Shot Show Favorites
by Rob Kay
The Shot Show was mind numbing in the sheer number of products on display.
What I’d like to offer in this article is a very unscientific survey of a few items I found of personal interest at the Show a few weeks ago.
Price and availability of mags got you down? At the Mako booth I ran into a manufacturer called E-Lander, which makes high end mags in Israel for the Tavor, M16 and AR 15. These are made from high carbon steel and were tested by the Israeli special military forces. I was told by a manufacturer’s rep that you can run them over with a truck and they will maintain their integrity. (Of course they will tell you that!) The message is they are built to withstand combat conditions and including a 96-hour salt-spray test, exceeding the IDF’s salt-spray test requirements. Other features: The “anti-tilt” self-leveling followers are white so you can easily see when you’re out of ammo. Unlike other companies, they have not raised their price during the current feeding frenzy. You can purchase them for $18.70 from their US distributor, Mako.
The Shot Show also featured a couple of interesting new producers of high end 1911s. Cabot Guns (founded in 2001) out of Cabot, PA made a big splash at the show with a very aggressive advertising campaign featuring what they describe as the “first post-custom 1911”. I’m not quite sure what that term means other than Cabot Guns having positioned their products as the “ne plus ultra”, of the factory 1911 genre. (See Cabot’s “Mr. Jones” 1911 above). They are priced accordingly--in the neighborhood of $4000. Those of us who have priced 1911s know that this is roughly double of what an entry level Les Baer or an Ed Brown 1911.
Cabot reckons you get what you pay for.
They say it takes them over 30 hours to build their “extreme precision” frame and slide. The parts are machined from solid blocks of 4140 billet steel. Nothing is cast or forged. The components are milled to accuracy in the 1,000’s of an inch to “aerospace tolerances”.
I inspected several of their 1911s and I must say they look pretty good.
I guess they shoot well too. Cabot’s team came back with a gold and a bronze at last year’s Camp Perry competition.
A very different 1911 manufacturer also caught my eye at the show. If Cabot appeals to our inner Donald Trump, Ithaca might appeal to our inner Clint Eastwood.
Founded in 1880, Ithaca, is a company with a storied past and more recently, has bounced back from a near death experience.
Primarily known as a first rate manufacturer of shotguns, the Upper Sandusky, Ohio, company also got into the 1911 business during the Second World War when it made 382,000 Model 1911-A1s between 1942 and 1945. After the war it’s fortunes declined. Ithaca filed bankruptcy twice and went through a series of managemment changes over the last several decades.
The newest owner bought the company out in 2007 and bankrolled a total revamp, covering all areas of the manufacturing process. New management appears to be very serious about resurrecting the company. In addition to revitalizing their shotgun business they have focused very intently on producing very fine, semi-custom 1911 for $1800.
They make all their own parts (including the barrels) and was told that they are OEMs for other semi-custom 1911 manufacturers. Ithaca’s marketing strategy is the polar opposite of Cabot’s. Not a lot of flash or marketing dollars, if any, spent on advertising. They just go about their business, producing guns.
At this point they don’t field a shooting team but that may change.
If you’re in the market for a 1911, you’ll want to make sure it gets fed flawlessly and to be certain of this you might consider Metalform Company’s new “Pro Carry” series magazines, which was displayed at the Show. (See above).
- Flat skirted follower
- Extra power spring
- Low friction Xylan coating on magazine body
- Available in standard 7 round (depicted above at right) and officer’s 6 round capacities.
- Heat treated stainless steel body and follower
Karl Hoffman, the rep from the Rhode Island-based company said he has used this magazine with ball, JHP and LSWC ammo through his Les Baer wad-gun and it functioned flawlessly. He said he’s also shot full tilt ball ammo through a Clark Custom ball gun without an issue. Price for the Pro Carry should be in the $20-25 range.
Intelligun is a device that belongs at the Consumer Electronic Show as much as Shot Show. This is a nifty little fingerprint locking system that will keep your gun unusable to anyone but you or other “authorized” users. All you do is pick up the gun and a tiny scan on the grip reads your fingerprints, instantaneously unlocks the gun alowing you to use it.
As soon as you let go, Intelligun relocks the gun.It comes with a battery, sensor and locking system with no change in the weight, look or feel. You can disable it if you like. Currently it’s only available for the 1911 but more models are on the way.We were not able to get a price quote for this product but are working on it!
(All photos courtesy of respective manufacturers except for Ithaca model taken by Rob Kay).
Rob Kay is a Honolulu-based writer and author of the travel site Fijiguide.com. He can be reached at