously on Low and runs 26 hours continuously on High. Its impact-resistant rubberized housing and unbreakable lifetime LED make this lantern strong enough for the most rugged adventures" This is a must have item for every home and outting. One should be kept in every kit bag as well as your car. For only $39.99 it is the greatest light I've seen.
Para Survival Light: "The Para Survival Light by UST is so much more than just a LED Flashlight. It has up to 320 lumens of light and the light beam can be focused from wide to narrow. The paracord wrapped handle can be unwound in an emergency situation to provide over 7 feet (2m) of useful all-purpose heavy-duty cord." What a great flashlight to always take along and @ $29.99 it's a no brainer.
I got my after show ice cream cone, Birthday Cake flavor today. It hit the spot.
My day started just walking the show and seeing what was being offered and what items would be a good fit for us. We took some catalogs, met some good people and will be revisiting some companies possibly.
We stopped at Schmidt & Bender and caught up a bit. I have a great relationship with a couple of people over there so we visited for a while. Worked on a demo program for us and will have a fresh demo list in the next week or two.
Next up was Nikon. As reported in years past (We, as a Camera dealer, have been authorized Nikon dealers since we opened in 1957. As a camera dealer Nikon will not allow us to carry any item considered a "hunting/shooting" item. This means we cannot carry their riflescopes or non-golf rangefinders. Nikon camera division, which I understand to be 90% of the company, is not pro hunting and will not allow their cameras sold along side their hunting products which means we cannot carry them. Makes no sense to me but they did not ask my opinion.)
They have a new Prostaff 3 Roof Prism binocular available in 8x42 and 10x42 for just over $100.00 that I think will become a very popular optic.
I was looking forward to my next meeting with Minox. Last year I met the new guy in charge. We did not really interact much this past year and I feel this has affected our business with them. I went into this meeting to change this and get back to being the powerhouse Minox dealer we have been in years past.
The MD-88 Spotting scope they showed last year is finally available and IMO was worth the wait. At $1799.99 it is above what you'd expect from Minox, however, when you look thru it you'd expect to pay more. Very nicely done.
Their new ZX5 Riflescopes in:
are now available and are a nice upgrade from the ZA-5's that they have replaced.
I went by the Kowa booth. In the past few years we lost our rep from them and have kinda not paid attention to their optics line. This was upsetting as they have some fantastic spotters and a few nice binoculars. We had a long meeting and we will be a full stocking dealer once again. We will keep you posted.
Saving one of the best for days end, Leupold was next. I was both curious and excited to see what was new. After they closed the door on the VX-3 series of riflscopes at year end I knew this would be a great meeting.
I was so not disappointed. What a fantastic meeting and great closer for this SHOT Show for me.
The VX-3 is no more, however, born is the new VX-3i (i standing for improved). They are now making this scope with improved optics, 100% right in Oregon and have lowered the price of them as well. The 3.5-10x40 Duplex has dropped from VX-3 @ $499.99 to the improved VX-3i @ $399.99.
"Versatile magnification ranges and an attractive new look make the Leupold VX-3i riflescopes ideal for virtually any hunting situation. The aggressively redesigned power selector is easy to grasp and turn and allows the shooter to quickly verify the power setting even with gloved hands. The Twilight Max Light Management System delivers the highest average light transmission in all colors with emphasis on the blue and red portions of the light spectrum for exceptional low light performance and contrast in all conditions. Edge blackened lenses reduce diffusion and glare to improve resolution and contrast. Second generation Argon/Krypton gas more effectively resists thermal shock and the dual spring precision adjustment system ensures match grade repeatability and strength. Top it all off with DiamondCoat 2™ external lens coatings for scratch resistance and you can see why the VX-3i is the first, last, and only name in riflescopes. As always, each Leupold Gold Ring riflescope is factory tested to be the ultimate in ruggedness, reliability and absolute waterproof integrity. Covered by the Leupold Full Lifetime Guarantee."
With the improved optics they have added 10 minutes more viewing ability at dawn and dusk which is HUGE.
I, of course, had to ask how they managed to make it better and lower the price. Not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, but come on. I was told if it's too good to be true it usually is. Made 100% in the USA, Better for less, really?
They explained to me that they have cut the offering of different model versions in half which can allow for more efficient manufacturing and they have passed that savings on to they loyal clients. AWESOME.
Next exciting news, which we were thrilled about, is the agreement to make some exclusive optics for us. More details to follow shortly but hopefully you'll be as excited as we are.
Being this was my last meeting you know by now where I went. Today was a rerun of yesterday, Birthday cake flavor as yesterdays was so great.
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
Thank you for your continued support.
If there is anything else that I can assist you with please let me know.
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