And so we leave sunny Las Vegas for even sunnier Southern California. After an 0-dark-thirty flight, I spent the entire day in a studio, reviewing episodes of SHOOTING GALLERY and COWBOYS and doing assorted voice-overs. Tomorrow we have a day of filming low-light scenarios with Simunitions — which ought to be a real riot, since I'm pretty much exhausted — then I get to go home! Covered with bruising paintball marks, I suppose, but at least at home.
Still, I wanted to make a couple of points about SHOT. A couple of years back, I wrote in a gun magazine (facetiously!) that by 2011, the only handgun made in the world would be the 1911 .45. Everybody else would just throw in the towel, call it a day, retool and knock out the old Browning warhorse by the gazillions. This year's SHOT Show did nothing to dissuade me of the notion. You could stand in the middle of the Las Vegas Convention Center, pick any direction at random, spit and hit a 1911. And most of them are amazingly good. Some of what were considered low-end guns have gone through major overhauls. The Auto Ordnance 1911s, now owned by Kahr Arms, pops up first. Charles Daly has 1911s, which look pretty good to me. CZ-USA purchased Dan Wesson — a good gun company who couldn't market to save their lives — to acquire their 1911 line. Taurus was showing a really nice 1911 prototype at an MSRP oof $525, which — if they can deliver a production line gun that comes close to the proto, will be a category killer.
Kimber introduced a billion or so new models; orders for their Marine Corp contract gun are pouring in, even though the gun isn't shipping. S&W has a natty scandium Commander-size gun. The SIG GSRs are finally filling up the pipeline. Springfield continues to grind 'em out, and there are rumors that even Colt makes a Colt .45!
My theory is that there is one guy just outside of Manhattan, Kansas, who is actually buying all these 1911s and stacking them in a series of old pay-by-the-month warehouses. How else can you explain the apparently endless demand?
BTW...Michael's choice for the best 1911 product of the SHOT Show? Gunsmith Wayne Novak's aluminum single piece mainspring housing/beavertail grip that eliminates the 1911's grip safety, a vestigial appendix of a device designed to keep the gun from firing unless the shooter has a firm grip. Unfortunately, all hands are not the same size, especially in the critical fleshy part around the thumb. If your hand isn't the right size, you run the risk of failing to engage the grip safety, which means the Finest Handgun in the World won't go bang. Tres embarrassing...and potentially fatal. Wayne's dohicky eliminates thsi problem. Plus, since it's aluminum, Wayne says he can anodize it pink for me.
As soon as I get home, Wayne's getting a 1911 Care Package from me!
My second favorite 1911 must-have thingie is a set of Alumagrips, checkered aluminum grip panels for the 1911. When I first saw these guys, I thought, "Now there is a stupid idea!" I've got really expensive highly figured whackowood hardwood grip panels from, I don't know...Mars maybe...for most of my 1911s. Aluminum is, well, metal. Yeechy-poo.
Then I got bamboozled into trying a pair...these things are great! PERFECT checkering...sharp, but not to sharp. Just the right feeling in my hand. Impervious to everything, including blood for when I inevitably snag a finger on something. You can also use their interactive grip builder to make your perfect set of Alumagrips. And do they look COOL...my latest pair is brown cammie. I'm working on the guys at Alumagrip to pop for some flashy anodizing...maybe pink, to match the Novak backstrap. We'll have an OFFICIAL AUTHORIZED SHOOTING GALLERY DUCK set available REAL SOON! Just the thing for the post-modern gunfighter. Good taste is, after all, timeless.