Mesquite, TX Dec. 15 2012, Part I

Posted: December 17, 2012 in Show Reviews
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This is part I of a two-part review on the Premier Gun Show at the Mesquite Rodeo Exhibition Center on Dec. 15, 2012. Mesquite is advertised as a 400 table show and it’s every bit of that and more, packed into a (relatively speaking) small convention center. Finding the location is pretty easy and parking is free, but sparse. You want to arrive very early to this show.

Did I mention very early? Just in case I didn’t, here is a picture of what happens when you arrive at about 12:30 PM on Saturday.  That’s not the parking lot; it’s a very large field across the street that handles overflow parking.


Lots of overflow. My vehicle is about twenty yards behind where this picture was taken.

You can get a better view of the convention center and actual parking area from this image. It took a couple minutes to walk from my vehicle to the point where I took this second photo.


The first item that struck me as interesting was the airsoft vendor with the concession-style trailer that I saw in San Antonio. They were setup out in front of the convention center.

Normally, you can walk right into a show if you arrive after the first hour or so from opening. Not today. As you can see from the first picture above, traffic was unusually high and I was greeted with a pretty long line. The show only had one person taking money, which was a bummer. If you still have a line at 12:30 in the afternoon, that immediately tells you two things.

1 – You need a bigger venue.

2 – You should have more than one person taking payment.

Three officers were available to check firearms, however, my carry remained locked in the car. When I’ve check a firearm at this show in the past, the officers are always courteous and efficient, just as any other north Texas show.

Mesquite is a dog-friendly show.  Russell went with me last time and he made a lot of new friends.  He stayed outside this time and I only saw one dog inside the show during my two hours there.

Temperature was comfortable and restrooms are on the far, right wall. There was only on tiny concession stand (the food looked as junky as the stand) in the far, left corner after you enter. Your only other options were the vendors selling nuts (those roasted cashews are pretty good) or jerky.

You know it’s really bad when the show has to announce that there is a concession area to people. Like I said, this show needs a new venue.

Fortunately, I had something to eat before arriving, so I took care of the first order of business which was to find Pat Harrington from Shotgun Blasters to put down money on a custom build. The remainder of this post discusses my other vendor stops and observations in random order.  Hopefully, this will give you a good overview of what type of vendors are at the show.

The NRA table was on the immediate left of entry and I recognized the military surplus vendor who is at many of these shows. I like looking through a lot of their items just to appreciate the history.

Prairie Land Ammo struck me as being a new vendor, but with a very small selection.

This show seemed to have a pretty good percentage of buyers. At rough guess, I’d say about 60% of the people I saw had some sort of purchased merchandise in their hands. You may think of Mesquite as rodeo, rednecks, and good-ol-boys with six-guns strapped to their hips, but that’s a nonsensical stereotype. I could have just as easily been down the road at Town East Mall based on the cross-section of attendees. Very, very few people were wearing even cowboy hats.

They were, however, many people surrounding Big State Distributors and picking up a variety of supplies. I purchased some more Ballistol at Grumpy’s Guns and checked out the Sig Adaptive Carbine Platform. Other than giving you more mounting options and a longer sight picture, I’m not sure of the appeal, especially if it turns your Sig into an SBR.  You don’t get a longer barrel, which is one of the benefits of a carbine.

Anyway, I guess it will give you another option for having fun with the H-2 exploding targets like you see on TV, such as those on sale by New Wave Performance. HLSGuns had a very interesting display of Remington rifles and shotguns and it looks like you could get pretty much anything engraved by Ken’s Engraving. That was a single table with a lot of interesting stuff.

I stopped at the Concealment Shop tables. They specialize in concealment purses and packs for hiking. I continue to want a pistol pack as an alternative for light hikes, but the $50 price tag stops me every time.

CYA Guns was another regular vendor with a lot of people around their tables. And, speaking of regulars, I had a chance to talk briefly with the folks at Explore Optics who always have a good selection of stuff that makes me want to walk over to the ATM.

Now, most of the vendors have guns displayed on top of the manufacturer’s case, lying on their side. I really like the multi-tier wood displays that place the merchandise closer to eye level like the three-tier display at W Guns. Quite a few Kahr and Ruger models, many of which already had laser grips installed.

I’ve seen A2J2 at several shows and finally picked up a card. Austin Avery and Jose Jiminez. Ah, now the name makes perfect sense! Several ATA FX 45’s and models from Hi-Point Firearms on display.

My wife always finds the artistic merchandise interesting and she would have liked some of the vendors at this show. The gunshow pens from Lehr Arts were very interesting.

There were several vendors selling knives, ranging from the crummy five-dollar variety to some really impressive custom, handmade creations. Two vendors that caught my eye were Hollet Custom Knives and Wayne Johnson.

I purchased some .380 ammo for my wife from GoodToGo ammo and eventually managed to get a couple minutes to talk with Republic Arsenal, who seemed to be having a very good show.

S.A.W. had the KelTec KSG and UTS-15 shotguns on sale, side-by-side. Very cool, but I can’t personally justify that kind of $$$ for something that’s not field-proven and both models have known issues. So, my custom build will be based off a Mossberg 590. Still, some very interesting thinking went into these models.

I’ll finish the write-up tomorrow, but for the present, remember three things about this show.

1 – Arrive early.
2 – Eat before you arrive.
3 – Bring some coinage along; lots of good stuff at this show.

  1. […] TX on Dec. 15, 2012.  I reviewed the location and completed about half of my vendor commentary in Part I of this series.  This post completes my walk-through and observations from the […]