Tag Archives: Western U.S.

Utah: a great place to visit now has an official firearm

This is too cool:  Utah has designated the John M. Browning-designed M1911 Pistol (the “.45 Automatic”) as the official state firearm.

As we just returned from shooting weapons in the Beehive State, we now have yet another reason to fall head-over-heels in love with her.

This makes Utah the first state in the nation to have an officially-designated state firearm.

If you are even basically familiar with the life and designs of John Moses Browning, you know that he was truly a genius and well ahead of his time.  The fact that his weapon designs are still widely produced today makes his inventions even more mind-boggling.

Read more here:

Add this to Utah’s list of state symbols: an official firearm – CNN.com.


SHOT Show update #4

OK, a mea culpa.  We talked to the folks at Chamber Check and learned that the product we made light of in yesterday’s post actually is one of those “why didn’t we think of that”-things.

In case you missed it, the Chamber Check is an inert cartridge that also has a large wire extending from the nose that hangs out of the barrel of your firearm.  The idea is that the round can be used for dry-fire practice and malfunction clearance drills while providing an easily-visualized safety check for shooter or coach.

We haven’t used one yet but knowledgeable friends in the firearms training industry are very interested in the product.  In the coming year, you will likely see it sold through major retailers.

You can see the product website here:  Chambercheck.com

On the other hand, we still think it looks like a urinary catheter.

SHOT Show update #3

Here we go again.  Day 2 of the venerable Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas.

Our goal for Wednesday was to put some miles under our boots and try to knock out a larger portion of the show than we did the day before.  The problem in visiting the show, as most people in the industry will attest, is that between meetings, chance encounters with old friends and the ever-present expense-account meals, there is little time to simply tour the booths.

On Wednesday, we started out by visiting the new product center.  This is always good for a laugh because there, nestled among the good and great new gadgets are some things that prove in a capitalistic society, there is always someone willing to provide an answer to a question that hasn’t yet been asked.

To avoid those pesky lawsuits and death threats we  will not identify the actual products but  both regular readers can rest assured that they are legitimate items.

In the “Best Crew-Served Weapon Sight” category is a dual-reticle model that is approximately the size of a box of saltine crackers and appears to possess the same ruggedized characteristics.

We say “Crew-Served” sight not because it belongs on a heavy machine gun or mortar but rather the sight itself appears to require a crew of three to transport and operate.  We’ll be interested to see who perches one of these abominations on their gun.

Another item was a safety device that is comprised of a dummy round with a wire cable coming out of the end.  The idea is that you will see the firearm is unloaded based upon the cable protruding from the muzzle.  For all the world, it appears this product is a .45 caliber urinary catheter.

We saw a kit that would turn your Glock pistol into a small bullpup rifle.  We’re not sure why this is better than grabbing a rifle in the first place but it definitely has a high geek factor.

And finally, we have a product that might actually be useful but also strikes us as the basis for a skit on Saturday Night Live: the shocker vest.

The idea is that each participant wears a vest during dynamic live force-on-force training.  A laser indicator in participants weapons will activate the vest if “shot”, thus letting the shooter that he has been hit.

The vest can simply light up if struck but it also has a mode that delivers a “gentle” electrical shock to the solar plexus.  We can only imagine the practical joke possibilities of this new toy.

SHOT Show update #2

“Houston, WildIndiana.com has landed at the show!”

We have now strolled first few miles of aisles at the SHOT (Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades) Show, the Super Bowl, the Indianapolis 500 or Mardi Gras of outdoor world.

This year the show is being held at the Sands Convention Center on the Las Vegas Strip.  With around 58,000 attendees, 1600+ exhibitors, 700,000 square feet of exhibit space and around 1800 members of the media, the whole thing can be overwhelming to the first-time visitor.  Actually, it is overwhelming to even to show veterans.

