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Gunfighter Moment – Ken Hackathorn

NRA Show Review:

The 2017 NRA Show in Atlanta was a joy to behold. Unlike SHOT, the folks walking the Show floor are the end users, the real deal ‘gun culture’. Unlike the SHOT Show which is oriented towards the dealer/distributors of firearms and related hunting gear, the NRA Show is all about show and tell for the members of the National Rifle Association. This year was of interest for a number of reasons. First the election of Donald Trump has calmed the nerves of the gun owning public. As clueless as the left is about why they lost, make no mistake the five million member strong NRA was a positive factor in the fact that Trump won. For the left to attack firearms ownership and still expect it to ring true for most of the heartland is just plain stupid. The anti-Second Amendment attitude does not sell in the states between the Socialist North East and the Left Coast.

A look at the folks walking the floor was quite educational. First, the bulk of people present were males over the age of fifty. However, more than any other NRA show that I have attended in my lifetime females were in noticeable attendance. Not just the wife tagging along with their hubby, but single and even groups of women, active in the shooting/gun culture. Trust me when I tell you that the CCW movement in the USA has had a profound impact on women. Realizing that with equality comes the responsibility to protect themselves; days of expecting a man to protect them is over. Life is about change, and we have little choice sometimes in the direction our lives must flow.

The second demographic that was very noticeable was the presence of people of color. The NRA has always been a strong supporter of equal rights; even back in the day when civil rights was not always popular especially with the Democratic Party. It was impressive to see both women and blacks asking intelligent questions about firearms and their use. I will wager that during the three days of the NRA Show more people were armed in that building than anywhere else in the USA. And, these folks packing heat all were carrying loaded firearms. In the course of the three days, not one loud noise was heard. Despite the complaints of the ‘anti gun crowd’, it was proof that people can be not only safe but responsible with concealed sidearms.

As a product ambassador for Colt Firearms, I was constantly having people coming up to me in the booth and asking questions about their guns, and they tended to all be loaded. Another thing that struck me was that if you took all the AR-15 (MSR’s for the gun culture political correct) and related accessories out of the show, the show would be less than half the size that it was. The reality is that nearly half of the gun culture has embraced the AR platform firearm. I do know some folks that do not own AR-15 style firearms, but damn few. When I moved to the mountain West, I knew that hunting rifles and handguns would be common, what surprised me was that nearly everyone owns an AR. Often more than one. The other thing that came to light was not a surprise at all: Mr. Obama was the best firearms salesman in history. Sales of the ‘black rifles’ has slowed to a trickle after the election. Nearly everyone in the retail end of the gun business will tell you sales have nearly come to a halt. Ammo demand has also slowed dramatically, prices are finally becoming more reasonable. Handgun sales continue to be solid, again directly related to the CCW market. New introductions of firearms at the NRA is becoming more common as much of the industry has tired of the strangle hold the NSSF has on the industry via the SHOT SHOW. Cost of the SHOT Show soars every year, and most vendors are tiring of the process.

This years NRA show introduction of pistols like the Beretta APX, FNH 509, H&K VP9SK, or Springfield Armory XD-E, and you can see the demand for quality handguns remains strong. The XD-E is directly oriented towards an small, flat, single stack 9X19mm pistol that is ideal for the AIWB crowd. If you plan on shoving your CCW sidearm into an inside the waist ban holster that is pointed at your balls, the XD-E a great choice. The gun that was my pick at the NRA Show was Wilson Combat’s new X9 pistol. What most folks want in a CCW sidearm is a 15 shot 9X19mm pistol the size and weight of a Clock 19, but with the controls, trigger, sights and accuracy of a 1911. The Wilson Combat EDC-X9 is just that, beautifully made of the best materials, a pride to own, but with a price tag more in tune with the Rolex crowd, not the Timex variety.

Overall, the flavor of the NRA show and the ‘gun culture’ was somewhat laid back, in tune with the change of politics in the USA. It seems that when a Republican takes the oval office, gun sales slow; put a Democrat in office and gun sales soar. There are some good deals in guns, ammo, and accessories to be hand in the coming months, hide and watch.

– Ken Hackathorn

Old Guy With A Blaster

Ken Hackathorn has served as a US Army Special Forces Small Arms Instructor, Gunsite Instructor, and NRA Police Firearms Instructor. He is currently an FBI Certified Firearms Instructor, Certified Deputy Sheriff with Washington County SO, Ohio, and a SRT member and Special Response Team trainer. Ken has trained US Military Special Operations forces, Marine FAST and SOTG units and is a contract small arms trainer to FBI SWAT and HRT.

Ken has provided training to Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and been active in small arms training for the past 25 years. He has written firearms related material for Guns & Ammo, Combat Handguns, Soldier Of Fortune, and currently American Handgunner and contributed to at least six other gun/shooting journals. Ken was also a founding member of IPSC and IDPA.

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Bravo Company USA. Bravo Company is home of the Gunfighters, and each week they bring us a different trainer to offer some words of wisdom.

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27 Responses to “Gunfighter Moment – Ken Hackathorn”

  1. BravoMike says:

    Great summary of the show for those of us who couldn’t be there. Thanks Ken.

  2. Gerard says:

    I live it CT. Its nice to get reports about Free America

  3. Joe says:

    Ken,

    “It was impressive to see both women and blacks asking intelligent questions about firearms and their use.”

