Mat Manning looks back at some of the highlights from past years at the IWA Outdoor Classics show to uncover ‘what’s hot’ for the 2019 showcase.
The IWA OutdoorClassics Show in Nuremberg is a big deal n the shooting community. This trade- only product show has grown at a staggering rate since it first opened its doors with fewer than 100 exhibitors in 1974.
Staged in the city’s Messe exhibition centre, IWA now fills nearly a dozen huge halls, showcasing hunting hardware, clothing, accessories, ammo and much more to over 46,000 trade visitors. The scale of the event has to be seen to be believed and, even for those attending on all four days, it’s virtually impossible to get round it all.
Apart from providing a great opportunity for the gun trade to catch up socially and professionally, IWA serves as a vital platform for unveiling and introducing literally thousands of exciting new products to the European market, and for traders and journalists to get a feel for what’s setting the trends for the year to come.
A lot of the gear on show is not relevant to the UK market but in past years IWA has given me an early glimpse of guns and accessories that have gone on to dominate our country’s airgun scene over the following months and years.
Most manufacturers are remaining traditionally tight-lipped about what they’ll be unveiling at IWA 2019 so I thought I’d put together a roundup of some past highlights to whet the appetites of those fortunate enough to be attending this year.
If you compiled a chart of airguns that grabbed headlines through 2018, the Daystate Red Wolf would probably top it, and a lot of the media storm generated by this mega-gun stems from IWA 2018.
First unveiled in its eye-catching Serie Rosso red laminate attire, this airgun was never going to go unnoticed but it also happens to boast performance
that more than matches its looks.
Building on the success of the acclaimed Mk3, Mk4 and Pulsar, this innovative gun takes Daystate’s electronic internals to another level to deliver awesome performance on the range and in the field.
The resurgence of bullpup popularity that kicked off a few years ago continues to boom, and the launch of the BSA Defiant has no doubt contributed to the trend. This gun attracted a lot of attention at IWA and, despite its diminutive size, went on to become one of the big guns of 2018.
Apart from boasting the usual reliable build quality associated with the British gunmaker, including its proven cold hammer forged barrel, the Defiant also premiered BSA’s slick new sidelever activated cocking and loading mechanism. You can expect similarly strong sales again this year.
Although the FX Crown still feels like a fairly new arrival on the scene, I fi rst saw this remarkable PCP at IWA 2017.
Back then, it was obvious that this airgun was going to be something special, not least because of the huge degree of versatility it offered in terms of power and performance.
Apart from having an adjustable regulator and variable power, the Crown also gives owners the option to change barrels, not only switching between calibres but also giving a selection of chokes and twist rates. Designer, Fredrik Axelsson, refuses to rest on his laurels, so expect to see something exciting on the FX stand this year.
The HW44 pistol from Weihrauch caused a real stir at when it was presented at IWA in 2017. Expectations are always high when it comes to the famous German gunmaker but this pistol more than lived up to the media hype and is still regarded among one of the best PCP air pistols on the market.
A real fistful of fun, the HW44, distributed in the UK by Hull Cartridge, runs a very smooth ten-shot magazine and delivers more than 100 shots per fill in .22 calibre. Sharing many features with Weihrauch’s HW110 rifle, this quality pistol has proven itself as a strong player for paper-punching and plinking.
Nobody expected a bullpup from Air Arms but the British gunmaker shocked the airgun industry with its inaugural stubby sporter in the shape of the Galahad at IWA 2016. The Galahad delivered typical Air Arms innovation with plenty of style, creating a gun with sleek, flowing lines that had never before been seen in bullpup design.
Conceived from a development project that included no less than seven prototype guns, the design and build quality was apparent, and incorporated an extremely clever forward-mounted cocking lever. The Galahad has been treated to a rolling programme of tweaks and refinements, and remains one of the finest, and certainly prettiest, bullpups on the market.
The Hawke stand is always an IWA must-see, and in 2016 airgunners were treated to a look at the Sidewinder ED scope. Delivering Hawke’s usual balance of sensible pricing and exceptional optical quality – plus some great features for serious FT shooters – the Sidewinder ED scope has a large 60mm objective lens, 30mm tube to suck light and 10-50x zoom range – the higher end of which assists with range estimation when snapping into focus with the oversize zoom wheel.
This remarkable scope features extreme magnification and also allows the shooter to change turrets without compromising the gas seal that keeps moisture at bay. Expect more innovation from the Hawke stand in 2019.