TriggrCon is THE shooting sports event in the Pacific Northwest USA. TriggrCon 2017 was the biggest year ever for this event, and I was fortunate enough to be there. As a media professional I had the opportunity to attend both the “Range Day” and the “Industry Day” which were held July 27th – 28th. Let me just say, it was awesome! 2017 was the first year this event (formerly called the Pacific Northwest Shooting Sports Expo) donned its new name “TriggrCon”. With so many shooting sports enthusiasts and professionals in this region, I’m really glad to have such a great local event to be a part of.
This was my first time to the event, and my friend Michael was kind enough to come along and help out with videography and photography. We rolled up to the Greater Tacoma Convention Center to get our credentials, then drove about an hour to a remote location where the range day was held. What would we find? What would we be able to shoot? All we knew was: there would be guns, and we had meal tickets. We were expecting great things.
Here’s Michael ready to roll with a ton of camera gear- he would shoot mostly cameras on Range Day (but still got in on some fun with guns):
Soon after we rolled up to the first range (there were many) we were invited to sit down and shoot some amazing rifles at 200 yards range. There were a few rifles and systems I really enjoyed shooting at this range- two of them were from DesertTech. You’ve probably read about the DesertTech MDR (Micro Dynamic Rifle- the modular bullpup rifle platform that’s just about to hit full production. There was an MDR configured for .308 Winchester, and I got to try it out! My words after shooting it: “Now that’s a ton of hellfire in a small package”. The MDR is interesting because you can configure a single rifle for different chamberings including .223 Wylde, .308 Winchester, and 300 AAC Blackout.
I also got to try out the DesertTech SRS rifle platform- a bullpup bolt-action configurable precision rifle system that’s also very compact compared to other rifles in its class. The SRS I shot had just had the barrel swapped over to 6.5 Creedmoor, and I took the first shots with it after this conversion. The rifle was only about 4″ off at 200 yards after this conversion which I thought was pretty impressive. Another great shooter with an amazing trigger.
Another interesting product I got to try was the Pantheon Arms DOLOS take-down AR-15 system which is available as a kit. With this kit installed, you can install or remove your AR-15 barrel and handguard in just seconds. Very interesting setup!
As we explored each of the ranges, we found more and more interesting firearms, people, and products to experience and interact with. One of these experiences was the Hudson H9, a new striker-fired 1911 inspired pistol that’s just about to hit broad public availability. At the firing line, I asked a gentleman if he was with Hudson, and it turns out- he was. It was Cy Hudson, the CEO of Hudson Manufacturing! It was a joy to shoot the H9- and I’ll be posting more information about it along with an interview with Cy Hudson, so stay tuned!
Perhaps the highlight of the range day was all of the full-auto fun. Eli Brandt, a Products Engineer for Battle Arms Development gave me a great guided tour of their rifles, including some full-auto 300 Blackout fun:
…then there was the KRISS Vector in full auto, which fired at such a fast cycle rate you could barely hear the individual shots. Now that’s fun, and sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. Range Day was a lot of fun, and a great prelude to Industry Day.
While the range day was about as much fun as anyone should be able to have, it was great to have real conversations with people at Industry Day. Without all of the booms, bangs, pew-pews, and rat-a-tat-tats, it was time to *hear* all about this year’s most exciting shooting sports products, and meet people in the industry. It was good planning to have the demos first at Range Day because they gave context to the conversations at Industry Day. It was great to see some familiar faces, and to mix it up with new people. When meeting new people, I was able to put faces and names to products that I’ve been using for years, like Rainier Ballistics plated bullets:
Funny thing, Shane (seated right) only had to drive about 3 miles from the shop to TriggrCon- they are located that close! Be sure to catch my interview with Shane which will be posted shortly.
It was also great to catch up with the Rainier Arms guys, including the CEO, John Hwang (who is also the organizer of the TriggrCon event). John runs a good business (actually multiple), and has done a great job with TriggrCon. There were so many vendors at TriggrCon, I couldn’t meet with all of them, so I guess I’ll have more people to meet next year.
If you are like me, you gravitate towards AR-10 style rifles. So when I saw a sweet AR-10 style rifle at the RISE Armament booth, it immediately caught my attention. This rifle is the 1121XR chambered in .308 Winchester, and I’ll have to say: I want it! This .308 rifle has a sub-MOA guarantee, and features a 20″ precision barrel. Plus, it happens to look *really* nice.
RISE is also known for their AR triggers, which they had quite a few of on display at Industry Day:
Then, there was the “mega booth” put up by Howell Munitions & Technology (HMT). HMT has several product families and brands including Freedom Munitions, X-TREME Bullets, and Ammo Load Worldwide (reloading equipment on a massive scale!). The first thing I noticed at their booth was a Minigun formerly owned by Chris Kyle! What a perfect thing for an ammunition company to own (perhaps that’s the only way you should own one?).
At the HMT booth, I talked for quite a while with Jansen T. Jones (be sure to catch that upcoming interview) and Jeremy Linares who I had met at the Range Day. There are a couple of their products I’m interested to try out (and was fortunate enough to acquire!). First, there’s the “Big Grains” 500 S&W Magnum ammunition from Freedom Munitions which makes shooting the “Big 500” affordable (employs a plated bullet).
Then there’s HUSH sub-sonic 9mm ammunition from Freedom Munitions. How do they make 9mm ammunition subsonic? They push a very heavy 165 grain 9mm bullet, and tune the powder charge accordingly. I did get to shoot some of this ammunition at the Range Day in a suppressed 9mm pistol, and I’ll have to say it was a lot of fun.
I also had some great conversations with people from Vortex Optics, InMotion Targets, Rifle Sticks, Sig Sauer, FLIR, and many others. I could have spent an entire week at TriggrCon! There were a lot of interesting things to see, a lot of stories to hear, and a lot of cool products to discuss. In fact, there was more to report on than I can fit into this blog post, so look for more stories an interviews coming up shortly! I’ll definitely be back next year!