By Dan Shea

Just left the NDIA Small Arms Symposium, which had been moved from its original location in Atlantic City to Dallas, Texas. This was due to the very unfriendly attitude of the State of New Jersey towards any firearms being brought into the state, and we can’t really have a “Small Arms Symposium” without small arms, can we? Or with industry people stuck in New Jersey’s jails? Who wants to give money to a state that doesn’t want us there, anyway? When we need to get near Picatinny again, let’s find someplace in Pennsylvania.

Unfortunately, this put the NDIA event in the same week as the SOCOM show down in Florida, and left many of the exhibitors having to either make a choice of which show (both are excellent for military) or to field several teams to set up at both.

Fortunately, many chose to do just that, and I have the pleasure to report that this year’s International Infantry & Joint Services Small Arms Systems Symposium, Exhibitions & Firing Demonstration was one of the best in recent memory. Attendees numbered between 550 and 600; there were about 65 exhibitors, all with smallish booths due to size constraints. The papers were excellent as well. There was a bit of intrigue and controversy due to differing feelings on the current small arms testing, but that was overshadowed by the overall quality of the presentations. Personally, I like it when people air their opinions in live forums like this. It is much more honest and result producing than if everyone glosses over problems or their differences of opinions. I would like to see some panels composed of people with those differing opinions, all well moderated and genteel, of course. We learn the most when people present and participate.

Live fire was out at the excellent Tac-Pro Shooting Range, hosted by long-time training persona Bill Davidson. The range was outstanding, (as was the barbecue) and we had about 30 participating small arms companies in an open style range where attendees could fire the demonstrator’s weapons without long intros. Word has it that the bus drivers are scheduled for GPS implants very soon, hopefully before our 2010 Symposium which is scheduled for Dallas again. 2009 will be in Fabulous Las Vegas! May 18-21, 2009, at Bally’s. We’re hoping for an outstanding range that will allow HE demos. Watch for upcoming information on what is in my opinion the most important small arms meeting in the world. There are many other good shows in the world, but specific small arms shows of this size and caliber are few and far between. If you are in this industry, or an end user involved in the systems, this is a “Don’t Miss.” We have an upcoming story on this show, so I won’t go any deeper. For info go to: www.ndia.org

While many of our readers are not involved in military or LE use, a majority are in some manner, or at least have the interest, and we cover civilian shows for the crossover.

A quick note on the barrel importation front. For the last several years we (NFATCA, FAIR Trade, and others) have been fighting for a reversal on the “new interpretation” of the importation regulations on non-sporting barrels. What was intended to stop snubby revolver barrels has been legalesed and parsed into banning all non-sporting barrels, effectively messing with parts sets and repair of military style firearms. Since there were no exceptions, this stopped all the manufacturers from fixing all the foreign weapons that our government uses. This is a huge problem for the government and importing community as well. We just managed to get language inserted to allow importers to bring in barrels for government and to support government/LE guns again, and it’s back to work to try to reverse the rest of it so we can continue repairing our civilian owned, legal and proper military style firearms. Let’s all stick together on this, it needs to be changed.

- Dan

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V11N11 (August 2008)
and was posted online on August 24, 2012


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