News Brief – 8/06

The American Firearms News Brief for August 6th: HK is coughing up the funky SL8 again, it’s a wrap for the Olympics, NICS numbers are down but also up, and Nighthawk has a Very Impressive Pistol.
Michael Crites


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In this week’s gun news HK is coughing up the funky SL8 again, it’s a wrap for the Olympics, NICS numbers are down but also up, and Nighthawk has a Very Impressive Pistol.

HK's Consumer G36 is Circling Back


Heckler & Koch introduced a wild sci-fi-looking 5.56 NATO rifle in the 1990s, the G36, which went on to be adopted by the German military and dozens of others. Trying to capture the same lightning in a jar that the HK91 did for the chunky G3 rifle of the previous generation, HK tried to market a sporterized version of the G36 as the SL8 in the 2000s. The downside is that the SL8, although it had a 20.68-inch heavy bull barrel that delivered great accuracy, hit the shelves during the Federal Assault Weapon Ban which meant it had to have 10-shot mags and a thumbhole stock.

That, coupled with a hefty price tag, killed the SL8 fast.

However, the company seems to be doubling down on the design, teasing it on their website and social media in recent weeks. In typical HK disdain for their masochistic fans, it still has a 10-shot mag and thumbhole stock but is at least being offered in black.

Team USA gets *a lot* of Shooting Sports Medals

The final medal count for American competitors in shooting sports events at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 was three gold, two silver, and one bronze. For those not keeping score, that six medal count is double what USA Shooting left Rio with in 2016 and is the highest number of golds since the 1920 Antwerp games, which was packed with military rifle events that Yanks right out of World War I training schools wrapped up. 

Closing out the games, Kayle Browning won silver in Women’s Trap on July 29 after fighting from 9th place to 5th place on Qualification Day 2 for the event to make it to the finals. Meanwhile, Maddy Bernau hit 75 straight clays to secured her and Brian Burrow’s spot in the Mixed Trap match where they won bronze Saturday in a nail-biter of a shoot-off.

Taken with Will Shaner’s gold in the Men’s 10m Air Rifle, Mary Tucker and Lucas Kozeniesky’s silver in the 10m Mixed Air Rifle; and two new Olympic Records from Amber English and Vinny Hancock, who each grabbed gold in Women and Men’s Skeet, respectively, and Team USA landed medals in six events. 


The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System is sort of a flawed guestimate of gun sales month over month, at least from licensed dealers in states where a CCW isn’t used to bypass the check.

In July 2021, 2,860,476 checks were conducted, down from the 3,614,192 in the same month of 2019.

Although down by a fifth in the span of a year, when comparing the figures to the prior NICS numbers going back to 1998, it is the second-highest, showing that people are buying more guns than (almost) ever. 

Nighthawk Custom VIP

Nighthawk VIP Pistol

Arkansas-based Nighthawk Custom has a new M1911 (go figure) dubbed the Very Impressive Pistol, or VIP. The company, known for top-shelf pistols just slightly more affordable than Cabot’s .45s which are forged from smelted meteorites, describes the VIP as “a true heirloom piece.”

Among the customizations is hand engraving on an antique nickel finish, an 18K solid gold bead front sight, Heinie Slant Pro rear sights, and the option for giraffe bone grips (I guess we know what happened to Geoffrey when Toys R Us closed).

Nighthawk is offering the VIP in a 5-inch Government or 4.25-inch Commander format and either 9mm or 45 ACP. Price? $7,999.


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