The wife’s ride is back on the road, and I’m back to yapping about the shot show.

Because I look at the show from a manufacturer’s standpoint, I see things that other people don’t see. Oh, sure, there’s the cool stuff everyone gets to see, but I know a bunch of people in the industry, and my companions know a lot more, so I see the things other people don’t see. The company whose president lost most of his fleet of expensive corporate jets in a messy divorce. The manufacturer who changed importers because the importers were… doing things to their products. The old world master who operated for two generations without any documentation, the people whose products are going to be the cause of the rewriting of a lot of firearms laws because of their very inventiveness.

Twain talks, after having completed his steamboat apprenticeship, of having lost the wonder of the river to the facts about safe passage on it.

“No, the romance and the beauty were all gone from the river. All the value any feature of it had for me now was the amount of usefulness it could furnish toward compassing the safe piloting of a steamboat. Since those days, I have pitied doctors from my heart. What does the lovely flush in a beauty’s cheek mean to a doctor but a ‘break’ that ripples above some deadly disease. Are not all her visible charms sown thick with what are to him the signs and symbols of hidden decay? Does he ever see her beauty at all, or doesn’t he simply view her professionally, and comment upon her unwholesome condition all to himself? And doesn’t he sometimes wonder whether he has gained most or lost most by learning his trade? “

When you know where the bodies are buried, a lot of what everyone gets excited about passes you by. Since Black guns mostly leave me cold the “Tactical” areas were of little interest to me; I still love to look at the Spanish and Italian makers of fine firearms and see the perfect marriage of wood to metal, the care taken to make a shotgun break properly and freely, and the way a properly lapped bolt fits in a well made receiver.

I DELIGHTED in the fact that there were so many products made in the US. It tickled me no end to see that, and I am going to be yapping about them a lot in upcoming posts. To whet your appetite, though, here’s a company I fell in love with, and I bet you do too: Classic Old West Styles or COWS. They make holsters, western clothing, but also 511 (style) vests and denim and brown canvas clothes, Made in the USA. Well made, well sewn, well done that man. Guy buy some stuff from them.