After grinding through two long days at the United States Concealed Carry Associations second annual Concealed Carry Expo (day 1 brief report and day 2 brief report available), I was glad to have some extra time this morning to get myself together. I spent a few hours typing up additional notes from day 2 and connecting with many of the people I met on social media, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
I arrived at the Georgia International Conventional Center in time for a Women’s Panel Discussion hosted by Beth Alcazar, who was joined by several up and coming women in Gun Culture 2.0 (left to right below): Cheryl Lavette of the Buckhead (Georgia) chapter of Well Armed Women, Carol Craighead of CrossBreed Holsters, Anna Taylor of Dene Adams, and Marilyn Smolenski of Nickel and Lace. Like the earlier session I attended on women, this one was undersubscribed, with just 60ish of 80ish seats taken. Just over half (33 of 56) attendees, however, were women. I will definitely be writing a separate post on this session.
After the panel discussion ended I had just about 3 hours do finish my work at the Expo, so I headed back to the vendors tie up some loose ends. I wanted to get some reactions from the vendors who took part in the previous night’s Concealed Carry Fashion Show, to snap some photos that I may have forgotten previously, and to pick up a couple of items I had been eyeballing to test (e.g., the Urban Carry Holster which I will be trying).
I also wanted to say hello and goodbye to my new “belt guy” (and prospective “rifle sling guy”), Andrew Langlois of Andy’s Leather, recently relocated to North Carolina. After talking to Andy and buying this belt from him, I had to laugh because I realized we had been “connected” on LinkedIn for almost two years. Neither of us knew the other despite that social networking.
Also on my Concealed Carry Expo bucket list was a selfie with SIRT Training Pistol inventor and History’s Top Shot Season 3 alumnus Mike Hughes, who managed to avoid the NextLevel Training booth every time I walked by for two days. A Top Shot geek like me could not be denied, though.
Although he was seemingly everywhere at once, I never had a chance to thank USCCA founder Tim Schmidt for allowing a lowly blogger like me to cover the event as media. I hope my forthcoming posts justify their decision. I had never met Schmidt before but even in my brief interaction with him I found him to be very charismatic and am looking forward to reading his book on my flight home from Atlanta.
The last 60 hours have been fun, interesting, and stimulating and I am looking forward to getting home and putting together my thoughts on what I just experienced. Depending on my conclusions, maybe I’ll even get invited back to cover the 2017 Expo in Fort Worth.