June 2013

NRA Annual Meetings 2013

If you missed the Houston get-together of National Rifle Association members, now’s the time to plan for next year.

The recently concluded National Rifle Association 142nd Annual Meetings & Exhibits, held at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston May 3-5, set attendance records that are likely to stand awhile. More than 86,000 Second Amendment supporters attended the NRA’s annual meeting in Houston last month, shattering the previous attendance record by almost 15,000, said NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam.

NRA members and their immediate families saw more than 550 exhibitors covering 400,000+ square feet of exhibit hall space. On display were products from every major firearms company in the country, collections of firearms, and exhibitors selling wares ranging from legal services (Texas Law Shield) to shooting opportunities (Tactical Firearms) to everything under the sun (Brownells and Cheaper Than Dirt!).

NRA holds the Annual Meetings every year because it’s written in the group’s by-laws. Back in 1871, when the NRA was established, its founders included a mandate in the initial charter that called for an annual meeting of members. Seventy-seven years later, NRA added the exhibits.

Product Coordination Editor Kevin Winkle and other staffers had a chance to tour the event over three days, and here are some of the moments we liked best:

- Target shooting at the “Pyramyd Air” Gun Range was a great place to try out the latest air rifle and air pistols. We snuck over to the range several times from the pressroom in Room 330 to plink at Pyramyd.

- On Friday, we looked in on the Methods of Concealed Carry seminar and got a little advice about holster selection, proper clothing, and conditioning.

-We saw the book signings area on the 2nd floor and got one book signed by author John Lott, Jr. But because we like a rib or two, we spent more time in the Advanced Sausage Processing, BBQ & Smoke Cooking Techniques seminar, taught by smokemeister Brad Lockwood.

- Held on the third floor of George R. Brown Convention Center, the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum featured Texas Governor Rick Perry. Governor Perry opened with the show with a video in which he whacked steel with an AR-style rifle.

- Birmingham, Alabama attorney James W. Porter II and first vice president of the NRA, assumed the presidency on Monday. He told NRA grass-roots organizers on May 3 they are the front line of a “culture war” that goes beyond gun rights. Porter assumes the position formerly occupied by outgoing NRA President David A. Keene.

- NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre addressed the crowd at the Leadership Forum: “Today, the NRA is a record 5 million strong! Even as thousands of Americans join our cause every day, the media and political elites denigrate us. They cringe at the sight of long lines at gun shows. They mock Americans who are buying firearms and ammunition at a record pace. They scorn and scold the NRA. They don’t get it because they don’t get America.”

The 143rd NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits will be held in Indianapolis April 25-27, 2014.

New Beretta Pistol to Feature LaserMax Laser and Light

At the 142nd NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Houston, Fabbrica D’Armi Pietro Beretta announced its newest pistol innovation featuring integral laser and light technologies furnished by LaserMax.

Chambered in 380 ACP, the Beretta Pico can be modified to 32 ACP with a simple barrel replacement. In fact, every element of the pistol was designed for user customization, from the frame to the quick-change dovetail sights. Base models start at $399 and are made in the U.S. The Beretta Pico’s stainless-steel slide assembly has a sub-chassis which bears the firearm serial number. This attribute enables the firearm to accept an array of interchangeable polymer frames at the user’s discretion.

The Beretta Pico and LaserMax frame combinations will be offered as completed firearm assemblies and the laser and light frame options will also be sold separately as an upgrade to the base model. Frame colors include black, flat dark earth, white and purple.

T/C Arms Dimension Wins NRA Golden Bullseye

The Thompson/Center Arms Dimension Bolt-Action Platform has received the Golden Bullseye Award for “Rifle of the Year” from American Hunter magazine, published by the National Rifle Association. This year’s nomination marks the fourth time Thompson/Center Arms has received the prestigious award in the rifle category with past winners including the Encore Pro Hunter, ICON and Venture rifles.

Voted on by a committee of NRA editors and staff, the Golden Bullseye Awards have come to symbolize the most innovative and reliable products currently available for today’s consumers. Thompson/Center Arms received the award during the 2013 NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits in Houston.

The Dimension Bolt-Action Platform allows shooters to change the caliber of their rifle by swapping no more than four components. Available in ten different calibers with both left- and right-handed models, the Dimension rifle is MOA guaranteed when using premium ammunition. It also has a user-adjustable trigger and an unloaded weight of just 7 pounds. The T/C Dimension is standard with removable spacers in the stock for adjusting length of pull and an Armorsoft coating on the stock for added durability and noise reduction.

Armscor Doubles Production Capacity To Meet U.S. Ammo Shortage

In the face of a national ammo shortage, Armscor USA and Armscor International have doubled their manufacturing capabilities and committed $4 million in new equipment and facilities.

“At Armscor, we recognize the inconvenience and frustration of gun owners have in finding ammunition and we are doing everything we can to push more product out the door and on to store shelves,” said Martin Tuason, CEO of Armscor International. “We are at something of an advantage in that our growth in U.S. sales had us already looking at long-term expansion, so we are really accelerating our timelines.”

Armscor has facilities in Stevensville, Montana, Marikina, Philippines, and Pahrump, Nevada. The company is prioritizing ammunition production based on calibers in most demand. Presently, that includes 223/5.56, 45 ACP, and 22TCM. The 22TCM ammo is exclusive to Armscor and made expressly for Rock Island Armory’s series of firearms.

Also, Armscor International announced plans for new production facilities in the United States to be based in Pahrump. The new plant will anchor production of the company’s Rock Island Armory USA brands of pistols and sport rifles.

The facility will be adjacent to the company’s U.S. corporate headquarters in Pahrump and is projected to create 50 jobs as it reaches full capacity.

The new facility will also house R&D for Armscor and Rock Island Armory in the development of new state-of-the-art firearms under the direction of master gunsmith and designer Freddie Craig. The company anticipates production beginning in the 2nd quarter of 2014.

Franchi Rolls Out Affinity Sporting Shotgun

Franchi’s new Affinity Sporting is an Inertia Driven 12-gauge semiautomatic shotgun featuring a brushed nickel anodized receiver and 30-inch barrel. The Affinity Sporting weighs in at a little over 7 pounds, has a 30-inch barrel with a stepped, ventilated rib, red fiber optic front sight and a set of three extended choke tubes. The polymer stock’s length-of-pull (LOP) is adjustable with three different recoil pads. Drop and cast is adjusted with a shim kit system.

Chokes: 3 extended chokes; IC, M, and F. Magazine capacity: 4+1 plugged to 2+1. Sights: Raised target rib with a red bar front sight. Finish: Brushed nickel anodized receiver with black synthetic stock. Barrel: 30 in. Weight: 6.8 lbs. Length: 51.25 in. Minimum Load: 1 oz. 3-dr target loads. Length of Pull: 14 in. Drop: 1.5 to 2-2.5 in. MSRP: $1159.

Stoeger Introduces 20-Gauge Double-Barrel Shotguns

At the 2013 NRA Annual Meetings, Stoeger introduced 20-gauge models to the Longfowler Series of double-barrel shotguns, available in both side-by-side (SxS) and over/under (O/U) models. The Longfowler Series features 30-inch barrels and walnut stocks and forends that sport a weather-resistant stained oil-finish. Gauges: 12, 20. Trigger: Single. Chokes: Ext IC & M. Sights: Brass bead. Length of Pull: 14.5 in. Drop at Comb: 1.5 in. Drop at Heel: 2.5 in. MSRP: $449.GT