As I get ready for my trip back to the real world, I thought I’d share a couple of observations about the NRA show. Keep in mind, this is my first NRA National Convention, but it’s not my first trade show. Not by a long shot. Also not my first gun show.

  • This show is big. REALLY big. As in, Charlotte’s convention center could just barely contain it. They move it around from city to city, to give as many members a better shot at attending. But if it gets any bigger, I can see where they might have to stick it in Vegas – as they’re the only place that could handle a really huge show.
  • Aside from a few showbiz quibbles, the NRA did a near-flawless job on the show. And I say that as somebody who’s now been on both sides of the desk – as an exhibitor and as a member of the press.
  • The name of our little slice of heaven here, The Truth About Guns, is purposefully and simultaneously “neutral” and “provocative.” There’s a reason for that. We want TTAG to tell all sides of an issue, and to never hide our own prejudices and biases. Most of the media doesn’t bother; they are openly anti-gun. And it showed, Many vendors I spoke to were openly reluctant to open up to a member of the media, until they realized that I was “gun-friendly.”
  • The fact that I like guns and I’m not afraid of ’em does NOT mean I’m ever gonna be in the tank for any manufacturer or product.
  • Because of the Charlotte Convention Center’s policy prohibiting guns inside, the NRA had to have every firing pin removed from every gun. I don’t know if they do that in other cities, but they did it here.
  • Because the firing pins had been removed, none of the guns feel the way they would with the firing pin intact. That is to say, sans firing pin, every gun I dry fired felt as if it had a weird vibration in the hammer. At first, I had no idea why these guns all felt “mushy.” Then it dawned on me why. Pity. I was surrounded by guns, yet there was no way to get an accurate trigger feel because of the missing pins. Kind of like “water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.”
  • Once their suspicions were assuaged, most vendors were happy to speak with me. There was no bias against an online site versus a magazine or other print publication.
  • I can’t say the same for my brethren in print and television. I suppose that’s the same way the dinosaurs felt towards whatever species replaced them.
  • The staff at the NRA was REALLY helpful to journalists. I appreciate everything they did for us. They rock!
  • Charlotte is a beautiful city. I hope I get to come back here again.

2 Responses to 2010 NRA ConFab: Final Observations

  1. Thank you Brad for a job well done. You've helped hoist TTAG to the next level, whilst setting the standard for gun show coverage.

    Our regular reader may also wish to know that Brad's sealed the Testing and Evaluation deal with lots of gunmakers. Gun reviews are and will be the core of what we do. Thanks to Brad we will be able to do a LOT of it. And rest assured that Brad told the suppliers that our first loyalty is to you, our reader. We will always tell the truth about guns.

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