The Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show, known as the Shot Show, is an incredible time each year in Las Vegas. The Show reminds me of all that is right with our American outdoor sports industries; The innovation, invention, economic stimulation, employment opportunities, and outdoor products that are the mainstay of our outdoor and firearm industries here in the United States.
Sadly though, the Show also brings into focus each year the reality of how 1996 has frozen Australia in time, and what this would mean to us if we decided to retire to Australia one day. As Americans now, we would miss the freedom, and incredible outdoor lifestyle we have in America.
1996 was a terrible period in Australian history. When Australians come to the Show, as a group, 1996 and the way Australian firearms laws are frozen in time in a negative way, always becomes the focus of conversation. 1996 created a politically convenient, nationally shared social trauma, that has since been manipulated by political groups, and those in power, not to reform laws or keep the nation safe, but to win and maintain political power. This freezing in time has strangled the potential of the outdoor industry and the choices that Australians, and after Christchurch, New Zealanders, have and will have in the future.
As a young Australian police officer, I remember listening as the radio crackled with a developing active assailant incident, not believing it could be occurring on a beautiful sunny Australian day, and having to deal with a heavily armed assailant on the way to cause destruction in a city park. This was the situation in the 1980’s and 1990’s. During this period, while shootings were going down overall due to initiatives such as greater suicide intervention, and better laws and intervention tactics for domestic dispute intervention, in which Australia led the world, there was a worrying trend in active assailant incidents, which culminated in Port Arthur.
For at least a decade prior to 1996, Australian politicians had hidden from the public the extent of their desire to take firearms from lawful, responsible owners. State and Federal Cabinet meetings, advisory committees, and the push from rank and file police, police commands and police associations, pushed the law in one direction. A law was passed here, a law was passed there, in order to increase public safety, all the while the tragedy of releasing mentally ill people into the streets to cut costs counteracted any positive benefit of such laws. 1996 illustrated the holes in Australia’s many differing firearms laws at the time, and thus firearms laws, and other laws, such as related to mental health services, needed review and amendment.
Australia has become stuck in the trauma of 1996. Politicians, social movements such as the LGBTQI movement, the tied in Green political movement, different police commands, and others, have been able to play on that traumatized shared memory Australians possess of 1996, and unite people behind their movements, while beating lawful, honorable, decent, Australian firearm owners over the head again and again. Fake academics, such as one in Sydney, and their Universities, have gained millions in funding, and been able to raise their champagne glasses to the money flowing in. They have been able to gain the quotas from leftwing movements worldwide, at the expense of the honest, decent Aussie battler who simply wishes to pursue his or her hobby of firearm ownership and usage. They have been able to freeze the laws in time, the time of 1996, and deliberately squashed the opportunity of Australians to engage in worldwide competitive shooting, innovation, employment and industry economic growth Politicians, like a certain Green Sydneysider, abuses the LGBTQI community by playing on their fears of hordes of armed brogans opposing their social and political rights, in order to milk such folk of funding, in order to dishonorably gain political fame.
An example of Australian stupidity is the fact that Australia is now the only developed country in the world to ban Airsoft. Police fear hordes of children taking Airsoft guns and holding up late night convenience stores, and their having to shoot them as a result. Politicians see a negative stance of Airsoft as something that may gain them something politically. A Paintball industry sees the competition that has occurred in the rest of the developed world through a developed and thriving Airsoft sport and hobby. The result of this is that gun laws frozen in time, prevent a thriving business, sport, hobby, employment opportunity, and needed revenue for struggling farmers, from taking off. It is a national disgrace, filled with lies, that prevents Airsoft from transferring much needed cash, from city dwellers who wish to participate, into rural communities, who provide the places to participate in the sport. Even England found that Airsoft was a positive benefit to their economy and passed laws in order to help the industry and sport thrive, while ensuring the Airsoft markers were kept out of the hands of those who don’t practice the sport or hobby. Australia can beat England at cricket or rugby, but can’t even take the best of British law, on Airsoft, and enact it, as proposed in Western Australia, Victoria and Queensland. This is the disgrace of the abuse by certain parties, of the common memory and trauma of 1996.
In addition to the example of Airsoft, one of the more recent and extreme shameful abuses, has been seen in the wasting of millions of dollars by New South Wales Police playing to leftwing politicians, by trying to damn honest citizens with major criminal convictions for plastic toy gun ownership! As a historian, I shake my head as I reflect on the fact that Australia, or at least the NSW Police, have forgotten what oppression is, and what an oath means. Instead, they appear to have become a simple instrument of political oppression. In addition, in Western Australia, a restriction attitude by police officers to ban .50 caliber shooting, which brought much revenue to distressed rural communities, had to be fought off in courts. Finally, the Australian ban on 3 gun illustrates the stupidity, and anti-freedom, underbelly of Australia.
