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BATTLESPACE Exhibition News
sponsored by QIOPTIQ and HARRIS


By Julian Nettlefold

The long road out of Las Vegas snaked its way through the suburbs out onto the open road and into the desert. The Editor knew he was near the Desert Sportsman’s Range, venue for the Aimpoint Shot Show Range Day when he heard the deep roar of the ATK 30mm canon, part of the Nobles Viper Gun System, followed up by the putt, putt of a .50 calibre machine gun quickly followed by the chatter of a 7.62 GPMG, the Shot Show had begun in earnest!

The desert road turned into a track leading up to the Range where the various weapons were lined up on the firing points.

Viper Gun System

Pride of place went to the Viper Gun System. The Viper Gun System was developed by Nobles Manufacturing Inc. in conjunction with ATK Gun Systems, Butler National Corporation and Cantine Armament Inc. Nobles are the prime contractor, ATK provide the weapons, Butler the gun control and Cantine are responsible for integration of the system, training and lifecycle support. The Viper Gun System is a family of crew-served weapon mounts capable of mounting a variety of weapons. The system is intended to bridge the gap between conventional crew-served weapon mounts and remote weapon stations. The primary version is the VGS 30 armed with the ATK 30 mm M230LF [Link Fed] Chain Gun. A number of potential customers were on the Range to see the Viper system in action, including a team from the U.K. MoD with a view to purchasing the system for bunker-busting operations in Afghanistan. The demo certainly reinforced their view as to the effectiveness of the system! Equipped with a Simrad Optronics fire control system linked to a crew-served weapon sight, the Viper Gun System produces the lethality and accuracy required for operations in Afghanistan. The variant being offered for the U.K. MoD has an Aimpoint sight with an ISTEC mount.

Larry Cozine of Nobles told the Editor that the Company had won a number of orders for its Sea Viper, naval gun system from a number of Middle Eastern countries.

U.S. Ordnance Products

Moving up the range, the Editor took up position with the U.S. Ordnance team and was handed a Mk. 43 MOD0 Medium Machine Gun, which showed remarkable accuracy with a belt of ammunition flying down the range. The Company also showed its .50 calibre M2HB Heavy Machine Gun. The crescendo of noise and cracking of bullets down the Range rose as more visitors took up positions for the live firing, with sounds of shot ringing in our ears in spite of ear defenders! U.S. Ordnance showed a variety of sights on their weapons.

LaRue Targets and Guns

The next Firing Point was run by LaRue who were showing their comprehensive Range Spotting system which includes closed circuit camera coverage of the Range with a spotting scope giving the firer precise details of fall of shot. LaRue Remote Targets function like the regular TG1 automatic targets, but can also be controlled from distance by an operator using a Transmitter. Remote Targets can thus rise and fall on command. Set up requires a few more steps than regular targets. The Remote Targets can operate by transmitter in Remote Mode, or in Automatic Mode without the Transmitter. Remote operation is controlled by a Transmitter. One Transmitter is sent per group of 10 Remote Targets. The Transmitter can communicate with a target from up to one mile away. The same Charger used to charge the targets will recharge the Transmitter. No overcharging will occur. The camera showed the fall of shot and the puff of sand as the bullets hit their mark.

LaRue also showed their range of light machine guns, particularly their new .556 version, which remarkably weighs only 7 pounds which gives the user more flexibility to carry more ammunition or accessories.

Aimpoint Firing Point

‘Lightening the Load’ was a theme which ran through a number of demonstrations. Aimpoint was showing off its Micro TI sight which weighs only 105 grams. Magnus Andersson of Aimpoint told the Editor that weight of equipment in theater had become a real concern for Coalition troops with some formations having permanent physiotherapists on permanent stand-by to treat injuries of troops returning from long deployments. Some formations had quoted 30% of injuries being caused by overloading troops carrying 75-80lbs of weight.

“Any system which can reduce weight for the soldier produces huge benefits and saves injuries.” Andersson told the Editor.

The first time the Editor shot using Aimpoint sights was in Mamo in Sweden in 2010. We were shooting with Richard Mercer, Eric As of Aimpoint and Peter Fredriksson of the Swedish Police Firearms Unit. The first shoot saw both participants shoot about 2.45 seconds with the non-Aimpoint sight and 1.9 seconds with the Aimpoint sight. Acclimatisation to the Aimpoint sight allows the user to move the gun rapidly across the targets keeping the target in sight using the Red Dot in a similar fashion to giving a pheasant a lead with a shot gun. Indeed, many Aimpoint sights are sold on the civilian market to shotgun users. In short, the methodology used by Aimpoint is more akin to shotgun shooting than rifle shooting. The user keeps both eyes open and does not take the rifle up to the eye. After five shoots the results were remarkable, the non-Aimpoint sight gave a maximum shoot time of 2.35 seconds whilst we got the Aimpoint down to 1.3 seconds.

We would see this time whether the other Aimpoint products lived up to the reputation of that shoot - they did!

Aimpoint was demonstrating, amongst others, its Micro TI sight on a Beretta shotgun which the Editor used with great effect at short range with solid and shot loadings. The Editor also used the Micro TI in offset mode on a machine gun which enables the user to switch from long range shooting to close quarter by adjusting the handling of the weapon to the new threat.

