Top 5 Coolest Things from NRA Annual Meeting Day 1

Even with a busy meeting and interview schedule, we managed to spot some pretty nifty things during day 1 of the NRA Annual Meeting in St. Louis. So far, we’ve only covered about 30% of the exhibits, so look for more over the next two days.

Here are some of the standouts from Day 1:


Smith & Wesson M&P Shield – The much anticipated Shield is out and available for purchase. It’s a compact, yet comfortable little single stack pistol. It sports a brand new trigger design which is, well, fantastic.


Aimpoint Pro – Previously for LE and Military only, a civvie version is ready. 2 MOA red dot, flip up lens covers, a torque limiting rail mount and typical Aimpoint quality. We’ll be doing a full review shortly.

22 Large

Bore Tips and Swab Its – We first saw these at SHOT Show 2012, but they still make the NRA AM Day 1 cool list. Bore-Tips are foam based cleaning swabs get complete contact with the barrel – and they are washable for reuse. Swab Its are the 21st century equivalent of Q-Tips that don’t leave cottony junk in your gun. And they come in different sizes to do things like reach into those impossible spaces in AR chambers.


Handgun Hangers – From Store More Guns, these simple but amazingly useful hangers mount above and/or below safe shelfs to hang pistols by the barrel. This keeps your pistols organized on any size of shelf. And you can store magazines underneath. They also have some nifty solutions that allow storage or more rifles in the same amount of gun safe space.


Ruger 22/45 LITE Rimfire Pistol – This fun little .22LR pistol is shockingly light. No really, shockingly light. Oh, and phenomenally cool. The gold receiver and barrel shroud is tastefully colored and the contour cuts are just plain sporty. Look for this in different colors something in the future.

We’ll be back tomorrow with more cool things from the NRA Annual Convention. Stay tuned…

New Smith & Wesson Shield – It’s Finger Candy

We’re here at the NRA Annual Meeting in St. Louis fighting the crowds and shoppers – all 80,000 of them.

The folks at just arranged a private tour of some of the newest offerings from Smith & Wesson – the highlight of which was the new M&P Shield.

Initially offered in both 9mm and .40 Smith & Wesson, the shield is similar in appearance to it sibling M&P line. Polymer frame, comfortable grip contour and no-trigger-pull takedown.  While offered in two calibers, the Shield frames are the same in both offerings.

Where it differs, in addition to its slim and very concealable size, is the trigger. It’s a whole new design. Weighing in at 6.5 pounds, we found it to be exceptionally crisp with no detectable take-up and minimal overtravel. It feels a whole lot lighter than the measured 6.5 pounds. The other noticeable difference is in the trigger reset. While we weren’t able to measure the distance here on the show floor, we felt a crisp and distinct reset at what seemed to be about an eighth of an inch. The trigger on this gun is simply sporty. That’s one of our code words for “superlative.”

Also unlike the larger M&P models, the Shield does not feature an adjustable backstrap. Mainly because that would be kind of silly on a pocket sized gun. In our opinion anyway.

Another difference is the additional of a positive safety. It’s unobtrusive and machined to be embedded mostly into the slide so there is not much to catch. Smith & Wesson explained that this was added not so much for those who choose to carry in a belt holster, but to allow more flexibility for purse, pocket, and other types of carry methods.

The M&P Shield ships with two magazines – one with a flat base for maximum concealability and the other with an extension to allow better third finger grip.

This gun has a really great feel to it – we can’t wait to test one at the range.

Stay tuned!

Top 13 Reasons NOT to Join the NRA

People who play with guns have all sorts of reasons for not joining the NRA. I forgot. My dog ate my computer. My dog peed on my computer. I am a member – I sent them $10 27 years ago. I bought a used gun, so I’m automatically a member. Isn’t it part of my AARP membership? I have my voter registration card, so I’m a member. I watch Top Shot on TV – doesn’t that make me a member? I got my membership in a box of Lucky Charms.

We’ve heard all the excuses. With that said, here’s our Top 13 list of reasons NOT to join the NRA…

