These under the radar brands at SHOT Show 2014 are destined for success.
Sure, the Smith & Wesson exhibit was crowded. The Benelli exhibit resembled a small town. Everyone and their mother wanted to see what Realtree was showing off.
But really, it was the under the radar brands, the slightly lesser-known but growing companies, that intrigued us the most. Their booths may have been a little smaller, but the crowds eventually showed up, interested in whatever new, different or flat out effective products they had to offer.
Start the slide show by clicking the arrows to the right, and if you’ve never heard of these brands before, well, remember where you read about them first.
1. Polycase Ammunition
Polycase Ammunition is out of Savannah, Georgia, where their bullet manufacturing processes are revolutionizing the industry. For generations, bullets were created using cold forming with lead and brass. That leads to heavy machinery, high material costs and, as the government believes, potentially hazardous waste.
Enter Polycase and their injection molding process, which uses polymer casings as an alternative to brass, steel and aluminum. What they’ve come up with is a light, efficient, accurate, and corrosion-free ammunition. The materials used are as green as can be, with no manufacturing byproducts and reduced CO2 emissions as compared to metal cases.
Of course, you’re going to ask (as we did), do they perform? The answer is a resounding yes, and if the buzz around the Polycase exhibit at SHOT Show 2014 is any indication, they’re going to need to move to a bigger booth for future events.
One of the most technologically advanced products at SHOT Show 2014 was the Kodiak Industries Intelligun, a set of grips and spring housing with a fingerprint locking system with no need for additional keys, codes or watches to operate.
Pick up the gun, and the fingerprint sensor authorizes and unlocks in less than a second. Set it down, and the gun automatically locks and is rendered useless. You can authorize other users, allowing their fingerprints to pass the scan and the gun to unlock, but if you are worried about children, home invaders or other safety concerns, you’re likely to sleep better with an Intelligun in your possession.
“It fits any full size 1911 firearm,” said Bill Gentry, President of Kodiak, when we spoke with him at SHOT Show 2014. “So we’re not interfering with any custom springs, triggers, hammers, or anything that you might have on the gun. We’re taking a gun that is well over 100 years old, and bringing it into the 21st Century.”
Alps Outdoorz displayed their backpacks and other gear at SHOT Show 2014, eager to emerge beyond the better-known brands and establish themselves as a major player. The Trail Blazer AP pack, shown here, holds a bow or gun securely, and has all the bells and whistles we’ve come to expect from a hunting pack.
Sleeping bags and a great line of chairs and stools (meant for both in the blind and around the campfire) round out Alps’ offerings, and we’re certain the Missouri-based company is setting itself up for more success in the future. Consumer-driven products, specialized design and extremely competitive prices add up to a winning formula, and Alps is pulling it off.
The products from Vanguard may not be entirely new, and you may have even heard of their shooting sticks and gear bags. But the eye catchers at SHOT Show 2014 were their line of binoculars, which were really impressive.
Great specs and great prices mean Vanguard is doing something right. Their lightweight and versatile designs are a nice addition to any hunting trip, and their attention to detail has made the difference, setting them apart from the better-known names in the space.
The folks at 5.11 Tactical started off making gear for law enforcement and military personnel, but have since branched out into the outdoors with a great line of apparel known as “Storm Grey.” The brand is continuing to plant itself as a mainstay in the space, with even more products rolling out in the near future.
True Timber Camouflage
True Timber Camo is competing with some of the biggest names in the business, but they’re doing so considerably better than other companies that pop onto the scene. Licensing their patterns to uncommon brands, like Titan UTVs and Raven Lawnmowers, they’re able to get their camouflage out in front of plenty of eyes.
From a humble image of the ground beneath the eventual CEO’s deer blind, to an emerging brand ready to burst into the mainstream, True Timber is a representative of the growing industry. They’re currently creating more than 10 variations of the most realistic camouflage patterns, offering hunters better concealment and versatility.
Among the wide selection of firearm brands at SHOT Show 2014 was Olympic Arms, sharing some of their latest and greatest with the gigantic crowds. They make AR-15s, M16s, carbines and pistols. Around since 1975, the company is establishing themselves as a trustworthy and valuable manufacturer.
Olympic produces all of their own firearm parts exclusively in their own facilities, something becoming increasingly important to today’s outdoors consumer. While you may have heard of Olympic before today, you’re likely to hear more soon.
Outdoor Edge Cutlery provides hunters with every single item needed to get game from the field to the dinner table with their wide range of blades, knives and other tools. They had plenty on display at SHOT Show, and the complete offering of instructional DVDs and how to help makes them the ideal company to look for when you’re in need of some assistance.
From their Swing Blade series to their complete Butcher Kits, Outdoor Edge is giving hunters the kind of tools we always need. Outdoor Edge’s sponsorship connection with “Love of the Hunt TV” put them on the map, and their products and service will keep them there.
When it comes to coolers, many people believe in one brand and one brand only. Esky, a creation of the folks at Coleman, is looking to change that.
Great ice retention figures and a ton of cool features make Esky a force to be reckoned with. An integrated cutting board on top of some styles, plus catch-free rubber latches make the coolers must-haves for anglers or hunters alike. Oh, did you need durability reassurance? Thick-wall polyethylene and UV inhibitors withstand bumps and heat just as well if not better than competitors. Plus, they’re all covered by a nice 6-year warranty. Watch for Esky to be a constant in fishing boats and hunting camps soon.
One of the fastest growing sectors of the outdoors industry is wild game attractants, and Mossy Oak’s BioLogic is breaking free from the pack. A partnership with Big Game International has led to their new Addiction Deer Dust and BioRock, an innovative new way to give the herds in your area the missing nutrients they need to thrive.
Providing more than just the typical food plot seeds, BioLogic is making some of the most scientifically-proven products you can attract deer with. They’re also focusing on waterfowl and upland birds, giving hunters of any kind something to add to their arsenal.