By Mike Keleher
I went down to Indianapolis to walk the exhibition hall, see the latest and greatest gun related products, see some friends and a few celebrities. The halls comprise something like 15 acres of tables and booths, and while not nearly as large as the SHOT show it was well worth the visit. Here are some odd bits that came with the show.
First of course was the slug fest between Pres Ollie North vs Wayne La Pierre in a very public fight over control of the organization. If you missed it in the run up to the show, about two weeks ago a news story appeared in a major paper documenting what looks like a lot of money spending issues in conjunction with the NRA’s $40 million a year ad agency and some sweet heart deals. The New York Attorney General is now looking into NRA spending habits as a not for profit organization registered in New York.
Coming into the show there was talk about Ollie North not getting along with La Pierre. Then on Thursday, Wayne sent a letter to the board saying the Colonel was trying to force him out and threatened to send embarrassing information to the board if La Pierre did not resign. This was in the press by Fri/Sat, By Saturday afternoon the news was out that Oliver North had resigned (his term ran out today-so he was only short two days of full term). Some more accurate info said North cited he found out he was not going to be re-nominated for a second term and so he quit or withdrew. Vendors and visitors on exhibition hall floors were aware of the mud slinging and it set an odd tone, but people were there to have a good time. I reached out to a NRA board member I know looking for a bit of insider information about what was going on, and all I got back was a one word text-“Crazy”. I guess that about sums it up.
Big shows like this bring in a lot of vendor sponsored celebrities and it is so cool to just walk up and start a conversation and shake hands with Ted Nugent or top shooters like Jerry Miculek, his wife and daughter, or Max Michel from SIG, Taran Butler-who trains Kenau Reeves for the John Wick movies, young 3 gun phenoms Jake Tacosik and Carater Gonzalez, long range rifle guru Michelle Gallagher with Sierra Bullets, 3 gun ambassador Corrine Mosher and her mentors Rick Staples and Billy Miller, or Soldier of Fortune Editor Col. Robert K. Brown. But the one that capped it all for me this year, was the chance to see the American Icon -79 year old Chuck Norris.
With the passing of The Gunny R. Lee Ermy, Glock has signed Chuck to be their celebrity spokesperson this year. Chuck posed for pictures, hugs and autographs several days of the event and seemed to be all beard, teeth and smiles. In the most bizarre observation of the day Chuck had two body guards in the booth with him….Chuck had bodyguards….heh. That’s funny right there.
With the new spokesperson, the subsequent Glock/Chuck jokes have been flying like Chuck’s famous round house kick. I just had to pull a few down from the internet:
“Chuck Norris is just an actor. If he was really that good, he would come to my house and slam my head on the keybo dnrjxnenwskgjekxj jdjcladjdncm kdlfmefjejf
Glocks now carry Chuck Norris for protection.
Glock brought Chuck to a gunfight.
Chuck Norris sleeps with a pillow under his Glock
Bring a Glock to a Chuck Norris fight.
The Glock Gen 6 will come with a beard on the accessory rail.
God made the Glock from Chuck Norris’s rib.
Glock’s next torture test will include surviving a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick.”
Items on display I liked, included free samples of Hoppes #9 Lead-B-Gone individual Wet-nap type wipes. A year ago I got some D-lead wipes on my bench and some D-lead soap at the sink to wipe away lead and metals after I have been cleaning my guns. I still wanted something to carry with me to the range. This year, Hoppes is offering these as single pack wipes and it hits a perfect niche for me. The Skin Cleansing Wipes lift and trap lead, nickel, cadmium, arsenic, silver, mercury, zinc, chromium, copper, antimony and other metals off your hands. They claim to be 98.8 efficient on their own, and with a water rinse it goes up to 99.9%. Soap and cold water alone only remove 79% of contaminants. I will have some of these in my range bags this year!
I saw two companies offering the fold up two shot pistols that look like cell phones. The LifeCard in .22 WMR is about the size of my cell phone. The Cellphone Pistol is chambered in .380 and is about twice as thick as my phone and weighs a lot more than the LifeCard since you are getting a lot more bang out of a .380. They both fold and unfold easily and look nothing like a pistol.
I got my hands on the new Glock 43X and 48 pistols. While the introduction of “new” and “improved” Glock variants generally leaves me a bit underwhelmed… (Now with finger bumps! Now with no finger bumps! etc), I did like the feel of the new Glock 48 and 43X. They are built on the now well established single stack 9mm Glock slim-line frame found on the G43, but both grips are lengthened a bit to accept 10 round mags. The G48 is G19 length, and very smooth and nice in the hand-but only 10 rds vs the 15 round G19 which isone of the most popular concealed carry pistols in America. The width difference between the G19 and G48 is only .25 inch-but the overall feeling of slimmer and more compact is quite noticeable. The G48 is one of those guns you pick up and it makes you go “Hmmmm.”
The Glocks from the upcoming John Wick 3 movie built by Taran Tactical Innovations were on display. People gathered around to see them like they were Infinity War stones. They are some souped up and dare I say “Sexy Glocks”? Does such a thing exit? You can order up your own from TTI on their Combat Master platform.
I saw the new Ruger Wrangler pistols at the show. They are medium frame, 4.6″ barrel single action, 6 shot, .22lr Single Six or Bearcat style guns. They are offered up with Cerakoted finishes, which to my eye is not all that attractive compared to normal Ruger bluing, but should wear well in holsters, on the farm, on the range or tossed in pick up trucks and back packs. The best part, thanks to CNC machining and a new aluminum cylinder, they are being offered at only $250 MSRP. You might be able to get them closer to $200 later this summer. Everybody can use a smallish .22lr pistol in their life-somewhere, and at this price, you can just buy one and come up with your own ideas later where you “need” it. It’s a Ruger and will last longer than you or I will.
I got to talk with Scott Harris from SSP Eyewear for quite a while. He has a great company offering impact resistant shooting glasses at very reasonable prices. SSP is becoming pretty famous with older shooters for their top-focal shooting glasses-putting a reader lens at the top of the glasses instead of the bottom. It brings back crisp pistol sight pictures to those of us who need readers for daily life. It just makes so much sense since you tip your head a bit forward to line up pistol sights. Scott has just brought his new Methow Shooting Glasses Kit to the market with six colored anti-fog lenses which can also accept the TR90 RX clear adapter for prescription lenses. The whole kit on his web site is only $129. That is a lot of optically correct lenses and versatility in clear, yellow, orange, purple, pink and brown hues. Good gear.
The best part of the show was getting to see friends from all over the country. I can only look at AR-15 gizmos and cleaning supplies for so long! If you did not make it down, sorry you missed it. It was a good time and everyone, and I mean everyone seemed to be having a great time, like it was their birthday! Well everyone except Ollie North and Wayne La Pierre.