By Dan Shea

This issue is being handed out at two of our favorite U.S. shows - Modern Day Marine in Quantico Virginia, and AUSA in Washington DC. This covers the USMC and the U.S. Army pretty thoroughly, and we welcome you to reading our magazine. I know firsthand from setting up at these shows how many readers we have in the armed forces - and how many come up to us and thank us for sending the 130,000 plus copies of SAR to them at no charge while they were deployed. It’s really the other way around, we were sending these to the troops as a thank you to them, because most of us know what it’s like to be far from home and a firearms magazine like SAR is welcome reading.

We want you to know that there is an active “Gun Culture” in the U.S., filled with enthusiasts and shooters, historians and technical students as well as designers and collectors. There are one hell of a lot of us that are involved in the small arms world, and if weapons, history, and technology are your interest, welcome to our community. Coming home after being under arms for a long time can be a bit disconcerting; frequently the civilians you were protecting have radical views of firearms ownership and those who use them, and they don’t “get” the idea that soldiers can have a continuing interest in martial weapons. That’s their problem. If you’re reading this, then welcome home, enjoy getting back into stateside life, and remember there are millions of us who understand, and we go shooting on weekends all over the great United States.

Don’t forget to go to our online site, www.SmallArmsOfTheWorld.com and log in. It’s twenty bucks a year on its own, and only ten bucks added to your subscription. I want to reiterate that we are putting massive archives of manuals, photos, research documents, articles and other interesting items online, more every day. You have to sign in and explore the archives to get a feel for this, but we have two full time people scanning away to get the LMO reference library digitized.

On a sad note, we buried a great friend (actually, blew up his ashes at his request) recently, and that story is in here: Bob Faris passed away, a legend in the small arms community. Bob was a Korean War combat veteran, having been a front line armorer. Later, he was at Aberdeen and Yuma, testing most of the weapons of the modern era for use by our military. For over 50 years, Bob mentored and taught many of us in the small arms community, and he participated in his favorite shoot - The Big Sandy - several times per year. You can read the story on this, and get an idea of how closely knit the community of small arms enthusiasts is. We suggest if you’re new to this, you try going to a machine gun shoot locally, go to Knob Creek in Kentucky, The Big Sandy in Arizona, OFAST in Oklahoma, or any of the other more local shoots. You’ll find a lot of interesting people, and a lot of interesting firearms. I was personally very pleased that we were able to not only have this article on the Big Sandy shoot regarding Bob, but that we could also include the Jean Huon article on the Darne machine guns. Bob Faris had recently acquired a Darne 1933 (Darne is pronounced “Darn” not “Darn-ay”). We had many conversations regarding the Darne 1930 in the LMO Working Reference Collection and his new Darne, and how to get firing pins and parts to get his running. It’s odd how when we lose someone like Bob, his memory seems to be attached to so many things…

This morning, just as we went to press, we received news that another icon of the NFA community passed away: Dick Wray. Dick was integral to teaching so many of us about historical firearms, and before he fell ill, Dick was a staple at Knob Creek, bringing many amazing historical firearms to the firing line there. We’ll follow up with more info on Dick Wray in the next issue of SAR.


This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V16N3 (September 2012)
and was posted online on August 3, 2012


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