by Marty Hayes, J.D.Marty eJournal column pix

This will be a short President’s Message this month, as I hustle to catch up on work left undone during a bit of travel to attend an industry convention earlier this month. SHOT Show was its usual self, with aisles upon aisles of AR-15s and 1911s. Now, don’t get me wrong. I like AR-15s and 1911s, but I also like chocolate ice cream, just not for breakfast, lunch and dinner! The good news is that the industry is very up beat, as if the whole gun community just gave a big sigh of relief.

There’s more good news: it looks like ammo is becoming more affordable and plentiful. I predict that the next four years will see the ammo shelves fill and prices fall as the law of supply and demand takes effect. Last year was the bad part, with prices rising and supplies drying up. It will now swing the other way. I personally am going to add to my own home supply when I start to see good deals.

With ammo finally becoming more readily available and with prices falling, this summer would be a great time to take a training course or two. Shooting skills are perishable and one must continue to train. Think of using a firearm like driving a car. If you didn’t drive everyday, it wouldn’t be so natural. I have ridden motorcycles my whole life, but each spring, I take the bike out and act like a new rider, going over in my head all the controls and issues surrounding motorcycle riding. Then I take it easy until I feel comfortable with the bike and my skills. If you haven’t done any serious shooting in a few years, go take a class. Not only will you gain confidence, but it is just fun. And we need more fun in our lives, right?

One thing we do at the SHOT Show is meet with our Advisory Board, something we enjoyed again this year. We bring them together to review the Network’s previous year and discuss our plans for the year just beginning. The 2017 meeting was no exception, and as a result of those discussions, we have hatched some really interesting plans for the coming year. Too bad I can’t tell you about them yet, but a bit more development and fleshing out is required before “going public.”

Another thing we like to do at SHOT Show is making a point to seek out our corporate sponsors, shake their hands and thank them for their generosity. Companies like Galco, Cor-Bon, Black Hills Ammunition, Crimson Trace Corporation and Blade-Tech.

BladeTechBeltWhile I was visiting the Blade-Tech booth, I was shown a new gun belt that looked like a nice dress belt, with a unique buckle system. I was afforded the opportunity to test one for the rest of the show (and beyond) and can say that it is working splendidly. The belt comes in only one size, and you trim it to fit your waistline exactly. It took me about 5 minutes to customize it, and even trimmed to fit, it is designed so one can wear a holster either inside the pants or in a standard belt holster. They also have range belts with the traditional buckle look, and belts made of heavy-duty nylon. If you carry a gun everyday, you know that the belt is just as important as the holster. I will be using my Blade-Tech belts a lot in the years to come. (

I also got to spend a few minutes with Sheriff Jim Wilson, who was holding court at the Nighthawk Custom booth. Both Jim and I carry 1911s on a daily basis, and appreciate the fine quality of the Nighthawk pistols ( Interestingly, he and I are not long lost pals, as we just met face-to-face a year ago, but Wilson is a real nice guy, and a kindred spirit. Both of us are Master Masons (remember last month’s column) and retired rural law enforcement officers. He is a retired Sheriff and myself a retired Marshal.WilsonNighthawk

Along with my appreciation for 1911 pistols, I also am a long time Smith and Wesson revolver fan ( And this year, they introduced what I believe might be the very best revolver for concealed carry. It is a variation of their very popular K-frame Model 66, with this one having a 2 ¾ inch barrel. I am a big fan of the 2 ½ inch Model 66 and Model 19, but there is something about this treatment that made it feel just right. I will have to order one, but until then, we will have to make do with a picture.

sWRevIn closing, I am pleased to report that the Network continues to grow, and we are approaching 12,500 members. And, what is interesting, is that at the moment, we have NO members facing any pending legal matter related to self defense. That is the way we like it! I think this statistic is in large part due to our member education package. I believe that our members are smart, responsible and educated. We have the cream of the crop, the best of armed citizenry, associated with the Network, and I like that, too.

To read more of this month's journal, please click here.