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SHOT Show 2014 – Air Force, BKL, Cometa (Air Force Intl.)

My first experience with Air Force was through the GunPower Stealth, one of their initial product introductions way back in the early 1990’s.  What I remember most about that experience is calling Air Force with some questions, and the guy who answered the phone was company owner John McCaslin.  He actually seemed quite interested in feedback from customers, and sent me some parts which had been updated and improved from the rifle version that I had.  While I no longer have that rifle, what I retained from that experience is my perception of Air Force as an innovative company that places a premium on customer service.

That innovation clearly continues with the 2014 introduction of the ‘Ton Jones’ Escape line of new Air Force rifles.  Based on the popular Condor rifle, the Escape is a survivalists dream;  lighter for ease of carry and with a smaller bottle to make filling faster and easier, yet still packing the power worthy of the Condor heritage.  In fact, its supposed to be able to put out as much as 98 ft. lbs., if I heard correctly.   The new Escape and EscapeUL were developed in consultation with Ton Jones, star of the Auction Hunter series on SpikeTV.

I’m not one to look forward to the Zombie Apocalypse, or some other end of the world scenario, but there’s nothing says we shouldn’t be prepared, just in case.  And in that event, the Escape series of rifles would be pretty handy for putting food on the spit.  Plus, you still get to use it even if the end doesn’t happen right away.  There’s even a version with a shroud, if you want to shoot more quietly.

With respect to BKL, I’ve been using these mounts for years now, and have been impressed with their consistency and gripping power.  I can’t remember having to shim or turn BKL mounts around in order to get the scope to align with the barrel, as happens with some other mounts.  So mounts should be pretty interchangeable from one style to another,  without throwing your poi high/low or side to side.

The other thing that Air Force has done for 2014, at least through the BKL mounts division, is to offer single mounts.  Yup, you can mix and match mount types, from single strap, cantilevered, to triple strap, or whatever best suits your particular gun.    It took me a minute to appreciate the implications.  There are airguns that present a challenge when using a matched set of mounts, due to the location of the magazine, loading port, etc., and in particular when you run out of room on the scope tube between the objective bells.  So this offers a way to address such a problem, without paying for two full sets of mounts or losing any concentricity.

Finally, Air Force International continues to be the US importer and distributor for the Cometa line of Spanish made airguns.  Cometa had a tough time of it when the US distribution fell apart a few years back.  I’m glad to see Air Force picked it up and provides support for the full line of spring piston airguns and the Lynx pcp rifle.  The Lynx offers a more conventional hunting or target rifle and complements the more hi-tech look of the Air Force pcp guns.

While I was at the Air Force booth, at one time or another I met Ton Jones, Paul Capello, and Eric Henderson (big bore Eric), all of whom are affiliated in some way with Air Force.   That’s in addition to the usual crew of great people who work at Air Force.  It’s always a pleasure to visit with these folks, and 2014 was no exception.  Here’s a brief look at their booth;

You can find more information about Air Force, BKL, and Air Force International at their web site here;

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