Now, a generation later, Australia, and the world are different. There is no excuse for banning 3 gun, Airsoft, or as many weapons as are banned under the non sensical appearance laws. Communications, mental health law, police intervention tactics, and much more are very different. Slight tweaking to the law won’t create active assailants! Australia therefore needs to move past the politicians using the trauma of 1996, and develop laws based on rationality and logic, not laws based on political dogma and the hijacking of the national trauma of 1996.
As you walk around the Shot Show reflecting on what could be in Australia, it saddens your heart to see Australia having those in power use the trauma of a generation ago as a political football, whilst here in the United States, original invention, innovation and investment mix once a year at the Shot Show, stimulating the American economy, and creating job opportunities for Americans whilst advocating and supporting sensible and logical gun laws.
So, what was the topic of conversation this year? There is a very simple answer to this question! At this year’s Show there was a real fear in relation to what direction our American firearms laws are going to go. States, such as California, New York, Illinois and others, look towards jurisdictions such as Canada and Australia, and see solutions. Those states are dominated by powerful leftwing social groups, supported by some of the world’s wealthiest individuals who pump millions of dollars into political races in order to curtain individual freedom and make all people conform to their vision of citizenship. In the past, every media outlet, and politicians, hounded the NRA for its legislative action programs, but all are now silent on the leftwing social programs led by massively wealthy individuals! Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot wrong with the NRA, but at least it is democratic, and as members we vote for decisionmakers. With the growing wealth of the leftwing movements, there is no vote, but there is removal of legal rights of lawful citizens. The history of the United States and crime shows that this removal of rights from citizens has never made a difference to crime. Therefore, all we see is the political dogma of the left, wishing to create a society in their own image, seeping in from places such as Australia.
The perfect example of what we are now facing in the United States is the leftwing movement to buy change to our firearms laws. Sadly, our home state, Nevada, was top of the list of this new trend, and therefore discussion at the Shot Show. For those who are unaware, 2019 was a big year in Nevada. The year started with a new Governor, who is a Las Vegas Democrat. Prior to that we had a moderate Republican as Governor. He was nationally recognized as an outstanding example of a state governor. Well, this year, due to changing demographics in the south of our state (immense levels of inward immigration into Las Vegas from massively left voting states), we elected primarily Democrats at all levels of Government. The Democrats were supported by immense political donations from out of state billionaires, and their political action committees and groups, who supported big change to our firearm laws.
During 2019 our laws faced change. The worst of the change, and unnecessary change, was payback to those who supported the Democrat Governor. While the Governor promised to solve the downside of life here, such as no paid sick leave in work outside Government work, and using funds set aside to pay teachers better, in all reality he reneged on that, but instead he was able to have passed restrictive firearms laws that seriously damage individual rights. These Red Flag laws now allow anyone who has a relationship with an individual (child’s teacher, police, ex-partner), to report them to police, who will turn up, take all weapons from the home, and give the individual a black mark on the background check list. The individual then cannot purchase firearms, has no right of appeal outside of the District Court, and is basically considered convicted. The individual then has to argue in a court case to get their guns back and to have their good name restored for background checks, within a year of being visited by police. The individual is responsible for taking the legal action, and is considered guilty and has to prove his or her innocence. These laws were the talk of the Show. They are the most restrictive in America and people are seriously worried about what comes next. It is very sad, as a law abiding and hard-working individual, to sit in my home in Henderson Nevada writing this article, and reflect on the fact that all the Democrat Governor has brought us is higher taxes, political pay back to minorities and certain unions that supported his rise, and less personal rights and freedoms.
On the positive side, it was the influence of the hundreds of millions of investment dollars brought into the state by the Shot Show each year that prevented even more restrictive laws being passed. The Shot Show and NSSF stood up for Nevadans.
The Shot Show’s incredible example of the original thinking, invention, drive, and creative spirit was seen this year in two distinct ways. Firstly, with the inventiveness, creativity and quality of Franklin Armory of Nevada. Secondly, in the expansion of Sig Sauer into hunting rifles. Don’t get me wrong, there were a ton of interesting initiatives at the show, from hunting gear through to shooter training programs that use police type digital surround screens to put you into a hunting scenario, allowing you to make real decisions and learn, to new trigger designs for rifles and pistols. There were better bolts, and reduced weight of hunting and sporting rifles was a major point many manufacturers had been working on. But, all that inventiveness aside, and taking the Australian and New Zealand market into context, Franklin and Sig Sauer stood out. Franklin stood out for being a local Nevada business excelling in creativity and quality, employing Nevadans, and Sig Sauer stood out for moving into a new and growing hunting market with an excellent new worldwide release product.
