Synthetic framed firearms:
This is generally taken to mean the Glock, the S&W Sigma series, or the newer offerings by H&K. Though Glock popularized this class of weapons, the ancestor of them all was produced by H&K, as the model VP70Z. This was the civilian, semi auto version of the fully automatic VP70 machine pistol. The VP70 was developed in the seventies for special forces, and covert use. The weapon was issued with a detachable stock. with the stock in place, the VP70 became a select fire pistol, without the stock, it was limited to semi auto fire. This gun had a 20 round magazine, a polymer frame, and an odd double action only trigger.
All of the synthetic framed pistols have two big advantages over traditional steel or alloy frame guns. The polymer guns are very light, often weighting less fully loaded, than steel frame guns do empty. They also tend to be very resistant to rust, and to spotty field maintainance. The metal components of the polymer guns
These were available as early as the mid seventies, but were so expensive, heavy, and maintainance intensive, that few agencies saw the need to employ them. The field was revolutionized by the invention of the laser diode. Laser diodes are completely solid state, making them considerably less fragile than the origonal tube type laser sights. They are also significantly lighter and small than tube type lasers.
These too, have been around for decades, but have only become popular with the mainstream over the last decade or so. the Holosight is vastly superior to the dot sight; unfortunatly this is reflected in it's cost.
Primitive night vision scopes have been in use since the second world war, though really usefull units were not developed until the sixties.
This bit of gear gives the basic handloader the feeling of possesing almost supernatural powers.
synthetic web gear
This has been around since men began to throw spears and rocks at each other.