Had drinks last night with Ronnie Barrett from Barrett Rifles, makers of the Satanic, wicked, evil .50 cal rifles (and, parenthetically, this blog's choice for 2004 Man of the Year). Ronnie said the big blaster has been chosen as one of the military inventions of the year by the U.S. military...here's a link. As usual, Ronnie proved to be one of the most astute political observers on the firearms scene. He's virtually taken the industry by the hand and explained why the .50 cal battle is everyone's battle.
"It's not about .50 caliber rifles," he said. "It's about .50 caliber rifles." That is, the current antigun initiatives against .50s focuses not on the caliber per se, but on what rifles do — they can penetrate objects, are accurate at long distances and are far more "lethal" than handguns. "It's a really brilliant strategy," Barrett said. "If the antigunners succeed in getting .50s, they have quite literally laid the groundwork for the elimination of centerfire rifles."
The good news is that — finally! — the industry, led by the NRA, is rallying around the issue. Barrett's been all over the show, including on NRA Radio and a major article in the current issue of AMERICAN RIFLEMAN. In my private talks with some of the Powers-That-Be, I'm getting the sense that Ronnie's argument and his willingness to stand up on these issues (for instance, his refusal to sell the big Barrett to California LEOs) has swayed a lot of hearts and minds. Remember...attack one and you attack all!
Ronnie also says that military contracts are delaying the introduction of the Barrett sporter, a short-barrelled .50 (with one hell of a muzzle brake!!!) aimed at the dangerous game hunting market. Watch for it early autumn.
In other mega-trick stuff I stumbled on, my pals Darla Wilson and Michael Beltran at AIMPOINT have a really trick solution for military/police guys who need both enhanced magnification for longer shots and no magnification for CQB situation — a separate 3X magnifier that sets behind the red dot sight (between the sight and the eye) on a special twist-off mount. When an operator needs the 3X, twist it on; when it's time to kick down the door, twist the magnifier off.
Michael — a former high-speed guy himself — tells me the units are already in use with some high speed guys in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the operators are extremely happy with the set-up. There's also a new generation of military AIMPOINTS with a 5X increase in battery life and a 2 MOA dot (instead of the 4 MOA dot). Yes, you can buy this stuff, but Michael and Darla emphasized that our guys and girls overseas has first dibs.
Thiks morning I'm going out to the range and blast a bunch of the equally wicked, evil, Satanic 5.7 X 28 out of a few FNH buzz guns. When I get to the show, I'm heading over to Kimber's booth, because Kimber majordomo Dwight Van Brunt hunted me down last night to tell me that he had some really cool guns that arrived late yesterday afternoon by courier. Their Warrior 1911, the me-and-you version of a gun they designed for a Marine special unit, has become one of Kimber's biggest seller, apparently flying off the shelf.
And big congrats to one of my major sponsors, Crimson Trace laser grips, for winning the Academy of Excellence Award (from AMERICAN HANDGUNNER/FMG) for Optics. The guys tell me that the laser grips are getting the crap beaten out of them in Iraq and they STILL keep on ticking, so to speak. As I've mentioned before, this is one product I unconditionally recommend — my bedroom blaster has worn Crimson Trace grips for six or seven years.