Words by: Wally F / Photos by: Wally F
Day Two TACCOM. You can’t start your second morning at the show without a good cup of coffee. That’s where Arrowhead Coffee feeds the need. Unfortunately though, if you weren’t there on day when they were brewing and pouring for attendees, two had them cut off due to unforeseen issues, but that doesn’t stop you from still going to get their coffee. A Canadian Veteran owned and operate business, Arrowhead Coffee Company also gives back and supports the military, LEO, and first responder community on top of make a killer cup of joe.
The second day of the show had me concentrating on less booths and a more in-depth dive into products and services releasing or available now into the Canadian market. Early in the day I hit up Delta2Alpha and True North Tradecraft. Both companies are born from the need to harden yourself from the inside out with non-standard training and products ranging from EDC, personal security, preparedness, urban survival, covert entry, counter custody, and so on. These two companies combined present a powerful knowledge base to learn from and it’s from a non-standard response when compared to what is currently (or not at all) taught in Police training and the military. There is something to be learned from Delta2Alpha (Edmonton area) and True North Tradecraft (GTA) for all walks of life and folks be hitting them both up to find out more.
The next two booths are similar but different and complementary at the same time. The first is Tactical Ordnance, specializing in their custom purpose built shotguns, especially their latest Beretta 1301 builds, and Black Box Customs, specializing in custom pistol builds as well as other firearms and home to the Negative Cant Plate (NCP) and the Holster Accessory Mount (HAM). When you want a shotgun to be more then just you’re pappy’s turkey blaster, there is literally no one else to consider other than Tactical Ordnance or TacOrd as a lot of folks like to abbreviate it to. Between all the popular models of Mossberg, Remington, Benelli, and Beretta, TacOrd are the shotgun masters of crafting custom shotgun builds. Opening feed ports, custom oversized controls, Matchsaverz carriers, rail extensions, custom followers, optic mounts, shell carriers such as my favourite the Aridus Industries Q-DC, engraving and Cerakote are all services they provide in a turnkey in-house solution for your shotgun needs.
Similarly, Black Box Customs has been building custom pistols and red dot ready builds for over eight years with customers ranging from the IPSC, IDPA, 3-Gun competition, law enforcement, military, and the casual weekend plinker all with the intent of serving the end user with what they need. You need only have to hit up their social media feeds to see what this shop can really do for you with the emphasis on customization. Also home to the Negative Cant Plate and Holster Accessory Mount, both products designed with and for law enforcement in mind; Black Box Customs has seen their plates and mounts used by dozen of agencies in North America and Europe with unit distribution in the thousands.
Both Tactical Ordnance and Black Box Customs represent the best of Made in Canada firearms customization, if you’ve been in the sport shooting community long enough, I guarantee you will have of either one of these excellent Canadian companies.
Black Creek Labs has been around the manufacturing block for awhile now in Canada and this year they presented a couple of products that piqued my attention right away. The first being their new light weight TRX Bronco compact bolt action system in .308 Remington or 6.5 Creedmoor. Designed with a folding and locking butt-stock system the prevents the system from firing, it is the shortest non-restrict rifle you can get on the market right now. With barrel lengths ranging from 16.5” all the way down to 9.5”. The system weighs between about 6.5 to 7.5 lbs depending the configuration, which is awesome because it sets the Bronco up to be a possible Jeff Cooper classic definition of a scout rifle depending on the optic you mount with it, and that’s a powerful thing to consider.
The second product that caught my eye is their PX19 Foxbat semi-auto striker fire all metal frame pistol. Again made in Canada and using a majority of Glock Gen 3 parts for ease of parts replacement and maintenance. Barrel threaded, and optics ready, I noted this pistol build had some interesting design changes from what a standard Glock build has, beyond the obvious all metal frame design. The first being the extended guide rails fore of the locking block and inline with the trigger mechanism house unit, on a metal frame makes for a stiff more rigid interaction on the slide, which helps with overall accuracy must like the Zev Tech OZ9 Modular build kit. The magazine release is in a Glock Gen 4 styled block rectangular look giving more restate to get your thumb over. The unique part of the mag release is it coil spring retention versus a Glock’s razor thin straight pin style magazine spring, which mimics what the Sig Sauer P320 has in it’s setup. The Foxbat takes the best parts of what’s on the market and tweaked it all into a nice fully packaged all Canadian built striker fire pistol that I sincerely hope will make it to market very soon.
Lastly, my day on the show floor ended on a high note over at Crusader Arms and their newly launched Templar non-restricted semi-auto rifle. After having a very good conversation with the team at Crusader Arms, they’ve got me convinced to seriously drain my piggy bank for one of these rifles. So full disclosure, I am not a fan of the AR180B design period. That being said Crusader echoed some similar thoughts, which is what drove them to the redesign the base AR180 platform and improve the key deficiencies and build some innovations into the Templar build.
First off, they ditched the carbine length gas piston system went with a mid-length, longer stroke, and much smoother cycle of operation. Along with the mid-length is also a larger 3/8 piston which again makes for a more stable and repeatable movement on a part that is already bulked up. Now it my seem stupid to some people but what really sold me on this is “The Slap” feature. Anyone who has ever shot and reloaded and MP5 will know exactly what I am talking about. The Templar comes with a non-reciprocating charging handle with an H&K style charging handle lock that you can do “The Slap” on the handle to send the charging handle forward. To me it’s the second most satisfying sound that a weapon system can make, second only to the sound of a 40mm grenade being launched.
The upper is a fully monolithic single piece with a fully length piccatiny rail at the twelve o’clock to the MLok slots at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock, you’ve got options. A very smart design choice they built into the monolithic upper is a barrel chamber cover plate. Anyone who uses a Colt Canada IUR upper knows the pain of trying to do a barrel swap on a monolithic upper needing special wrenches and tools. The Templar solves the issue with a built in cover plate right where the barrel meets the upper, easy pease. The trigger group, fire control, and pistol grip are all AR15 parts compatible, so if you want to drop a TriggerTech, Geiselle, Timney, etc… AR trigger into the lower, it’ll work just fine.
The two refinements that I like to see on all AR180 builds is a last round bolt hold open with a bolt catch release, which the Templar has, and a brass deflector, both parts custom designed for the Templar. Rounding out the build is a non-restricted heavy barrel length in 5.56 NATO, and an F5 SCAR folding butt-stock with modular adapter system. Overall a very impressive build that has rekindled has interest in the AR180 platform again. Next I just need to get my hands on one and field test it…
Day two was a very fruitful venture, and despite the dark persistent cloud that hang over the industry and community, I’m hopeful that a ray of sunshine will break through soon and people can get back to enjoying, shooting sports, hunting, training, and competition very soon.
Reporting for TV-PressPass