The Carson Armory

By Tom Murphy

Nevada is known for many things not found in most other states: huge stretches of open high desert, billion-dollar plus casinos, miles of empty highways, Area 51, diversified employment for working women, concealed carry permits, legal Class III weapons ownership, and a few - very few - places to purchase and test those weapons.

One such establishment is located in the capital of Nevada, Carson City. The Carson Armory, 10113 Highway 50 East, (775)883-4409, is a new, developing family-run business owned by Harry and Eileen Ferguson, that incorporates a shooting range in the same building as their retail store. Any prospective Class III customer can easily test his or her potential purchase before committing to buy. Just purchase the necessary ammunition (buy at least 50 rounds as these guns are hungry), make the arrangements with the rangemaster Gary Manwarren, and grab a set of ear protectors and safety glasses, if needed. All testing is done under instructor’s supervision and no rounds are sent down range before the prospective buyer has shown full understanding of their particular weapon’s operation.

On the day I was there, various types of NFA firearms were in action. I had purchased a MAC-10 in 9mm and was waiting for the Form 4 to return, so it had to stay at the store, but I could come make it rock and roll whenever I wished. It’s fun to shoot, but its short barrel and diminutive size makes it a bit hard to control when emptying a 30-round mag in one run.

Two other 9mm sub guns were on hand, both from Heckler and Koch. The first was an HK MP5K with single-shot, three round burst and full auto capabilities. It had a telescoping stock and a vertical forward grip which makes for much better control in full auto. The third gun was also from HK and was an HK94 that had been converted from semi to full auto via registered HK sear. An additional full auto detent on the selector lever below the semi stop was positioned by a brass pin at the bottom of the action. It also had a telescoping stock to enable it to be fired from the shoulder.

HK’s American facility in Chantilly, VA has three groups of weapons systems aimed at law enforcement. Group 1 concentrates on the 7.62 NATO family of weapons. Group 2 is constructed around the 5.56mm or .223 caliber cartridge. Group 3 offers numerous firearms in 9mm Luger chambering. Only the 9mm submachine guns are fired in the indoor range as the backstop and overhead armor plating isn’t sufficient to stop the hotter rounds. It will handle the .45 calibers like .45 ACP and up to .454 Casull, so bringing your favorite grease gun or Tommy gun is OK.

Carson Armory’s chief business is in the sales of handguns and rifles, of which a large stock is maintained. The sales floor is dominated by an M-2 .50 cal. Machine Gun looking ready to play. A dummy fifty round belt hangs from its left side. If you already have a CCW, no Brady check is necessary, and purchasing a semi-auto or other long gun or handgun is easily accomplished. Buying an NFA weapon requires all of the usual paperwork, photos, fingerprint cards, police signature and $200 tax stamp as always, and will take at least 90 days to transfer to the new owner.

Harry will walk you through all the necessary paperwork and handle the transfer after you complete your end. I paid for my sub gun when I first started the paperwork, so as soon as the Form 4 returned, he called me and I picked up the MAC the same day. He made a copy of the form 4 and advised me to keep the original in a safe place (gun safe preferred), and always carry the copy when taking any full auto out to play. That way, should a local peace officer decide to satisfy his curiosity, the paperwork will be handy.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V6N2 (November 2002)
and was posted online on December 20, 2013


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