IWA Outdoors Classics, a fair associated with hunting, shooting and outdoors equipment, traditionally takes place at the beginning of March in Nuremberg, Germany. This year, half of the Optics-trade team visited the fair, mostly for business arrangements and to be on track with all the latest novelties in this field. Even though we were mostly interested in optics, we also stopped at several firearm manufacturers’ booths. In this article, I am going to highlight and describe some of the newly introduced firearms.
Blaser's R8 is one of the most popular repeating hunting rifles on the market. They introduced a brand-new variant this year which they named Ultimate. It comes with a two-piece thumbhole stock which ensures two things, a comfortable shooting position and excellent control of the rifle. The synthetic stock that Blaser uses is great in terms of ergonomics. Four versions have been announced: Ultimate, Ultimate Silence, Ultimate Leather and Ultimate Silence Leather. The Silence versions feature an integrated silencer, while the ‘leather’ versions’ stocks are equipped with leather inlays. R8 Ultimate has an adjustable comb and an adjustable recoil pad. Both come with a memory function. The rifle is equipped with a recoil absorption system. With R8 Ultimate, it is all about adjusting the stock to personal demands.
R8 Ultimate isn’t the only novelty that Blaser exhibited at IWA 2019. We had the pleasure of holding the new K95 Ultimate Carbon. Blaser used the extremely durable and lightweight carbon fibre for the stock. The user benefits from an adjustable comb and an adjustable recoil pad, same as with R8 Ultimate. K95 is a single-shot rifle, so we can say that Blaser combined tradition and modernity with the new Ultimate Carbon. It boasts an ergonomically designed thumbhole stock and a recoil absorption system. Blaser also launched a standard K95 Ultimate for those who aren’t willing to spend extra money on the carbon.
At Steyr’s booth, one couldn’t help but notice the new Monobloc rifle. The barrel and the receiver are made from one piece of steel to achieve better accuracy, and this is where the rifle got its name. Steyr cold hammer forged the barrel, receiver, and chamber in a single process. It is covered with quality leather in several places, including the forend and the cheek pad. The leather inserts can be replaced – they are available in various colours. The stock is made of aluminium and covered with synthetic material. The magazine is also made from steel. The trigger can easily be removed and stored, either in the special compartment located in the butt of the rifle or anywhere else. Steyr’s engineers have really outdone themselves this time – Monobloc is an innovative, customizable and aesthetically appealing rifle. Steyr promises half-MOA groups with this one.
CZ introduced a brand-new rifle called 457 which is going to replace the old 455. It is still a rimfire rifle, equipped with a two-part 11mm dovetail. 457 features a striker status indicator and a separate bolt extractor control on the side of the receiver. Additionally, the bolt can be opened and extracted with safety on. Accuracy has been improved with a brand-new trigger mechanism. Now, the user can adjust the trigger pull weight from 8 to 15 N and trigger travel from 0.5 to 7 mm. The weight of the striker has been reduced for more than 60 % from the previous model (455). CZ uses a new type of bedding for the 457 and upgraded ergonomics for reliability and comfort. The turning angle of the bolt handle has been reduced for 30°. The metal parts of the rifle are treated with a durable anti-corrosion treatment. CZ implemented plenty of upgrades, but several features have been retained – the interchangeable barrel system and the magazine system work the same way as on 455. 457 is available in .22 LR, .22 WMR, and .17 HMR.
Laugo Arms’ booth was crowded with visitors. Why? Well, they’ve presented their new, Sci-fi looking 9x19mm pistol which they chose a perfect name for – Alien. It is meant to be used for competitive shooting where having light recoil is of great importance. Laugo states that this pistol has the lowest bore axis in the world, resulting in a flat recoil angle and no muzzle climb of the pistol after the shot. The barrel is fixed to the frame; it doesn’t move during the firing process, contributing to great accuracy. The innovative pistol carries a high price tag of around 4500 €, partly because it is an edition limited to 500 pieces worldwide. A range of accessories is included – C-MORE RTS 2, a range bag, a holster, an extra magazine with Aluminium pad, an Aluminium Magwell, a red dot ready upper slide, an upper slide with iron sights and a cleaning kit. Alien is a hammer-fired pistol.
Arex, a Slovenian company, introduced their new Delta pistol which has already been tested by the famous Youtube crew Polenar Tactical. There are two versions, one for military and the other for civilian use. The military version has manual safety whereas the civilian version lacks it. Delta is a semi-automatic striker-fired pistol with a polymer frame that falls into the same category as Glock 19 in terms of size and weight. The grip is highly ergonomic. For now, the only calibre available is 9mm Luger. Each gun comes with two double-stack metal magazines with a polymer floor plate. On top, there is a loaded chamber indicator, and on the back plate, there is a cocked striker indicator. It features an exchangeable backstrap – there are four included in the box. The pistol is simple to break down and reassemble. It will hit the market somewhere in 2019.