By Dan Shea

September and October are always crazy times in the small arms community. For the civilians, September has a lot of “Getting out of the summer” shows, as well as the Gun Rights Policy Conference, and there are major shoots at the Knob Creek Range and The Big Sandy at Wikieup as well as many smaller, local gatherings. On the military side, there are a lot of major overseas shows starting in September and culminating on the US side in Modern Day Marine and Association of the United States Army shows. There are also a lot of “Gender-specific” military and LE shows in that time frame. Essentially, everyone’s pretty busy. Those of us who cross-over between the communities have a crazy time trying to keep up.

I wouldn’t miss it for the world, though. While all of the shows are a great opportunity to see old friends in the small arms community, they are also a fantastic hunting ground for new information on what is happening out there.

I think it’s important to keep an open mind when we’re there, looking at what is new. Small Arms Review has always tried to bring a balance to the readers- whether your interest is in collecting, competing, or professional in nature.

We at SAR would like to encourage you, the reader, to get active. Get involved in the small arms community. If you are a collector, get out and share the knowledge. Do a gun show with an educational booth, you might be amazed at the contacts you make, the people you educate. If you’re broke, downgrade the collecting you are doing for the moment. Find something interesting. I know when my budget is low, I look for memorabilia instead of Brass Maxims. Or manuals. Just something in the firearms world, to keep my edge sharp. If you are in the small arms industry or an end user, We encourage you to not only go to the range, but to get to the shows. If you’re stateside, you should be at the NDIA Small Arms Symposium next May. It’s in Vegas again, so there’s your excuse. Just go and share the knowledge. If you know how to travel internationally, then next August, get to the Shrivenham Symposia on Small Arms in the UK. These groups need our support, but think of the great benefits you get by spending time with likeminded people.

You never know what interesting inventions and improvements you might see, and what business connections you might make, what ideas you might get, or inspire. It’s a no-lose situation for you, if this is your avocation.

And take a kid to the range, it’s all of our futures at stake. In these days of “See a gun dial 911” and “Guns R Bad” brainwashing in the schools, the positive influence of past generations of Teddy Roosevelt’s “Rugged Individualists” and their creed of “Personal responsibility” is sorely needed. Let’s have a different kind of “Make a difference day,” one where we help influence future generations in their truly rich and diverse histories, and teach them they can take care of themselves and their country- and, have fun while they are at it. -Dan

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V12N3 (December 2008)
and was posted online on July 20, 2012


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