Letters to SAR: January 1999

By Dan Shea

Dear Dan,

After just missing you at the Firearms Trade Expo Show in Columbus, OH, (In May), I was pleased to finally meet you at the NRA Annual Convention in Philadelphia. I realize that you don’t remember, but our correspondence dates back to your MGN Days (“Tung oil NOT TUNA Oil”). Now to the point - have you noticed the enthusiastic response to NFA displays at major gun shows recently? (especially in these “Politically correct” times?)

-- Sept 1996 - The First Annual NRA Gun Collectors (Nashville, TN) Convention: The Thompson Display took 2nd place presented by Tracie Hill, Michael Free, L.J. Warren and others).

-- May 1997 - The First Ohio Gun Collectors Assoc.’s Collector’s Display: The Thompson Display took 1st place as voted by the members (presented by Tracie Hill, Michael Free, L.J. Warren, myself and others)

-- Sept. 1997 - The Second Annual NRA Gun Collector’s (Pittsburgh) Convention: The Thompson Display took 3rd place (presented by Tracie Hill, Robert Klein, Jim Poff, Michael Free*, and others) Michael Free also did a display of automatic weapons of the Third Reich, at the same time.

-- May 1998 - The Second Ohio Gun Collectors Association’s Collector’s Display: Automatic weapons of the 3rd Reich took 2nd place (as voted by the members). (Presented by Michael Free).

-- June 1998 - The NRA Annual Members Convention in Philadelphia: The Thompson Display took Best of SHOW (1st Place). (Presented by a group of eleven Thompson collectors, group photo in the latest American Rifleman).

It has been interesting to note the evolutionary development of the displays (in terms of better presentation, signage, etc) Also interesting has been the response of the crowds to the displays - at Philadelphia it was certainly a crowd stopper.

I hope some other folks inside the NFA fraternity will consider displaying their collections in the future.

B. Sutton

Dear B. Sutton

I saw several of those displays, and they were outstanding. The fact that June 1998 NRA Convention awarded 1st place to the Thompson display says a lot about their mindset. I think we are going to see an increase in NFA items as part of displays- I also noted the Browning display had a 1917, a 1919, and a Benet Mercie in it along with the proverbial BAR. We should probably get together a “Show” of our own for the NFA people....


Dear SAR,

I was reading my September SAR yesterday and noticed a potentially dangerous error in the article on “The Twin MG 42/22. California has, I believe you will find, outlawed all “trigger activator” type devices and the described weapon, along with BMF “activators” are ILLEGAL in that state. This makes the statement that this gun is, “legal in all 50 states” dangerously misleading. I was very concerned by the new bill detailed in “the legal side” in the October issue. This bill would ban all private sales of “large capacity ammunition feeding devices” regardless of when manufactured. This would essentially ban all future sales of machine guns! (Who wants to buy a MAC-10 with only 10 round magazines?) I am surprised you did not make a bigger thing of this since, it will end our hobby!

Perhaps the best way to water this down would be to have a pro-gun member of congress introduce an amendment to allow sales “with the guns these magazines are made to fit”. At least that way there would still be a market for all the transferables out there. It sounds like we are dying.


Dear Bob,

Prices are going up, but I don’t see us “Dying”, not by a long shot. Thanks for bringing up the California law glitch on these activators. It is possible that at the time the article was written, they were legal. Thankfully, that effort to ban the high capacity magazines was defeated. The MAC with the ten round magazine does sound pretty horrible, doesn’t it? Better work on the speed of mag changes... then, there is the Mexican Trejo 22 caliber machine pistol, that uses an eight round magazine. It was for use by the Mexican police forces. “Alto! Alto! Brrrrrrrp” and you are disarmed! Well, they did make a larger mag, but most were supplied with the eight rounders.


Dear SAR,

Congratulations on a terrific first year. The difference between Vol 1 #1 and Vol 1 #12 must make you, your editorial and production staff very proud. You took a very provincial topic and widened it to gather many more readers. Your intelligent approach to what could be considered “fringe” has fattened and put lots more advertising pages in the book. Keep up the good work, illigitmus non carborundum and God speed.


Dear Chris,

We are proud of the growth SAR has had, and we do appreciate our readers. Fortunately, most of us share an interest for military firearms, so we can cross over our interests between civilian, law enforcement, and military users. This gives SAR a broader base.

We get asked by many of the readers how they can help. Our stated goal is to make this a stable, long term platform for our common interests. There are three ways you can help. First- fax, mail, or email us with the things you want more coverage of, we have a list and are supplying it to the writers to work from. Second- if you see something advertised in here, and call the advertiser, let them know you saw it in SAR- we need to keep our advertisers aware of what their exposure here does. Third- if you are a newsstand buyer and have to travel to get SAR, ask for “The Small Arms Review” at your local newsstand. All of these will help us with our base building.


This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V2N4 (January 1999)
and was posted online on September 2, 2016


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