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There’s a stereotype that Americans are more business focused and Europeans tend to take life easier. And just like most stereotypes, its based on a grain of truth. Americans take fewer days off, get fewer vacation days, and tend to identify ourselves by what we do. Europeans, not so much. But while I subscribe to the American idea of working too hard and over-achieving, there is one tradition I’d love to see imported from the Eropean IWA to the American SHOT Show: the in-booth bar . . .

At the SHOT Show there’s always one or two booths that wheel in a keg after business hours are over and hand out beer, but it always seems like an after-thought. The booth wasn’t designed as a pub, so getting a drink can be somewhat awkward. But over on the other side of the pond, it seemed like every major firearms manufacturer had a VIP section with a fully stocked bar. In the mornings, there was more catering staff floating around replenishing the distilled provisions than there were attendees. And for the biggest names, the entire booth was built around the bar — like Beretta’s here.

For the members of the firearms media, SHOT Show is a lot of work. Four full days of pumping marketing people for info, fondling every new firearm, walking miles around the show floors every day. Would the ability to float from booth to booth, never letting your mojito run dry make it better? I dunno. But it’s worth a shot. A delicious, enjoyable shot. Make it a double, actually.

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  1. I’m guessing this has a lot to do with the fact that our alcohol laws are just as draconian as our firearms laws. Eighty years after it’s repeal we’re still suffering from the aftermath of prohibition.

    • Yeah, because our gun laws are so draconian. Certain people would love to see that, and there are certainly some things we’d all like to see with regard to gun laws (repealed NFA, for example), but by and large, our gun laws are the opposite of draconian (federal laws, at least). Very very few countries have the easy (and legal) access to firearms that we do. Calling out current laws draconian only does you a disservice; it’s so wrong that it undermines your credibility.

      • He might live in New York or Connecticut, in which case his statement is not completely invalid. If were dealing with Federal laws though, then yeah, I have to agree with you.

      • OK, federal laws; It’s perfectly legal to have a rifle with a 16.1″ barrel, but if you don’t pay the $200 tax and wait nearly a year for the ATF to approve your application, and you cut a quarter inch off that barrel you will be a felon and once caught, imprisoned and released you will never be allowed to own firearms, EVER. On the other hand you CAN have an AR pistol with a 9″ barrel, with no restrictions. Draconian? Don’t forget that the overall length of the weapon cannot be less than 26″ regardless of how long the barrel is.

        We have a federal law that states that you cannot carry a firearm on school property UNLESS it is permitted by the state you’re in. So what’s the point of having a federal law?

        How about this one, forget firearms, did you know that if you walked into a post office with a pocket knife with a blade longer than 2-1/2″ you could spend a year in a federal penitentiary?

        Of course the federal firearms laws aren’t nearly as draconian as the firearms laws of nearly every state, but then the federal alcohol laws aren’t nearly as draconian either. And don’t forget that our hard earned tax dollars fund a bureaucracy that enforces our federal firearms laws by running guns to the Sinaloa drug cartel and entrapping the mentally challenged into violating those laws.

  2. Our alcohol laws were put in place by the 1900’s version of MDA: a bunch of noisy, buttinski broads who thought their opinion trumped everyone else’s because they were women and they knew how to nag.

    Our alcohol laws in Wyoming are kept in place by the last vestiges of those WCTU types from 100 years ago. A more insufferable bunch of bluenose prigs, I have never met.

  3. Let’s see, free booze for the writers. What could possibly go wrong. Other than the fact that we’d never see an honest gun review again. It’s hard enough to get honesty from gun writers with their companies livelyhoods depending on advertisements from the same gun companies they’re reviewing. Throw free alcohol into it and we consumers will never hear truth again.

    • “We’d never see an honest gun review again.”

      Still reading Guns & Ammo, are we?


      • Not since TTAG. But Leghorn is a young man. Give him free hootch and a booth babe to bounce on his knees and who knows what kind of reviews we’ll get? The smart gun that solves all our problems?

        I shudder to think. And I don’t shudder much.

        • I watched too much Monty Python as a young man. My sense of humor is colored by it. Nick is one of us. I would not diss him for real.

          Too much Monty Python and too much John Wayne. What a weird combo.

        • No one expects the Spanish inquisition!


          Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!

          What is the speed of a swallow laden?
          African or European?
          I don’t know! AUGGGGH!
          My name is Tim but, some people call me Tim.

    • Having occupied the bar stool next to RF on several occasions, I must agree with you. It would be fun.

  4. Whatever, I’m PROUD to be a hardworking American. It’s why we built and invented many of the world’s firsts. Let the wankers have their “holidays” and their drunken half days. We work hard in the old USA. Gdamn Right.

  5. Nick should have joined Joe Grine and I at the Mauser booth. Those Herren know their Bier, and they brought the good stuff: Warsteiner, Hofbrau, Poulaner. Nothing less than 8% alcohol, BTW.

    It was a slightly tipsy walk back to the media room that day…but we’ll still never get our hands on a $15,000 Drilling.

  6. Drinking wine and beer is as common in Europe as having an Iced Tea or a Coke is here. Europe was not beset by the Puritan Menace like the USA was and the consumption of alcohol is no big deal there. In various countries in Europe I have seen police officers at lunch having a glass of wine. At at shooting ranges, there is always a cafe…where wine is served as well.

    I did not see any “drunks” in the various times I visited. Conversely, I think the culture on this side of the ocean tends toward over-consumption. Why that is could serve as a interesting study…but for now it is an observation.

    I have not been to IWA. I was planning this year but my plans were overtaken by events. I am curious about your perception of the crowd…their attire, their behavior, etc. Whereas SHOT seems to be a sort of glorified gun show, I am told IWA is more polished…like Baselworld (the SHOT Show of watches) .

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