Arriving bright and early, we soon found a parking space somewhere near the Nevada-Idaho border and were cheerfully hoofing to the convention center past the plethora of newspaper racks offering  advertisements for personal hostess services from women who apparently forgot their clothing.

To place things in a nutshell, if you are looking for AR-15/M-16 style rifles or things to hang off of them, you have come to the right place.  We did see Jim Zumbo running around lost in a daze (for those gun-nuts who understand this inside joke, please raise your hand)

Overwhelmingly, the show has been overtaken by people who are selling every manner and variation of “black rifle.”   It seems that every second booth is selling some manner of rifle, while the other booths in-between are selling a variant of LED flashlights.

There have been various celebrity sightings, the most important of which was Erik Estrada.  A picture of my encounter with the extremely friendly Mr. Estrada has been posted by one of our associate staff members on the popular Facebook website and has drawn many comments, one or two of them positive.

Dinner on Tuesday evening was wonderful.  We were the guests of a manufacturer’s representative who made reservations at a nice Mexican restaurant in the Venetian hotel.  As gondoliers serenaded from a few feet away, we stuffed our faces with gourmet burritos, tacos and other standard but exeptional south-of-the-border fare.

Being a crew of wild and crazy guys running amok in foot-loose and fancy-free Las Vegas , our jet-lagged bodies were passed out in our suite by the hoary hour of 9 p.m.

SHOT Show Update #1

Ken shooting The Governor

The entire staff of WildIndiana.com has now arrived safely in Las Vegas for the annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoors Trade Show.

We arrived yesterday and immediately went to the Smith & Wesson media event held at American Shooters indoor range, located somewhere between southeast Asia and Latin America, judging by the business in the immediate area.

Most interesting (note we didn’t say revolutionary) was the new Smith & Wesson “The Governor” shotshell revolver, obviously meant to compete with the Taurus Judge.  This is a snubbie handgun on steroids, shooting either .410 shotshells, .45 ACP pistol or .45 Long Colt using full-moon clips.

Most notable is the creepy trigger pull.  Once the cylinder is staged, dropping the hammer fall is clean and makes for good accuracy but it’s quite easy throw a shot.  It’s certainly not something you would want take to a pistol match.  Build quality, however, is typical S&W.

It would be worth a consideration to carry around your property if you had a tremendous snake or varmint problem.  Six shots of .410 threw nice even pattern on the targets at 25 yards, making unlikely any nuisance would escape unharmed.

We later adjourned to the Venetian Hotel for beer with old friends then went to dinner at the Hoftbrau House, an authentic German beer hall.

The food and beer was outstanding, if pricey but the evening overall was weird bordering on bizarre.  We met another group of friends but the music from the authentic German band was so overwhelming that it proved impossible to chat.

I also learned that Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” are traditional German polka-band tunes.  Equally strange was the sudden outburst of The Star Spangled Banner in the middle of our entree.   It was a new experience, standing at attention with a mouthful of authentic Bavarian sausage.

If you add the two very avuncular men, apparently romantically involved, who shared our table and the woman who roamed the beer hall paddling willing men, it was an evening to remember.

Now, down to breakfast and on to Day One of the SHOT Show.

The Governor
On the range

Hunter Stalked by Mountain Lion: NOT!

Nice photo-composite!

Like everyone else, we get lots of hunting and outdoor-related emails.  Frequently, these are passed along by well-meaning friends and fans who are amazed by pictures of the latest giant bear, fish, condor or whatever someone has purportedly bagged.  Of course, upon careful research, most of these pictures are actually a depicting a giant bunch of bull.

The latest of the batch is a trophy shot of an unnamed hunter.  In the old “Oh My Gosh, Look What I Saw When I Got The Film Developed”-story, apparently the hapless nimrod was being stalked by a mountain lion as he took the photo.

However, here is the real story of the photo:  Snopes.com

Though the hunter remains nameless, the mountain lion in question was undoubtedly photographed by a California wildlife biologist.  The picture is simply a composite.