The nice part about SHOT Show is that you can bump into people and objects that you normally only see in magazines, on TV, and other forms of media. While I was talking about some new Smith & Wesson products at their impressive booth smack dab in the middle of the main floor, I happened upon world-famous shooter, author, and fellow poultry enthusiast Julie Golob.
While my talents as a writer and shooter are matched only by my ability to make stupid smiles with coffee-stained teeth, Julie has a well-documented history of victories and is a first-rate ambassador for shooting to all sorts of people, including girls and women. Being at SHOT is a way to meet fantastic people like Julie, and it really makes you appreciate just how down to earth this industry is at heart.
With all the traffic and craziness, an easily-bypassed display by the NRA Museum here is showing some fantastic pieces of pop culture that millions of people would instantly recognize. Being near these authentic props and guns is about as close to Mel Gibson or John Wayne as most of us will ever get.
I hope one day to take a rushed, poor quality photo with Mr. Gibson, but for now, I’ll settle for his Lethal Weapon Beretta for now. Oh, and that’s Hans Gruber’s P7 pistol from the family-friendly Christmas movie Die Hard in the background.
Another famous gun is Dirty Harry’s Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum. The shield on the grip is addressed to director John Milius who’s also known for my favorite film Conan the Barbarian as well as Red Dawn, Dirty Harry, and many more.
It is truly amazing to see first hand an item that has such cultural significance to so many Americans. There is no separating the .44 Magnum and how lucky you’re feeling.
Among other important guns here are the M1 rifle used by Roy Scheider in Jaws, rifles used by Tom Selleck (sadly I did not see the Sharps from Quigley Down Under), and modern TV shows like Criminal Minds.
The importance of guns in American culture can’t be overstated. It’s rare to find an American film, book, or TV hero who doesn’t have to defend the innocent and smoke the bad guys, be it with a Beretta, a Smith or an M1 Garand.
There is a great deal to see at SHOT Show and it is worth the trip if only to see these celebrities in person, whether they’re flesh and blood or wood and steel.