2016 Gear of the Year Awards – All Categories

 What are the Gear-Report.com Gear of the Year Awards? Simply put, the products that the Gear-Report.com staff deemed to be the best, most innovative, or otherwise most notable of 2016. […]

 What are the Gear-Report.com Gear of the Year Awards?

Simply put, the products that the Gear-Report.com staff deemed to be the best, most innovative, or otherwise most notable of 2016. In most cases these are new products announced in 2016, although some may have been announced earlier, but not widely available until 2016. If it made this exclusive list, then our seasoned experts were highly impressed.

We set only a few rules:

  • No brands were notified or involved in the selection process. The thoughtful opinions of the Gear-Report.com staff were the final word… the ONLY word.
  • Only products widely available in the retail market were considered. If YOU can’t buy one, then what’s the point?
  • There is no second place, no runner up. These are Winner Take All awards.
  • We only considered products that the Gear-Report.com staff had hands-on experience with.

To keep things simple we broke down the following basic categories. Without further delay, here are the 2016 Gear-Report.com Gear of the Year Award Winners!

Overall Gear of the Year Overall Winner

We tested a lot of products in 2016. A lot of good products.

We even tested a few great products. The one that put the biggest smile on our faces, and the faces of EVERY person that came in contact with it was the Slide Fire Belt Fed Bump Fire Rifle. At the end of the day, there are a variety of ways you can evaluate and rank products. How much joy a product brings seems like a rather logical measure of it’s worth.

The rifles themselves start life as a standard Colt 6920 rifles. The Slide Fire gunsmiths modified the Colts to accept a removable belt feed mechanisms.
But why anyone would want to remove them and turn the rifles back into magazine fed rifles is beyond me.

If you like smiling, then link a big batch of ammo with standard M27 links, point the BFR-556A in a safe direction and start slinging lead.

You can thank me later.

Other Gear of the Year Award Category winners:

Firearms – Rifle – SemiAuto

  • Tactical: Radical Firearms Upgraded 18″ 223 Wylde FTR Rifle (3-Gun)

    Lightweight and accurate. Tight fit and finish in a light weight platform.  Very well priced at under $1300 without an optic. Not finicky on ammo. The FTR Rifle gives notice that Radical Firearms is not content to be seens as only a “budget brand”.

  • Competition: JP Enterprises LRP-07

    JP Enterprises has produced a superb precision rifle built to perform even at high round counts. The LRP-07 is not cheap, but it a very shootable a work of art.

 

  • Muzzleloader: Thompson/Center Strike

    Combining a light, crisp striker fired trigger with an innovative external threaded breach plug, the Thompson/Center Strike is a handy hunting rifle that brings evolutionary improvements to muzzleloading season.

  • Rimfire: Clark Custom Guns 10/22

    Beautify and scary accurate, Clark Custom Guns has taken no prisoners in their quest to wring accuracy and aesthetics from the 10/22 platform.

  • Takedown: Ruger 10/22 Takedown Lite

    Ruger 10/22 Takedown Lite review - in bagPortable, packable and sporting many upgrades formerly only available in the aftermarket, the Ruger 10/22 Takedown Lite redefines what a “factory” rifle can be. And we like it.

Firearms – Rifle – Bolt Action

  • Hunting: Thompson/Center Compass

    TC Compass hunting rifle review - Vero Vellini slingBeating many more expensive bolt action rifles, the Thompson/Center Compass delivers all the right features for putting meat in the freezer, and does so on a budget that redefines the market, and should legitimately scare other brands and wild game alike.

  • Target: Ruger Precision Rifle

    Ruger’s Precision Rifle shook the market with a look and out of the box performance that was previously reserved for much more costly and exotic rifles that were out of reach for most. Subtle improvements for 2016 bolstered an already outrageous value proposition and made it that much harder for competitors that strive to knock the RPR off of the hill.

Firearms Pistol – SemiAuto

  • Budget Concealed Carry:  Taurus Millennium G2 9mm Polymer Grip Sub Compact

    Lightweight 22 oz. thin profile with a 3.2 inch barrel. Adjustable rear sight and an accessory rail.  Lots of features in a very concealable 12 + 1 semi-auto. The Taurus Millennium G2 offers a nice fit & finish while remaining very well priced at well under $300.

