Am at the Austin TX Airport waiting, as they say, for de plane de plane, and I've got a lot of catching up to do. Let's bullet-point it:
-- BIG OLE CONGRATS to Mike Seeklander, who with the SHOOTING GALLERY cameras rolling, won the inaugural IDPA Back-Up Gun Nationals at S&W last week. Neither Mike nor I have seen official results, but we got a text from IDPA marketing guy and old friend Paul Erhardt. In a world of brand spanking new mini-9mms, Mike won with a decidedly Old Skol Rock Island Armory compact 9mm 1911.
-- The IDPA back-up gun format is just spectacular. Five - shot strings, no holsters, intelligent stage design clearly built around Real World problems, only 2 divisions...semiauto and revolver, a simple straightforward wan to integrate a buck-up gun match into a regular IDPA match. This is yet another home run for Joyce Wilson and IDPA.
-- I shot my ancient STI LS9, a platform I'll have some more info on in a minute. I remembered belatedly there were a couple of small things I was going to do to the gun when rotated the gun "out of service" years ago, and they came back to bite me. I did have a wonderful time, and I remembered how great the little gun shot. I may be doing a bit of shuffling on my carry guns as a result.
-- Jesse James is a very nice guy, and quite frankly his inaugural guns look great. Obviously, you don't get a chance for any serious gun-handling at a party, but his launch guns handled great and showed showed what one might expect from a master machinist...an intense, relentless attention to detail.
-- The first 2 guns to reach the market from Jesse James Firearms Unlimited will be the stainless steel Cisco 1911 .45 and the Nomad 5.56 AR.
-- The 1911 is being manufactured by STI...you guys already know what I think about their guns. I believe I've called them the best about-of-the-box guns in the world. At last night's party I talked at length to both Tim Dillon, CEO of STI, who's factories are 20 minutes from Jesse's house, and Jesse. Both are very happy with the relationship and happily admit that both butted heads about the 1911 specs.
-- The AR line is based on Jesse James' spec 'd uppers and lowers from Houlding Precision Firearms in Cali (?!?!), a family company with a reputation for high-end precision (and expensive) ARs. Once again, I talked at length to Todd , the company's founder, about James' input into the design process, and Houlding said it was extensive. The Nomad features a James-designed muzzle brake, a Wilson Combat barrel and a full line of top-end parts.
-- Jesse and I talked extensively about his new and patented AR suppressor design, which looks uncannily like a sweet potato (yes, I'll get pixs loaded when I get to my my office at the Bunker). "Dude," he said, "what have I been doing for my whole career? Building intake manifolds and exhaust systems...I understand exploding gas." The specs on the suppressor are truly impressive, and who wouldn't want a sweet potato on the end of their gun? Seriously, I'll be back in TX in a month and have a chance for hands-on with all the guns and the silencer.
-- There will also probably be a Jesse James signature FNH FNX-45, which I'm pretty much down with. the heavily engraved proto they showed at the party absolutely rocked, and I told Tabor Bright from FNH that I'd be standing in line for that one.
-- There will also be a JJFU full custom shop, which I suspect to be swamped with work from Day One. The cherubs and him tell me that History Channel is sniffing around for a JJFU gun series, but I threw my hat into the ring anyway.
-- You can see the guns at SHOT, and, yes, they will be the Higher Priced Spread.
--Tim Dillon and I talked STI SHOT Show releases, which I can't get into for now. He did promise me hat the LS9, which he and I 100%agreed was a gun before its time, will eventually be back in the line-up in its "perfected" form, that, is with a skinny light-weight aluminum frame ranther than the beefy steel of the original (I called for in the beginning!). I believe that will be a home run gun, but I'm prejudiced.
-- Austin has gone to hell on cowboy hats...hipster culture mandates fedoras...I, of course, have nothing against fedorss...I have many. But come on! Texas? Austin? My love of cowboy hats started when I was hanging around the Austim music scene Back in the Back When. One hipster girl quizzed me so much on my hat (a Sunday-Go-To--Meeting Ritch Rand western fedora in a cream color) that I wished I had an order blank for her.
Sorry for the crappy pixs...we'll have real video on DOWN RANGE ASAP!