...at the West Palm Beach Gun Show today.
I arrived at the gun show today at about 12:30PM. As I drove up to the South Florida Fair & Expo Center anticipating getting ripped off for parking. So, once I was at the parking lot, I was very happily surprised to discover that parking was free and I had thought free parking was only a space on the Monopoly game board (and of course a reality at the gun shows in Middletown, NY). It took awhile of driving here and there to find a spot. I guess that was because there was also a fishing gear show going on in a building next to the one housing the gun show. Once parked I hoofed over to the entrance and received no pleasant or nasty surprise there. The admission fee was $8 - about average for what I have paid at most shows I have been to over the last few years.
I paid and headed inside and was again surprised because while there was a table at the entrance with nylon ties on it, the guy sitting at the table was not asking anyone if they had firearms. usually the scenario is that said guy would be asking for firearms, having the attendees unload them and then he would strap them up with a nylon tie. Did not happen today, either they were not doing it or maybe it was just that the well endowed young lady the guy was staring at, when I walked by, had his total attention. I just walked in and handed a young lady, inside the door, my ticket. Then I headed to the tables on the right side as I faced in.
The very first row had someone selling jerky and other such assorted crap that does not, in my twisted and contorted opinion, belong at a gun show. I missed it my first time down the end aisle that formed the base of all the others and missing it was a good thing. I was seeing guns, lots of them for that matter. I was in a rather blissful state and must have not noticed the jerky and did not need or want to notice it as I walked by it on my own personal cloud of gunsmoke. I turned up the first row and just took in more guns, ammo, gun accessories and knives. Now I would rather that knives were not sold at gun shows either but I suppose I'll have to put up with that since I don't think I have ever seen a gun show without them.
I went up and down each aisle looking for a good deal on something, like maybe some pre-ban AR-15 magazines, pre-ban AK-47 mags, a nice double magazine pouch for my SIG 229 and Glock 26 but did not find any. I did overhear several dealers saying that while there were a lot of people in attendance at the show - sales were really slow. It was no wonder to me why sales were slow. I spotted several boxes of 200 gr. Remington Cor-Lokt ammo in .35 Remington on one dealers table that was chocked full of ammo. This is the exact same .35 Remington ammo in caliber, bullet weight and brand name that I get for about $22.50 a box but this stuff was 'on sale' for $35.00 a box! I found the same ammo on another ammo dealer's table going for only $29.00 a box. CCI .22 mini-mag ammo, that I recently purchased at Cabela's (usually way overpriced on ammo in my opinion) for just $6.79 a box of 100, was going for $10 a box at the WPB Gun Show - such a deal - take two (yeah right)! As I walked along I saw some other great deals: Yugo SKS rifles in about good to very good condition going for $449.00 (still going for about $299 at other locations), fine condition Mosin Nagant 91/30 rifles for $169 (easy to pick up for about $99 to $129), a recent manufacture used fine to excellent condition Marlin 336 in 30/30 for $400 (Dick's Sporting Goods in WPB currently has new ones on sale for $384.98 and after the $35 mail in rebate your price would be only $349.98), a used Remington 870 Express (with a poorly refinished wood stock) for $300 (Dick's has them on sale, new, for $299.98 and there is a $30 mail in rebate that lowers the price to $269.98), new Remington 870 Express models going for $369.00 with a notice they were on sale for $339 because of a $30 rebate that reduced the price. At a table directly across the aisle from that guy, another dealer was selling the same exact model for $329 before the rebate (both of these awesome deals still outdone by the offer from Dick's). The so called deals at this gun show, like those above, were in every aisle so - it did not take even a guy of average intelligence like me to figure out why the dealers were having a slow day. And there I was thinking that the cost of living was lower in Florida so gun show prices would be great.
As for my search for magazine pouches and pre-ban mags: I asked one dealer if he had pre-ban mags that I needed because I lived in NY and NY still has he high cap mag ban in effect. I then stood there thoroughly amused as he explained in great detail, for about 2 or 3 minutes, all the benefits I would reap should I buy a new production aluminum AR-15 magazines that I already knew to be junk. He wanted only $24.99 apiece for something that usually sells for about 1/2 that. I bid him fond farewell and moved on. I never saw any high quality magazine pouches but did see lots of junk that looked to have been made in sweat shops in Red China (yes - never forget they are still red commie tyrants and we, the keepers of democracy and defenders of freedom, keep borrowing money from them as a nation). I kept moving and looking.
After about 2 or 2 1/2 hours of this, with about 4 trips past every table, I did not find anything I would have considered a great deal, and probably not even a good deal. There were one or two tables selling some new guns at prices I could expect to pay in a gun shop up my way in NY, like a Ruger 10/22 for $239. Then again, you have to remember even at those prices you would have paid an additional $8 to get into this show and getting into a gun shop is free (so far) and, of course, a place like Dick's has them at even less expensive prices. So again, no bargains that I could see at the WBP Gun Show.
The fact that prices were pretty high did not mean I did not have a good time. I had a great time at that. why? Well, because I was looking at a lot of guns for sale. It was sort of like being in a museum where I could touch the exhibits. I looked at several rifles, several pistols and a number of shotguns. They had a good amount of tables selling guns, a fair number selling ammo, a decent amount selling accessories, not too many knife vendors, and not too many food or junk vendors. The only junk vendors that thought were in overabundance were the two assholes dealers I saw selling Nazi insignia, patches, uniforms, armbands, helmets, medals, books and the like. I guess being a vendor at a gun show does not require class, tact, respect or good taste and I think those two vendors lacked those attributes. I suppose there is a market for such items though among collectors who probably lack those attributes I just mentioned so I also suppose the sales of such will continue. It is too bad though that it all too often winds up being those sales are made at gun shows instead of solely at militaria shows; I think it tends to make gun owners look like kooks and extremists when such crap is associated with them. Of course, if it were my gun show - there would be no Nazi memorabilia at all except for guns such as Mausers and Lugers but I digress, so back to what I was going to blog about, the show overall.
As I was saying, I had a great time. The show is a good sized one, has a reasonable admission fee, free parking, a lot of dealers with lots of guns, ammo, accessories and not too many dealers selling things that have little to do with guns. It was truly an enjoyable time for me and worth the eight bucks to get in just to be able to see and handle all the firearms I handled. The variety of firearms at this show was also excellent, from antiques to C&R to modern, with lots of semi-auto self defense pistols, revolvers, target pistols, many-many hunting and target rifles, black rifles too and on and on. It was probably the best variety of guns I have seen at a show in a long time. Most dealers were very courteous, so was everyone else working there. That all made it a nice show indeed. If you were there to buy though, and did not haggle and get them down in price, then it may not have been as nice for you as it was for me. I left the show at around 2:45PM, happier than when I had entered it.
All the best,
RIP Bert Miller
4 minutes ago