Franklin Armory of Minden Nevada is a local company here, employing Nevadans through the popularity of their innovative product line. In the last few years, Franklin has been creating news with their innovative binary trigger systems, AR platforms, and Providence rifles. Again, Franklin now lead innovation in the industry with their products, which include the fore mentioned, as well as the Reformation rifle, and the F-17 series of rimfire rifles. Franklin Armory can be found online at https://franklinarmory.com/ Taking to Franklin over the past two years, I have seen the drive, commitment, and innovation to do something different, and plugs gaps in the international firearms market with that innovation mixed with outstanding quality. Franklin are a leader in West Coast firearm innovation and quality, and, with their focus on the Australian and New Zealand market, a breath of fresh air.
Franklin are focused on bringing innovation and quality to Australia and New Zealand, and finally connecting Australia back into the excitement of new, innovative products that, in America, we are very lucky to see all the time. It cannot be understated how committed Jay and his team are at Franklin to find ways of including Australian firearm owners, and New Zealand firearm owners, with original and innovative products that are within the letter of the law.
For Australian states that are not tying themselves up in non-sensical, social engineering appearance laws, stuck in the politically driven national traumatic memory of 1996, and New Zealand, the F-17 series are the perfectly suitable rifle for small farms, and dispatching of small game/varmints. Since the initial introduction, the rifle series has developed in variants, and has sold well, including in Australia. Initial reviews in the United States were very favorable. It is now going through the red tape required for sale in New Zealand.
As stated, the F-17 series was first introduced here in the United States in time for Shot Show 2015. Since that time, Franklin Armory has developed an additional four model variants, inclusive of the F-17x. The variants can be viewed at https://franklinarmory.com/products/complete-firearms/f17-series/.
So, what is new and unique about the F-17 series of rimfire rifles? The F-17 series of rimfire rifles are the first AR platform piston driven rifles. They have been able to substantially resolve reliability issues, and accuracy issues, with rimfire rifles through the piston operation, associated engineering, and by mixing this with the right ammunition.
How Franklin make the rifle the success story it has become some five years after the initial model release? Firstly, lets discuss the issue with the gumming up of bores on rimfires. Franklin created the piston driven rimfire to overcome the issue. Franklin took the Osprey piston kit, running at around 33,000 PSI, modified it to run at a pistol length to ensure the cleanest operation, and mixed this with the .17 WSM round.
The Osprey piston kit uses a custom bolt carrier that is tapered in order to eliminate oscillation or tilt, and contains a flat piston that can run in almost any conditions. It is a very simple, spring free system, that resets when the bolt closes, therefore making it very suitable for the unique and varied climatic conditions that exist from the West coast of Australia, through to the East cost of New Zealand.
The .17 WSM round is powerful enough to drive the Osprey piston, therefore ensuring an overall reliable system, almost ending the stoppage issue created through rimfire cartridges. In addition, the F17 series fires from a locked bolt, like any centrefire rifle, and doesn’t push gas into the bolt carrier group and chamber. The result has been consistent reliability.
Combining the .17 WSM with a one in nine right hand twist, was also a stroke of genius. It took a round that still possesses 2000 fps at 200 yards out, and combined this with a high quality one in nine. This allows for an incredibly accurate shot, that has hitting power, expanding on impact, ensuring a humane, quick, kill. For those who wish to view more on the .17 HMR, visit https://www.hornady.com/ammunition/
The F-17 is an example of what goes right in the firearms industry. A well thought out product, well built, employing people through innovation, and being supplied to shooters and primary producers who needed more than a .22, and the reliability and accuracy of the .223 or .556 semi-automatic rifle without the legislative and cost issues associated with the .223/.556. It is rugged, reliable, and has proven to operate in a myriad of climatic conditions that are experienced in Australia and New Zealand. Therefore, it is a perfect fit for the intent of both countries gun laws, and the needs of the countries’ shooters and farmers. It gives shooters and farmers an outstanding, practical and reliable choice.
Another outstanding product release of this year’s Shot Show was the release of the Sig Sauer hunting Cross series. The Sig Cross is the first entry of Sig Sauer into hunting rifles. From first appearance at the Shot Show, these rifles will be a big seller, and should appear in Australia and New Zealand. In fact, I will be getting hold of one myself for range shooting and hunting here in Nevada.
The Sig Cross Rifle is the first SIG-built precision bolt-action hunting rifle. It was designed by SIG SAUER engineers, completely manufactured at the SIG SAUER facilities in New Hampshire. Sig state that the rifle was tested by some of the world’s best competitive shooters, and is targeted towards professional hunters and precision shooters.
