Guns and Gadgets

Image (c) Kathiann M. Kowalski.

Image (c) Kathiann M. Kowalski.

You’d expect exhibitors at the NRA Convention to bring out their big guns—and the little ones too.

In my view, some of the coolest stuff at last month’s convention was totally nonlethal.

Laser practice systems topped my list of favorites. Marketed by several different companies, systems basically include a computerized set-up with software, video cameras, sound, and a projection system. And, oh yes, there’s a laser gun too. Line up the sights with the on-screen target, pull the trigger, hear the sound of a shot, and—if your aim was good enough—see the target go down.

The eye-hand coordination practice reminded me somewhat of a primitive video game my husband and I used to call “Ducks and Bunnies.” As in the old video game, none of the targets on the systems I tried resembled real creatures. These systems just cost hundreds of times whatever we paid for that early video game.

Much less expensive was the $5 rechargeable UV glowstick I bought. An enthusiastic saleswoman demonstrated it inside a blacked-out tent, keeping up her sales spiel the whole time. While I don’t camp out much, power outages do occur from time to time. Something to provide extra light in those cases or act as an extra a nightlight can come in handy. Ah, phosphorescence!

Another neat gadget I got was a $22 ratcheting pruner. I expect the target market is folks building duck blinds or cutting trails as they hunt in the wilderness. I just want to be able to hack away at some of the errant elms and other “weed trees” that spring up around our house each year.

Of course, there was lots of real-gun technology on display too—guns made of polymers, precision target systems, and so on. The craftsmanship on many of the guns was also impressive, even if you weren’t in the market to buy one.

One vendor even had ornate guns that were small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Rhodochrosite, malachite, turquoise, and other minerals decorated some of the grips, turning them into little lethal works of art. (I love geology!)

You could even mount some of the guns on a belt buckle—sold separately, of course. I wonder how practical that would really be for anyone who says they want a gun for self-defense. Could someone surreptitiously remove the belt buckle in that situation? Or would they have to say, “Excuse me a minute….”

Nonetheless, I have to admit it would make a bold fashion statement.



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