saturday i managed to pull myself out of bed around 9:00am, even though i'd not gotten into bed until around 3am. (trying to catch up on my reading of wired and Texas monthly -- i'm in february now.) i got up, hopped on my motorcycle, and headed to the george r. brown convention center. why? why, for the gun show, of course! (i figured the title might have suggested that already.)
it'd been years and years since i'd been to a gun show. probably 18 years or more (that i recall). growing up, my dad had gone to gun shows quite a bit, usually but not always getting a table or tables, sometimes with friends of his. my brother and i would generally tag along, meaning we had plenty of opportunity to meet other regulars and spend weekends in the summer drooling over things like dart guns, butterfly knives, throwing stars, cool looking pistols and guns, and "brass paperweights made in the shape of authentic brass knuckles". okay, fond memories aside, gun shows are kind of odd: lots of weapons of various kinds, lots of people of various types -- a portion of which you'd rather not imagine with firearms.
i met a couple of co-workers there and walked around looking at the various wares. i was hoping to pick up a "they can have my guns when they pry them from my cold, dead fingers" bumper sticker -- the final one i need to complete the bumper sticker trinity on my pickup -- but there was only one place with bumper stickers and they didn't have one. to be honest, it made me sad. i mean, it seems kind of wrong to not find those at a gun show. anyway, we walked through the place, my interest being mostly in galils and ak-47's. at a table with a variety of shirts, i asked my co-workers how they thought it'd go over if i bought and wore to work a black t-shirt that said in bright red capital letters "the only reason some people are alive is because it's illegal to kill them". (i ended up not buying it. there's always next time, right?)
once the walk-through was done, the galil selection turned out to be minimal -- 3 of them, all made by century arms. the ak-47 selection, on the other hand, was all over and quite varied -- lots of century arms, a few locally built, and lots of unknown origins. but what'd really caught my eye was a mini mac-11 9mm. this particular model is made by masterpiece arms.
i must admit here that much of my junior high fantasies were fueled by mac-10's, mac-11's, uzi's, m-16's, ar-15's, sterling mark vi's, etc. and it seemed like it'd been a long enough wait for the fulfillment of said fantasies. though tamara always claimed she supported 2nd amendment rights, it was definitely an intellectual and not practical position. there's a good reason she didn't want any guns in our house -- a position which i understood and agreed to and obeyed -- but the one time i tried to get her to go out with me and plink with a .22 in brady, her responses and reactions were rather confusing, then surprising, then frustrating. (ask me about it sometime, if you're interested.)
anyway, all that to say, now that tamara forcibly removed herself from my life, i have the ability to buy guns and have them in my house. however, i couldn't remember what kind of rep mpa (masterpiece arms) had, so i wasn't sure about buying the mini mac-11. i was interested in buying a galil but undecided since the selection wasn't too interesting. and the ak-47 choices left me with a bit to think about as far as quality, price range, etc. by this time it was 12:30pm or so and the co-workers were going to leave, so i agreed to go eat lunch with them.
after lunch i went back home and did some research on mpa. they had a good rep as far as mac's go, so i decided to go back and buy it. i hopped in the pickup (the most appropriate of my vehicles for buying guns in, i think) and headed back to the gun show.
well, i evidently missed all the fun. while i was gone to lunch and looking up info on the internet, some fellow shot himself in the hand with a glock .40 caliber pistol he'd brought in. he was evidently buying a new recoil spring, and in the process of replacing it shot himself. (?) i overheard people talking about it while i was there, but i never knew what happened until i read the news online later.
once back, i went over and purchased the mini mac-11. i then carried it around until i stopped at a magazine table and picked up an extra magazine. (not the reading kind of magazine.) the mpa mini mac-11 uses standard sten mags, so they're pretty plentiful (although old and hit-or-miss as far as quality, seeing as many of them were built (and used) during world war ii). i walked past the galils a few times before deciding i would definitely wait. i finally decided to start looking for something else. i walked the whole place again to get prices on one pistol.
with about 45 minutes left, i went back and talked to a local ak shop -- south Texas armory. (they're pretty new -- not sure exactly what the history is with them, but they seem to have come out of another local shop.) i had decided i would buy one of their polish-based ak-47's, but it tuns out they weren't set up to take credit cards. i had gone to an atm to get cash to pay for the mac, but i didn't have enough to get the ak. so i told him i would call about coming by their shop sometime. another local ak shop with a booth was global trades (and evidently these two are somehow connected in the past), but they only had a couple of ak's for sale at the show.
not being able to get the ak-47, i went to my backup purchase - a glock 23. the glock 23 is a mid-size (compact) frame .40 caliber. i decided to purchase a new one with night sights (self-illuminated tritium-based sights). since i already have a .40 caliber taurus, i figured it coudn't hurt to have a second .40. plus glocks are pretty popular and have a pretty good rep, so i figured i should get one so i could see what all of the fuss was about.
and this brings me to a prime example of people you'd rather not imagine with firearms. while i was walking the table, i overheard a larger black woman in skimpy clothes (and the requisite tattoos, including the name tatt in cursive on the upper part of her breast, of course) say to her husband or boyfriend "ooh, i want that one" while pointing to a cute-as-a-button little nickled taurus with pink pearl hand grips. (probably this gun.)
while making my purchase she ended up sitting next to me. a woman was helping her fill out the forms and such. another guy was helping a guy buying a shotgun, and while looking in the box and walking by us he said "oh, it does come with a pistol grip." pearl (probably not her real name) said "it comes with what?" to which the guy replied "no, i was talking to him." i kind of laughed under my breath and said "i hope it comes with a pistol grip." (in my head adding "since it's, like, a pistol, and all.") evidently pearl was already distracted looking through the taurus case, because she soon somewhat belligerently said "i don't see no....grip, or whatever, in here...." the lady helping her explained he had been talking to the man buying a shotgun.
soon pearl thought of something new: "so i can carry this around." the saleswoman replied: "you'll need a conceal license for that." "a what?" "a license to carry a concealed weapon." "where can i get one of those?" "you have to take a class." at this point i mentioned where i took mine, and where it was located. pearl went right back: "so i can have it at home?" "yes." "and i can take it to work with me." "well, you'd need a chl for that." "a what? what's that?" "a conceal license." "oh. so how many bullets does this take?" the saleswoman looked at the box to try and find out. "where can i get some bullets?" "see the table right over there that says 'ammo'?" and i must not forget to mention that of course when she was taking her change the bills were folded and tucked near her heart.
i can just imagine the joy pearl is going to have in pulling her cute little new piece out of her purse to impress all of her lady friends the next time they're together. i hope she doesn't accidentally shoot one of them.
and thus ends my tale of the gun show.