2005-02-12: Gun Show

Today was the first Del Mar gun show I've been to in quite a while, which is naturally going to mean that I'm going to talk about it. I've been out of 45ACP ammo for a while, having to make do with the occasional fairly-cheap white cardboard box of 250 rounds from Turner's, but mostly buying it in bags at the range. It's not that Iron Sights' ammo is expensive - truly, they're extremely reasonable for range bought ammo. However, it's not the uber-cheap plinking ammo which still outshoots me and the rest of my group in the 25 yards of distance we've got there.

So, I set out with $400 in cash and the stated goal of stocking up on 45ACP, looking around at accessories, and probably bringing most of my money back home with me. Brian set out with the goal of picking up three crates of MRE rations for anime conventions.

First off, we discovered that the Airsoft folks were out in force. Moreover, everyone was stocking the cheapo Airsoft versions of the P-90 which have been popping up on the Internet for around $50 for a while. They come with the electric full-auto P-90, a three-LED tac light, and a red dot scope, which clamp on with standard Picatinny rails. And of course, some fairly cheap and flimsy construction.

Brian nearly bit on one of those at first, then we went inside. He finally wound up biting at a table where they had 'em for $50, and you get a free spring operated Airsoft pistol. His freebie looks like a nondescript 1911 clone, and has a bit more spring power than the P-90 itself. At a later table, I found a P-90 which I bit on, and got a free electric Airsoft version of Robocop's Auto-9. Of course, my gas-powered version I bought in Japan is far superior to this one, but this one came free so I can't complain. I'm not sure which of us got the better deal, considering that the Auto-9 purports to use some oddball 'A' sized battery which isn't included in the packaging. The main thing though, is that we both have P-90s now, and they look pretty cool. I doubt they have much accuracy at a distance, although up close they're quite good at drilling the center of an NRA 25 yard pistol target. Pictures are pending, of course.

Craig wanted me to pick him up something cool at the gun show, so I picked up a hat for him. We'd been joking about what'd happen if one were to be mistaken for INS at a Mexican restaurant; now he can look the part a little better. You might have to click the link once in order to clearly read what it says.

Ammunition wise, I managed to find a dealer which was selling 500 rounds of 45ACP for $75, in an ammo tin - so I bought two tins. In the event I don't make it to the next couple of shows, this should still last the group until the next time I do make it. Pictures, of course, are pending. And also on the subject of ammunition, I managed to find several boxes of the exceedingly rare 7.62x45mm ammo which my VZ-52 rifle fires, for $3 apiece. Needless to say, I bought all of them. Now I just have to get a new wood stock for it, and I'll be set to try out a couple mags of ammo before I switch back to ammo-packrat mode and not shoot it anymore. Czech firearms fascinate me - and while researching this entry, I've been bitten by a new desire: a ZH-29. I have no idea if they've ever been imported, as they seem a little rare.

On the subject of commie guns, I had the distinct pleasure of being able to put my hands on a truly beautiful, historical firearm at the gun show. I held an SVT-40, double battlefield capture (German captured it on the Russian front, American captured it on the German front) with all matching serial numbers, and a beautifully well maintained action in my hands. The magazine clicked in with almost no resistance whatsoever (and held on firmly), the action cycled smoothly... it was beautiful. The only reason it didn't make it home with me was the $1100 price tag. I'm pretty sure that rifle is going to haunt me now. *sigh*

I also managed to find a cheap box of 400 Cor-Bon for my manager back at Kyocera, priced less than online, with tax included in the sticker price. That made him quite happy.

Another rifle I nearly picked up, was an Egyptian Hakim. The Hakim is a little-known mag-fed semi-auto chambered in the same 8x57mm Mauser round which the Germans made so famous during WW2. This rifle looked and felt very nice to me, and the thought of one-handing it at the range made me grin in evil anticipation. The price tag was right, too - $550, which placed it at the same price as the Kel-Tec SU-16, which is admittedly also on my shopping list. Frankly, the only thing which scared me away was that at first I didn't recognize 8x57mm and thought for a bit that it was another oddball caliber. I already have one hard to feed rifle, I don't need another! However, not all is bad. JG Sales is right near my friend John in Arizona, and they've got Hakims for $450. Budget priced semi-auto high caliber goodness, with detachable mags, in CA - now that's what I call fun.

Lastly, Brian elected to buy a tactical vest for his eventual aspirations of joining an Airsoft club. What he got was pretty decent, and relatively cheap. I think it may have been Chinese police surplus, as it was designed for small folks, not marked as such, and the vendor did carry mostly used equipment. He tried to "cut me a deal" on a police surplus level-2A tactical vest. The vest was nicely laid out, but it was showing definite wear on the kevlar panel beneath and he wanted $225, plus $110 per rifle plate for it. That constituted a total of $50 off the price of the plates - if he'd gone as low as $300 for the whole thing INCLUDING plates, I'd have gone for it. Oh well, guess I'll have to just get myself an Interceptor or Turtle vest from Bulletproofme.com. They may cost more, but you do get what you pay for. One of these days, I need to write up my full rant on why I wear body armor to the range online. I got asked during the last range run whether it was a fashion statement, or if the range was really that dangerous. The answer is neither, but frankly I'd rather wear it and not need it, than the other way around. Not to mention, it does decrease mobility a little and it's best to practice with restricted mobility - if you're not wearing your armor in a tactical situation, that's just one less thing that's going to interfere with your aim.

So, once we got home, Brian and I set up our P-90s. They came complete with red dot scope, three-LED tactical lights (plus mounting kits - and I imagine they would actually fit on real P-90s, even though they're made out of cheap plastic), screw-on silencers, and straps. I chose to leave the silencer on mine for identification (it doesn't interfere with the P-90's operation), and we wound up setting up a target. There are now yellow and orange Airsoft BB's all around the trailer. Yes, Mom, you did tell me so. And that's about it for the gun show.