Athlon Outdoors Best Cover Guns 2017
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Before 2018 kicks into full gear it’s only right we reflect on the year that was 2017. For Athlon Outdoors it has been a year featuring amazing cover guns, as well as the personalities that make them amazing. In case you missed one, we’re wrapping all of them up in a bow for you so you can get caught up. Think of it as a late Christmas gift from us to you!

So without further ado, here are the 2017 noisemakers from Ballistic, Combat Handguns, and Tactical Weapons. The cover guns that reigned supreme through out the year and testimony from the industry elites on why we picked them.

Scroll through all three galleries below for a better look at our cover guns. For more information, read the quotes for each magazine issue following the galleries.

Cheers to 2018!

Ballistic Magazine Cover Guns

Spring 2017 Issue — Metal of Honor: Tool’s Maynard James Keenan Rocks a Commemorative NEMO Omen Recon

“The motivation behind the rifle was to thank Maynard for his art and music. Many of his songs mean a lot because of the association with the ODA and Robbie.” – Len Waldron, Author

Summer 2017 Issue — How Sharps Bros. Is Literally Changing the Face of the Gun Industry

“Sharps Bros. has become famous for its unique AR lower receivers, including the Hellbreaker, the Warthog and the Jack. Never before had anyone made an effort to design a lower with such a detailed character design. And to say that the company has been successful is a monumental understatement. You would be hard pressed to scroll through any social media outlet without coming across a picture of a Sharps Bros. lower in a build of some sort. They are as well made as they are eye catching.” – Fred Mastison, Author

Fall 2017 Issue — ‘Tanto’ Uncensored: 7 Questions with Benghazi Warrior Kris Paronto

“The two custom Tanto Glocks I had in this photoshoot were customized by two of the best in the country: Adam at Allegiant Rifleworks and Damon Young of SSVi. I wanted to make sure I got them in the shoot because these two do incredible work. They’re unbelievable craftsmen who take their time and put out amazing products, and of course you can see that.” – Kris “Tanto” Paronto, Story Feature

Winter 2018 Issue (2017 release) — Young Guns: 23 Questions with War Vet Lauren Young

“For starters, the recoil on it is like nothing I’ve experienced before with a 7.62mm round—it barely exists. She’s a big girl, and that’s why I like her. She’s reliable and accurate as hell. Long-range shooting has always been my favorite kind, and the 6.5 Creedmoor never fails to hit steel.” – Lauren Young, Story Feature

Combat Handguns Cover Guns

February 2017 — Kimber 1911s: The Desert Warrior and Warrior SOC

“Kimber’s Warrior series pistols feature ambidextrous thumb safeties, smooth frontstraps and, unlike the company’s other 1911s, standard-length recoil spring guide rods for easy, field-expedient disassembly. The pistols also have G10 grip panels to provide a solid hold, especially for shooters wearing gloves, and integral Picatinny rails for mounting lights and lasers as needed. The Warriors also feature lanyard-loop-equipped mainspring housings and Kimber’s Tactical Wedge night sights. But let’s take a closer look at two models in this series—the Desert Warrior and Warrior SOC.” – Dave Bahde, Author

March 2017 — Sig Sauer’s Brand New P226 ASE Model Is Aces

“Upon handling the P226 ASE, my first thought was that it looked just like an all-stainless-steel pistol. The slide and frame colors match very closely. Also, Sig Sauer’s Elite frame is one of my favorites, as I’ve used it on the P220, P226 and P229 before. The high-swept beavertail protects the web of your shooting hand and makes it easy to obtain a high grip on the pistol. These frames fit my large hands the best of any made by Sig Sauer, providing excellent recoil control in any caliber.” – Dave Bahde, Author

May/June 2017 — Xtreme Beauty: Testing the Wilson Combat EDC X9 Pistol

“The EDC X9 elevates the 1911 design to a decidedly higher level by going down a proven path of reliability using design features that work. That’s certainly welcome because every year “groundbreaking” designs that supposedly solve some sort of problem get plenty of media attention only to undergo recalls as latent defects arise. New technology is a welcome thing, but not always on a carry pistol; Wilson made the EDC X9 a pistol you can bet your life on by selecting proven, not speculative, features.” – Andy Massimilian, Author