  1. If more people join the NRA, then Hugo Chavez will have no chance of getting nominated to the United States Supreme Court. Be compassionate people! What’s a despot dictator to do in his retirement years?
  2. Operation Fast and Furious may be less fast and less furious with too much NRA oversight. If our government is going to export guns to Mexican drug lords, let’s do it with style and plenty of volume – that’s the American way!
  3. I am married to: (fill in the blank) Eric Holder, Michael Bloomberg, Wayne LaPierre, or Vladimir Putin
  4. If the NRA gets any more clout, those crazy Fast and Furious testimonies on CSPAN may come to a premature end. And everything else on daytime TV stinks now that All My Children is off the air.
  5. Being part of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy is so 1990’s
  6. I’ve built my own intercontinental ballistic missile and the NRA is not fighting for my rights to cap it with a multiple-warhead nuclear bomb. It’s my right!
  7. I already get my gun rights news from The Huffington Post and New York Times. I’ve got my objective news sources covered already.
  8. I don’t want to encourage worldwide deforestation by adding my name to the NRA-ILA direct mail list.
  9. Eddie the Eagle reminds me of clowns. And I have Coulrophobia . That’s fear of clowns.
  10. I already subscribe to Communist Dictators Quarterly magazine and don’t really want another subscription to American Rifleman. I can only read so much propaganda in a months time.
  11. What’s a Constitution? Is that like when you eat too much cheese and get all backed up?
  12. George Soros owns The Freedom Group, which owns all the gun companies, which own the NRA.
  13. They never serve Chateaubriand at Friends of NRA dinners.

Bu seriously folks. No excuses. If you own a gun, believe in little details like your right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of satellite TV, then you need to join the NRA.

Yeah, they’ve probably done something you disagree with, but so has your spouse/brother/sister/father/mother/child/neighbor. So get over it. Join all the other organizations you like. We do. There are a lot of great ones out there. Just be sure to add a +1 to that 4 million member number that freaks out all those certified politicians in Washington.

You can join here.

Half-Cocked: Happy Birthday NRA! Burning the candles of doom…

NRA 140th Birthday

Behind the Scenes of the NRA National Firearms Museum

Wendy Cunningham, NRA National Firearms Museum

Wendy Cunningham, NRA National Firearms Museum

Today we continue our quest to interview some of the most interesting and good-humored people in the shooting community. We’re pleased to have met Wendy Cunningham of the NRA National Firearms Museum at this years NRA Annual Meeting. Little did she know what she was getting into when she agreed to do an interview with us…

So Wendy, who did you have to bribe to get a job at the NRA National Firearms Museum? Or was it blackmail? You can tell us, we’ll keep it to ourselves.

Well, there is a certain individual who works in publications that would be really upset if I revealed his man-crush on David Hasselhoff (you know how the Germans just love David Hasselhoff) but I think we’ll leave that for another day.  Honestly, I’ve been interested in getting my foot in the door at the NRA for a long time so a little perseverance and a whole lot of patience paid off.

Wendy, the first step to recovery is to admit the problem. This is a great place to confess to our readers that you spend most of your daylight hours playing with the Museum’s guns right?

I’m sure I am supposed to start this off by reminding your readers that guns are not a toy…but we do have a Red Rider BB Gun after all.  I wish I could say that I get to go down on the range and run countless rounds through a fully automatic HK MP5, or sound off the all familiar“thump-thump-thump” of a Grease Gun.  Oh, wait, I do!  But in all honestly, even though I get to help set up displays like our current Hollywood Guns display, or beautiful new Galleries like our Petersen Gallery, the majority of my work is from behind a desk.  I run the office, produce our graphics and do our advertising, as well as multitude of other things.

Yeah, right. We believe you. Sure. What’s your personal favorite item in the collection and why?

That’s a tough one.  Depends on which Wendy you’re talking to.  What?  You didn’t know that I have multiple personalities?  If you are talking to Wendy the movie buff I might reach for John Wayne’s Winchester 1892, the large looped carbine he used in True Grit, or the nonconventional Star Wars Light Saber (too bad the batteries are dead.)  If you are talking to Wendy the historian, she loves Teddy Roosevelt’s…oh let’s be realistic, you are talking to my daddy’s little girl, the one you couldn’t keep off the railroad tracks and out of the trees, and she is going to tell you, hands down, the HK MP5 is what she wants her left index finger tickling.  It is like knowing you have a 502 horsepower V10 when you push the pedal to the floor.  Go big, or go home.

We’ve been to the NRA Museum, and its quite impressive! If you had to guess, what percentage of the entire collection to the current items on display represent? In other words, how much goody-goody-bang-bang do you all have stashed away in the back rooms and secret vaults?

If you saw Larry the Cable Guy visit the Museum on his new show, In America, you would have caught a glimpse of our firearms vault.  There are probably just as many guns down there as we have on display, however, we keep the best of the best on display for the public to see.  All but one…the Ghostbusters’ Proton gun.  Here at the NFM, “We ain’t afraid of no ghosts.”

OK, if you’re going to throw down the gauntlet like that, we demand to shoot and evaluate the Ghostbusters Proton Gun. We’re NRA members you know, so I think we’re entitled. Oh, and send some cool 3-D ghost targets with it. We’ll get it back to you in a couple of months. Fair enough?

