By Dan Shea

SAR East Show a resounding success!

I had to say it; we are most pleased with our first show on the East Coast. With 1,000 tables and a crowd of approximately 7,500 over the weekend, it was a great first year.

The fact is, this is approximately what our first SAR West show had for tables and a showing. And, after 7 years, SAR West in Phoenix is around 3,200 tables and 26,000 people! The vendors who set up tables at the first SAR West in Phoenix earned the right to their positions in the current SAR West, and so it will be with the SAR East show in coming years, as it grows. We expect a probable 30% increase in tables and attendance in SAR East 2009 (May 1-2-3, 2009 at the York, PA Expo Center) and it should double in 2010 if the pattern of growth is normal.

There was an amazing showing of Class 3 type items as well as interesting Title I firearms. East-coasters are not as used to doing Friday shows as the West-coasters are, having been trained at the old Great Western and numerous other longtime West coast shows, and SAR East was a first time on Friday for many. The line was 4 deep and wrapped the building when we opened at 3pm on Friday, with a steady flow of people after that. (We are changing the Friday hours for May 2009 to 12 Noon to 7pm at the request of just about everyone). Every hotel in the region was full and there were no other events conflicting with ours. There are three more buildings for us to grow into here and we could eventually get 4,000 tables going and make a four day extravaganza like the old Great Western!

Three or four suppressor manufacturers were set up including John’s Guns and Coastal... FNH USA was there with the SCAR and their new offerings, Ordnance Research had five incredible 1877 Bulldog Gatlings and there was a smoking hot Thompson Collectors Association display, as well as a fantastic Maxim/Vickers display from Dr. Ed Weitzman... most of the larger class 3 dealers were there with islands of guns and lots of stuff was getting sold. Vaughn from Armament Services International told me he handed out over 1,000 business cards to potential new customers, and sold five machine guns. Half of the show was a regular gun show set up from Appalachian Promotions, so there were a lot of great collectable Title I firearms as well as regular gun show fare. I found an OSS M3 Greasegun suppressor with original alignment tool, a Polish WC Browning AA sight (YEEE ha!), Dolf's newest Browning 1919 tool which is too cool, lots of rare MG manuals that came from former Curator of the National Firearms Collection administered by the Smithsonian, Dr. Edward Ezell’s collection, found a two volume set of the original British tests on the 1851-53-56 Pattern rifles, there was a new book publisher with about five titles that are photo essays on WWII use of small arms...BAR, Garand, Carbine, he's got THREE pics in that book of WWII soldiers using Browning belts as slings with 30 carbine rounds in the belts - in combat. Fantastic info!

There was a nice Liberator pistol for sale, Dennis Todd had two great FG42s, Tom Nelson had a rack of tables up against the far wall with Ed Ezell's library for sale and there was an absolute cherry Schnellfeur in the box that was sold on day one. Another table had an original M231 Port Firing weapon stock, Gordon Miller had a great HK parts selection and I don’t want to leave anyone out, but there was a pile of class 3 stuff at this show.

I saw Bob Landies doing a dance down the aisle with a Queen Wilhelmina Dutch Carbine with a perfect stamp on the stock! He’d just bought it over in the Title I section of the show. That was one happy guy.

I strongly suggest coming to our SAR West show in Phoenix as the show is beginning to mature into a huge event, but please sign up for our SAR East show in York next year and help it grow... and don’t forget to slow down a bit as you walk through and really look in the cases. SAR shows always seems to bring out the best in parts and guns!

- Dan

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V11N10 (July 2008)
and was posted online on August 31, 2012


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