NRA Annual Convention: Day 1

The first day was a Friday. Having never been to an annual meeting before I wasn’t sure what to expect on the first day. In my opinion it was the best day of the show for someone involved in the industry. Michael Bane (one of the folks I had the pleasure of meeting) called it “schmooze day,” I call it “Professionals Day.” No matter what you call it the people running booths there have giveaways more oriented to those in the business, and are geared more towards forming relationships than hawking their products.

One of the first things I found (tucked in a back corner near the jerky, funnel cake, and fresh squeezed lemonade vendors) was the Great American Whitetail Exhibit. Displaying record breaking white tail mounts taken both by hunters and in some cases just antlers found after they were shed. It was an impressive display and I got to examine it closely while The_Missus enjoyed her favorite treat, funnel cake.

Our next stop worthy of mention was the booth of Taylor’s & Company. Mainly because I am looking for a Sharps Buffalo Rifle and I knew they offered one. While there The_Missus, who tolerates gun shows but doesn’t really enjoy them, spotted what she likes to call a “shiney.” It was an 1872-73 open top revolver. She tried it out and liked the way it felt in her hand.

The price is right, so I am going to purchase one in .38 special for her. She also took a liking to their slide action carbines and was closely examining their lever guns as well. The person at the booth mentioned how these guns were often used in Single Action Shooters Society events which led to the inevitable “what’s that?” So we backtracked to the S.A.S.S. booth and let her see. She’s curious, so we’ll be attending an event for them soon.

A little later we were near the Springfield Armory exhibit and I got handed a glass of “champagne” (turned out to be sparkling grape juice), next thing I knew we were watching NRA President Sandra Froman presenting an award to Springfield Armory for one of their new products. The fine folks at Springfield returned the favor by presenting her with two customized 1911 pistols.

(Sorry for the blurry photo it was crowded.) We then got a chance to schmooze with Sandra Froman and the Execs of Springfield Armory for a little bit. While I was there I finally got to check out their full line of XD-45s, I’ll write more about those and a lot of other products in other posts.

I did see two firearms that I will mention here. The first is a Ruger Mini-14 in 6.8spc. The Mini-14 has a reputation of poor accuracy, but it looks like they have altered the design a bit so I’m hoping that it’ll shoot better than the 8 M.O.A. I have heard is considered is the standard mini’s minimum acceptable accuracy. The 6.8 is the bottom rifle.

The last gun I saw worthy of mention falls (in my opinion) under the “What Were They Thinking” category. Century Arms had Gold plated AK-47s on display. It’s hard to believe, but it looks like Saddam Hussein’s vanity has inspired a small movement in the firearms fraternity. Next thing you know the Outdoor Channel will be running a new show titled “Pimp my Semi-Auto.”

That’s it for day one. I’ll post about day 2 sometime next week then we get to the fun stuff; reviews of the products I checked out at the show.

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