Guns & Gear at Athlon’s Signature Event


The sixth annual Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous brought together the Athlon Outdoors editorial team, contributors and some of the best firearm and accessory manufacturers in the business. The event offers the opportunity to mingle and get to know some of the latest products from approximately 30 companies. Thousands of rounds were sent downrange, and we came away with an informative sneak peek and will share some of the highlighted products here. The annual Rendezvous Roundup and linked stories package all the guns, gear and shooting from the annual Rendezvous event.

Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous Roundup


The folks at Steiner were nice enough to let us shoot its Predator 8 riflescope, which was doped in at one mile with many hitting the target on their first or second shots. We also got to take a look at a new high-tech scope coming out at SHOT Show 2023. More to come on that in later issues and online. ( (


Known for its tough and durable polymer AK mags, US Palm showcased its limited-edition AK Alien Green 30-round mag. The bright green AK mag stands out from the crowd, so beware of friends “borrowing” this little gem. Also at Rendezvous, US Palm’s sister brand Canik brought along its Steel Rival 9mm pistol, which enjoys the cover of this issue and can be found on page 26. ( (


This Israeli company continues its line of Masada pistols with the Masada Slim 9mm pistol. The thin profile and compact design offer easy concealed carry. The striker-fired polymer pistol features a modular, serialized trigger mechanism housing that can be removed for cleaning. It comes with two 13-round mags and sports a slide cutout for mounting red-dot optics. IWI has some fantastic new rifles coming out later on in Q1. You won’t want to miss them. (


While known for its superb triggers. Rise Armament also offers AR parts and accessories, including a mag release button, an M-Lok QD Sling Mount and Extended Charging Handle Latch. These parts can be had in a variety of colors for personalizing your AR-15. Also, you get a full rundown of Rise’s new Iconic independent two-stage trigger on page 20 of this issue of Tactical Life. (


Among the many pistols SAR USA let us shoot was a competition-ready 9mm priced for just about any shooter. The K-12 Sport X features a 4.7-inch, match-grade ported barrel with a recessed crown for accuracy. Along with a forged alloy steel frame and slide, the pistol boasts an ergonomic grip, flared mag well for quick reloads, skeletonized hammer, low bore axis and ambi manual safety. (


SilencerCo brought a plethora of cans and was nice enough to let us shoot until we were tired. In fact, there were too many suppressors to list here, but check out Karen Hunter’s piece on all things SilencerCo on page 14 of this issue of Tactical Life. (


Many are familiar with Springfield’s latest additions, the Prodigy pistol and Hellion bullpup rifle. The Prodigy enhances the proven 1911 design by building the pistol around its double-stack magazine for a whopping 20+1 capacity of 9mm. The wild-looking Hellion redefines the semi-auto rifle with its 16-inch barrel and a diminutive overall length of just over 18 inches. Although we can’t divulge any details right now, we did get some good intel about a new product coming soon that will make shooters smile. (


Belts and holsters go together like peas and carrots. Versacarry offers its Classic Carry Belt in black and distressed brown. Fashionable looks combine with durable performance for everyday carry. Go covert with the Comfort Flex IWB Holster. The rig combines buffalo leather with a custom-molded front for secure retention. The raised padded backing gives all-day carry comfort. (


Just about everyone needs a pack when they hit the range or the field. The folks at 5.11 Tactical offer it the second iteration of its LV10 Sling Pack with the 2.0 version. The Duraflex buckles have been updated for easy use while the redesign of the bag provides the most versatility possible with a removable holster retention strap, securing strap to the tablet sleeve and a quick-release main crossbody strap. (


A familiar sight at Rendezvous, the guys at Barrett once again brought their coveted MK22 rifles for us to test our shooting skills out to a mile. Shooting the civilian version of the USSOCOM’s Advanced Sniper Rifle made hits out that far easier. The rifle offers the ability to convert from 7.62x51mm to .300 Norma Magnum and .338 Lapua Magnum using the same chassis. (


Along with some sweet-shooting rifles, Daniel Defense brought along their SoundGuard Suppressor Powered by KGM that emphasizes back pressure reduction. State-of-the-art KGM technology significantly lowers impulse noise levels, and a patent-pending baffle stack and proprietary coating on internal parts reduce a firearm’s flash signature to virtually zero. (


Among the ridiculous amount of quiet cans available to test, the Sierra-5 Xeno stood out to many shooters. Dedicated to the 5.56 round, this suppressor takes punishment and keeps going with its stainless steel baffles while also being full-auto rated. (


The team at Hornady continues to push the envelope on what a cartridge can do. This is exemplified by their latest offering—the 7mm PRC. Bridging the gap between the 6.5 PRC and the 300 PRC, the 7mm PRC features long, heavy-for-caliber bullets for a standard long-action rifle. You can get a more in-depth dive by checking out Jay Langston’s take on the new round at (


Known for their painstaking attention to detail, Nighthawk Custom lived up to their reputation at Rendezvous. One favorite handgun was the Korth Mongoose .44 Magnum. Featuring a classic revolver design, the Mongoose comes in 3-, 4- and 6-inch barrels to suit different needs. While this piece brings power and performance, the ventilated rib, DLC finish and Turkish walnut grips give a striking aesthetic. (


