Thursday, January 16, 2014

My SHOT Show Top Ten 2014

Since I spent the entire last post gushing about one single thing, I thought I should at least make an effort to talk about all of the other things I've seen and people I've met here.

This SHOT Show experience has just been overwhelming. I read in a press release that there are something like 12 MILES of booth aisles to walk. There are manufacturers here of everything from knives to "aerial gunnery", radios to duck calls, and purses to ghillie suits. Oh yeah, and guns. Real guns, training/"inert" guns, laser guns, Tazer guns, long guns, short guns, colored guns and black guns.

So, I think in order to keep my whirling thoughts organized, I will simply offer my personal SHOT Show Top Ten. But since I don't think I can rank them, here they are in no particular order... ​

1. Watching the 3Gun Nation Shoot-off and cheering on my favorite Pro Lady 3-Gunners. I couldn't pick "one" to cheer for, because they had all been my mentors and coaches at one point or other. Dianna Leidorff, Randi Rogers, Kay Miculek, and Lena Miculek are very talented women and great people. I'm proud to be able to say that I know them. It was also a ton of fun to meet up with our group of "Babes" to watch the match and do the cheering. It's an honor to be associated with you ladies!

2. Being physically present for the official announcement of the 1st Annual Brownells Lady 3-Gun Pro-Am Challenge Match. ( ) This is the first national ALL-FEMALE 3-Gun match, and I am tickled about it! This represents a pile of plotting and planning by several talented people, and I admire them greatly for it. I will be there at this event if it kills me!

3. Being able to attend Media Day at the Range. It was a great experience. In addition to drooling over the ETHOS, I also had an opportunity to shoot the new Glock G42, which is Glock's .380 cal entry into the pocket gun market. Now, I am no gun expert, and I have no business doing a review. (If you'll notice with the ETHOS, I only talked about why I liked it from a subjective personal standpoint, not as a gunsmith or as anyone with anything resembling expertise) But with that in mind, I also really liked the G42. I have struggled to find a carry gun that I am comfortable shooting, and that I don't have to dress "around". I currently have a Ruger LCP, and although it's concealable, it is also swallowed by my large-ish hands. I find it "snappy" to shoot, I don't like the feel of the slide when I'm racking it, or the all-day-long trigger pull either. The M&P .380's that I've handled felt the same way.

Since I started my shooting journey with a Glock 19, I'm familiar with how Glocks handle. The G42 seemed to me to have a slightly stiffer trigger pull than my G19, but it still felt like a Glock - not like I had to hitch ole Bessie up to the plow to get it to fire, as I do with my LCP. Unlike the Glock 26, the G42 is single stack, so it's flatter and easier to conceal.I also liked that it had REAL sights - not a rudimentary nubbin that I have to put nail polish on to be able to find. In short, the G42 - although small - still felt like a "real gun" to me. The two magazines that I got to test fire on Media Day gave me a pretty good feel for this pistol. I hit the steel plate at 15-20 yards every time but one, and that one I "anticipated" and dipped the muzzle - my fault, not the firearm's. So it's pretty accurate for a pocket gun. In addition, there was enough frame to the gun that it didn't sting my hand, and I found it comfortable to shoot. I think this may be the perfect Goldilocks "just right" that I've been looking for, and I'm going to go shopping for this gun as soon as I get home.

4. Attending a seminar by Audiologist and retired Air Force Colonel Theresa Y. Schulz on the effects of shooting sports on hearing, and the proper (emphasis on Proper) use of hearing protection. She even had some cute visual aids to illustrate the damage to the stereocilia in the human ear caused by differing types of noise.

5. Finding Elvex eye protection. Is it a reflection on my two "X" chromosomes that my head was turned by leopard print ballistic-rated glasses? I'm not sure if these glasses really fit my personality or not, but I loved them for the effect. If there is such a thing as a cross between Range badass and Hollywood starlet, these would be it.

6. Getting to handle and shoot the new Springfield Armory Range Officer 1911 pistol in 9mm. I'm not really familiar with the 1911 platform, honestly. My main experience so far has been with the polymer striker-fired pistols. But, being me, I'm always fascinated with gaining new skills, and a 1911 is something I've wanted to try. The Range Officer, in traditional .45 ACP, has been out for several years, and was designed to be an out-of-the box entry level match pistol. Putting the same gun out in the more economical 9mm caliber is what is new this year. I liked this gun too. The grip safety and external thumb safety are something that I would need to get used to, but I liked how it shot. At Media Day they had steel targets set up that had a little metal flapper at center mass. After I got used to the feel of the gun, the whole second magazine went through that little flapper. I think I surprised the guy with the European accent behind me. While we were waiting our turn we had had a little conversation about how he felt that polymer striker pistols were just machines, but that the 1911 was a work of art. Since I was new to the platform, he graciously pointed out a few things about the gun to me. By the time I finished the second magazine, he was cheering me on.

7. Having Annie Foster from Colt Competition, (and my squadmate from the AR-15/Rockcastle Match) take time out of her busy day to give me some pointers on what I ought to have in a rifle if I continue down this 3-Gun path. I already feel smarter for having talked to her.

8. The Press room on site. I'm sure everybody else gets tired and thirsty too, but it has been great to have access to a place I can sit down, type a post into my iPad, and have a cup of coffee or a coke while I'm doing it. I may "feel" like a fraud as press, but I'm doing my darndest to earn the right to be here. This is my second blog post onsite, and I've made several Facebook posts to match. I'm really trying hard here, guys...

9. Getting an autographed copy of Julie Golob's book, Shoot, ​from Julie herself.

10. The people. Despite the huge crowd of 65,000 of my closest friends sharing winter viruses, I feel like everyone here is on the same team. Maybe that's naive - no group that large gets along that well. But I have encountered no one who has been less than friendly to me. (Okay -- at least so far) I've made several acquaintences in the press room and on the Media Day Shuttle bus as well, and I have been offered tips and encouragement at every turn.

All in all, this has been a tremendous experience. I've learned a lot, and I hope to be allowed to do it again next year. Maybe by then I'll actually have a clue! LOL​


  1. Hello Kathy,

    It was a pleasure meeting you at the Media Day bus stop when we were stranded there. Your blog is quite interesting, and you are doing an excellent job. I look forward to reading more of it as time permits AND I will be referring several liberal women to it. All the best! Steve

    1. Thanks Steve!
      I'm so glad that we met at the bus stop for our missed bus, otherwise I'd have been clueless! That whole week was quite overwhelming!
      And thank you so much for the encouragement!

  2. I'm sorry I didn't run into you at SHOT. Us "frauds" should hang out :) I love, love, love the Press Room. When I went to SHOT as a "regular" guest, I thought I enjoyed it, but once I got to attend as press, I realized how rough those "regular" folks have it :)

    1. I'd be glad to not feel like a "fraud" alone! LOL We should make plans to meet up next year!