July/August 2017 — Say Hello to the B&T USW: A Unique 9mm Pistol-Carbine Hybrid

“Why all the fuss? PDW, carbine—it’s all the same, right? Not exactly. The USW was born for specific users who had a long list of criteria to be met. Consider this: In a world where terrorists can strike at any moment, a challenging dynamic emerges. There is a difference between a terrorist’s goals and your average criminals goal’s, and the folks at B&T have seriously considered both angles. I’ll spare you the details, but just keep in mind that B&T’s extensive research found that law enforcement officers, especially those in Europe, needed a weapon that could provide effective hits at extended engagement distances. Not just a weapon, but a weapon system—one with serious operational considerations like reduced size and the ability to be carried in a holster. This means that the weapon is always available without hindering the operator’s other duties.” – Sean Utley, Author

September/October 2017 — Double Hitter: MRI’s Desert Eagle Combo Caliber Pack

“The Desert Eagle looks and feels like no other gun I have ever fired. Weighing a hefty 4.5 pounds unloaded and possessing a long and thick grip that feels more like a pneumatic power tool than a pistol, there is nothing petite about the mighty Desert Eagle.” – Mike Detty, Author

November/December 2017 — Gun Review: The 10mm Kimber Camp Guard 10 Pistol

“The Kimber Camp Guard is a 10mm pistol built on the familiar 1911 platform. The manual of arms for the 1911 is very familiar and engrained in the shooting community. It is an easy-to-run system and is well known for its accuracy. Mix into that the 10mm round and you have a real winner. The 10mm offers fantastic penetration and has been used on some of the toughest game on earth. Serious loads can push a 180-grain bullet close to 1,300 fps. That is serious power.” – Fred Mastison, Author

Tactical Weapons Cover Guns

February/March 2017 — The Surgeon Is In: Testing Out the Surgeon CSR Rifle

Surgeon Rifles was one of the first to improve on the Remington 700 action design—the most popular choice among bolt rifles—and remains a leader in the field. In fact, Surgeon’s actions are the first choice for many custom rifle builders and competitors. These actions are stronger, straighter and incredibly consistent. They’re also some of the smoothest and fastest rifle actions you can use. Surgeon rifles themselves are precise instruments, yet they have withstood the most challenging competitions and combat conditions imaginable. The Surgeon CSR is a perfect example of the kind of accuracy you can achieve from a custom-grade rifle built for covert deployments.” – Dave Bahde, Author

May/June 2017 — Micro Madness: Unleash Hell with Empty Shell’s XM556 Microgun

Your first impression when you lay your hands on the XM556 Microgun is that it is tiny—like MP5-with-the-stock-collapsed tiny. Once you heft the rig and feel the weight, it feels solid and dense. The electrical pigtail hangs off the back, and the two hand grips interface nicely with the human form. The overall effect is kind of surreal, like you stepped into the movie Aliens.” – Will Dabbs, Author

August/September 2017 — Mossberg Shockwave: Short-Barreled Fun Without the NFA Hassle

The Shockwave is built on Mossberg’s time-tested and military-approved 590 receiver, and it’s fitted with a 14-inch, heavy-walled, cylinder-bore barrel with a bead sight. The aluminum receiver is drilled and tapped for optics, although honestly I’m not sure how well those would work on a gun like this. It features twin action bars and a ribbed, polymer forend with a hand strap to keep your supper hand away from the stubby muzzle of the gun during recoil. An ambidextrous top-mounted safety makes the gun lefty friendly, and dual extractors and an anti-jam elevator ensure reliability.

As mentioned, the gun uses a Shockwave Raptor bird’s-head grip like those used on the old U.S. Marshalls Service Witness Protection shotguns. The Raptor grip is the key to the Shockwave’s overall length of 26.37 inches. That length allows for the 14-inch barrel. Any shorter and you’d be looking at an NFA item.” – Tim Stetzer, Author

November/December 2017 — Gun Review: The LMT CSW (Confined Space Weapon)

The CSW will make for an effective tool for units that adopt and field it. With the ability to easily change out barrels, the weapon system is truly multi-role capable. For non-military/LE users, this 24-inch weapon is tough be beat for its short length. Add .30-caliber effectiveness and suppression and you have a viable home-defense weapon or, in these times of uncertainty while out and about, a good go-everywhere backpack weapon. Personally, that’s how I’d utilize the CSW.” – Sean Utley, Author

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