During the first week of March I was lucky enough to attend Enforcetac and IWA. For those of you that haven’t heard of these shows I should probably explain them. Enforcetac is an invite only event which takes place just before IWA. Enforcetac is aimed specifically toward law enforcement and military. IWA is easier to get into as anyone can buy a ticket and attend. IWAs scope is much larger and encompasses all aspects of outdoor sport (shooting, hunting, hiking, bushcraft ect..)
I flew from the U.K. early in the morning on the first day of Enforcetac. The flight was just over an hour. Nuremberg has some great looking historic architecture. I stayed in a hotel which was about 10 minutes from the town centre. After dropping my bags in I made a 20 minute tram/train ride to the Messe (exhibition centre) and booked myself in. Security was rigourous as one would expect in these turbulent times.
The centre was vast, incredibly well staffed and organised. Enforcetac took place in two halls which were huge. The bottom hall was dedicated to vehicles and larger installations while the upper floor catered for man portable equipment and apparel. I have listed a few of the products which I was able to get pictures of. Some stands actively encouraged photography while other had signs forbidding it. Some of the products were very new or in prototype format which is likely to be why.
Drones seemed to be the main source of interest. Ranging from small to large and from ground to air there seemed to be drones for every conceivable tactical application. An area at the rear of the hall allowed companies to demo various drones to potential customers. I am not a tactical vehicle expert.. I just enjoyed seeing what was on offer and managed to take some photos as well..
The vehicles tyres were interesting. Most of us imagine that tyres are a weak point and will shred or deflate. With modern materials and clever design the tyres are very resilient. The designs I looked at used a rubber or polymer wheel within the tyre. This would allow it to run flat. Some of these designs were rated to multiple .50bmg strikes which is rather impressive!
The Police vehicles are definitely a sign of the times. The Police now have equipment which would more commonly be found in use by SF. This is because terrorism has changed the role of the Police across the world. They now have to be prepared to deal with threats from heavily armed militia.
After receiving guided tours of some of the kit we made our way to the food area. I sat and ate while studying a map of the larger upper hall which holds a lot more interest for me as both a hobby shooter and professional marksman.
Small Arms and equipment
The top floor was a little more relevant to my work and this blog – lots of small arms, accessories and ammunition… The first rifle that caught my eye was the Ritter & Stark SX-1. Ritter & Stark are an Austrian company which bring some pretty interesting features to the tactical rifle scene. The system is completely modular and can be configured to suit requirements and ergonomics of the user. Caliber can be quickly changed with the rail integral to the barrel, which allows scopes to remain in position and zeroed.
The barrel itself has electrochemically etched rifling. Normally rifling is either cut or swaged. Both have downsides. Cutting is time consuming and difficult to do really precisely. Swaging introduces stress to the metal which has to be relieved through further processing. The electrochemical process may allow for a more precise finish with no stress to the metal.
An engineer friend of mine suggested electrochemical engraving may harden surfaces. It remains to be seen if R&S’ process will yield major increases in accuracy but I would certainly like to see the results! The other nifty feature was the ability to run different magazines. It can run AR10 style as well as the AICS type that many of us are used to. Nice to have an option because AICS mags are not cheap… I will try and review one of these in the near future..
Beretta Defence Technologies
The Beretta Defence Technologies stand had some good stuff going on. BDT displayed a number of brands including Benelli and Steiner Optics. The rifles which really caught my eye were from Victrix. The Minerva Tactical series were beautifully put together. Victrix Armaments in Italy have caught my eye before with their precisely machined firearms. The Minerva range offers several models from short barreled .308s through to 338LMs which all sport the modular chassis.
Beretta had their ARX200 on display which I was rather taken with. Seemed to be well made and ergonomic. I would be interested to put some rounds though one and see how it shoots.
A short walk took me over to Steyr which had an array of models to view. The Augs attracted alot of comment even after all these years. They are truly a triumph of iconic form over function! They look cool but I have previously found them to be rather lacking in accuracy or ergonomics. The SSG range of bolt action rifles is the complete opposite. Superb tack driving rifle in a fairly modest looking package. That has been my experience any way….
B&T had a superb display which was packed with customers the whole time. I have had the pleasure of running some Demonstations with a couple of their Sub guns and was left highly impressed with the quality. We will see B&T weapons becoming common place among European SF and specialist LE. I was particularly interested in their take down bolt action rifle in 300BLK. It looks like something James Bond might use! Very slick set up and I was assured it is both quiet and accurate with quality subsonic ammunition.
After 2 days of serious business at Enforcetac we decided to have a few beers and a slap up meal before battling through IWA crowds the following morning. We ended up in a Thai restaurant literally bursting our shirt buttons! We waddled back to the hotel and tried to walk off a few calories. Unfortunately there were bars enticing us in with beer so it might not have been a great calorie reduction plan..
The displays and stands were a sight to behold and I found myself struggling to walk 10 paces without finding something interesting to look at. The first rifles which caught my eye were the Pedersoli and Sauer exhibitions.
Not the rifles I personally use but I was in awe of the craftsmanship that went into the woodwork. If money were not so hard to come buy I would have a wall full of wooden stocked beauties!
The S&B stand was vast and practical. They rather cleverly provided scopes mounted to mock rifles which were on tables pointing towards the glass windows of the Messe. This allowed interested viewers to get a good feel for the scopes and view several hundred yards if they wished.
I had already taken a good luck at the new high power PMII (x45 mag!) and couldn’t resist taking a look through it. The glass was as expected – excellent!
I noticed a good few mag fed 12g shotguns on display. There were M16 and AK types as per usual but the one that really interested me was a Bullpup design from Uzkon Arms in Turkey. They call the gun the UNG-12.
It was comforatble in the shoulder and configurable for left or right side eject. I will be getting a few rounds through one soon so I will keep you posted.
A turn around the corner and I found the Utas shotguns. There UTS-15 is now in its third generation and I hope that the feeding problems have been sorted out. I still doth my cap to companies like Utas who are prepared to break new ground in weapon design.
We have to expect a few teething problems when a totally new concept emerges. The UTS-15 has a double magazine with switchable option. Superb idea which I hope now funtions reliably as they have clearly tried to address the issue in the newest version.
I had meant to look at the newest field cutlery for 2017. Due to time constraints I only got pictures at one stand – Sandrin. I had heard that Sandrin make their blades with Tungsten Carbide steel. The idea fascinated me as I know how hard that would be on tooling. The knives were things of great beauty and the craftsmanship was clearly visible. This was reflected in the price which was beyond my wallets reach!
I left the IWA exhibition late in the afternoon in order to fly back home. I was left impressed with both shows I attended and the city of Nuremberg. The Germans were welcoming and helpful and everything ran efficiently from the trams to the food and drink. We will definitely be coming back next time!!