That Time I Became a Hand Model for a Firearms Accessory Company

Courtesy Luis Valdes and Oleg Volk

Back when I was running for a seat on the NRA Board of Directors, I had my good friend Oleg Volk do some photo work for the campaign. We got to talking about guns, of course, and I brought up the handy Kel-Tec SU-16C that I keep as a truck gun.

Luis Valdes for TTAG

He mentioned he had a SU16A1-EL rear sight from Tech Sights for it and gave it to me along with a replacement Hi-Viz front sight for an AR-15. The SU-16C uses the standard AR-15 front post sight.

Courtesy – Hi-Viz & Tech-Sights

So I installed them and he asked if he could take some high quality photos and use them for an article he was going to write. I said sure and thought nothing of it.

Courtesy Oleg Volk and Luis Valdes

Well, it turns out that Tech-Sights liked the photos so much that they used them for their own website to show how the sight looks when installed on the rifle.

Courtesy Tech-Sights

I stumbled across it when I was looking at the sights they make for the SKS Carbine and Ruger 10/22. Imagine the pride I felt knowing that I had entered the pantheon of an elite group of skilled individuals. I had stumbled into becoming a hand model much like George Costanza.

But as time moved on, my life became one wild party after another. Going to hand model galas, hob-nobbing with the rich and famous, and, of course, my hands getting me into trouble. I fear I may have flown too close to the sun.

It appears that my hubris has gotten the better of me. While I remained master of my domain, I have not been offered any more opportunities to model the exquisiteness that are my hands.


  1. avatar Manse Jolly says:

    I have a -C unmodified. I hate the rear sight set-up. I may change out the sights as you did.
    Any tips for changing the rear out?
    What brake is on yours?

    Thanks for the article!

    1. avatar RA-15 says:

      MANSE , looks like a Miculek break to my old eyes.

  2. avatar M1Lou says:

    This article reminded me of this scene.

    1. avatar Ing says:

      Same thing I was thinking. 🙂 JP Prewitt.

    2. avatar California Richard says:

      (Pound sign) me too

  3. avatar Kenneth says:

    Well, at least you didn’t have an unfortunate encounter with a hot iron… right? I don’t see any puffy shirt in the photos….

  4. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    I had to sign one of those releases a couple of years ago.
    Always laugh when I recall that

  5. avatar strych9 says:

    Kinda creepy.

  6. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Thanks for the fun article Mr. Valdez … I got some good chuckles reading it!

    By the way that SU-16C looks sooooooo much better with a person holding it rather than looking at the bland photos at the Kel-Tec website. In fact that rifle looks so much better that I am feeling like I REALLY want one. I am going to be struggling the next several weeks to suppress the urge to purchase one.

    1. avatar Oleg Volk says:

      I recently took my SU16E to the range. It was mothballed for years, but ran 100% and I was able to stay on a 6″ clanger at 100 yards firing at about a shot every 1.5 seconds. Light, handy and reasonably accurate.

  7. avatar DrDKW says:

    Plus, a back-of-the-head & ear model!

  8. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Uh, a half ass weapon with less than half ass sights, or maybe I just like better more durable stuff. Not sure about the whole hand modeling thing. Never paid attention to some guys hands handling the weapon. After all, they ain’t my hands. I’m not buying hand lotion.

  9. avatar Kreeeble'NKrag says:

    My hands would most likely be mistaken for a mountain gorilla’s. Never going to get that gig.

  10. avatar Michael says:

    I never have to look…Mr. Volk does the best and makes the finest. He does not get anywhere near the credit he deserves. -30-

  11. avatar Dave in PTC says:

    Luis, truly your hands are exquisite! The clear and undefiled dermis; the glowing nail beds; the unwrinked knuckles. Surely you will tell us your hand care secrets. Is it something store-bought? Something made in your kitchen? Organic? A magic essence of unicorn? Perhaps the blood of your enemies?
    I think I know. Its the supernatural imbuement from loading 6.5 Creedmoor rounds into a rifle!

  12. avatar Dave in PTC says:

    Heads up! Its only 84 days until Day of the Creedmoor, also known as Creedmas by the religiously devoted fans of the 6.5 Creedmoor.

    1. avatar billy-bob says:


  13. avatar AlanInFL says:

    Did you wear oven mitts to protect your hands?

  14. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    I wish I could find an SU 16C. I’m starting to think they are a myth. Stories told by old men.

      1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

        Thanks for the Link.

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