By Steve Gaspar
The Pacific Northwest and Seattle, in particular, is a hotbed of snowflake triggering activity. It was therefore with some surprise that recently (end of July) a firearms convention actually called TriggrCon was held so close to the Emerald City. Bellevue, Washington, a mere 10 miles from the Seattle Space Needle, hosted this event for the third consecutive year. Manufacturers displayed their wares in booths as well as at the range as has become the custom with such shows.
Unlike SHOT Show, TriggerCon is open to the public.
A few things caught this writer’s eye at the show. First, Sig Sauer took home two Golden Triggr awards, which are presented for innovative products. One Golden Triggr was given for the Sig P365 pistol and the other for the new Electro-Optic Ballistic Data Xchange (BDX) riflescope/rangefinder combination. The former has been out for a while and much has been written about it – both good and bad. This writer owns a P365 of recent minting and is putting it through extensive testing. Early results are outstanding, but with so many concerns about the reliability of this innovative pistol more testing is required. To be fair, Sig has been swapping out parts and making quiet upgrades all year, and again, this writer’s early results are excellent. Given the features of the Sig P365 it is not a surprise it was awarded the Golden Triggr. The capacity, size, and ergonomics are absolutely superb. Time will tell as to reliability.
The Sig BDX is a Bluetooth linked handheld rangefinder and riflescope combination, and it is a very interesting product.Both the rangefinder and the scope may be used separately as one would usually do. The BDX technology allows the two to be linked using a free smartphone app.
When this linking is done successfully a blue LED blinks on the riflescope power ring toward the user. Now the shooter can leverage the onboard ballistic engine to nearly instantly get a holdover indicator for a particular target. The holdover point is a very bright orange dot that appears in the scope sight picture.
Simply range the target, let the rangefinder talk to the scope, and place the orange dot on the target. When in use the holdover dot moves dramatically down the vertical of the reticle before bouncing back up and settling on the holdover point. This lets the shooter know the range was received and the holdover was calculated.The same blue LED on the scope power ring that signals successful pairing also indicates when range data is received. Sig specifies the holdover is accurate to 1 MOA.
Sig offers various combinations of scopes and rangefinders with BDX capability with different maximum ranges and price points. Their Kilo rangefinders have previously been met with well-deserved praise for accuracy, reliability, and usability. The Kilo rangefinders in the BDX family include the KILO1400BDX, KILO1800BDX, KILO2200BDX, KILO2400BDX, and KILO3000BDX rangefinder binocular. Kilo BDX rangefinders start at $299.99 MSRP. The Sierra3 riflescopes in the BDX family include 3.5-10x42mm, 4.5-14x44mm, 4.5-14x50mm, and 6.5-20x52mm versions and start at $599.99. The scopes are clear, feature side parallax adjustments, and other than the blue LED look just like regular riflescopes. Kilo/Sierra3 combinations are reasonably priced, for example, the KILO1400BDX/Sierra3 3.5-10×42 combination retails for under $850.BDX uses Applied Ballistics UltralightTM software, so it is limited to 800 yards. Clearly this limitation does not matter for any practical form of hunting. In action this product is very easy to use. The app has an ability to store data for various rifle and ammunition combinations. Other features include a user configurable range limiter that allows an upper range limit to be set. The user may wish to set such a limit because he knows that beyond some range a given bullet’s energy is insufficient to make an ethical kill. This is an interesting feature when one considers the ongoing debate about hunters taking longer and longer shots in recent years. Visit www.sigsauer.com for more information.
Another eye-catching booth was occupied by Night FisionTM, makers of precision tritium pistol night sights. Tritium is a radioactive gas that naturally emits light, and it is commonly used in night sights. Night Fision derives its tritium insertion expertise from their sister company Cammenga. For over 25 years Cammenga has been the official manufacturer of the U.S. Army’s Tritium Lensatic Compass. While these sights at first glance appear to be the same as any other night sights, it is their brightness that sets them apart. Night Fision claims their sights are brighter than the competition. Lacking instruments to test the brightness of these sights, this writer had to resort to a side by side comparison. They sent me home with a set to compare to what is on some of my handguns. The result? Night Fision sights appear to theses eyes to be far brighter than the night sights on my old Glock 17 – perhaps twice as bright. Night Fision sights are also quite a bit brighter than my Truglo tritium sights (at least 25% would be a decent estimate).
The stock XRAY3 night sights on my Sig P365 however were almost exactly the same brightness. How bright are the Night Fision sights? Well, if one were to keep a pistol on his nightstand he would be able to plainly and easily pick up the gun in complete darkness. It’s not difficult at all. They are so bright the illumination can be seen reflecting off one’s arm in the dark, and that is almost immediately after turning off the lights. How does Night Fision do this? They say they use 30% more tritium. These sights are CNC machined from quality 4140 steel and then given a black nitride coating. They are made in the United States. The ring that surrounds the front sight tritium vial comes in various high visibility colors, and the sights are available for most popular pistols (Glock, Sig Sauer, CZ, et al). MSRPs run from about $50 to just over $100. Visit www.nightfision.com for more information.
One great thing about TriggrCon is the wide array of manufacturers. On the one hand the big companies like Leupold and Sig Sauer are there. At the other end of the spectrum are companies such as Brimstone Gunsmithing, a smaller shop located in Camas, Washington.
This company offers a full suite of services and employs combat veterans with extensive gunsmithing experience. The thing they are most known for is their work on Ruger 10/22 rifles. They have done tens of thousands of trigger jobs for 10/22’s and have shipped them all over the world. Brimstone has various grades of 10/22 trigger work depending on the force of pull desired. At the top end they offer a true single stage 10/22 trigger job. They also manufacture unique 10/22 magazine releases, billet machined Cerakote colored triggers, auto bolt releases, and charging handles. Beyond 10/22s Brimstone Gunsmithing has pistol slide milling services for red dot sights. Finally, they offer custom Cerakote services for rifles and pistols and work directly with Leupold Optics. The scopes are completely disassembled, Cerakoted, and shipped back to Leupold where they are reassembled (and still under warranty). This Brimstone service enables customers to get an entire hunting rifle, scope, and mounts completely and perfectly matched with any Cerakote pattern desired. So much ‘Merica! Expect to see more unique 10/22 offerings from Brimstone Gunsmithing in the near future. www.brimstonegunsmithing.com