DKX Body Armor

There are quite a few “Made in America” companies at the ShotShow and it’s nice to see some high quality, smartly-designed products from many of these outfits. DKX Technologies, based in North Dakota, designs, manufactures, tests and sells NIJ-certified (National Institute of Justice) polymer fiber body armor plates. Pictured below is one of their foam-backed plates which provides both useful buoyancy and reduces the felt impact from bullet impact – broken bones can occur even if traditional body armor isn’t penetrated.

DKX_Floating_armor

Most people think only of Dupont Kevlar, the aramid polymer fiber, for “bullet proof” garments but as expected in the world of free enterprise, there are not only competing brands of aramid but also several PolyEthylene polymer fiber body armor brands. One of these is Dyneema, a UHMwPE which is the “world’s strongest fiber.” Both types of fibers are also used in other high strength fabric, rope and fiber-reinforced composite applications.

So which is “better”? Sorry, but it “depends” – aramid is denser and has greater heat resistance but UHMwPE is lighter and stronger. “UHMw” stands for Ultrahigh Molecular weight and “PE for PolyEthylene.” Think of low molecular weight polymer as a bunch of short 1×2 LEGO bricks. Each molecule is represented by a single brick – kinda tough to make anything strong with that. Medium weight is like 1×4. Ultrahigh is like 1 x 100″bricks. Now polymer chemists would give me grief for implying that the molecules lock together and that it’s more like pellet pasta vs spaghetti strands.

Besides the aramid and UHMwPE, there are also metal and ceramic armor plates. Perhaps the main drawback of these materials is that there is significant deflection (ricochet) of the bullet, either whole or as fragments, which can continue to travel at high speed and hit the head, arms, other body parts, as well as other people or gear. Polymer fiber body armor usually encapsulates and stops the bullet. DKX had some test panels that absorbed 5.56 mm hits from just 7 meters!

DKX receives the Dyneema as rolls of fabric, waterjet cuts it to size and then forms, presses and coats the armor panels. They are available with or without the buoyancy foam and come in various geometries and NIJ ballistic ratings. Check out DKXarmor.com for more details and some interesting testing videos.

 

Dillon Aero M134 Gatling Gun

M134
M134

The Dillon Aero booth is on the must visit list for many SHOT Show regulars.  It is for me.  They always have some cool videos running and their give away calendar is pretty popular too.  They have an M134 Gatling (7.62 x 51) on static display and a steady stream of posing and picture taking.  This year I learned that the minigun scenes in “Act of Valor” are the most realistic M134 depictions in Hollywood movies.  Basically, the firing rate is not throttled down – you really shouldn’t be able to hear or distinguish individual shots fired – they should all blend together into a beautiful roar.  I also learned that there are different “gear heads” that determine the cyclic rate. I think I heard 7000, 6000 and 3000 RPM (rounds per minute) and maybe a 4000?  And I was informed that the US Coast Guard has the M134 – I pity the fool who does not do as instructed when one of these is pointed in the general direction…

http://www.dillonaero.com/content/p/9/pid/1/catid/1/Standard_M134D

Colt Gatling Gun

Colt_10_barrel

This gleaming brass beauty was on proud display at the Colt booth.  So everybody knows what a Gatling gun is right?  The US Civil War era multi-barrel rotary gun with the hand crank.  It starred in that great scene in the movie “Rooster Cogburn” with  John Wayne & Katharine Hepburn.  And of course it is the ancestor to the current day multi-thousand cyclic rate rotary guns.  A few years ago Colt introduced a 5 barrel 1877 vintage replica Gatling gun and they brought one to SHOT Show Range Day along with at least 5000 rounds of 45-70 ammo.  I had the pleasure of shooting 20 rounds that day.  This year Colt had a 10 barrel version at the SHOT Show which received loads of admiring looks.

So what’s involved in owning one?  US Federal regs place it in the same category as regular rifles so if your local laws aren’t stupid and you can legally buy guns, if you have the cash you’re good to go.  How much cash?  $50k for the 5 barrel and $57k for the 10 barrel.  I wonder if people who own these guns keep track of how much they spend on ammo and if they have some kind ceremony when they have fired as much ammo as the gun cost?  A bit of Jethro Bodine finger cypher’in says this could be done in a day – theoretically an hour even.  The loading system for this gun is very elegant and simple.  There is a tall feeding bar with 2 open gravity feed slots and when one side is empty, a gate switches to the other.  New rounds can be quickly placed via 20 round blocks or even individually.

The Colt Rep. said that 45-70 tracer rounds are available in red, white and blue.  Sounds like a 4th of July plan of action!    http://www.colt.com/Catalog/SpecialEditions/1877BulldogGatlingGun.aspx

 

 

Taurus Curve

 

Taurus Curve
Taurus Curve

This integrated conceal carry gun from Taurus has a lot of well considered features.  First, let’s get caliber out of the way – this gun is .380 ACP and I’m fine with that.  If you’re not, then I guess you can start your own gun company or wait and see if Taurus comes out with larger calibers.  The name “Curve” fits because the gun has a slight curve to fit the body more closely and reduce printing.    (I’ll be curious to see if they come out with a lefty version.)   It also has very rounded edges, an integral belt clip, laser and LED light.  Capacity is 6+1 and it weighs 10.1 oz unloaded.  It does not have traditional sights.  Trigger pull is 5-7 lb and double action only. The Curve is practically the same size and weight as the Ruger LCP.  At $392.42 MSRP it’s also just $3.42 more than the base LCP so it’s kind of like you’re getting the laser and light for free.  The integrated laser and light module will also significantly help with reducing printing at the barrel and muzzle.   www.TaurusUSA.com

Stealth Gunpowder – the 2015 SHOT Show Company to Watch!

Stealth Gunpowder is the company and product with the greatest potential that we saw at SHOT Show 2015.
This very small company announced a flashless gunpowder that will practically eliminate the orange fire that comes out of most gun barrels.

Now Stealth Gunpowder hasn’t been getting a lot of love on the internet pre-SHOT Show.  Hey, I can appreciate and respect healthy skepticism, especially when just the internet is the source.  Here’s the thing, I got to meet 2 of the main people involved in person at SHOT and IMHO they are honest, straight up, salt of the earth guys who know the meaning of hard work.   That they are not slick or flashy leads me to believe their new gunpowder is also flashfree.  They don’t seem to be asking for money in advance so personally I’d give them way more credibility than most anything Kickstarter.  America needs more people like this.

They had an idea then started plugging away at making it a reality, got some help with the gunpowder chemistry stuff they didn’t know about, and *only* 16 years later they tell the world they have a gunpowder that has practically no flash and will also improve accuracy, reliability and barrel life.  I’ll agree these are pretty big claims and the burden of proof is on them.  Time will tell and it’s not costing me anything to give them the benefit of the doubt till this April when engineering samples are sent out and multiple independent firing test results come in.  You can see the details and video on their website  www.StealthGunpowder.com