Mossberg was one of the first companies to offer a complete rifle chambered for Hornady’s new 7mm PRC with their proven Patriot Predator bolt-action rifle. Two synthetic-stocked models are available with a 24-inch barrel with a 1-in-8 twist to best take advantage of the new cartridge. You can get a thorough rundown of the rifle at (


Silencer Central has backcountry hunters covered with their Banish Backcountry new .30-caliber suppressor. Constructed from fully welded 100% titanium, the Banish Backcountry features a universal mount (1.375-24 HUB) for versatility and is safe shooting .300 Win Mag (approximately 138 dB). (


Athlon’s content creators got their hands on the new M&P9 M2.0 Metal pistol and the 350 Legend revolver. Both handguns were featured in the last issue of Tactical Life. A major crowd favorite this year was trigger time on Smith’s latest Volunteer X chambered in .308 Win. S&W also has some great other new firearms coming in the near future and will be featured in Athlon publications and websites soon. (


Besides shooting the heck out of the new F-Series 9mm and the WMP in .22 Magnum, shooters really took to the new PDP Pro SD Full Size from Walther. Look for a future review in sister publication Combat Handguns. (


If you want the advantages of a compensator without adding extra weight and length to a pistol, look no further than Zev Technologies’ OZ9C and OZ9X Hyper-Comp. The compact pistols feature four tapered vertical ports integrated into the top of the barrel along with a channel cut out in the slide to vent gas upward to reduce muzzle flip. Zev also pleased Rendezvous attendees by granting all plenty of trigger time on their high-speed, zero-drag AR-platform rifles. Several Zev OZ-9 pistol upgrades are also coming down the pike. (


As you can see from the cover of this issue and the TL Night Shooter story on page 120, the new 600 Series Trail rifle was a real crowd-pleaser. And as always, CZ’s new shotguns were a blast. Their offerings included the new Bobwhite G2 Southpaw and Bobwhite G2 Intermediate. Some great videos will soon be posted at and (


While Colt has some exciting guns set to debut soon, the King Cobra .22 revolver hit it out of the park in accuracy and pure fun. The “Baby Snake” features a 4- or 6-inch barrel and packs 10 rounds of .22 LR. The ventilated rib atop the full-lug barrel combines with an ergonomic Hogue grip to create an eye-pleasing look. Colt also showed off some of its newest AR variants that are shooter-friendly to the max. Big things are in store for Colt in 2023. (


Live in a state that restricts ARs? Dark Storm Industries may have a workaround for you. The company’s DSI Variant 1 non-NFA in 5.56 sports an SB Tactical Brace and, along with its overall length being longer than 26 inches, is not considered an “assault weapon” in many restrictive states. Its lightweight design and tight tolerances serve as a perfect foundation to add mil-spec AR-style parts. (


Red-dot optics ruled at Rendezvous and EOTech brought along their first ever red dot, the EFLX Mini Reflex Sight. This optic has been built to the same standards as their battle-tested sights. Constructed from aluminum, the housing takes on all comers in the dents and dings department. The large and crystal clear window gives super quick target acquisitions for shooters. EOTech’s newest magnifiers were also put to great use on the range. (


While it is still in the works and not ready to come to market yet, we got to shoot the Magpul’s prototype FDP-9 Folding Gun. Other great products we got to test include the El Original Belt, BDA Arm Brace, Pro 700 Lite SA, MS1 Lite Sling, DAKA pouches and much more. (


New guns from PWS that are still under embargo are bound to get fans very excited. You’ll learn more after SHOT Show 2023. That said, we all got a taste of shooting PWS’ new BDE 762 suppressor and it was as sweet and quiet as can be. A real beast-taming beauty. (


Both brands brought a ton of optics for us to check out. They included the Sellmark Presidio 3-18×50 LR2 Riflescope, Sightmark Latitude 6.25-25×56 PRS Riflescope, Sightmark Wraith 4K Mini 4-32×32 Digital Riflescope, Sightmark Volta Solar Red-Dot Sight (on 6.8 rifle) and Pulsar’s Thermion 2 LRF XP50 Thermal Riflescope. ( ( (


This was Rugged’s first year attending the AO Rendezvous. Taking center stage was its  Alaskan360 suppressor that shines on the range and in the backcountry. This versatile can is full-auto rated and is multi-caliber for pistols and subguns up to 9mm and rifles up to .338 Lapua Magnum. Other great cans shooters got to run were Rugged’s Obsidian 9 and Razor 556. (


Known for dependable guns at a great price point, Taurus gave us a look at some of the new up-and-coming guns that we will highlight down the road. Along with the Taurus guns, they brought along some of their Heritage rimfires, including the Rough Rider Revolver and Rancher Carbine. ( (


The boys and girls from Arkansas brought along a boatload of firearms for us to shoot, including the SFT9, SFX9, 300 HAM’R Protector Carbine, Recon .308 Winchester and AR9X. Wilson Combat’s WCP320 and WCP365 Sig lower modules were also a big hit as well. Stay tuned for deeper dives more new Wilson Combat guns in the coming months. (

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