Text & Photos by Jeff W. Zimba
The sixth annual SAR Show West 2005 has just concluded and was bigger and better than ever. It is held in conjunction with Crossroads of the West Gun Show at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona and is rightly billed as the largest gun show west of the Rocky Mountains.
With a record-breaking gate attendance, an unprecedented number of dealers and temperatures in the mid 70’s, SAR Show 2005 went off without a hitch. SAR had its own Class III building with over 425 vendors and was sold out for months. Venders with related merchandise were set up immediately outside the building. Also outside our building were more heavy, mounted guns than at any show previously. Sprinkled within the masse of military vehicles for sale and on display were several artillery pieces. The largest being a Model 1918, 155mm Howitzer and a 1943 U.S. Navy MK2 Model 4, 3-Inch Gun. Other interesting military vehicles this year included a Pinzgauer and a tracked Bren Carrier.
All the key players in the Class III world were there and exhibiting their wares with an excellent selection this year of Form 4 transferable guns, pre and post samples, new and innovative products and services. Whatever your interest in the Class III world, this is the place to be.
The National Firearms Act Trade & Collectors Association (NFATCA) had a booth to introduce themselves to people in the industry and talk about strategy, current projects and future goals. They sponsored a breakfast for the vendors and setup a meeting before the opening of the show on Saturday with many high profile members of ATFE. You can read a detailed report in their column this month in SAR or read about it at their website www.nfatca.org.
There were two minigun manufacturers set up this year with examples of their inventory on hand for visitors to see. James DeGroat of Armament Sales and Tracy Garwood of Garwood Industries were in attendance fielding questions and talking with show visitors. Both displays were easy to spot because they had a continuous crowd of people in front of them at all times. www.armamentsales.com and www.garwoodindustries.com.
Tactical innovations had a few examples of their new dedicated .22LR upper receiver for AR-15 and M16 type rifles. Their upper is unique in the aspect that it uses “very” high capacity American-180 drums and ejects down, out of the factory magazine-well. They will be available very soon in semiautomatic and full automatic versions. www.tacticalinc.com
Lakeside Guns had several variations of their LM-7 .22LR belt-fed AR-15/M16 upper receiver on display. They have been waiting for a letter ruling from ATFE so they could start processing orders and we are pleased to report that the upper receivers have officially been ruled “non firearms” by ATFE Technology Branch and shipments have already started. This is great news for our industry. www.lakesideguns.com.
There were a few informal shooting events that took place in Arizona during the SAR Show timeframe. This included a Minigun demonstration about an hour southeast of the Arizona State Fairgrounds. James DeGroat hosted this function with the assistance of some of the local area shooters. It was an opportunity to get some trigger time on a gun that few people have had the opportunity to fire. It was a great time and it was scheduled early enough in the day to allow people to get back to the show not long after opening.
While on the topic of shooting, one question we are often asked is why there is not a formal shooting event scheduled with or around the show. The truth is we have our hands full hosting the show, but we would love to see some local range, club or group organize such an event, but obviously not during the show days because of the distance attendees would have to travel to get to a range, and how that would detract from the show instead of complementing it. We would be supportive of something during the week before or after. Because of the show there is a huge influx of Class III enthusiasts in this area for about a week, and this may be the perfect opportunity for such an event. If you have an organization that would like to do something of this nature drop us a line and we will be happy to pass the information along to our readers.
Though SAR Show West 2005 has just ended, there is exciting news for SAR Show West 2006. In an effort to answer the strong demand for continued growth, the SAR Show layout will be modified to accommodate an additional 125 tables. If you were previously on the waiting list for vendor tables, you may already be in for next year. If you are not signed up yet you should do so as soon as possible to reserve your space and lock in your position. Please keep checking our website www.smallarmsreview.com for new show information as it becomes available.