Sig Sauer state that what they believe was missing from the market was a true crossover, precision rifle. Sig believe that they have achieved mixing the best features of a hunting rifle, with the accuracy of a precision rifle.
Quoting Sig Sauer’s launch at the show, “The CROSS Precision Bolt-Action Hunting Rifle is a lightweight precision rifle with a push button, foldable SIG precision stock, a one-piece aluminum receiver that eliminates the need for bedding the action, and AI magazines for creating the most accurate precision hunting platform. The CROSS features a stainless-steel rifled barrel with a free-float M-LOK handguard, a 2-stage match-grade trigger externally adjustable from 2.5–4 lbs., ambi-safety, a three-lug bolt design with a 60-degree throw and interchangeable bolt handle. The precision stock is spring-loaded for one handed operation and can be fully adjusted in the field for length of pull and comb height with no tools. The rifle has a full-length replaceable picatinny rail that allows for direct optics mounts, 20 MOA, and O MOA. The CROSS is available in 6.5 Creedmoor, 308 WIN, and the soon-to-be-released 277 SIG Fury Hybrid Ammunition with a black anodized or First Lite camo finish.”
According to the information we were told at the Show, there is going to be a Sig-sync optics version of the rifle. It will be an app driven ranging and aiming system, synced with Sig optics or scopes, Electro-optics, which will pair the rangefinder and their scope, which contains a digital ballistics reticle, which will allow you to see a lit point, similar to a red dot, which gives you a hold on your target out to 800 yards. The system is called the Ballistic Data Exchange, or BDX. It is an interesting innovation, and a sign of hunting in the near future.
Following the introduction speech and handing out of the press releases, we were able to do the really important aspect of the release, the handling of the rifle! Examining the rifle, I found that they appeared to have achieved what they stated. I felt the rifle had a good weight for long treks across open country, and especially the shorter versions, made the rifle easy to carry and quickly bring it up to the shoulder to take aim. Having fired it at the Sig range day, the recoil was smooth and easy, I was able to keep focused on my targets quite easily, and the bolt operation was incredibly smooth. In short, I definitely feel it is ideal for both the gun club in Australia and New Zealand, but then the next day, suitable to go hunting! I can see that both the Sig Cross Rifle, and the Franklin F-17 are this year’s purchases for days at the range, hunting and simply to sit in the collection and be admired.
During the Show, we look at over a thousand items, including firearms, hunting equipment and try to think of what would be of use to Australians and New Zealanders. The incredible choice of firearms, and associated products and parts, to us here in America makes you angry in relation to how the politically employed shared historical trauma of 1996, has played into a lack of choice and freedom back in Australia, and has decimated the firearms and hunting industries. There simply is no comparison between Australia, New Zealand and North America. Saying that, that does give you the ability to look closely at a few products that are outstanding and have the ability to suit the Australian and New Zealand market. In the case of the Franklin Armory offering, and the new Sig Cross Rifle series, they are that outstanding offering. If you are after a category B rifle, you must look at the Sig Cross Rifle. If you are after a category C or D rifle, then depending on state or depending on whether or not you reside in Australia or New Zealand, you must look at the Franklin Armory F-17 series.
My 30 years with guns, and my decade at the Shot Show, has led me to one conclusion. That conclusion is that it is time for legislators in Australia and New Zealand to grow up, align the laws in a sensible review of what is necessary, and what is simply social engineering, and thus reinforce the freedom to own sensible and appropriate firearms, and engage in an environmentally friendly outdoor lifestyle. I am not advocating in this Shot Show report for licensed open ownership of semi-automatic, high power, rifles in either Australia or New Zealand. I am also not advocating for a loosening of gun laws, other than possibly pepper spray and contact taser for self-defense, such as in France, or for the doing away with appearance laws and the banning of semi-automatic rifles for internationally sanctioned shooting sport competitions in Australia. Finally, I do advocate for a wider variety of approved pistols for sports shooters, and for Airsoft.
It is time to take back control of firearm licensing from political and social engineering, well intentioned, non-expert police officers, and create independent firearm review and categorization. Independence, combined with sensible law, creates acceptance and support of the law. The colonial times are long gone, and it is time to throw of that mindset of colonial social control, and thus ensure a free and healthy society, therefore taking away social fracturing.
Details on Maree –
Maree is the North American correspondent for Firearm Owners United. Maree started shooting with her father in Australia at the age of 10. Maree served with the Australian Police, and studied law and teaching in Melbourne. Maree lectured law, and Australian gun law, in London. She also ran a firearm and airsoft import and export business and gun range. Maree now writes for publications from her home in the United States, works in public safety, and owns and operates a firearm training and self defense company which serves the rich and famous of Las Vegas.