...very little, actually, but I'll take it: I can store a lot of mental updates in a pretty short time. A couple things seemed worth documenting, if only for me.
Made note again that Savage has entered what I might call "the Chipmunk market" for kids' starter rifles, with an inexpensive, nifty little scaled-down single-shot turnbolt .22 that features real aperture sights and the "Accu-Trigger" that I've heard so many good things about. This one appears to be called the "Rascal".
Also I got to meet Baikal's coach gun, which fairly impressed me with its nice basic design and a nifty tang safety that has just the sort of crisp, positive snap! that is music to a 1911 guy's ears. Mounts were quick and the stock felt shorter than it really was, which always makes me happy (most people still insist on long stocks, for reasons I've heard for years but understand less and less over time).
I'd probably further go against convention by putting something more visible than a bead on the sight rib, but other than that and a buttstock ammo carrier, this unit is ready to go.
Also, I finally got to meet a SIG 938, which I have been contemplating for a while as a potential platform for a kid-sized .22 pistol...and I'll admit the impression was mixed.
The gripframe is simply not as compelling as it should be. It feels "long" high on the frame, enough so to stick out immediately. I'd have to see it in a kid's hand, and also under fire, to comment further, but by comparison I was much more impressed by the reduced 1911-22 from Browning. The SIG's safety was positive enough; I'll always prefer the 1911 style slide-locking safety, but this isn't a deal-breaker. The 938's trigger was surprisingly heavy; a nice, short, and positive reset, but as a single-action trigger it felt...stiff. Now, I'll be the first to admit that what I'm after here is something deliberately sweet so that it can represent a serious training .22 sized for a kid's hand, but even on a combat pistol, a single-action trigger doesn't have to be quite that lawyer-proof. In the SIG's distinct favor were the sights (excellent), and the slide manipulation is notably easier on the hands than many tiny guns... In the end: I dunno. It may be that with the addition of a few common accoutrements (read: better sights, ducktail grip safety and appropriate hammer, and tastefully extended safety lever) and good leather, the 1911-22 will be the way to go for a training and development pistol. We'll see.
Saw an LCR in .22 rimfire, and it surprised me by being a six-shooter instead of eight or nine. I wonder what the story is on that?
It appears that Springfield Armory is now making the XD-S in 9mm as well as in .45; as a 9 it's a 7+1 gun instead of a 5+1, but otherwise it doesn't appear dimensionally different at all. Call me old-fashioned, but in the same size package I'll take six .45s, thanks. (Where the 9 makes sense to me is in the luxuriously light 6+1 DB9, at 0.8" thick, eleven ounces empty and with a surprisingly friendly trigger mechanism.) However, in comparing the two I was again reminded of how amazing a piece that XD-S in .45 is: how the gun really can be that tiny and yet still fit all your fingers on its gripframe I do not understand, but combine that with a nice short-reset trigger, great sights and excellent ergonomics, and you've got a real winner there. If I were starting over with a general battery of pistols, I'd probably replace the .40 Kahr with the .45 XD-S to fit the "smaller than a 1911 but still carried on the belt" niche, and be happy with it.
Ammo still seems stoopid, and reloading components stoopider still. I know it's been a while since I've been a shotshell reloader, but a 25# bag of lead shot for over fifty bucks just nearly causes hyperventilation. Not only am I carefully designing a plan for skills maintenance with airguns, I'm strongly considering getting set up to cast my own pellets.
Anyway, a few thoughts to set down so I don't forget them. Would love to go through a more comprehensive review of the state of the industry, but with two small kids in the house even the above whirlwind is appreciated time.
Data points. Duly noted.