Thursday, May 19, 2011

Force Protection Equipment Demonstration VIII

This is the second FPED trade show that I've been to, only this time I was asked to staff a booth as a Subject Matter Expert. I didn't have time to wander as much as I'd have liked, but I got to see a few cool things.

If you recall, I've posted about this show before; there's nothing new under the sun, or not a whole lot of new stuff since the last one, so I didn't take a ton of pictures at all the crazy surveillance equipment.

Probably the coolest thing to report is that I got to meet Mike Janich, who was attending the Spyderco booth. I made sure to thank him for his work on The Best Defense show, and then he answered some questions for me about Spyderco's H1 stainless steel. At 2 o'clock, Mr. Janich started letting the demo knives go at 50% off, and I picked up a Pacific Salt model for the beach this year:



The reason I appreciate The Best Defense is because Mike Janich and Rob Pincus cover topics that will interest John Q Public. Sure, I find shows that cover how to set up level IV armor for convoy ops or the responsibilities of the 3rd operator in the entry team stack to be very interesting, but I don't need them. The Best Defense covers things like how to interact with law enforcement while lawfully armed or how to deal with an aggressive person in a parking lot; things I can use.

Back to the FPED show, the first thing I did when I got there early on the second day was heckle the L3 guys and their EOTech and FLIR wares. They let me take a picture of this EOTech XR500 sight for the M2 Browning Machine Gun. They said that in testing, Soldiers and Marines were making 1st round hits at 800 yards with it, and I believe it. Sure beats the iron sights:



Notice the drops in the reticle to compensate for range.

Next they let me check out a FLIR camera mounted on an M4 upper receiver in front of an ACOG sight. I wanted it for shooting hogs at night time, all $20,000 worth, and by the time I whipped out my cell phone camera for some reticle shots, the L3 guys were about done with me. I knew I was being annoying at that point, but I got some pictures out of it before the guy took the rifle from me:





In that 2nd pic, the treeline is 412 yards away according to the range finder that they had. These pictures don't do any justice to what you actually see through the camera and sight; I have every confidence that I could make head shots at that tree line. Clear as a bell.

I didn't catch the name of this company, but they make a humongous EOTech-like sight for the M2 BMG, but without the drops in the reticle:




Neat stuff.

The rain at the show was brutal as we had lots of thunderstorms, and sheets of water ran down the tarmac leaving 2" puddles to stand in for hours on end. Most of the vendors there were showing surveillance equipment or armor. I saw a big Smith and Wesson logo on a tent top which drew me in, only to find out that S&W makes Force Protection equipment too; there were no firearms. Most of the weapons were props for sighting systems. It seems that spying on the enemy is paramount to killing them outright at this show.

I still had a good time, and plan on being there next year.
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