This year was rough. Really, for everyone it was just rough. Sometimes it feels like most of this 2013 was spent “debating” gun rights and gun control and the rest of the year just trying to find ammo.
Many manufacturers held back on new product launches, it’s true, without exception in order to catch up to back-orders on existing products. But during these past couple of months pressures have started to drop, guns, ammo, parts and accessories are getting a lot easier to find and with SHOT Show 2014 around the corner, the gun world seems like its getting back on track.
Even then, 2013 also saw a lot of good things in the gun world, with new products and technologies rising to the top every day, every week all year long.
These are our picks for the top 10 important, innovative and influential products and companies of 2013
10. 3D-printed guns
This is a no-brainer. For good or for ill 3D-printed firearms have taken the world by storm, even though they are for all intents and purposes imaginary. The total number of 3D-printed firearms in the world is probably less than a thousand and so far they have not caused one iota of harm, yet they’ve complete shaken everyone up. They’re crazy like that.
From the 3D-printed AR-15 lower receiver to the DefDist Liberator to the Charon receiver set to the Solid Concepts stainless-steel and Inconel 1911, nothing has caused more waves than the concept of the 3D-printed firearm.
And while they’re largely responsible for attempts to expand the Undetectable Firearms Act, they’ve also gone and lit the spark for for a new generation of manufacturing, at home and on the industrial scale. Sure, the technology to make it fast, cheap and good is in the future, but we now know that future is a lot closer than anyone thought.
9. ’21st-century’ derringers
Three companies have come to the forefront of this new wave of minimalist ultra-small concealed-carry pistols, DoubleTap, Heizer Defense and Edge Arms. All three have brought to market or announced modernized double-action derringers for deep concealment.
DoubleTap has their two-shot 9mm and .45 ACP hand-crushers, Heizer Defense has their much softer-recoiling single-shot .410/45 “Pocket Shotgun” and Edge Arms is developing their four-shot pepperbox in a handful of calibers up to .380.
While they may be of limited use, hard to shoot and of slight capacity, they can’t be beat in terms of concealability. People will give up a lot for gun that will absolutely disappear in any pocket.
8. SIG SB15
Don’t call it an SBR! A pistol with a SIG stabilizing brace may look like a short-barreled rifle, it is actually just a rubber clasp that secures a pistol to your forearm, in order to make it, well, stable.
Invented for veterans with disabilities, these braces make it easier to handle rifle-pattern pistols, for fast, accurate one-handed shots. They simply work as advertised, and are a lot of fun even for people without disabilities.
While short-barreled rifles are fast-growing in popularity, many people don’t want to deal with the legal hurdles of owning one, or simply can’t in their jurisdictions. The SIG SB15 and its imitators, like the SB-47, give rifle-pattern pistols the appearance of short-barreled rifles if not the function.
7. CrossBreed Purse Defender
Even though concealed-carry is more popular than ever, some people don’t have a lot of options in how they carry, because of how they dress or where they work or what they carry. Sure, there are people that swear up and down that with the right holster, anyone can make a Glock 17 “just disappear,” but that doesn’t make it true.
Off-the-body-carry has its critics, but many people carry guns in purses, bags and briefcases every day, men and women. CrossBreed launched the Purse Defender just for these people (sorry men who
purse, I mean, off-the-body-carry).
The Purse Defender is a rigid plate with a kydex holster molded to it. The plate hooks into its carrier turning any purse, bag or briefcase into a safe and secure holster. The design incorporates a ledge to keep printing down, too.
You don’t have to off-the-body-carry to appreciate CrossBreed’s many innovative and proven designs, though. If you’re looking for a leader in concealed-carry, CrossBreed’s at the top.
6. Boberg XR9-L and XR45-S
While some people might not care for Boberg’s guns, the Boberg method of operation or just the Boberg prices, there is no doubting that Boberg has developed a completely new type of handgun.
Designed for concealed-carry, Boberg pistols have a unique loading system that uses a claw to pull cartridges from the magazine before pushing them into the rotating locking barrel. The design lets the barrel extend far into the slide, all the way to the back of the magazine. The end result is a very compact concealed-carry pistol that doesn’t compromise when it comes to energy at the muzzle.
This year Boberg has stepped things up with a the XR9-L and the XR45-S. The L is a “longslide” version of the standard “Shorty” model which, despite the fact that it’s no bigger than any other single-stack subcompact, manages to bring a service-size 4.2-inch barrel to the table. The XR45-S is the company’s first .45 ACP model, and it’s no slouch either with its 3.75-inch barrel.
These are special guns and it’s nice to see that Boberg is hard at work developing new models for concealed-carriers of all stripes (As long as those stripes are green).