Sunday, January 20, 2013

The thing that surprised me most... the gun show was the almost complete absence of .22LR.

The ND 1500 (Thanks for that bit of cleverness, Bobbi!) has a half-dozen or so large ammo sellers that set up every show, and despite the generator-after-a-hurricane pricing on deuce-deuce ammo, by today there wasn't anything left but specialty rounds: shorts, Super Colibris, Eley Tenex match stuff, and the like.

Another interesting feature was how obvious is was that gun safes were getting cleaned out. A lot of guys I visit at every show, collectors who normally have nothing but antique Smiths or rows of old military surplus turnbolts, had their usual content and then, looking incongruous among the Krags and Lugers and top-break S&Ws would be the odd TEC-9 or Green Label Colt AR ("Unfired In The Box!") or MAK-90 that had been gathering dust in the corner of a safe since the panic of the early '90s.

There were plenty of ARs, but pricing was pretty optimistic; most of the ones I saw there yesterday morning were still there this afternoon.

One of the most interesting things was the big dealer who sets up in the front corner of the exhibit hall, pretty much where everybody starts their wend through the aisles, who didn't bring any guns this time, but instead set big boxes of assorted magazines on his table and issued one of his employees a bullhorn, through which she steadily intoned "PMags, thirty-five dollars! Magpul PMags in stock, thirty-five dollars!" Deeper into the exhibit hall were one or two dealers who had stashes of PMags on their tables marked at forty or fifty dollars or even more, not stopping to think that the guy up in the front corner had effectively set the price ceiling for the show. (Conversely, when I saw some for thirty bucks, my subconscious immediately thought "Wow, that's a good price!" before I reminded it that I already have enough PMags to outfit an infantry company...)

As much as I hate the mandated coonfingering of carry guns before entering and after leaving, I also hate the fact that inside the show I get muzzled more times than the Chinese dissident press. As a further aside, when I unload on arrival or gas up my heater after leaving the show, I always go to a brick wall well away from the entrance with nobody else standing around to catch brick chips if I screw up. You would think that in all the gun shows I've been to over the years, I would have had to wait for someone using the same backstop, or turned around to find someone waiting for me to finish using it, and yet I never have...


Kristophr said...

Yea, unloading carry pistols sucks.

But you can't trust a few numbnuts to "stop touching it!" inside the gunshow.

This is why we can't have nice things.

More education can fix this ... kids should be getting four rules and marksmanship training with air rifles and pistols in 4th through 6th grade PE classes.

Anonymous said...


Drang said...

@Anon: Ever seen a raccoon washing it's food?
I think I first saw the term used by LawDog.

Anonymous said...

Could it be that the reason you don't turn around and see some guy looking at you while you unload is because no one wants to come off as the sort of creep that follows women around? I'm just guessing.

It's not like the gun show is the ideal place to commit Mopery With Intent To Creep, anyhow.

Mike James

Drang said...

Note also that the "pretty good price" of $30 for PMags is twice what they went for a month and a half ago.
(And about $15 less than the best [price I saw at todays fun show.)

Tam said...


"Note also that the "pretty good price" of $30 for PMags is twice what they went for a month and a half ago."

Oh, I know. And they're still available at that price to people with a bit of patience, too.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"I already have enough PMags to outfit an infantry company..."

Just one? You should get to work on that second company. After all, two is one and one is none, you know. :)

Darrell said...

The only reason I'd go to a gun show nowadays would be to watch the critters, like going to the zoo. Heck, I'd rather go to the zoo.

Tam said...


"The only reason I'd go to a gun show nowadays would be to watch the critters..."

...and for good prices on ammo, and to get to deals on old and rare guns that you generally won't find at your LGS, and for good accessories deals, and...

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Three gun shows, three NDs.

And all of them preventable if people would just follow the stinkin' Rules.

Woodman said...

I suppose there is an up side on one of them. If anyone had to get shot by an "unloaded" gun at least it was the partner of the guy who unloaded it.

armedlaughing said...

I don't get to go very often, but the 'critters' are interesting.
We usually count the number of women (ever increasing :-P) and the number of really large guys in overalls (thankfully less).
More points if they resemble ZZ Top.


