Rather than doing a day-by-day report on the show, I think I’ll wait till I get back to Texas, collect my thoughts and read off my notes (yes, I do that), then do a summary. Here are my first impressions.
The show is huge — far too large to take in all at once — so yesterday I started off in the hall containing the “small” guys, because in many cases, this is where innovation tends to come from, rather than from Ruger, Remington etc.
To my admittedly out-of-touch eye, it looks like 2,000 guys all making variations on the same 50 product lines. Example: if you can’t find an upper for your AR-15 that tailored exactly to your taste, it probably doesn’t exist by now, and won’t.
I am heartened to see how many small gunmakers there are, all creating versions of ARs, AKs, bolt-action rifles and shotguns. Ditto the specialists like barrel-makers — there are dozens upon dozens of them, some small operations, some very large, all making good, quality products.
The Gun Thing is in good shape, folks. And it’s We The People who are keeping it that way.
And one last thing: if there’s anything anyone wants me to look at in particular, email me (there’s wifi at the show, duh) and I’ll see what I can do. (Can’t promise anything because the show is so large I might not get round to where it is, but I’m here a couple of days yet and I’ll do my best.)
Finally: many, many thanks to Reader Drew Kelley of Goldfield Small Arms for sponsoring me and making all this possible. He is a good man with excellent taste in all things, and I look forward to spending more time with him as the show goes on.