Each year my company sends department representatives from each store up to Michigan for some employee training. For me it was my first time and it exceeded all my expectations. The meeting was held for two days at an outdoor sportsman's club. I can't believe they pay me to do this.
On the first day we were greeted by company execs in the big lodge. They spent about thirty minutes with the usual powerpoint rundown on department performances, sales, etc. The rest of the day we browsed the many manufacturer's exhibits in two large outdoor tents. They had the latest in treestands, blinds, harnesses, deer lures, knifes, apparel, boots, gun cases, hearing protection and cleaning solutions as well as bows, crossbows, ammunition and firearms. They handed out samples, decals, caps, brochures and all sorts of assorted schmeiss and swag. I came away with bags full of stuff. This went on all day and at the end there was a pig roast and kegger party outdoors.
On day two firearms representatives allowed us to sample a variety of products they have in their assortment. Handguns, rifles, shotguns and air guns were made available to us at four of the on site ranges. For two hours I got to handle and shoot the goodies brought along by the pro staffs from Ruger, Smith&Wesson, Taurus, Savage, Springfield Armory, CVA and Mossberg. Overall I shot over two dozen firearms along with the others and not just one magazine or a few rounds, it was as many times as we wanted.
The guys from the S&W Performance Center asked us not hog too much of the .22LR ammo we were able use. They had a limited supply and wanted everyone to have a chance especially with their M&P22 rifle which holds 25 rounds. What happened was interesting. With so much .380, 9mm, .40 and .45 available they ended the day with a few cases of 22LR left over. When you can fire off as much . 357 mag and 45ACP as one wants who felt like plinking with .22's? After a while it was easy for me to walk five shots down a line of steel plates hitting them each time in any caliber. So much more fun than putting holes in paper.
Here were my favorites.
The Ruger guys had set up their handgun display as well as one at the 100yd rifle range. They offer an entry level bolt action line of rifles called the Ruger American. I shot the .223 scoped American and was able to hit the 10" gong at 100yds every time they had that scope zeroed in so tight. Later I heard one Ruger rep tell another, "I had one woman who never shot a bolt rifle before hit that gong three times, that American is just the shit!" It definitely is and for the price that is one fine hunting rifle. If I earns me enough points selling Rugers by Oct 31 I have my eye on a FREE American Rifle in 30-06. Most manufacturers have sales contest that reward points for sales in exchange for free firearms so I am gonna get busy.
Ruger GP100 Match Champion. What a sweet revolver. Currently I don't own a revolver but this is one .357 I would love to have. Wood grip, stainless and very handsome.
Ruger 22/45. A .22 semi-auto with the action of their MKlll but much lighter. It had a vented barrel that looked really badass. Felt very good in my hand and shot just fine. After the session I am becoming very partial to Ruger. They make really fine products, not insanely priced and made in America. Though I am not in love with the SR series, If I can hit my targets consistently with them on the first mag what's not to like?
Savage .17HMR rifle. It has a thumbhole wood stock and tripod/scope setup that was really sweet. 17's are hot sellers since that ammo caliber is easier to obtain then .22 It's a tad more expensive per shot to shoot but it packs a bigger punch and is a hell of a lot faster and flatter.
Taurus 1911. They have a better reputation with revolvers but this was one I was able to walk down the plates with many times over. I also attribute that to this new ammo we had plenty of. More on that later.
Taurus Judge poly frame. I have never shot a Judge before but heard it had a hard bite. Not for me. I handled both .410 in 00 buck and the 45 Colt rounds easily. Probably since I was prepared for it. The grip was ok, a little small but it is what it is. This is a self-defense champ anywhere, especially in Bear country wilderness areas.
S&W Bodyguard. I have sold a few dozen of these little pocket jobs in .380 mostly to those seeking a self protection and very concealable carry piece. It handles better than the others in it's class and comes with a built-in laser sight. I watched others use the laser with not so great results and here's why. The trigger pull is so long that by the time they sighted in with the laser most were shooting to the right by the time they pulled the trigger missing the 10" handgun range plates. This is one reason I am not fond of lasers. I was able to gong out a magazine a few times without using the laser since I relied mostly on my point and slower pull. Once I knew the bang spot it was piece-o-cake time.
There were many others I tested but these were the most memorable and ones I went back for more trigger time. Springfield offers the XD line. I gave their models a try and they were ok. It's a personal preference but they make a fine product.
The ammo available for rifles was provided by PMC. I've used it in my rifles with good results as a range round in FMJ. We also had pallets of a new handgun ammo courtesy of DRT. Here's their website.
The DRT Terminal Shock is a non lead bullet head made for self protection that is highly frangible. Instead of a hollow point meant to expand on contact it is meant to explode into shards on penetration causing a lot of damage. A small slug remains intact for further penetration but not meant to pass through into others nearby or through walls. They have gel test result photos at their website.
These DRT rounds are very light weight and one reason I attribute my ability to hit so many targets at the event. The recoil was very light so target acquisition on follow up shots were easy. This is not cheap range ammo but the rep told me they are coming out with FMJ's for practice at a lower price. Since there was plenty of this stuff on hand for free was nice to take advantage of it. The only jams I saw were in one specific firearm. The manufacturer (who shall remain nameless) rep was blaming the ammo for why his product was jamming and by jamming I mean each and every round. Then they blamed it on the fact that the gun was very old and used a lot at events like this. If I were them I would have brought newer more reliable pieces with them to demo because no other handgun had any problems with it.
The final two hours of the day were spent shooting sporting clays in a company competition. I shot 40% of the clays. Most others shot much worse and the winner shot 60% so I didn't feel too bad.
And they paid me to do this? Feels as if I should have paid them. It's a fine company to be associated with and they throw one hell of a party too.