Toward the end of 2022, RECOIL took a major step in a new direction. We’ve always worked tirelessly to give you unflinching insight into a wide array of guns and gear, information and expertise on developing new skillsets, exposure to all aspects of the lifestyle, and a behind-the-curtain look at the inner workings of the firearms industry and the organizations that exist to safeguard your constitutional rights. But, for us, even that isn’t enough. For years, we’ve been working to create an immersive real-world experience that would allow you to not just read about these things, but to actively take part in them in real time. In November 2022, RECOIL partnered up with Silencer Shop to bring you this experience, which we dubbed CANCON. The inaugural event was held at 17 South Rod & Gun Club just outside of Savannah, Georgia.
Above: RECOIL and range staff deliver the opening briefing.
The concept of the event was to offer a fully suppressed range day. And we meant it when we said fully suppressed — every single one of the firearms available to shoot at the event was equipped with a can, regardless of make, model, or caliber. CANCON featured more than 30 individual shooting lanes full of the firearms and suppressors you’ve seen in the pages of RECOIL over the years.
Above & Below: A variety of unconventional firearms were available, like this single-action revolver, the Life Card, and Pivot Carbine.
Several companies even showcased brand-new products that had never been revealed to the public before, including new firearms and suppressors that were available to shoot despite not even being on the market yet. No need to bring your own guns, suppressors, or ammunition — all of that was provided for the duration of the event. Just pay your entry fee and start shooting! With multiple FFL/SOT options on site, not only did participants have the chance to get hands-on experience with hundreds of guns and suppressors, but they were able to file paperwork and purchase them as well.
Above: Primary Weapons Systems had both firearms and suppressors on display.
Above & Below: Suppressed belt-feds were available for demo.
But CANCON is so much more than just a day at the range. In addition to the dozens of lanes full of suppressed firearms, there was a vendor row with companies from all corners of the gun industry, including Excaliber Ammunition, Blue Force Gear, and Hossom Knives. Cigar Life cigar shop had a booth where they hosted Vets Vices alumni brand Hooten Young. In fact, retired Special Forces operator Norm Hooten himself showed up in the flesh to smoke a few cigars and talk to folks. Gun Owners of America was also present, along with Stephen Willeford who heroically stopped the mass shooter in Sutherland Springs (see CONCEALMENT Issue 29), educating attendees on the work they do in the firearms community and signing up new members.
Above: There were several shoot-offs with RECOIL staff throughout the weekend.
For those who wanted a more challenging shooting experience, The Proving Grounds competition league set up several short “run-and-gun” stages to give participants a taste of what’s required to compete in their tactical-athlete-style matches around the country. Stages included shooting around vehicles, hauling heavy sandbags, and engaging varied unknown-distance targets with multiple weapons. There were also a series of “Joe versus Pro” pop-up competitions throughout the event, where event attendees could test their skill against RECOIL staff and professional shooters.
Above: A suppressed long range, going out to several hundred yards, was also available.
Above: A student athlete from the WildGats shooting team at University of Arizona tests himself at The Proving Grounds sample stage.
Those who chose to pre-order their CANCON tickets online had the option of purchasing a VIP package. In addition to unlimited range time for all three days of the event, VIPs also received a swag bag filled with $1,500 of gear, including a voucher for a free suppressor from SilencerCo. Finally, VIP participants were granted exclusive access to a nighttime suppressor shoot. Companies like Night Vision Network, Sionyx, Accufire, and AGM Global gave VIP shooters the chance to go hands-on with a variety of thermal, digital, and night vision optics in a suppressed, live-fire environment.
Above & Below: Several shots of the CANCON night shoot taken through a Sionyx Opsin camera.
Our goal with CANCON is two-fold. As we said in the beginning, we want very strongly to give our readers the opportunity to get some trigger time behind the guns they read about in our articles, and to rub elbows with not only RECOIL staff, but professionals from across the firearms industry. The other aim we hope to achieve is to educate both our readers and the general public on the reality of suppressors. Pop culture depictions of suppressed firearms focus solely on two stereotypes: special operators and underworld hit men. As a stark contrast, in many European countries where firearms ownership is far more restrictive than in the U.S., suppressors are actually available as an over-the-counter purchase. Why? Because, in those countries, suppressors are safety equipment, and shooting suppressed is seen as a courtesy to your neighbors and fellow sportsman — not a sign of nefarious or classified activity.
By the time you read this, planning for CANCON 2023 will be well underway. Mark your calendars for Veteran’s Day weekend in November at 17 South Rod & Gun Club near Savannah, Georgia. We also expect to hold a second CANCON somewhere out west. Keep your eyes on the website, www.canconevent.com, for breaking news on both events. We hope to see you there!