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My top 12 cool things from the 2014 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits

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Over 75,000 NRA members converged on Indianapolis, Indiana for the 143rd NRA Annual Meeting and Exhibits this past weekend.

From April 25 to April 27 the members conducted business, attended seminars, networked and browsed the over 600 exhibits in the 400,000 square foot plus exhibit hall.

Here are some of the interesting things I saw at the 2014 event.

Booth babe
Booth babe Rob Reed

Booth babe

The tradition of scantily clad "booth babes" hawking products has largely died out over the last few years. This was one of very few I saw "in the wild" at this year's show. The vast majority of women at the booths were either employees or users of the products being displayed.

VW Minibus with Minigun
VW Minibus with Minigun Rob Reed

VW Minibus with Minigun

A VW Minibus with a Minigun and Magpul logo greeted visitors at one of the entrances. This was one of several tricked out vehicles used to attract customers. Call them the mechanical version of the "booth babe."

Remington R51
Remington R51 Rob Reed

Remington R51

The Remington R51 pistol was displayed prominently at the Remington booth. While there was originally much interest in this pistol, enthusiasm has waned after problems developed with early pistols sent to customers or sent out for review. Watch this review by the Military Arms Channel for more information.

1/2 Scale .22 LR Thompson SMG
1/2 Scale .22 LR Thompson SMG Rob Reed

1/2 Scale .22 LR Thompson SMG

The Standard Manufacturing Company displayed this 1/2 Scale Thompson Submachine Gun that fires .22 LR. The gun is machined from aluminum, weighs 5 1/2 pounds, and uses a 10 round magazine. For more info contact them at info@standardmfglle.com.

James River Armory AK 47
James River Armory AK 47 Rob Reed

James River Armory AK 47

James River Armory displayed their milled receiver AK 47 built with like-new Polish parts and U.S. compliance parts. The company says this is built to true AK 47 specs and is not just a milled receiver with AKM parts made to fit. For more info go to www.jamesriverarmory.com.

Colt Gatling
Colt Gatling Rob Reed

Colt Gatling

This reproduction Colt Gatling Gun was on display. There are a few remaining for sale at about $50,000 each.This was one of two Gatling Guns on display at the event.

1897 Colt Gatling Gun
1897 Colt Gatling Gun Rob Reed

1897 Colt Gatling Gun

The Rock Island Auction Company had this Colt Model 1897 Gatling Gun on display. This gun will be auctioned off during their next big collectible firearms auction to be held from May 2 to May 4. Go to http://www.rockislandauction.com for more info.

Vickers Machine Gun
Vickers Machine Gun Rob Reed

Vickers Machine Gun

The Missouri Valley Arms Collector's Association had a display of the variants of the Vickers Machine Gun. The Vickers gun was the workhouse of British forces during World War I and variants served until the 1960's.

Colt Potato Digger
Colt Potato Digger Rob Reed

Colt Potato Digger

The American Thompson Collector's Association and the Dallas Arms Collectors teamed up for the "Machine Guns of World War I," display. This gun is the U.S. Colt Automatic Machine Gun Model 1914, a later variant of the famed Colt 1895 "Potato Digger" gun designed by John Browning.

Maxim
Maxim Rob Reed

Maxim

This Maxim New World Standard is typical of the guns manufactured near the start of the 20th Century and used in the early days of World War I. The brass water jacket shown here was later replaced with a lighter steel water jacket. This gun was in the "Machine Guns of World War I" display by the Thompson Collector's Association and Dallas Arms Collectors.

Chauchat Machine Gun
Chauchat Machine Gun Rob Reed

Chauchat Machine Gun

The Chauchat Machine Gun was developed in France and used by French and U.S. forces in World War I. The gun utilized stamped sheet metal in the construction and the design featured numerous openings for mud and debris to enter, including a large opening in the magazine sides. As a result the gun was known for malfunctioning often and is widely regarded as the worst machine gun of all time.

Smith & Wesson Light Rifle
Smith & Wesson Light Rifle Rob Reed

Smith & Wesson Light Rifle

The Smith & Wesson Light Rifle was developed in 1940 for a British contract. The weapon was poorly designed, tended to batter itself to death in use, and was rejected by the British. The relatively few remaining examples are now highly sought after collector's items. This example was one of eight on display at the Smith & Wesson Collector's Association booth.

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