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By Julian Nettlefold

The long road out of Las Vegas snaked its way through the suburbs out onto the open road and into the desert. The Editor knew he was near the Desert Sportsman’s Range, venue for the Aimpoint Shot Show Range Day when he heard the deep roar of the ATK 30mm canon, part of the Nobles Viper Gun System, followed up by the putt, putt of a .50 calibre machine gun quickly followed by the chatter of a 7.62 GPMG, the Shot Show had begun in earnest!

The desert road turned into a track leading up to the Range where the various weapons were lined up on the firing points.

Viper Gun System

Pride of place went to the Viper Gun System. The Viper Gun System was developed by Nobles Manufacturing Inc. in conjunction with ATK Gun Systems, Butler National Corporation and Cantine Armament Inc. Nobles are the prime contractor, ATK provide the weapons, Butler the gun control and Cantine are responsible for integration of the system, training and lifecycle support. The Viper Gun System is a family of crew-served weapon mounts capable of mounting a variety of weapons. The system is intended to bridge the gap between conventional crew-served weapon mounts and remote weapon stations. The primary version is the VGS 30 armed with the ATK 30 mm M230LF [Link Fed] Chain Gun. A number of potential customers were on the Range to see the Viper system in action, including a team from the U.K. MoD with a view to purchasing the system for bunker-busting operations in Afghanistan. The demo certainly reinforced their view as to the effectiveness of the system! Equipped with a Simrad Optronics fire control system linked to a crew-served weapon sight, the Viper Gun System produces the lethality and accuracy required for operations in Afghanistan. The variant being offered for the U.K. MoD has an Aimpoint sight with an ISTEC mount.

Larry Cozine of Nobles told the Editor that the Company had won a number of orders for its Sea Viper, naval gun system from a number of Middle Eastern countries.

U.S. Ordnance Products

Moving up the range, the Editor took up position with the U.S. Ordnance team and was handed a Mk. 43 MOD0 Medium Machine Gun, which showed remarkable accuracy with a belt of ammunition flying down the range. The Company also showed its .50 calibre M2HB Heavy Machine Gun. The crescendo of noise and cracking of bullets down the Range rose as more visitors took up positions for the live firing, with sounds of shot ringing in our ears in spite of ear defenders! U.S. Ordnance showed a variety of sights on their weapons.

LaRue Targets and Guns

The next Firing Point was run by LaRue who were showing their comprehensive Range Spotting system which includes closed circuit camera coverage of the Range with a spotting scope giving the firer precise details of fall of shot. LaRue Remote Targets function like the regular TG1 automatic targets, but can also be controlled from distance by an operator using a Transmitter. Remote Targets can thus rise and fall on command. Set up requires a few more steps than regular targets. The Remote Targets can operate by transmitter in Remote Mode, or in Automatic Mode without the Transmitter. Remote operation is controlled by a Transmitter. One Transmitter is sent per group of 10 Remote Targets. The Transmitter can communicate with a target from up to one mile away. The same Charger used to charge the targets will recharge the Transmitter. No overcharging will occur. The camera showed the fall of shot and the puff of sand as the bullets hit their mark.

LaRue also showed their range of light machine guns, particularly their new .556 version, which remarkably weighs only 7 pounds which gives the user more flexibility to carry more ammunition or accessories.

Aimpoint Firing Point

‘Lightening the Load’ was a theme which ran through a number of demonstrations. Aimpoint was showing off its Micro TI sight which weighs only 105 grams. Magnus Andersson of Ai

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