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.
SUPPRESSOR OF THE YEAR
AAC Halcyon was announced late in 2017, but it didn’t start appearing in stores until earlier this year. Pronounced “hal-see-un,” this is a modular, 1-inch-diameter suppressor designed for rimfires that can be configured in two ways. The main can offers a standalone length of 3.41 inches and only weighs 41/2 ounces due to its construction. Titanium was used to shield the internal K-baffles and core tube. Should you need maximum sound suppression — up to 42 decibels — it’s quick to attach the 7075-T6 aluminum front tube, which brings the overall weight to 6.1 ounces and stretches the length to 5.28 inches. On a pistol or rifle, the Halcyon offers excellent handling and doesn’t require tools to configure, disassemble or install.
If you happen to own a 1/2x28-threaded firearm chambered in .17 HMR, .22LR, .22 Magnum or 5.7x28mm, this suppressor works. If that smallbore happens to be select fire, this suppressor can handle it. The Halcyon has been full-auto rated for .22LR.
When the fun is done, the Halcyon is easy to disassemble for inspection and cleaning. Unscrew the interchangeable endcaps and remove the three stackable baffles if you’re using only the core tube (or all five if it’s configured in full length). If you have a rimfire that needs a thread adapter, AAC supports the GSG 1911/22, SIG Sauer Mosquito, Smith & Wesson M&P 22 Compact and Walther P22.
Aside from the $200 tax stamp, the Halcyon is competitively priced for the masses at $450. It’s the best all-around new suppressor that G&A tested in 2018.