I’d love to help you on that one but the last member that requested to test fire the Proton Gun ended up as a puddle of green plasma.  I’m sure you can understand the explanation I had to offer up was sticky at best.  (No pun intended, of course)  If you remember correctly, the original Proton Gun was called a Positron Collider.  I can’t say exactly where I’ve obtained this information but some have referred to this device as an unlicensed nuclear accelerator.  Dr. Venkman can neither confirm nor deny this claim, however, a certain extoplasmic entity, who wishes to remain nameless (and owes me money for dry-cleaning) stands by his statement that the Proton Gun’s maximum power setting is 500,000 MHz.  Doesn’t sound like something I’d want to mess around with.

So tell us how the Museum goes about getting new firearms for the collection. From what I understand, you all hop on the corporate jet a couple times a week to solicit donations. True?

I think on our last lunch trip for Sushi we must have forgotten where we parked that corporate jet of ours.  You can typically find the curators rolling across country in one of several SUVs, possibly with a Rubbermaid cart strapped to the top for wheeling around the heavy loads. Oh no, wait, that we left in pieces in the parking garage.  Ladies and Gentleman, the Department of Transportation puts up height warnings for a reason!  Luckily for us, many generous folks near and far offer donations and it is because of their generosity that we are one of the leading Firearms Museums in the world.

Can you tell us about any upcoming projects of exhibits that the Museum is working on?

If I told you, then I’d have to…well, you know how the rest of that sentence goes.  I can tell you to stay tuned.  We have a lot of exciting projects in the works that will keep people coming back.  You just never know what you might find, or who you might see, when you walk through the doors here at the National Firearms Museum.

Our thanks to Wendy and others at the NRA National Firearms Museum who helped us learn a little more about what really goes on at the NFM!

Operation Fast and Furious – The Facebook Version

BATFE Operation Fast and Furious The Facebook Version

BATFE Operation Fast and Furious The Facebook Version

This is pretty much how it went down.
More funny stuff at the My Gun Culture Store…

Review: The Gun Tool from Real Avid

The Good
One relatively lightweight tool to carry in my shooting bag.
The Bad
No pliers included. In fairness though, this ‘feature’ probably prevents me from doing damage to things that should not be messed with using pliers. So let’s put this one in the benefit category!
The Ugly
I would like to see a lock on the knife blade. It opens solidly, and the shape of the tool generally keeps your fingers away from where the blade closes, but aggressive cutting still makes me a bit nervous.
Our Rating
3 Nuns Four Nuns! This removes a cheap screwdriver, my primary Leatherman, and about 712 choke tube wrenches from my shooting bag!

The Gun Tool

The Gun Tool

Approximate Retail Price: $24.99

At the recent NRA Annual Meeting, I had the pleasure of meeting some of the crew from Real Avid, makers of The Gun Tool. Those kind folks, who didn’t know better, offered to send a Gun Tool back with me for the rigorous My Gun Culture evaluation protocol. Well, the testing has been completed and here’s the report…

As it is made specifically for guns, this may just be the tool that prevents me from damaging…

  • Scope windage and elevation knobs (again)
  • My Glock and shotgun trigger groups (again)
  • Grip screws (yet again)
  • My shotgun barrels and chokes (again)

Yes, I have an issue with trying to accomplish things with whatever tool is at hand – whether it’s the right for the job or not. What, you can’t use a screwdriver and a rock for everything?

The Gun Tool features the following built-in tools:

  1. Mean looking knife blade for ammo boxes and wolverines (see below)
  2. Choke tube wrench (10, 12, 16, 20, and 28 gauges and .410 bore)
  3. Scope adjustment blade with curved contour
  4. Pin punch – steel with rounded flat point profile
  5. Flat blade 1/8″ screwdriver bit
  6. Flat blade 3/16″ screwdriver bit
  7. Phillips head screwdriver bit
  8. Phillips head screwdriver bit
  9. Torx T10 driver
  10. Torx T15 driver
  11. Torx T20 driver
  12. Hex 3/32″ driver
  13. Hex 5/32″ driver
  14. 3/16″ magnetic driver
  15. Magnetic storage container for screwdriver bits

During comprehensive testing of The Gun Tool, I found this handy list of things I can accomplish without using any other tools. And yes, I did in fact personally verify that all of these things are possible.

  • Change choke tubes on my Winchester 9410 .410 lever action shotgun (yes, that gun is way more fun than threatening my dogs with the vacuum – and that’s saying a lot. Fear not, I love my dogs and they have more fun being threatened than I have threatening them)
  • Clean underneath my finger nails with the scope adjustment blade (it’s not too sharp like the screwdriver bits)
  • I can completely detail strip my Glock 32 as the steel pin punch fits all three frame pins
  • I can clean corn out of my teeth with the claw blade (provided I’m really careful)
  • I can shotgun a beer with the punch tip
  • I can change the grip backstrap on my Beretta PX4 – the scope blade fits the u-pin perfectly and is wide enough not to deform the pin which is somewhat tight fitting
  • I can use it to hunt wolverines in Alaska
  • I can re-zero the battle sights on my M-1 Garand
  • I can remove the grips on every handgun I own except my Beretta 92FS (the hex screws are just a tad too small for The Gun Tool)
  • And a whole lot more…

This is a really handy invention. Compact and light. I love carrying one tool that does a whole mess-load (that’s a lot) of things. I’m always in need of some tweak or adjustment when at the range you know. Highly recommended!

