The Blackhawk/ATK Outdoor Writers’ Seminar was a showcase of great products and expert training
Story and photos by Dr. Martin D. Topper
Blackhawk not only produces equipment for military and law enforcement. It also manufactures high-quality products for the first-responder, personal-protection and outdoor markets. In fact, Blackhawk produces more than 6,400 different items that include everything from firearms accessories to carry gear and outdoor clothing.
This year’s Blackhawk Outdoor Writers’ Seminar focused on several innovative products that meet the needs of the shooting and hunting community. The meeting was held at the Manhattan Wildlife Association shooting range near Bozeman, Montana, where attendees had an excellent opportunity to put a number of these products through their paces.
MAN WITH A MISSION
Blackhawk was founded in 1993 by Mike Noel, a former SEAL. Noel saw a need for high-quality gear that would promote operator efficiency, confidence and mission completion. His idea was to develop durable, user-friendly gear that would save the operator valuable time. In combat, saving time saves lives. So, by designing gear that was easy to use and didn’t require a lot of repair in the field, Noel increased the chances of mission success and operator survival.
It didn’t take long for Noel to realize that law enforcement officers, EMTs and civilians could also benefit from durable, user-friendly equipment. Today, Blackhawk divides its operations into seven broad categories: Special Operations, Military, SWAT/DEA/FBI, Law Enforcement, Off-Duty, Outdoor Hunting and Shooting, and First Responders/Outdoor Recreation. This year’s seminar included products from all seven areas.
Attendees were also offered an opportunity to train with IPSC World Champion Todd Jarrett while using Blackhawk equipment. Like Blackhawk, Jarrett believes that simplicity saves time and therefore is the key to tactical survival. His techniques involve fewer steps than those taught by many other trainers. This helps focus the mind on solving the tactical problem, rather than fancy gun handling.
Finally, it’s important to note that Blackhawk is now part of ATK, which owns Federal, Speer, Weaver, RCBS and a number of other shooting- and hunting-related firms. ATK representatives took an active part in the seminar and provided Federal, Speer and Fusion ammunition. They also provided writers with a professional presentation on wound ballistics that included a demonstration of the performance of popular Federal and Speer ammunition in ballistic gelatin.
This year’s seminar offered a great deal of useful information. Although I can’t cover it all in one article, I’ll try to provide you with some insights into Blackhawk products that are relevant to the concerns of those who use firearms for recreation, personal protection, hunting and law enforcement.