I made the short flight today from North Carolina to Georgia for the second annual Concealed Carry Expo (CCX), produced by the United States Concealed Carry Association. This is my first time attending the event and I have been very impressed so far.
My trip got off to a good start when I checked into my hotel near the Georgia International Convention Center (GICC), where the CCX is being held, and was given room 223. (In case you were wondering, there is no room 556 so I did not ask to change rooms.)
I appreciated how easy the USCCA made it for me to get a media credential for the event, and am excited to cover my first event as a member of the (new) media.
Anti-gun commentators sometimes make a big deal about people not being able to carry guns at events like the Conservative Political Action Committee meeting or the Republican National Convention (accusing them of hypocrisy), but the GICC allows gun carry in its facility and the USCCA has a common sense “safety first” approach to carrying at the CCX.
The CCX opened with brief remarks by Tim Schmidt, who then introduced Milwaukee Sheriff David A. Clarke to give the opening keynote address. Although the exposition hall requires a ticket for entry, Sheriff Clarke’s keynote was held in the lobby outside the exhibit hall, making his talk open to the public.
Speaking of the exhibit hall, the following map shows the layout and the large number of vendors, big and small, who are participating in CCX16. On my definite “to do” list for this weekend is to visit the live-fire shooting range (show at top left).
In a little over 4 hours today, I visited a couple dozen of the 100 or so vendors, focusing my attention on smaller companies, many new and some old. Their stories are both similar and different, and I am looking forward to learning and writing more about many of these “concealed carry lifestyle” businesses.
One that I will definitely be writing more about is Dene Adams, a Kansas City-based maker of concealed carry corsets. In case you didn’t know, custom corsets themselves are making a comeback, so seeing these developed for the concealed carry market is an interesting conjunction of firearms and fashion.
Speaking of which, I am looking forward to attending my first ever Concealed Carry Fashion Show tomorrow night. More on that from me later, to be sure.
For myself, I had my eyes on Elite Survival Systems’ Marathon GunPack, which is exactly like my Nathan running hydration belt (I even think my Nathan bottles will be interchangeable) but with a pouch large enough to stash a Kahr P380 and a zipper tab system designed for easy access in an emergency. Looking forward to trying this out and reporting back on the experience, though for me it should be called the “5K Yogging GunPack” not the Marathon.
I am planning to post brief overviews of my experiences here at CCX16 tomorrow and Sunday, and then taking time over the next couple of weeks to write up more in depth observations about the Expo, the concealed carry lifestyle, and particular companies. So stay tuned!