  • Duty Carry: Smith & Wesson Performance Center M&P 9 Pro Series C.O.R.E.

    Big enough to inspire confidence. Compact enough to conceal, if needed. Factory prepped for the most popular slide mounted optics. The Smith & Wesson Performance Center M&P 9 Pro Series C.O.R.E. sports an obnoxiously long name and set of standard features. It looks great on paper, but feels even better in your hand.

  • Concealed Carry: Smith & Wesson M&P 45 Shield

    Smith & Wesson M&P 45 Shield Review - slide openSqueezing the .45 ACP cartridge into a single stack concealed carry package is a balancing act that many have tried, but few have done well. The Smith & Wesson M&P 45 Shield inspires confidence with 7+1 capacity and a thin, concealable profile without sacrificing feel in your hand or shootability.

  • Rimfire: Smith & Wesson 22 Victory

    The Smith & Wesson SW22 Victory is a bold slap in the face to well estabilshed market dominators. A fine shooting pistol out of the box, the modular SW22 Victory is a modder’s dream with robust factory and aftermarket upgrade options.

  • Target: Springfield Armory XD(M)® 5.25″ Full Size .45ACP

    The Springfield Armory XD(M) is a full size out of the box competition ready shooter with a crisp stable trigger, accurate and tight fit and finish.  It comes with easy to line up fiber optic front and comfortable grip and is easy to feed.

  • Tactical: Zenith Firearms MKE series Z-5P

    An affordable and attainable alternative to the exotic H&K MP5, the Zenith Z-5P is a sexy package with threaded barrel and nearly all the features and critical dimensions of it’s German ancestors.

Firearms – Shotgun – SemiAuto

  • Tactical: Tactical Mossberg 930 JM Pro Series Autoloader

    A super solid, versatile, reliable shotgun, the Tactical Mossberg 930 JM Pro is feature heavy and very well priced. It eats crappy shells as well as high end without issue.  It’s simply a winner… which should be expected of any Jerry Miculek influenced firearms.

Optics – Rifle

  • Budget – Tactical – Unmagnified: Vortex Optics Spitfire AR Prism

    Vortex Optics Spitfire AR Prism ScopeDead simple, uses a single, common AAA battery for up to 3000 hours of use. Unlike most consumer grade red dots, the Dual Ring Tactical reticle is visible without illumination. Well thought out control and battery access placement.

  • Night Vision: ATN X-Sight II HD 3-14

    Simply a modern marvel. How ATN squeezed all of this into a rather useable package for $599 is beyond me: HD  photo, video recording & streaming, ballistic calculator, Recoil Activated Recording, range finder, bluetooth, GPS, HD monitor (big improvement over prior model), Micro HDMI out (for an HDTV), microUSB, microSD card, comes with QD mounts, one shot zero, user selectable reticle… and it actually works rather well as a magnified optic as well.  I love streaming live video of the scope picture from the scope on my kid’s rifle to my phone when we hunt together. That way I can see exactly what they see and coach them more effectively.

    Performance – Tactical – Magnified: Trijicon ACOG 3.5 X 35 Scope Dual Illuminated Crosshair .308 Ballistic Reticle

    The upper end of great optics for tactical shooting. Several reticles to choose from.  Battlefield tested and proven. A must have for tactical shooting.

  • Performance Tactical – Unmagnified Meprolight Mepro RDS Pro


    Military durability, extreme battery life, simplicity, runs on a standard AA battery.

  • Budget Iron sights Gun Pro US Delta 1 Sight

    It looks different, but provides a more intuitive sight picture.

  • Performance Tactical – Competition JP Enterprises JPoint RMR

    Light, reliable and always on, this micro red dot sight brings pistol sight pictures up to the same level as rifle red dots.

  • Performance Iron sights Meprolight Bullseye FT

    A completely different concept for aiming a pistol. Instead of aligning multiple segments of iron sight, one simply points at the target and adjusts until the dot glows brightly.

 

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