    This gives me the impression that there is something remarkable about women and blacks being capable of asking intelligent questions about firearms. I really hope that I am interpreting that statement incorrectly.

    I enjoy your posts and appreciate your contributions to our community. Just looking for clarification…

    • Stone11C says:

      Here…two groups who liberals have historically kept indoctrinated into being either ignorant of firearms or staunchly anti-gun have recently begun increasing their knowledge and participation in the use of said weapons. By extension the liberal tactic of labeling only white males as “gun nuts” is also fast being eroded which is a VERY good thing.

      The context of what Hackathorn is trying to say is in the paragraph…you just have to ignore certain P.C. reflexes to see that.

      • Mark says:

        ^^^^
        THIS!

        If you’re looking to be offended I’m sure you’ll always find something to offend you.

    • PTMcCain says:

      Yes, of course you are “interpreting that statement incorrectly.” Don’t be a special snowflake.

  4. T-Jim says:

    I don’t know what Ken is talking about. This show looked like a nursing home event. No one was buying or looking to buy. Very few attendees knew anything about guns.

  5. OkieRim says:

    All good news, don’t stop leaning right, ever.

  6. PPGMD says:

    “New introductions of firearms at the NRA is becoming more common as much of the industry has tired of the strangle hold the NSSF has on the industry via the SHOT SHOW. ”

    I think that is part of it, but I think another part is the fact that announcements get lost in the shuffle at SHOT show. There are much fewer announcements at the NRA Show thus when you make an announcement there you get a much larger time in the sun.

    But as more and more companies realize that, you can going to see the same thing happen for the NRA Show. So it could very well end up like the electronics industry where larger companies have big announcements at private events outside of the industry show schedule. For example Nikon, Sony, and Canon often make their big announcements at private events, like when a new major SLR upgrade is released or a refresh of a hot selling camera.

    And TBH the firearms industry often already does this to an extent, except that the embargo date is set to be right before SHOT or the NRA show, but they already fly reporters out to ranges and let them try the new products a month or two ahead of the show so they can get their magazines on shelves about the time the embargo date hits.

    • PTMcCain says:

      The other thing the “industry” continually underestimates if the power of “word of mouth” via social media, YouTube, internet gun forums, etc. We all know that the industry magazines are simply extended advertising forums for the industry. Heck, even the NRA has nary a discouraging word to say about anything that shows up in American Rifleman. Give the common man a big convention and exhibition hall to wander and then he/she will go out and chat it up all over the place.

  7. PC says:

    “It was impressive to see both women and blacks asking intelligent questions about firearms and their use.”

    Not sure how to take this if I was a member of either of those groups.

    • Zach says:

      An out of touch old white man who thinks he’s doing minorities and women a favor by expressing his thoughts on “progress.”

      • Stone11C says:

        Here…two groups who liberals have historically kept indoctrinated into being either ignorant of firearms or staunchly anti-gun have recently begun increasing their knowledge and participation in the use of said weapons. By extension the liberal tactic of labeling only white males as “gun nuts” is also fast being eroded which is a VERY good thing.

        The context of what Hackathorn is trying to say is in the paragraph…you just have to ignore certain P.C. reflexes to see that.

      • PTMcCain says:

        You snowflakes need to get over yourselves.

        • Stone11C says:

          Unfortunately nobody’s found the cure for yet. However I have heard of a treatment involving watching Red Dawn( the first one), Act of Valor, and listening to pro-U.S. country…over and over. All of which I’d do for leisure. ?

    • Dellis says:

      So does “PC” possibly stand for “politically correct”??

      I knew the moment I read this statement from Ken the other day that someone is gonna get their panties all twisted.

      Racism is alive beacuse the moronic PC crowd does all it can to keep it alive and growing.

      Sorry Ken that a good article about the NRA show has to be picked apart and agendas inserted into it.

  8. Weaver says:

    “The NRA has always been a strong supporter of equal rights; even back in the day when civil rights was not always popular especially with the Democratic Party.”

    Right. That’s why they’ve got well-known civil rights role models like Ted Nugent on their Board of Directors now.

    Mr. Hackathorn, stick to writing about guns and shooting.

    • Stone11C says:

      Unfortunately the kind of men like Charlton Heston( who actually marched in the civil rights era unlike the KKK founding Democrats) are being lost to old age. If you don’t like Ted Nugent then find someone better in an age of increasingly lesser generations. Nugent has many different opinions but his views on criminals and the fact that the vast majority of them don’t give a rat’s ass about redeeming themselves is absolute FACT!

  9. Lightfighter says:

    “First, the balk of people present were males over the age of fifty.”

    It’s bulk not balk….

    “It was impressive to see both women and blacks asking intelligent questions about firearms and their use.”

    I guess some dinosaurs don’t realize they’re already extinct …

    • PTMcCain says:

      Faux outrage from special snowflake on this thread are so adorable.

    • Dellis says:

      So the guy makes a keystroke error and suddenly Ken is a racist/sexist dinosaur?

      I guess you would rather have women pick up a gun and ask…”Does this come in leather and where do I plug in the charger?”

  10. PTMcCain says:

    Thanks Ken, great report and summary! I’m still kicking myself for not going to the NRA convention when it was here in my own city a few years ago!

    NRA
    Life-Benefactor Member

  11. orly? says:

    No Muslims?

  12. Jester says:

    It’s interesting to see how many stupid people visit this website who can’t understand a statement about women and black people becoming more involved in the NRA and gun culture in general.

    Idiots.