While just about every firearm manufacturer was in Las Vegas showing off what they believed were the best guns from SHOT Show 2014, the Wide Open Spaces team devised this list of their favorite five.
There were a ton of debuts, some reinventions, and a lot of powerful firearms on display, and by the end of the week, narrowing the list down to 5 was easier said than done. Nonetheless, we chose these guns as the best of the SHOT Show for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the answer to this question: Would we buy it?
Winchester 1873 Short Rifle Case Hardened
Even with all of the modern technology dominating SHOT Show 2014 firearm construction, we still couldn't help but drool over "The gun that won the West," the Winchester Model '73 Short Rifle. The lever action rifle takes inspiration from the original, with a walnut grip stock and a steel loading gate for easy loading. A new firing pin and striker block add safety features they didn't have 140 years ago, but you'll still feel like you're holding an original, thanks to the classic look of the top tang and hammer, recognizable for anyone who knows their guns.
For more on the Model '73, check out WinchesterGuns.com.
Beretta A400 Xplor Action
When we stopped by Beretta's SHOT Show 2014 exhibit, Mountie Mizer agreed to talk us through some of their newest additions to their firearms. With a name like Mountie, we figured he knew his stuff. He did indeed, as he discussed the shotgun's similar features found in the Action family. The model he spoke to was the 28GA, but it is offered in 12GA and 20GA as well. An adjustable stock and MicroCore recoil pad gives it versatility and comfort, while the scaled receiver brings the total weight to right around 5 and a half pounds. We envisioned hitting the pond with this bad boy, and showing the ducks we mean business.
For more on the A400 Xplor Action, go to BerettaUSA.com.
A favorite of many of this year's SHOT Show attendees, the Benelli Ethos turned heads all week long. This lightweight semiautomatic shotgun has a sleek appearance and shoots like a dream. The stocks use Benelli's Progressive Comfort technology, which uses tiny polymer fingers that lean on each other with each shot, reducing recoil by more than 40 percent. The gun's Easy Locking System makes sure the bolt head locks with the slightest pressure.
For more on the Ethos, go to BenelliUSA.com/Ethos.
Doublestar Corp. Constant Carry Carbine (C3)
We weren't the only ones who recognized this fantastic AR from Doublestar; as it turns out, the Constant Carry Carbine (C3) won the Outdoor Channel's "Shooting Gallery" Award for the most significant AR platform. Touted as the ideal beginner's AR, the C3 weighs in at 5 and a half pounds, while still maintaining reliability and power. What's extra unique about the C3 is its 9-inch Evolution handguard, which uses light aluminum construction to allow for accessories to be added anywhere without the need for a full rail system. If you're ready to get into AR shooting, this is the no-brainer choice.
For more information on the C3, go to Star15.com.
Check out some more from SHOT Show 2014 here.
Desert Eagle Mark XIX
Easy on the eyes, the Desert Eagle Mark XIX that we saw at the Magnum Research, Inc. exhibit was insanely beautiful. If it weren't for the Mark XIX, we may not have included any handguns on this list of five. But, with the pop culture icon grabbing attention all week, we felt we should. And besides, who doesn't love a golden Desert Eagle? It would likely be one of those collection additions, and not exactly an everyday carry or trainer, but we'd still proudly display it to make our gun enthusiast friends more than jealous.
For more on the Desert Eagle Mark XIX, go to MagnumResearch.com.