Anonymous said...

At a gun show in Colorado today. Crowded, people there serious, and fatalistic. Mags outrageous. FN FAL surplus mags running from $25-70. New higher. NO bulk 5.56 Nato, limited bulk 7.62 Nato and 7.62 x 39. Absolutely NO .22LR bricks. A lot of AR-15 clones. Everybody more concerned with the care and feeding of what they have, rather than buying new long guns.

Got the mags I wanted, and 7.62 Nato. No 5.56, but set up with a dealer to buy at his shop later. Really wanted the .22LR for teaching beginning shooters.

Reloading components getting rare and expensive.

Matthew said...

Seems like a grassroots SAF/NRA membership opening. Set up outside with a nice clearing barrel and a table with a "suggested donation - membership or sponsorship" sign.

Though the potential liability sign just popped up in my head.

Joseph said...

Are clearing barrels really that expensive?

Or is this one of those things where (in the ambulance chaser's arguement) the show would be "accepting responsibility for ND" by providing clearing barrels?

Bil said...

Speaking of loading/unloading your carry gun...we (a few other "old" retired .mil guys) usually just keep it muzzle down towards the dirt. Yeah, being in FL means pretty much where we live is the top of a really big sandbag, but it works for us.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like it might be a market opportunity - providing "clearing barrel" facilities to various venues, so people can clear their weapon while pointing it into a barrel of sand, instead of at a brick wall.

Gun shows aren't the only ones who insist on disarmed vic-... err patrons, and I can see that a trash can with the right paint job could be just the thing to appeal to the yuppie crowd, and to reassure the soccer moms.

Richard Blaine said...

Obviously we've never attended the same, or you'd have been waiting for me or me for you - I do the same thing.

Craig M. said...

I have noticed around Ohio a lot of new faces at the shows. A lot of the "seasoned" patrons seem to be sitting out for a while. Many of these new guys seem to be lacking in etiquette. I watched one Oompa Loompa who hurried to cut in front of me with his entourage effectively blocking the whole table with the seller feet away, pick up a Ruger SP101 in .357 linked to the table via cable, and proceed to dry fire the thing toward the crowd beside him 5 or six times and then give the seller a dirty look when she told him not to do that. It seems like this current panic is an excuse to behave rudely.

Woodman said...

The gun show has normally been the extreme example of the fact that you can be in a nut to butt crowd and still manage to be polite. More hey how ya doin's and friendly nods and sincere apologies for stomping on my feet than normally had.

More "Excuse me sir, and less just shoving through. I hate to sound like the new guy complaining it's just not like it used to be when I started going just a year ago, but there were three or four times I was seriously irritated by people there. I like crowds, I think it's fun. But one guy twigged me twice and the second time I almost grabbed him by the backpack strap and had a talk with him. If you are going to wear a backpack, you can't slip through crowds at a near running pace and just place yourself where you want to end up without looking at who was already there.

As for the number of women at the show, once again not only were there more, but they skew younger. I brought my oldest, she is ahead of me since her permit is "in the mail" and she's looking for a .38 special. Didn't have the $500 it took to get one this weekend though.

I also noticed many more minorities at this one. So it's amazing to hear on the news Saturday night how many people are against guns and how fringe and weird we all are. I can't figure out which side is in the echo chamber now.

Pakkinpoppa said...

I went shooting this weekend.

Indoor range.

Wait was an hour.

22 long rifle was available in boxes.

223 and 762x39 only available for on premise consumption with the rentals or if you brought your own could purchase 300 rounds if so.

For take home, required purchase of a platform they only had one of...a sad, lonely, Mini 14 Ranch rifle.

No Blocks. Block Magazines were 50 per copy and I saw several folks buying.

One M&P 9mm and one in 22.

Halfway through my wait, I overheard the clerks advising that wait times were going to be well over an hour to newcomers, and the crowd had increased.

I rediscovered I'm still better SouthPaw with Ruger Six series revolvers.

I shot easily half a brick of 22.

Note to self...need cart to haul heaters to firing range...5 items with any amount of ammunition isn't light.

staghounds said...

What sort of idiot doesn't unload the gun at home? Or if it's a carry gun, leave it in the car?

