NRA Show notes: how to botch a new product introduction. Not that it really matters when the product is this bad.

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So, let’s say you’ve got a new product and a major opportunity to show it to the world. Think it might be a good idea to, you know, make it easy for people to learn about it? One company apparently doesn’t!
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It’s a bad sign when a company introduces a new gun, spends a large amount of money to publicize it at a major trade show, then says “we’re not allowed to show it to the media.”

This really happened, at the NRA Show, with Century Arms and their new sort-of revolver. The media in question? Yours truly!

I walked up to their booth and their new Model 38-3, which looks for all the world like a cross between a Chiappa Rhino and a cheap derringer, was sitting in a glass case. I had on my MEDIA badge, and the fellow behind the counter took one look at it and said (between mouthfuls of potato chips — I kid you not) “we’re not allowed to show it to the media.”

Taken aback by the lack of desire to get publicity for their product, I asked why. “The owner says not to show it to the media.”

“Okay”, says I, “where would I find the owner?”

“He’s not here.” The fellow walked away, apparently having decided that our conversation was over. Or that his potato chips were getting stale. It was a little hard to tell.

Alrighty, then! If they can’t show it to the media, I thought, maybe they’ll show it to someone who’s not from the media. Luckily for me I had lots of friends at the show, and several of them had no problem wearing their anonymous attendee credentials and asking to have a look at Century’s monstrosity.

They were granted their wish! After all, the owner apparently said nothing about keeping the gun out of the hands of the unwashed public.

One of my unnamed minions got the pictures you see here, and the others reported that the gun seemed to be of poor construction, had a trigger pull that would probably break most pull gauges (making one wonder why they saw the necessity for a grip safety), and was surprisingly large. Country of origin could not be determined, and apparently neither has the importation status; they were told “sometime later this year”.

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The gun has a flat (on one side only, apparently) “cylinder” which carries but three rounds of .38 Special. When the trigger is pulled the bottom chamber fires and the “cylinder” rotates to bring the next round into firing position. When the third round is fired the gun is opened conventionally and can be reloaded.

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Century touts the thickness of the thing — “under one inch” — but my guys said it seemed larger in every other dimension than a S&W “J” frame, a gun which carries two more rounds and which has an established track record for durability and quality of construction.

(The fellow behind the counter told my friends that the price “had not yet been determined”. Funny thing, because the flyers the company had distributed all over the show clearly listed an MSRP of $499.95, a number which caused one of my gang to laugh hysterically.)

Is there a market for a large, expensive, three-shot gun with a trigger pull requiring the assistance of a weightlifter? Century Arms thinks so, but you tell me in the comments: what do YOU think of this thing?

-=[ Grant ]=-

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About the Author:

Grant Cunningham is a renowned author and teacher in the fields of self defense, defensive shooting education and personal safety. He’s written several popular books on handguns and defensive shooting, including "The Book of the Revolver", "Shooter’s Guide To Handguns", "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals", "Defensive Pistol Fundamentals", and "Practice Strategies for Defensive Shooting" (Fall 2015.) Grant has also written articles on shooting, self defense, training and teaching for many magazines and shooting websites, including Concealed Carry Magazine, Gun Digest Magazine, the Association of Defensive Shooting Instructors ADSI) and the popular Personal Defense Network training website. He’s produced a DVD in the National Rifle Association’s Personal Firearm Defense series titled "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals" and teaches defensive shooting and personal safety courses all over the United States.
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