DACA Market Hall Jan 5 2013, Part I

Posted: January 7, 2013 in Show Reviews
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This is the first segment in a multi-part review of the DACA gun show at Dallas Market Hall, on January 5, 2013.  Although I attended the Market Hall show multiple times in the past, this is my first online review, so it will be a full review of the location and vendors.  In order to be mentioned in the vendor review, I prefer the vendor to have a well-marked sign or business card.  If someone is out of business cards, I do my best to report on their offering.  If they cop an attitude, tell me they don’t carry cards because they only do business at gun shows, are a grumpy person behind a table or two with odd merchandise, or an individual selling/displaying a private collection, I don’t bother.  I don’t report anyone to you that I don’t feel comfortable approaching or dealing with in terms of spending my own money.  And, believe me, I spend LOTS of money at gun shows.

Now, the DACA Market Hall show is advertised as one of the largest in Texas and my past experience indicates this is a valid claim.  That means a wide variety of vendors (my wife always remembers Market Hall for the fried pie lady) and lots of traffic.  Don’t worry about the latter; I’m going to give you some tips.

I arrived at 8:15, and parked in the garage.  Unless you arrive incredibly early, all the lower-level spots will be taken, so turn immediately left and go up the ramp.  You will park on one of the upper levels in no time at all.  No hassle.

After parking, I walked towards the south entry to take the following photo of the line.  This is by far the longest line I’ve seen at Market Hall and it’s wrapping quickly around the edges of the complex.


Now, here’s the first tip – Market Hall has two entrances.  In the past, I arrived at 8:30 AM, then casually walked to the other side of the building and stood in line at the north entrance, where there were never more than twenty people in line.  This show was different as shown by the following photo.


This is the first time I’ve ever seen this line wrapping around to the side of the building.  Oh no!  I clearly arrived too late!  It will take forever to get into the show!

Now, here’s the second tip.  Relax.  There is no need to stand in the cold.  I simply walked back to my car, sat down, and enjoyed some coffee.  What!  The lines are getting longer by the second!  You’re crazy!

Let me show you how crazy.  I waited until 8:56AM to take a final photo from the parking garage, right in front of my car.  Notice how the main line has forked into a Y-shape and the new fork is spreading rapidly towards the parking garage.


That’s it!  Now I’ll have to wait more than an hour to get into the show, right?

Not true.  DACA runs a very organized show with separate lines for people checking firearms and multiple people processing payment at the front door.  Once the line starts moving, it moves very quickly.  I left my car and stepped into line right at 9AM.  The doors were a couple minutes late opening and it took a few more minutes for the officer overlooking traffic to fold the people in the first fork (see my very first photo) into the line, then the second fork (where I was in line) started moving.  I did not check a firearm (mine and all ammo remained locked in the car safe), so I purchased a ticket and entered the show precisely at 9:20AM.

That’s right.  Twenty minutes.  I could have got in line around 8:15 to 8:20, waited about 45 minutes, then another five to enter the show.  Yes, I’m in at 9:05, but I would have waited about 50 minutes in the cold.  I’m not there to buy an AR, so I had no issue with a 9:20 entry and instead of standing in the cold, I relaxed in my car and enjoyed some coffee.

I guess we can call this line management 🙂  Remember it for the next Market Hall show, depending on how quickly you need to hit the floor.

I did notice an increased crack down on bringing ammo into the show.  I really hope no one is that stupid, but just in case, there were multiple signs about clearing all guns and not bringing ammo (loose or loaded in mags) into the show.  Otherwise, it belonged to DACA.  Good move.  Gun shows, guns, and ammo don’t mix.

Dallas Morning News had a small table outside the entry and Scottish Rite Hospital was running their usual blood drive.

I’ve seen dogs at the show, but have no idea if DACA/Market Hall is dog friendly.  The show takes place in two halls.  Restrooms are available in both halls, but are pretty small.  There are several food vendors in the smaller hall that serve anything from hot (buffet-style) breakfast/lunch to Starbucks to Subway.  Some of the lunch-related vendors do not start serving until 11AM.