Tam said...


An idiot like me.

Yesterday I had to park in the infield of the horse track at the fairgrounds, leave my car unattended, walk alone across the infield and through the tunnel under the track, and then across half the fairgrounds to the building where the show was being held, and then back to the car, in a neighborhood where the convenience store across the street has seen more shootings in the last two years than most small towns see in a decade.

I carried my gun.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Tam's right. Unless it's State Fair time, that's one of the most rotten neighborhoods in town.

cj said...

Note that the media was all excited to report 3 incidents at gun shows this past weekend where people managed to set off guns at shows. One was while trying to unload the shotgun, one was a dufus who brought a loaded one in anyway and ended up shooting his partner. Last one was, I think, someone who sold it loaded whereupon purchaser for some reason decided to test it out by pulling the trigger.

Best thing we could do for this country is TEACH PEOPLE about safe firearms handling.

And on similar pricing note, commented at my favorite fun store that the $950 price tag on an SU-16 was a bit...optimistic. It was a consignment and they indicated they told the seller the same thing, but he'd insisted.

Tam said...


"Last one was, I think, someone who sold it loaded whereupon purchaser for some reason decided to test it out by pulling the trigger."

No, the one in Indy happened when the guy was leaving and either reloading or reholstering his gat. Put a .45 right through his hand.

Firehand said...

Went to H&H here in OKC this morning with the idea of shooting. Got there about 9:20, and there was already a line to CHECK IN, with what looked like almost all lanes already busy. Holiday Monday.

I'll note, it was a scene that would make Sarah Brady need new Depends: men, women, kids, and more than one color of people, all either making noises or waiting their turn.

As for .22 ammo, unless you get to the store right after the delivery, forget it.

Drang said...

Fuzzy Curmudgeon @7:05 "Three gun shows, three NDs."
How many gun shows this weekend had no ND?

Matthew @10:49: "Seems like a grassroots SAF/NRA membership opening."
SAF and NRA both have tables at my local show, and there's a significant amount of overlap between SAF and the Washington Arms Collectors. I suppose it's understandable, being as how SAF is in Bellevue, and the shows are in Puyallup.
I suggested to SAF that they add a second banner to their table, with Alan Gura's photo and the tagline "Help Alan defend your rights!"
We'll see...
There is a portable clearing barrel at the entrance to the show, but no suitable reloading area short of standing right outside the building, which is watched by show security. OTOH, the show is held in a decent area.

Matthew said...


I was thinking a clearing barrel and membership/donation table outside the show in addition on to the one inside.

Maybe a big banner with the "4 Rules" in large letters with a "Have you cleared your firearm yet?"

Get two bites at the apple and an easy to film (outside away from the crush) safety photo op for the press.

excitedVulcan said...

Mine do! Appleseed instruction too! All at a school where the teachers carry. (no, im not a politician, I'm a home schooling parent)

Anonymous said...

In Cow (NH) Hampshire. I Have only been to a few Gun shows here. But to Have hundreds, or potentially thousands of people clearing and loading firearms Sounds like trouble! Never asked to ever. The only signs see at gunstores ask to keep loaded weapons in the holster.

Geodkyt said...


What sort of idiot doesn't unload the gun at home? Or if it's a carry gun, leave it in the car?

Um, as Tam said, "Me."

I prefer:

A. Not to be disarmed to and from the gun show, and while carrying out my daily business during said outing. (Live in a rural area -- nearest gunshow is 30 minutes; nearest good gunshow is over an hour -- I plan on doing as many of my weekend errands in one trip as possible. Don't have enough Obama Pesos to fuel up the car for onesie-and-twosie trips into town for single items.)

2. I'd really rather not leave my gun in the car to be stolen while I'm in the show. Not necessary to be Sherlock Holmes to figure the percentage of cars with guns in them at a gun show is higher than the parking lot of Trader Joes.

Of course, on gun show days, that means I tend to default to a wheel gun, and I generally unload/load in the car. I have yet to run across an ND while loading or clearing a K-frame, although I'm sure they happen. But it is simply harder to screw up loading/unloading so badly you blow a hole in your floorboards or foot with a swing-out DA revolver than any slide gun I can think of.