In particular, we went to the C&E show at the Hickory, NC Metro Convention Center. (Those of you who may know Hickory, try not to snicker at the "metro" thing, OK?) This trip was meant to be a 3-way coordinated visit between myself and Daughter, Mountain Man and my young coworker. Young coworker had to bow out due his failure to set an alarm clock. Ah, youth. :-) As it was, we were able to connect with the Mountain Man both for the show and for lunch after, which is something of a minor victory for us, given our schedules.
Wow. Having went to my fair share of shows after Teh Bringer of Gunz Control's first victory, I am willing to say that this one topped any of those in a number of ways. Attendance was well up for a Hickory show. This is one of my favorites, so I have a good feel for what it normally looks like, and this one was up, I'd guess by around 1/3. At noon, the wait to get in was around 15 minutes. During the wait, we observed one enterprising local restaurant how sent one of the staff with a huge stack of 10% off coupons. Hooray for capitalists!
ARs and AKs were available, but at "You've got to be kidding!" pricing. I am not going to cry about "price gouging"; I view it as the market signaling. But $1400 for a Norinko AK? You've got to be kidding me.
ARs were worse. I saw quite a few at $2000 and up (well up), and almost none for less than $2000. Many of these guns could be bought a month ago for well under $1000. I didn't see may getting sold, although I did see an Armalite AR-10 go at $2600.
I also noticed a lot of folks who had brought their various evil rifles, magazines and such like in an attempt to get some stupid high prices on them--trying to cash in, I suppose. Those weren't selling, either. This didn't seem to be panic buying. It was more along the lines of very purposeful buying.
Ammo was available, although the quantities are not what I'm accustomed to seeing. .223/5.56 and .308/7.62 were available, but the price was way up-- $1/round for .223 (PMC brass cased). Again, the market is signaling and I'm fairly well stocked, so I passed. I was able to get my preferred loadings of Federal Hydrashoks in .357, 9mm and .45 ACP at the same prices as before the current scare, so I decided to buy a few hundred. I also bought 500 each of 9mm (Federal's American Eagle) and .45 ACP ball (RWS) at prices about 10% over my last purchase a few months ago. I was still rebuilding on both and decided that $30-ish wasn't too much to pay.
The deal of the day was a new pistol for Daughter. After a fair bit of looking, holding and various sorts of manipulations, a Sig P290 with laser was her choice. Very nice pistol; makes me consider a laser for my Springfield XD-S. It took all of her Christmas money, but I think she got a heck of a deal, even though she had to pay the asking price. (No one was dealing much on anything that might be banned.)
I took a hard look at a very nice Smith and Wesson Model 66, .357 Magnum with a 2" barrel. But the price felt a bit on the high side, and coupled with some recent non-gun purchases, I decided to take a pass on it.
As always, the crowd was very polite. I saw something that I had not seen before, a mother with young child and no significant other in sight, having purchased a pistol and on the prowl for ammo and accessories. I believe this is called "winning".
On the way home, we took the scenic route to look at the last of the Christmas lights. It was a nice way to end a good day.