I don't mean to offend. It's probably going to happen anyway.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

People of NRA

Where to begin on this one? So many interesting people... I think for the moment I'll speak specifically about those people I spoke to on the floor. I will make note of the social/blogging type encounters later where I can give it proper depth, with contributions from Dad.

Firstly, a general impression I got from the people I talked to. The media badge caught people's attention readily, but put many folks on edge. They tended to relax significantly when I indicated I was a blogger, and far more so when I showed my interest in firearms. I had more than a few people go from 'this is my canned response' to 'oh hey! Come chat, and you gotta try this thing. Let me show you something neat, here's my card...' which was entertaining and pleasing.

It's always a difficult thing to write about the people at things like this. There were 86000 people on the floor, and I probably rubbed shoulders with a goodly percentage of them. If I spoke to you and you don't see yourself mentioned, please understand I mean no offense, but if I truly took the time to give everyone I met the report they deserve, my fingers would fall off.

One of my first stops of the entire convention was with Coonan Firearms. Since learning about them, I have been very curious about the notion of a 1911 chambered in .357. While there, I got the chance to paw at a number of their models, and, more importantly, chat for a while with the man himself, Dan Coonan. He essentially set the stage for most interactions I had with company representatives on the floor, chatting with enthusiasm and courtesy. We talked some about his firearms, and about the manufacturing business in general. I was intrigued and pleased to learn that he made his first firearm as a college final project.

While I have never shot one of his guns, I was very much pleased with what I saw and felt while fiddling with them, and I am always more willing to do business with people I respect. Dan Coonan is one of those.

Also from that first day, I rather enjoyed chatting with Kathleen Ives, owner of Nemesis Arms. Despite being in California, she and her husband make some truly fascinating rifles. While I am leery of any takedown system that has any form of disconnect between the sights and the barrel, I must admit the Vanquish has some sleek machining and locks up solid as a rock. Call it irrational, but I rather want one.

The other interesting things about Mrs. Ives were these. First off, she had for sale the best T-shirt I saw all weekend. Featuring a picture of their rifle with the caption "It's because I'm black, isn't it" flat tickled me pink. Secondly, she had a very novel concept. The government cannot stipulate how student loans and scholarships are used. As such, it should be possible to get some form of loan or grant from the government and use the funds to purchase one of the scariest of evil black rifles on the market. It may be (ok, IS) because I'm sick and twisted, but I really, really want to make that happen.

Yes, if it happens, there will be FULL documentation.

Lisa Looper, of Flashbang Holster fame, is another one of those thoroughly nice people that makes products that send the antis into conniptions. I was pleased to find that not only does she have a novel idea or two (ok, a whole bunch. She showed me most of the product line) but the construction seems really good. A good idea executed well is all around pleasing. I was also pleased to note that she was quite ready and willing to talk to me, despite me rather clearly not being her intended market audience. Ladies out there, products made for women by women who know what women need are not to be ignored.

A rather interesting customer service experience came up in regards to Bore-Tips by Swab-its. Dad and I were both interested by the notion of a reusable bore swab, and so dad purchased a few in a number of calibers recently. Our initial experience was... lackluster. The .22 and .30 ones fell apart rather unfortunately easily, and ended up leaving bits of fluff down the barrel. When we brought up our concerns to Brent Hanson, their sales manager, he was rather stunned. Apparently they had a bad batch go out a little while ago, and we were unlucky enough to get some of the bad ones. He described their testing process, which was a good deal more vigorous than what we had put them through, and gave my dad and I a couple extra packs, with the instruction to go home and try it again, and let him know how it goes. Having not been back to my rifles since NRA, I have not yet tested them, but I will have a report on that in due time.

George R Woford of Charles Daly (currently without a website) spent a good long while chatting with me. I am in the market for a shotgun, and was concerned at the price point of the Dalys, with the thought that you get what you pay for. My expectations were greatly exceeded, as they seem very well constructed. We spent a good long while talking about shotgun construction and philosophy. I was pleased to find another purist who still likes blue steel and walnut. I was disappointed with how little I saw. I may end up purchasing a Daly shotgun in short order.

There will be another post of interesting people soon, but I have received requests for smaller doses, so here's that for now. Cheerio, and tune in again soon for me squeeing over tech.

1 comment:

  1. Like you, I prefer my steel blue set in walnut or other natural woods. Don't rule out the option of a good used gun. I have seen countless like new, vintage guns in pawn shops and gun stores. And, I must admit that I've 'rescued' a few of them.


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