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SITREP: November 2003
by Dan Shea

Knob Creek is upon us again! Funny how the conversations keep coming around to who is going, what they are bringing, what’s for sale, ad infinitum, and it’s only August. Twice a year, most of the Class 3 oriented firearms community gathers up the gun cases, tripods, belt loaders and assorted paraphernalia, overloads their vehicles with case after case of ammunition, and hits the road, Kentucky bound.

There are a lot of other Class 3 shoots in the United States, many smaller ones on an almost weekly basis in different areas. A lot of them have “Creek” as a suffix, almost like every embarrassing event for the government has “Gate” attached to it after the famous Watergate Hotel breakins during the Nixon administration. In the case of the “Creek”, however, this is a very complimentary thing. Knob Creek Range’s twice yearly Machine Gun Shoot and Gun Show is the standard by which all others get measured. There are physically larger shoots, shoots that brag about having more range discipline, shoots that last longer, and a few shoots that claim to be better, but it is all subjective to the person’s point of view who is talking.

I recently went through some old file folders where I kept track of every ‘Creek I went to, and who I went there with. There were more than forty notations, more than forty trips to the ‘Creek. Found a tattered picture of a bunch of muddy guys in GP Medium tents, trading machine guns and parts.... I look back over this time, and can see my own education on firearms growing on a daily basis, much of it inspired by trips to the ‘Creek, One trip through the pole barn usually adds enough new information that it takes a month to mentally digest it, and one trip down the firing line will almost always show new accessories and tripods, if not weapons I haven’t seen before. From Gatlings to GAU’s, they all seem to be there at one point or another.

The blessing to me has been the balancing twenty odd years of attending military shows and law enforcement events as well, along with many trips to museums to study the weapons. I heartily recommend that anyone who has this interest in small arms, this passion for military technical history, not hesitate to do the same. Your job may not allow you to travel, and the budget might be tight, but rest assured there were many peanut butter sandwiches packed in a cooler with well water from home bottled in it, and roadside sleepovers, on the trips that most of us who are knowledgeable about the Class 3 industry have taken.

You don’t learn unless you get out there. I guess this Sitrep is just my trying to stir up that passionate place in you if you are a firearms enthusiast. Go on the Internet and chase down searches for your favorite firearms, and ones you don’t know so well. You will be surprised at the community there. Go out to the shoots, go out to the shows (And don’t you DARE miss the SAR show in Phoenix this December!) visit museums. Put twenty bucks in the donation jar, and don’t hesitate to try to talk guns with the people there- you might get a visit into the back room and see some truly unusual items that the public misses out on. That’s how a lot of us that are writing about it have done it.

See you at the ‘Creek! - Dan


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