The NRA Show, part one: the “gunny” stuff

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On Wednesdays I normally post a Hump Day Reading List, but this week is a little different!

I’ve just returned from the NRA Annual Meetings in Louisville, KY. The big draw for the NRAAM is the trade show, which is the largest consumer trade show in the shooting industry (the annual SHOT Show is restricted to industry members.)

While the show is geared toward guns for all kinds of purposes a very large percentage of the people attending are in the personal defense part of the business. This show is a chance to connect with them and also to do some education for the general public. This post will cover the “gun” stuff and some of the people in the shooting industry that I met and talked with; in the next installment I’ll talk about the self defense and personal security happenings.

The big news: Korth Revolvers

2016 seems to be the Year Of The Revolver, as I was asked by Nighthawk Custom to help them introduce the line of Korth revolvers to the U.S. Market. If you’ve been a revolver person for any length of time you know that Korth revolvers are often called the “Rolls Royce” of wheel guns, and that’s not entirely inaccurate. Made in Germany since 1954, they’ve never been officially imported into our country and we’ve had to make do with the occasional magazine article and picture. With Nighthawk officially importing them you can now buy a Korth revolver from any of their dealers.

I’ve been waiting 20 years for this to happen, and I’m sure you can imagine my delight at suddenly being able to play with five examples of a gun that until just recently was unobtanium in the United States. I’ll have a full write up about the Korth revolvers next week. I’ll just say that by the end of the first hour with the Korth guns I’d decided to start saving for a 3-inch model, and you may recall that this is a major endorsement from me — I don’t pry open my wallet very often!

The people of the gun

This brings me to the first of the people I met: the owners of Korth, Martin Rothmann and Andreas Weber. To be scrupulously accurate I met Martin at SHOT Show several years ago, but really didn’t get to know him. This time, however, I spent three days with Martin and Andreas and learned not just about their products but about them as people. They are friendly, funny (in a proper Teutonic way, of course) and very passionate about making precision firearms.

Speaking of passionate, I got to meet and spend several hours with the legendary gunsmith Dick Heinie. He filled me in on how he got started (did you know that he worked on Colt Pythons when he first started out? I didn’t!) and how he’s built his company and reputation over the years. It was a phenomenal conversation and one which I won’t soon forget.

I also finally got to meet Tamara Keel, whose View From The Porch blog I’ve linked to many times over the years. We’ve corresponded quite a bit but never actually met and it was a treat to finally shake hands. Tam is one of the most knowledgeable people in the business and was just appointed the Handgun Editor at Shooting Illustrated — which is now available as an NRA publication, which means that if you’re an NRA member you can choose to receive it with your membership instead of the moribund American Rifleman or the useless America’s First Freedom. I highly encourage you to add Shooting Illustrated to your membership.

One of the people who came to the booth was Tony Simon, a firearms instructor who runs The 2nd Is For Everyone Diversity Shoot through his company, Simon Says Train. He  hosts range sessions in New Jersey (yes, New Jersey) to expose people to the shooting world. Color, gender, sexual orientation, political persuasions are immaterial at his Diversity Shoots: everyone gets to experience the fun of shooting and be educated on the fundamental rights of all people to own firearms. I think this is a great cause, and I hope you’ll go to his Facebook page and see what he’s doing to dispel the notion that gun owners are all white middle-aged guys.

There were a lot of other people that I got to meet and talk with, and quite a few of them were readers of this blog or viewers of my new Training Talk show on Personal Defense Network. If you were one of them, thanks for stopping in to chat with me!

On Friday, I’ll have Part Two of my NRA Show report focusing on the things that apply directly to your self defense training and preparations. Be sure to watch for it!

– Grant Cunningham

Photo courtesy of the NRA



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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