As with past reviews, I’ll break my trek across both halls into categories.  I’ll try to provide a good overview of the various vendors at the show, so you can decide on future attendance and bringing family members.  The Market Hall show does have a wide variety of vendors and caters to a broad audience.  To give you some idea, my wife (who is not a gun show person) joined me for the first Market Hall show I attended.  We spent 3 1/2 hours in total and she had a very good time.  Every time I mention Market Hall, she asks, “that’s the one with the fried pies, right?”  Yes, but they have plenty of other stuff too, so let’s get started with the main category,

Things That Go Boom

Vendors are listed in pretty much random order and I try to take a sample of prices so you can observe pricing trends across shows.  Remember that all listed prices are for CASH transactions.  An additional fee applies for credit-card transactions and unlike what you have heard from the idiot talking heads in the media, you WILL fill out a 4473 form and go through the same background check as any other retailer when buying from a FFL at a gun show.  The difference is that instead of rewarding big business, you reward a local small business when you patronize legitimate dealers at a gun show.

My very first stop at the show was to visit Pat Harrington at Shotgun Blasters.  He had my new Mossberg 500 build on display.  Since I did not have a case, I wanted to buy one at the show and take the shotgun home from there.  I’ll do a separate review, but trust me when I say that a Mossberg 500 never looked so good, even when displayed next to a tricked-out Saiga-12.

Most all the firearms vendors were repeats if you have been to any of the Premiere or Lone Star shows.  CYA had a Glock 21 gen 3 on sale for $599 along with a G24 long-slide for $699 and a G23 gen 4 for $589.  They had a nice collection of Sig’s, including a 1911-22 for $489 if you want some inexpensive trigger time in a 1911 configuration.  A Taurus Judge was on display for $399.  I saw a basic Mossberg 500 w/pistol grip for $469 and a Bushmaster XM15-E2S for $1699.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church raffled away a RRA Operator.

Quantico Tactical was back with an impressive multi-table layout and the best business cards in the show (see my Ft. Worth show review).  Their offerings included a Springfield XD .40 for $439, an XD .45 for $480 and an XD .45 Tactical for $503.  An XD-M compact 9mm was priced at $564.  A Glock 23 gen 3 was priced at $499 and Remington 1911’s were on sale for $699.  They also had a nice collection of DVD’s (Tactical Carbine, Dynamic Shotgun, and Dynamic Handgun) along with Magpul iPhone cases for $9.95 and a very nice free catalog.

Talon LLC was present and offered suppressor specials with purchase.  Nice rifle selection that included a 9mm SBR that accepted Glock mags.  Price not marked.

Blackland Outdoor Sports advertised a CHL class with purchase.  They had a Rock Island Armory 1911 in 38 super on display for $499.  A Sig P522 was on sale for $499 as well.  A plain Mossberg 500 w/pistol grip could be had for $399 or a basic Maverick-88 for $299.  A Mossberg 715T 18″ barrel with 25-rnd mag was on sale for $319.  Looked like a really nice option for a .22LR AR-style rifle.  They also had a large collection of Bersa’s, Walthers, Rugers, Taurus revolvers, and Springfields, including an XD-M .40 5.25″ barrel for $739.

There was a pretty long line at Model-1 Sales for AR mags and they were also selling lots of uppers.  I did see quite a few individuals walking around with AR’s, but dramatically reduced interest relative to shows in prior weeks.

This seems like a good stopping point for part I.  Tomorrow, I’ll finish off the firearms vendors, then move onto ammo and other categories.  Thanks for your interest.

  1. […] second installment in a multi-part review of the DACA Market Hall gun show on January 5, 2013.  In part I, I reviewed the location, parking, line management, and began the firearm vendor reviews.  In this […]

  2. […] Part I    –   Part II    –   Part III  […]