Elite military around the world have used Aimpoint sights for more than 20 years. The benefit of the Red Dot sight as produced by the likes of Aimpoint, for close quarter combat in particular, was first seen by the U.S. military which, in 1997, awarded Aimpoint its first contract to supply sights.

Since then, Aimpoint has continued to deliver large quantities of sights to many Law Enforcement units around the world but also to the US Army, US Air Force, French Army, Swedish Army, Italian Army, Slovenian Army, Finnish Army, Norwegian Army and the Dutch Army.

Aimpoint sights allow you to work in any light condition, from dark to full sun. Thanks to their NVD compatibility, the CompM4, the CompM3, the CompM2 and the MPS3 can be used 24 hours a day. Aimpoint introduced a 3xMAG addition which gives the same performance but with a magnification of 3xMAG which thus gives the user a three times better distance magnification to the standard iron sight user. Eye relief is around 70mm, so the user's eye position behind the sight does not affect how well the target or the aiming point can be seen. Aimpoint sights also utilize a double lens system, making the sight parallax-free, which means that no matter where on the sight lens the red dot is reflected, the user's point of aim will be the point of impact. Aimpointrecently launched a new Fire Control system jointly developed with the Swedish Armed Forces for use with the Carl Gustav and 40mm grenade launchers. We cover details of this in our Shot Show enews Report.

Lewis Machine Tool Firing Point

The next Firing Point was hosted by Lewis Machine Tool which was demonstrating the LM7 the U.S. version of the Sharp Shooter rifle as supplied to the British Army under the L129A1 destination, beating strong international competition from FN and H&K. Lewis has now supplied 2000 of these rifles to the British Army in 16 inch barrel variants. The next development is an automatic fire variant. There is also a 10 inch barrel variant. A grenade launcher can also be mounted. The Editor used the rifle with a Trijicon Acog sight which showed remarkable accuracy up to 1000 yards. The Company has just appointed John Harrison to run its international sales and there are a number of overseas prospects particularly in the Middle East.

Lewis Machine & Tool Company (LMT) was founded in 1980 by Karl Lewis to provide the US military, law enforcement and government agencies with high quality weapons, components, and modular weapon systems. Since the beginning, the LMT™ mission has been to meet their customer's expectations of quality, price and delivery of precision machined parts, weapon systems, assemblies and engineering services. In their thirty years of doing business in Milan, Illinois, LMT has always been environmentally responsible, as well as working to become an asset of their community while providing their employees with a rewarding and challenging work place.

Other vendors included Cemtech with a new silencer, Leupold sights and Colt with their range of pistols.

Shot Show Media Day

With the shots still ringing in his ears, the Editor set off to the next even, the Shot Show Media Day held at the Boulder City Range.

The products on display here were mainly bolt action rifles, pistols, shotguns and a range of sights. The star of the show was the new Beretta Lightweight M2 tactical pump action military shotgun

Beretta Tactical Shotguns

Beretta is the oldest firearms manufacturer in the world, dating back to 1526. Still run by the Beretta family, the Company produces advanced firearms, optics and accessories known worldwide for their quality and reliability.

In the Defence and Law Enforcement market, Beretta offers dedicated solutions able to meet the stringent requirements of today’s Armed and Police Forces worldwide, with a catalogue of products ranging from autoloaders and pump actions to tactical shotguns, from semiautomatic and assault rifles to extremely accurate snipers, from semiautomatic pistols and carbines to sub-machine guns.

The constant efforts in R&D enable the design of reliable products with outstanding performance, which are the ideal defence tools both for military and law enforcement use.

The greatest ever success in semiautomatic pistols is the Beretta 92, having sold more than 3-million units worldwide. Thanks to unrivalled performance and endurance, the pistol has been adopted as the official sidearm by Armed Forces and Police Forces worldwide. Among these, the American Armed Forces and State Police Forces, the French Gendarmerie Nationale and “Armée de l’Air”, the Italian Armed Forces and Police Forces, the Spanish Guardia Civil and Turkish Police Force.

The new pump action Bertta Benelli M2 Tactical shotgun has an 8-9 round magazine and has a specially designed butt which absorbs the recoil of the weapon. Its lightness allows the user to switch targets at great ease. Beretta was demonstrating the system with a British clay pigeon system using radio controlled clays coming from different directions. The Editor shot 9 out of 12 clays!

Barrett M82A1.50

Barrett showed a number of products including a new GPMG with a lightweight patented return mechanism and its awesome Model 82A1.50 calibre rifle which was not available for firing for obvious reasons!

For more than two decades, the Model 82A1 has been carefully honed, studied and then refined again. As the first and only semi-automatic .50 caliber rifle available, the Model 82A1 continues to blaze new territory. Its chamber is chrome-plated and dimensioned for both civilian and military ammunition. The extractor and ejector are proven to work under any condition, and close tolerances on every part allow it to function in all environments. The muzzle brake, dual barrel springs and long mainspring design make this iconic rifle comfortable and exciting to shoot.

At the end of the day, the Editor returned to his hotel with the sound of rifle fire still ringing in his ears with memories of the 2009 Owning The Night event flooding back whilst washing off the Nevada sand in the shower. It won’t be long before we repeat that performance at Owning The Night 2!

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