He said She said
Adding to my moderately impressive tool collection is always a good thing. Plus, when folks at the range ask me what it is, I can tell them it’s a highly specialized gun tool. Then they tend to think I’m a much better shooter than I really am. I mean top shooters have specialized tools right? I just love my Browning Gold Fusion 12 gauge. Having one handy tool to change my choke tubes and the ones on his wimpy little .410 is really nice!

The Real Avid Gun Tool is available at Brownells:


Avid Design The Gun Tool

Defensive Decolletage


The Looper Flash Bang Bra Holster

One of my more embarrassing moments at the NRA Annual Meeting was interviewing Lisa Looper of Looper Brand, makers of the new Flash Bang line of ‘naughty holsters.’ By the way, ‘naughty holsters’ is my description, not hers!

I’m a happily married guy, and here I am talking to Lisa, closely examining a mannequin of a woman’s breasts, complete with a pink brassiere. With hundreds of tough lookin’ NRA dudes staring at me. It got a lot more interesting when Lisa had to ask a group of women examining the new Flash Bang Bra Holster to step back so I could take some close up photos.

Things completely broke down for me when Lisa, who is very pregnant, asked me to see if I could spot the gun she was carrying. Ummm. Nope! I think that was the right answer, because I was not about to stare inappropriately trying to spot it! Lisa’s husband was working in the booth by the way. And he was probably carrying. I’m not entirely stupid you know.

The things I do for loyal My Gun Culture readers… I’m such a giver.

Looper Flash Bang Bra Holster

Split-Bottom Kydex Secures the Gun

Anyway, the basic idea, as shown by the included photos, is that an open-bottomed kydex mold is made for specific gun models like snubbie revolvers, Kel-Tec‘s, Ruger LCP‘s, Sig P238‘s and similar guns. The leather strap with a metal snap attaches the kydex assembly to your (or her) existing bra, and the whole mess kind of tucks up underneath the, umm, chest area. When the gun needs to be accessed, the user simply pulls downward on the grip and the gun snaps out of the kydex holster. Nifty. And quick. And sexy.

Those of you who are quick on the uptake will now understand the product line name: Flash… Bang! For those of you that scored less that 600 on the SAT’s, you lift up your blouse, flash your attacker, create a moment of shock and awe, then… bang!

If I had seen this before we published our Mothers Day Gift Guide, it certainly would have been included!

We’ll try one out soon and post a full review here. Actually ‘she’ will test it out. Although I am rapidly gaining weight, I do not yet have adequate man boobs to conceal my Glock 32 under the Flash Bang setup. Maybe after a few more pizzas.

Read about more carry styles and over 120 different gun holsters in The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters - available at! Learn more about our Insanely Practical Guides!

Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters

Zombie Hunters Unite At NRA Annual Meeting

Birchwood Casey Zombie Target

Birchwood Casey Zombie Target

One of the pleasures of attending the NRA Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh was the interesting people I met while there. With a crowd of over 71,000 I figured I was bound to meet other forward-thinking and wise folks who are busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse. The mysterious shiny-headed man behind New Jovian Thunderbolt is one of them. In addition to being the only person I have witnessed getting licked on the head by Top Shot Champ Iain Harrison, he’s a pretty funny guy. I ran across this while checking out one of the newest sites on My Gun Culture’s daily read list:

“The problem with quotes on the internet is it is difficult to verify their authenticity.”
- Abraham Lincoln

From: New Jovian Thunderbolt

NRA Meeting Sparks Massive Anti-Gun Protest March

Anti-Gun Protest Outside Lawrence Convention Center NRA Annual Meeting

Anti-Gun Protest Outside Lawrence Convention Center NRA Annual Meeting

Following reports all week of an organized march and demonstration outside of the Annual NRA Meeting in downtown Pittsburgh, a large crowd gathered outside to protest the National Rifle Association.

Gun Show Demonstration

Local Gun Show Demonstration

The crowd, estimated at, well, none, appeared well behaved and there were no reports of violence as of this writing. Police were on hand in strength to prevent any potential escalation.

A related demonstration drew an even larger crowd where organizers were advertising a local gun and knife show, hoping to draw additional attendees from the gun-friendly crowd at the NRA meeting.

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