Of the numerous, and varied, duties of American Rifleman's editors, few are as difficult as reviewing the past year's new product releases and selecting the firearms, ammunition and accessories that are most deserving of the sought after American Rifleman Golden Bullseye Award.
The Golden Bullseye is a symbol of excellence and innovation in firearms, accessories and related equipment. The American Rifleman staff does not take the selection of its winners lightly, and has the utmost confidence that readers will receive this year's recipients with enthusiasm.
“We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Golden Bullseye Awards,” said Doug Hamlin, Executive Director of NRA Publications. “This year's winners exemplify what NRA members want in their shooting and hunting equipment—outstanding performance, innovative design and value. A new category for 2015—the Women’s Innovation Product of the Year—highlights the importance of what has become the fastest-growing segment in the firearm marketplace. We congratulate those who have created the industry’s best new products and look forward to recognizing them in Nashville.”
To qualify for consideration for a Golden Bullseye Award, the product must have been:
• Recently introduced and available to consumers prior to the selection of the Golden Bullseye Awards;
• Used/tested by a staff member or regular contributor to the magazine and/or affiliated media;
• Reliable in the field, meeting or exceeding the evaluator’s expectations;
• Innovative in design and function;
• Readily perceived as a value to the purchaser; and
• Styled in a manner befitting the shooting and hunting industry and, perhaps more importantly, its enthusiasts.
Whereas the Golden Bullseye Award acknowledges the finest products available in the shooting sports, the Golden Bullseye Pioneer Award specifically honors outstanding personal achievement. The Pioneer Award spotlights the exemplary achievement and cumulative body of work of an individual, or members of a family, team or partnership, responsible for the development and introduction of shooting equipment that has made a profound, positive and enduring impact on the way Americans shoot and hunt.
NRA Publications will present its annual Golden Bullseye Awards and Golden Bullseye Pioneer Award at an invitation-only breakfast during the 2015 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits, April 10-12, in Nashville, Tenn.
The following products, and their representative manufacturers, received 2014's American Rifleman Golden Bullseye Awards.
• Rifle of the Year: Ruger American Rimfire
• Shotgun of the Year: Benelli Ethos
• Handgun of the Year: Heckler & Koch VP9
• Tactical Gun of the Year: DPMS GII
• Ammunition Product of the Year: Winchester Ammunition Train & Defend
• Optic of the Year: Meprolight MOR Reflex Sight/Laser
• Accessory of the Year: Caldwell AR-15 Mag Charger
•Women’s Innovation Product of the Year: European American Armory Witness Pavona
• Pioneer Award: Lewis Danielson, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Crimson Trace Corporation
Danielson’s company pioneered the firearm-mounted laser business, introduced the word “Lasergrips” into the lexicon of the shooting sports and remains the leader in its field. Where others tried and gave up on handgun-mounted lasers, Danielson saw the potential and persisted in the development of a working model with instinctive activation.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Oregon State University (which subsequently inducted him into its Engineering Hall of Fame), Danielson worked in the steel industry, then on agricultural machinery before moving on to engineering and prototype services. During the day, Danielson made parts for the aerospace industry; on nights and weekends he worked, often without pay, on an idea that would change the firearm industry. Crimson Trace started in 1994, and at his first NRA Annual Meetings, Danielson and one other employee boldly manned a card table. A table that was mobbed.
As handgun design changed, so did Crimson Trace. While the M1911 and Ruger Mk II were ideally suited to Lasergrips, Danielson and his engineers devised ways to put Lasergrips on polymer-frame guns, then invented the innovative Laserguard that clamshells around a pistol’s trigger guard. Crimson Trace is also in the weaponlight business with its Lightguard series, and has products for long guns as well, including the Railmaster Series and MVF-515.
Lewis Danielson is a proud patriot, a man who steadfastly employs American workers and one with a strong passion for Second Amendment-protected freedoms. As is the case with all Crimson Trace employees, Lew is a staunch NRA member and is a longtime supporter of the Association.