I was super psyched to go to my first gun show this weekend. We showed up about 15 minutes before the doors opened and the line to get in was very long, which I was glad to see. There were some people in line who brought their rifles to try to sell, trade, or have appraised (think of a firearms version of Pawn Stars). The rest of us just wanted to get inside to look at all of the treasures the room had to hold.
As expected a large majority of the people attending the gun show were men. There were women in attendance but most seemed to be wives or girlfriends of the male customers or the dealers and not so much gun lovers themselves.
Hubby and I had a little chat before going and agreed that we were really just going to look and not to buy. Since we didn’t have something specific in mind we knew purchasing a gun without performing our due diligence first could be a really bad idea.
The event organizers, NEACA, Inc., made it very clear that the carrying of firearms in holsters, belts, or in your pockets were prohibited and that loaded firearms were also forbidden. Another rule that stuck out was that all guns sold had to go through a NICS background check and that transfers of modern (post 1898) handguns to the public would NOT be allowed at the show, only at a dealer’s business. In other words you could buy the gun that day but you had to pick it up at the dealer’s shop. There was a table set up where you could have the NICS check performed which was clearly labeled and easy to find.
If you brought a firearm with you it was necessary to check in using a separate line so that they could make sure that the gun was unloaded and had a gun lock on it before you could enter the show.
When we walked in the door it was set up like all the craft fairs that I have ever attended. Exhibitors had long tables set up with their offerings spread out and you were able to walk up and down long isles but you could NOT touch guns without first asking. There was a wide assortment of guns, some were pre-owned, some were new, and others were collectibles. You were allowed to buy, sell, and get appraisals, I even heard a few people trying to negotiate a trade with a gun they brought.
Each booth seemed to have a specialty. Some had WWII era weapons and gear; others had beautifully engraved shotguns, or newer rifles, while others had handguns. There were also a few tables with ammunition which we thought were overpriced. For example, the Tul Ammo .45 box of 50 we saw priced as $25 when we just bought that kind on sale at Walmart for $14.
Some of the hand guns were gigantic! Two that stick out in my mind are the 454 Casull, this thing was a beast. The picture in the link does it no justice of how large it is.
The other memorable one was a revolver with a barrel that had to have been 11 or 12 inches. I think it was a Colt of some sort but can’t remember. I’ve never seen a barrel on a pistol that long.
Of course there were plenty of other vendors offering gun accessories like scopes, clips, magazines, zombie targets, and concealed carry purses and bags. I found the elusive Smith and Wesson M&P Shield so I asked if I could handle it; just by holding it I didn’t love it but would welcome the opportunity to shoot one. The guy behind the table told me that I should try a Ruger LC9. I told him I already had and wasn’t a fan of the long trigger pull and he said that he liked it a lot and that it would be a great carry gun because you could carry it in your pocket without a holster. Well alrighty then…
Not only were there guns, there were tons of knives. Big knives, little knives, mini knives, knife holsters (my husband informed me that they are actually called sheaths), knives on key chains, hunting knives, and folding knives. Then there were axes, machetes, hatchets, and daggers.
There were also two educational tables, one about conservation and the other was for the Appleseed program. These guys were so super nice and really into US History so I’m going to try to take one of their courses in November. I figure it would be a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving by delving into history all while learning how to better use the rifle.
So although the show had all of this neat stuff there are a few things that I felt were missing:
- Holsters and belts. There were no vendors there selling holsters or gun belts. Not even cheap ones. I saw a “collectible” holster here and there.
- Items geared toward women. The men who were selling concealed carry purses seemed to feel that they were just another item to make money on and not really interested in talking about them, no one selling Flashbang holsters, and no cool ladies gear. Even though the men outnumbered the women at the show there enough women to warrant at least a table or two of ladies stuff. Maybe women would be more interested in attending gun shows if there would be something of interest to them or more women vendors to talk to.
- Jerky. Everyone told me that jerky and guns went together and that some of the best jerky they’ve ever had was sold at gun shows. Where the heck were the people selling jerky???
We stayed for about 2 ½ hours and found that a gun show is a great place to see a wide variety of firearms up-close and personal as well as to have the opportunity to hang out with other gun lovers. I can’t wait to go to the next one in September!