Archive for February 11, 2013

This is the first part of an informal review of The Nation’s Gun Show in Chantilly, VA on Feb. 9, 2013.  The show is advertised as the largest in the state and is sponsored by C&E Gun Shows.  I took advantage of a day or two of vacay to check out the show, but it was a pretty long drive, so I only allocated two hours total at the show.  Since the show is advertised as 1000+ tables, this places it a bit lower than the single-hall Ft. Worth (Premiere) show.  It was impossible to cover in two hours, and the unfortunate consequence is that some vendors are not covered in this review.

Directions from the sponsor’s web site were very easy to follow and I had no difficulty finding the Dulles Expo Center.  The weather was sunny but cold, with wind chill hovering near freezing during the morning.  You might think that the bitter cold (at least bitter from a Texas perspective) would dampen show traffic, but if you really believe that, then you haven’t been reading (or paying attention) the last few months 🙂

Parking was a nightmare, especially since I arrived about 10:40 AM.  I had to park several blocks away from the center and hoof it into the line, which was still wrapped around the corner, about a hundred yards from the entrance.  Normally, I would have a couple pictures, but my phone USB connection to my Mac is no longer working.  Here is a stock picture from the promoter.


Fortunately, the wind was at my back and I wore two jackets (the inner one had a hood).  Even more fortunately, the promoter had a fine-tuned setup with two lines selling tickets and one checking firearms.  I was inside in about ten minutes, so my tour started just before 11 AM.  I really felt sorry for the NRA guy at the outside booth.  He looked almost frozen solid, but was doing a standup job and I saw three people sign up while I waited.

So, how does this one compare to Texas shows?  Regular readers may wonder in case you are in VA on vacation or business when one of the Nation’s Gun Shows is scheduled.

In terms of size, I’ve already noted that Nations is about the same size as one of the single-hall Ft. Worth shows at Will Rogers.  Full fare is $13, which is more than even the larger two-hall, 1500+ show at Ft. Worth.  Dulles Expo Parking is free (if you can find a spot).  You now pay $8 at Ft. Worth, of which $5 is reimbursed.  So, with no pre-show discounts, it works out to the same fee to get in the door at either show.  Ft. Worth costs the same but gets you several hundred more tables.

The Dulles Expo Center has more of a warehouse vibe compared to Will Rogers.  I noticed the large restroom sign at the back and then the concession area caught the corner of my eye.  Okay, so much for bragging about Texas.  The food available at this show blows any Texas show off the map – even Market Hall.  I did not have time to sample the food as there was a long and constant line at every food vendor.

I also noticed a pretty heavy presence from the Virginia State Police and local law enforcement.  That’s cool.  I enjoy meeting and talking with LEO’s at gun shows.  I suspect they are there to ensure that everything goes smoothly (ha ha – no fights over .223 now, folks).  Seriously, though, across the country, the nicest and most respectful people I’ve ever met are at gun shows.  This one was no exception.

In terms of size, I can get back to bragging about Texas.  Ft. Worth (Premiere), DACA Market Hall, and HGCA Reliant Houston are notably larger.  I also found the firearms vendor mix to be slanted more towards a larger number of smaller vendors at Chantilly. There were no huge vendors like S.A.W. or Bachman Wholesale.  You also see a few more of the smaller, specialty vendors like Bad Ass Shotguns and Shotgun Blasters at the Texas shows.  I also think you get a wider selection of handguns at the Texas shows; I had quite a hard time spotting Glocks or Springfield’s.  Even CZ’s seemed to be more popular, and Taurus was everywhere.

But, so much for Texas vs. Virginia.  Chantilly was a very nice show and I met some great people, so let’s get started with my partial tour across the floor.  As always, I only report on vendors with signs or business cards (unless I see something interesting or unusual and it will be denoted as an ‘unnamed’ vendor).

Of course,we begin with everyone’s favorite category,

Things That Go Boom

Patriot Services had a Colt M4 LE6920 on the table for $2599 (about a $100 higher than I’ve been seeing at the various north Texas shows as of late).  A DPMS Panther Oracle sold for $1299.  The also had a Taurus PT 247 bi-tone on sale for $499 along with a PT 809 for $399.

I saw a Vector Arms V53 A3 at International Police Supply for $2400.

Aaron Arms sold Sig Mosquitos for $349 and $259 based on specific model and I saw a Sig P220 Scorpion for $1099.

Terminal Performance Associates sold Magpul p-mags (30 rnd) for $40.  A used Remington 870 was on sale for $349.  You typically see only 12 ga Saigas at gun shows, but TPA had a .410 model on sale for $699.  An M1 Garande was on display for $1199 along with an M1A .308 for $1999.  A Charles Daly 12 ga pump with cammo water transfer paint job sold for $289.

DK Firearms had the DPMS Oracle on display for $999 along with a Century Arms AK 47 PAP for $759.  A Remington 870 Tactical Spec Ops, 7-shot sold for $649.  An FNS-9mm with nightsights and 3 mags was on the table for $609 along with an FNX-40 (standard sights, 3 mags), for $599.  A Beretta Nano (2 mags) sold for $409 and I saw a PX4 (2 mags) for $509.

Gary’s Guns had an FNS-9 bi-tone model on the table for $569 and $599 took home an FNX-40 bi-tone.  An all black Sig P226 was on sale for $989 along with a 1911-22 for $429.  This was the only vendor that I saw a tiny handful of Glocks; a gen-3 G22 was on sale for $549, a gen-3 G29 for $619, and a gen-3 G27 for $549.

They also sold a Rock Island Armory 1911 5″ in 9mm for $499 and a Desert Eagle 1911 in .45 for $739.  There’s something you don’t see every day 🙂

There were Taurus guns of all varieties at almost every vendor, but forget trying to find a Glock.  Well, that’s my stopping point for part I.  In part II, I’ll finish off the firearm vendors and then move onto ammo and other categories.