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Annual SHOT show goes on, only virtually this year

Updated January 21, 2021 - 8:30 am

In January 2020, more than 60,000 professionals representing various aspects of the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry filled the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas for the annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show. They came from around the world to walk crowded aisles lined with exhibits, meet old friends and make new industry acquaintances.

One year later, the miles of aisles that have welcomed SHOT Show attendees to Las Vegas for the past 22 years are empty. In fact, they were never even laid out on the Expo Center’s concrete floors. Also gone are the crowds that have historically filled those aisles, along with the exhibitors that have lined them. All are images that are disappointing to even think about and reminders of COVID-19 and its impacts.

Luckily, for industry folks and consumers alike, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which owns the SHOT Show, subscribes to the philosophy that “the show must go on.” And it has, but like so many of things in life, it has done so in the virtual world.

Billed as SHOT Show on Demand, the event kicked off Monday as originally planned, but rather than walking through aisles, attendees click their way through a comprehensive website with exhibitors arranged by their product category. In some ways it reminds me of flipping through the pages of the Sears Roebuck Christmas catalog as a kid.

First stop on my SHOT Show tour was the New Product Showcase with its 513 entries. There were some products I clicked on by, and there were a few that caught my eye. One is a new offering from the folks at Vortex Optics that may be of interest to those who may be thinking of upgrading their binoculars.

The Wisconsin-based company has added what it calls an onboard ballistic solution to the multifaceted range-finding capabilities already built into its FURY HD 5000 binoculars. This ballistic solution uses what Vortex calls Applied Ballistics, thus the new version of these 10 x 42 field glasses is identified as the FURY HD 5000 AB.

So, what is an onboard ballistic solution? It is the ability of the binocular to capture real time environmental data that can affect ballistic performance in the field, such as temperature, humidity, pressure and wind direction. The binoculars then apply that data to custom ballistic profiles the user can create using the FURY HD cell phone app and upload into the binocular.

Those profiles include information about the projectile, including its weight, length and ballistic coefficient, as well as sight-in data, muzzle velocity and the twist rate of the firearm’s rifling. To help folks get started, the binoculars come preloaded with profiles for the .308, 6.5 Creedmoor and the 5.56 cartridges.

Once your custom ballistic profiles have been synced between your phone and the binoculars, you can put the phone away. It is not needed again unless you need to make some changes. In addition to its onboard capabilities, Vortex has added the ability for the FURY HD binoculars to communicate with third-party devices such as those made by Kestrel and Garmin. Weather data they collect can be transferred directly into the binoculars.

According to the folks at Vortex, with all that data, the Applied Ballistic solver can provide all the information you need to make the shot, and you can read it right in the binoculars’ display with the push of a button. If you do not want to use the ballistic mode, that is fine too. The option is yours. Expect to pay $1,999.99 for these binoculars.

Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. Find him on Facebook at @dougwritesoutdoors. He can be reached at intheoutdoorslv@gmail.com.

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