5 Things I'm Looking Forward to at the 2016 NRA Annual Meetings

5 Things I'm Looking Forward to at the 2016 NRA Annual Meetings

The National Rifle Association (NRA) hosts its Annual Meetings and Exhibits starting May 20 in Louisville, Kentucky. The last time I went to the NRA show was 2007, when it was in St. Louis, Missouri. That time I was a freshman in college and I spoke on a panel speaking about youth shooting programs and collegiate shooting. This year I'm attending the #NRAAM just for fun, and I'm really looking forward to walking around the Kentucky Exposition Center to check out what the exhibitors have to offer. Here are five things that I'm particularly excited to see this weekend:

1. Meteorite Metal 1911 - Have you heard about this pair of guns? The machinists at Cabot Guns claim they have made the gift for the "man or woman who has everything (on earth)". Parts of this pair of 1911 pistols were debuted at SHOT Show in January, but the complete guns are debuting at the NRA show. I'm psyched to check these out. I can't imagine being the machinist responsible for making these guns. Talk about pressure! No mistakes allowed on what might be one of the rarest materials available. Here's some more info on the meteorite:

Earlier this year, Cabot acquired a 35 kg portion of the prized Gibeon meteor which met the size characteristics for the project from famed meteor hunter and expert Robert Haag. The meteor, dated to an age of 4.5 billion years, was first discovered in the sub-Saharan part of Africa now known as Namibia in 1838. It is believed to have landed on Earth during pre-historic times.
— Cabot Guns

Can't wait to see what Cabot at booth 2627 came up with!

2. Brand New Anschutz Target Rifle and Stock - When you look at what rifles are shot by top smallbore marksmen, lots of them bare the brand "ANSCHUTZ" (pronounced "ahn-shoots"). I personally shoot an Anschutz 19-series rifle, and I spent a season in college competing with a borrowed Anschutz 18-series. Countless champion shooters compete with a 20-series rifle, including Matt Emmons and Michael McPhail. Anschutz released their latest offering, the 54.30 rifle, last year. I am super psyched to check it out at the Champion Shooters booth 3212! Some of the features that are of particular interest are the threaded barrel/receiver connection and the reduced action length. Hopefully I'll get a chance to cycle the bolt and dryfire to really get a feel for it.

The new, shorter 54.30 Anschutz action (Anschutz photo)

The new, shorter 54.30 Anschutz action (Anschutz photo)

3. Custom Ear Protection

Every time I shoot I wear ear protection. Yes, even when I shoot air rifle. Even though my airgun might not make much noise, it helps me stay focused. Plus I don't want to take any chances with my hearing - once you lose it you can't get it back! I have custom ear plugs that work decently well for .22LR shooting. But because I've started several other shooting sports that involve more "boom" for the buck (i.e. shotgun shooting and long range rifle shooting) I want to get better protection for my ears. There are several options on display that I can check out at the NRAAM. Some are electronic, and they look like "plug" versions of several ear muffs that I own that are electronic. They damp out impulse noises over a certain level, like gun shots, and amplify other noises, like the range officer's voice. These are helpful in some situations but not for competition. I'm hoping to get newer custom earplugs, so I'll check out these different booths:

Wearing (non-custom) ear protection while shooting my air rifle

Wearing (non-custom) ear protection while shooting my air rifle

4. Holsters

So many holster options... how does one choose? Just keep trying them, of course! I'm really excited to try out holsters from several different brands. The holsters I'm interested in are for both concealed carry purposes and for competition. If I end up making a selection and trying it out while carrying my Ruger LCP, I will write a review on it.

5. Meeting Up with Old Friends and New Ones

One thing that I always look forward to at shooting events is the camaraderie. Over the years, I have developed many friendships in the shooting and outdoor industry. Thanks to social media I can keep up with many of them throughout the year, but it is always *the best* to reconnect in person. I frequently end up making new friends at big events like this, too. Can't wait to see friends, old and new!

Some of the friends I am looking forward to seeing at the NRAAM! (Celia Grimes photo)

Some of the friends I am looking forward to seeing at the NRAAM! (Celia Grimes photo)

Setting Up a Compound Bow, Step 2

Setting Up a Compound Bow, Step 2

Play By Play, Day By Day: Spring Turkey Season 2016

Play By Play, Day By Day: Spring Turkey Season 2016