2018 Innovation of the Year
December 28, 2018
Guns & Ammo editors, contributors and staff present 2018’s pre-eminent firearms, optic, ammunition, suppressor and innovation awards. Only products made commercially available this last year qualify for nomination. Candidates that were introduced in 2018, but have yet to be shipped to retailers were excluded from our voting process.
During our roundtable discussions, products developed from the ground up and those that possessed the greatest potential impact to the greatest number of readers were given additional value when scored. When having to decide between two otherwise equally important new products, the more affordable choice typically broke the tie in our voting. This year, we have made our first exception to this rule with the shotgun category.
G&A acquired several samples of each nominee throughout 2018 for a comprehensive evaluation. Products that caused doubt in their reliability and manufacturing methods were eliminated from the list of candidates.
The winner for each category resulted from a point system once three criteria were met: First, the product must have been new and available for purchase in 2018. A line extension of an existing product didn’t earn the points as one possessing innovative features and engineering. Second, it must have demonstrated quality and reliability to a degree that met or exceeded its design objective. Lastly, the winner must offer the greatest appeal to the masses. G&A’s staff awarded points in this third principle following a survey of in-store availability and retail pricing to ensure the product exists and offers great value.
To protect the credibility of the Guns & Ammo of the Year awards, no manufacturers, advertisers or sales representatives were informed of our selection. What follows is a summary list of 2018’s best new products now offered by the firearm industry.
INNOVATION OF THE YEAR
SIG Sauer BDX is not a scope, or a rangefinder or an app. It’s a system that benefits from the use of all three elements. When used together, it’s difficult to miss.
“BDX” is an acronym for “ballistic data exchange.” You only pay for the Sierra3 riflescope and Kilo BDX rangefinder. Then, download the free app to a smartphone. Through the use of Bluetooth, the rangefinder uses a shooter’s ballistic information that’s entered into the app to calculate the precise holdover of a target based on its ranging. It then communicates with the scope to mark a dot on where the holdover needs to be.
Applied Ballistics’ formulations is in the app. Select your bullet and load, or enter your own custom handload and muzzle velocity. You can also true the app to your rifle’s actual data. Then, pair the information with the rangefinder. The rangefinder will also display much of the same intel, which means that you don’t need to carry your smartphone into the field once the information has been shared.
BDX was designed for hunters and long-range shooters who desire simplicity and speed. An attractive selling point is that you can buy one component at a time. The Kilo1400BDX retails for about $300. The rangefinder has the Applied Ballistics Ultralite calculator built in and can be used with the app to determine what to dial on any riflescope. When you can afford it, the Sierra3 scope retails for $960.
What if the Bluetooth connection is lost? Well, you still have a functioning scope and rangefinder. The future is trending in this direction.