Have a blast

Some people go to golf or tennis tournaments. Others prefer sports in which they can personally participate. Meeting friends at such events is a further bonus. With that in mind, about fifteen thousand people gather at Knob Creek, Kentucky every six months. We went to visit it in the Fall of 2002.

The gathering is an interesting statistical blip. Thousands machine guns and cannon are collected in one place, and they are used extensively. Some people, such as GE Minigun owners, go through hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition in a single weekend. For all that noise and lead going downrange, not a single participant has been shot since the tradition started many years ago.


Bogie Hi-res

Interesting people, like Kent Lamont and THR's Bogie can be seen in the flesh. John Ross was there, too.

Ruger AC556
This man if firing Ruger AC556 automatic carbine. Similar to the Mini-14, this rifle was produced by Ruger for police use. It has a heavier barrel, a bayonet lug, select-fire capability and a 30-round magazine. Apparently, all these features are essential for peace officers but not for the peasants. Some end up in private hands anyway, legally.
Young girl with a Mac10
This girl is wearing gloves because the machine pistol she is firing is very hot. Several thousand rounds went through it inthe preceding hour. This Mac10 is a fun plinker, as it is quiet (in the sound moderated form), has no recoil and, with the red dot (collimator) sight, quite accurate. These same qualities make it an excellent defensive tool for small-statured people but the US government disagrees with the right of just any person to effective self-protection. That right is generally reserved for the politically connected who can afford bodyguards with automatic weapons.
Suppressed Glock pistol
This 10mm Glock is easy on the ears. In 1934, sound mufflers which are mandatory for cars were effectively prohibited for firearms by being heavily regulated and heavily taxed. OSHA, which usually enforces its regulations with a heavy hand, has yet to sue BATF for the hearing damage sustained by people who cannot afford sound mufflers for their guns.

Smoking the AUG

AUG in use

Explanation Hi-res

Knob Creek is a good place for a date. The couple shown above is a good example of the wholesome, traditionally-minded American gun owners.

They are using a Steyr AUG, the gun popularized by movies like La Femme Nikita and other thrillers like it. A good idea at first glance, short and well-balanced, it turned out to be as imprefect as every other rifle design out there. However, trying it out was interesting.


Uzi submachine gun
Uzi submachine gun is still popular, despite the design being over half a century old. It is reliable, accurate and safe. It would make an excellent personal defense weapon, though it is a bit on the heavy side.
HK31 rifle
Automatic rifles are not considered easily controllable small arms but this one proved to be an exception. It showed minimal muzzle climb and comfortable recoil.
goblin cleaver
In most fairy tales, the heros use swords or bows. In a late 19th century fairy tale by Edith Nesbit, her ten year old protagonist caried a Lee-Metford rifle. Modern fairy tales ought to feature automatic rifles but, for some reasons, hardly ever do. Could it be that some parents prefer to isolate their children from reality and to pretend that the world outside doesn't exist?
M60 machine gun
M60 medium machine gun is pretty heavy. It takes a strong man to fire it the way this gentleman did. Although largely superceded by M240, this belt-fed remains an American cultural icon.
Pretty Betty
A cute face with the obligatory hearing protection. Ny friend Betty was content with watching the proceedings without getting to the firing line herself. She did get to meet some interesting people though.
Cover boy

This (tax) stamp collector was a veritable walking museum of rare artifacts and fascinating stories. His Armalite AR18 -- select-fire, suppressed -- seems to be a good fit for Betty. Though AR18 is hardly a high-tech product to start with, most submachine guns are even cruder. If conventional firearms become unavailable, this type of small arms in easier to make than most others. Their purpose would be entirely utilitarian: to discourage feudal tendencies in the public servants.

M76 similar to Swedish K45

Pretty woman with AR18


Looking through the scope

Thompson Contender


Wildcat cartridge Hi-res

This single shot pistol is quite formidable:it is chambered for a 45-70 cartridge necked up to .50 caliber. The bullet isn't all that fast but it has impressive sectional density and would do well on tough-skinned goblins.

Bullet holes

Most target surfaces at Knob Creek simply cease to exist. The few that remain look like these. This is the back of a refrigerator worked over with a few small arms.

Night shoots with hundreds of tracers going downrange each second are even more impressive. Man parents bring their kids to watch the light shows.

IDPA no shoot target

Rushing a stage Hi-res

Closer to home, IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) event attracts a variety of participants. Scenarios vary from simple defensive drills to repulsing full-scale terrorist infestations.

Flying brass

Beretta recoil Hi-res

Glock on the left, Beretta above. It is all fun and games till a hot brass ends up in somebody's shirt.


Action! Hi-res

Putting an excellent G-Code paddle holster to use. IDPA is a great way to find out the limitations of equipment and technique. So far neither the Glock 17 nor the G-Code holster came up short.

5.45mm AK clone
Some of the photo props come from friends. This semi-auto clone of an AK74 is becoming as recognizable as a news image as its older version the AKM47 used to be in the dacades past. With a red dot sight, it makes a nice low kick, low cost plinker. Beware, tin cans!
Julie with a rifle

Frankengun Hi-res

Sometimes figuring out the origins of a particular item isn't very simple. This FAL with aluminum receiver and a Galil barrel takes AR15 magazines. That works out to a light, handy mutt. Tamara brought that one in one day.

Heavy morning fog

M44 Mosin leaned against a tree Hi-res

On the whole, guns are versatile. Old army surplus rifles make comforting companions for morning strolls through foggy hills.

Lioness on a prowl

Trap shooting Hi-res

Shotguns are equally great for putting food on the table and for shattering clay pigeons.

Army girl

Police officer Hi-res

Sport-utility rifles are great for defending school kid from rampaging murderers. Together with old-fashioned flak jackets and load-bearing vests, they also make cute photo props.

Lady with a Remington-Rande 1911

Wholesome venison provider Hi-res

On a more utilitarian note, with a plain 30-06 a girl can can assist a deer out of its natural habitat and onto a dinner plate. An old-fashioned sidearm keeps larger and toothier predators from extending a similar invitation to the girl. After all, we aren't at the top of the North American food chain except by the grace of John Moses Browning and his disciples.



Rifleman in position Hi-res

And that is why I am so fond of documenting the socially benign uses of tools which all too often evoke grim visions of Treasury Department ninjas or third-world juntas. In the social food chain, humans who live by preying on others should be checked by the rest of the population, lest the goblins end up in control. That wouldn't be good.

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