Impressions so far:
- This is the best trade show I've seen so far. It even beats out the DotCom Boom computer shows. Not a lot of schwag, but the people at the booths were uniformly friendly and knowledgeable, and didn't try to get customer contact data out of you.
- Since this is the year of the 1911, I made a point to check out all of the myriad manufacturers and look at their government model. My favorite so far was the Remington. The slide moved like it was on bearings, the trigger was really smooth, and broke very cleanly. Just for kicks and grins, I went over to the Rock Island Armory booth to check out the example they had that matched my government model, and I could immediately feel the difference. Now, I love my RIA 1911. It was inexpensive to buy, and it's fun to shoot. But when compared to the models from Colt, Kimber, and Remington, it's very rough. I am definitely going to put getting another 1911 at the top of my pistol list, and I may put some work into smoothing out the trigger. A few drop in parts might also be in order.
- The Mossberg representatives were very happy to talk to me about their youth models for shotguns. I'm in the market for either a muzzleloader or a slug-capable shotgun for Girlie Bear. I spent a while looking at the Super Bantam Mossberg 500 for her, but after I described her to the Mossberg rep, he said that she might be big enough to handle a full size 500. He suggested that I let her shoot my 835 a couple of times with a light load and see how she liked it. If the 835 is too big, then a Bantam 500 might be right. If the 835 is comfortable for, then a full size shotgun will be in order. On that one, it's going to come down to whichever I find first that's in my price range, either a rifled slug shotgun or a muzzleloader for Girlie Bear.
- The Rossi rep was pleased with the success we'd had with the .22/20 gauge CombiRifle that I've been using to train Girlie Bear.
- I had a chance to take a look at the new Coonan .357 automatic, and it looks and feels really sweet. It's a good, solid hunk of metal, and I have no problem believing that recoil from .357 Magnum would be more than manageable with it. The MSRP quoted to me is between $1200 and $1800, with more added for additional features. This one is going on my list of "wants" too, but I'll definitely wait until they've had a chance to wash through the used market.
- While I was at it, I took a look at both the Taurus Judge and Smith & Wesson Governor. In shape, size, and weight, the Governor appears to be indistinguishable from the Judge at first glance. According to the marketing posters for the Governor, in addition to the .410 shotgun shells and .45 LC, it can also fire .45 ACP. Either way, they're silly. If you want to shoot a shotgun, get a shotgun. If you want to fire a pistol round, get a dedicated pistol.
While I was doing my best impression of Brownian Motion through the crowds, I listened to what the crowd was talking about. In addition to the expected "Gee whiz, that's neat" and "Those damn gun grabbers!" conversations, I heard a lot about the economy. The herd consensus seems to be we're in a hole, someone's digging the hole deeper, and we're screwed. I found it telling that the precious metals vendor was as busy as Ruger or Smith & Wesson.
Tomorrow will be a few more rounds around the floor to check out the minor vendors and displays, followed by the Gunnie Prom.