NRA Convention 2015

April 21st, 2015

Bobby-NRA-ShowWe are living in very interesting times in our country’s history. There is a sustained movement to preserve our country the way it was and there is a movement to change everything. Both sides have dug their heels and threw common sense right out. I was thrilled to be able to attend the NRA’s Convention in Nashville on behalf of CZ-USA. Most of my friends were curious about all the new products being introduced to the market. That part of the convention is, quite honestly overwhelming. My intentions were not to “window shop” but to meet and talk to as many people as I possibly could. I’m always very curious to find out what like-minded folk are thinking. Most of our conversations centered around products but also on the state of our republic, the talk about the potential presidential candidates, the money spent on campaigns, gun rights, environment etc. I would like to touch on some of these subjects and also briefly review my new favorite products.

Each day of the convention I had a time period to sign autographs at CZ-USA booth. It was a great opportunity to meet many CZ fans and just as many hockey fans. Some of the hockey fans were new and some of them have followed my career from the beginning 25 years ago. The hockey talk always turns to question to compare today’s game to the game we played in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. It’s not my place to decide what era of the sport is better but I can point out the differences and let the hockey fans decide what they like better. The game was far more physical in “our” days and there was no salary cap so you had few dominant teams and the rest tried to measure up to them. Today’s game is faster, probably more skilled and lot of parity (the result of implemented salary cap for the last ten years). Hockey is a sport where the top players or any player for that matter needs extremely broad spectrum of skills. And that makes the game exciting in any era.

There was a certain feel in the air of this year’s convention. The change of control in congress and possible change of direction on the presidential level in a year and half gives people confidence. It’s going to be long campaign season and we need to stay engaged, all of us. If you want your neighborhood, county, state or country embrace values you believe in, you need to put in the effort. Perfect example are the events in Ferguson, Missouri. The town has black majority population but the local government and police force are predominantly white. The reason is lack of interest or engagement in local election from black people. If you’re not in the game you will not have say about the final result.  I have said it before and I will say it again. We are guaranteed opportunity to make a difference but we are not guaranteed the result. I’m not here to decide who is right and who is wrong and what should happen following the incident there. That was up to the justice system. I’m here to point out how important it is to be involved daily with what is happening in your neighborhood.

It is surprising many people find Supreme Court’s decision on Citizen United wrong. The money spent in congressional and presidential campaigns is extraordinary but I do not vote for a candidate who I see on TV the most. The money generated is just another form of freedom of expression we all like to enjoy. U.S. Constitution is the greatest document written but does not always work exactly how we want. Many times decisions, opinions and choices are made that we do not agree with. What we need to cherish is that we have the opportunity to make decisions and sometimes we make bad ones. National security or economic crisis should not lead to handing more power to elected officials. What it takes is more from us, the people. It’s early in the election process but I already look at the candidates who are promising the least. Less is promised, less money needed to run the government. More money and decision making goes back to the people. Let’s not be scared to make our own decisions and if we make the bad one, we jump back on our feet and try again. There is no success without failure.

It has been just short of one hundred years since Bolsheviks took power in Russia promising all good for the people. They claimed they take from the better off and improve everybody else’s life. Make the world more fair, safer and prosperous. Sounds familiar? We know how that turned out. All of the western world’s government are selling the same rhetoric and people in France, Great Britain or United States are buying it. Wow, what a way to ignore history.

Well after venting I can actually relax and focus on what I saw. Observation I have made few months ago visiting the gun shops around the country was confirmed at this year’s convention. This is my opinion and many might not agree with it but truth is the truth. There is way too much emphasis on the “tactical” side of shooting and gun ownership.

I enjoy shooting sports as much as anyone and you will have a hard time finding more dedicated defender of the Second Amendment than me. Having said that, I felt many times like a second class customer at some of the gun shops I visited last couple of years from Florida to California. I don’t look for the latest accessories for an AR, tactical gear or “Zombie” ammunition. I fully understand it’s a huge business but there is money to be made in helping regular folks who are either beginners or just looking for nice hunting rifle or shotgun. I have experienced and saw other guys given inappropriate treatment because of that. Free market is free market, I will defend that too, but we are all part of gun owning community and it would be more ethical to understand and tolerate each other’s needs better. Good ethics are quickly disappearing in world of business why can’t we be the leaders to bring them back.

The staff at the CZ-USA booth was doing their best to lead. Extremely professional, knowledgeable and always willing to answer any question asked. And that is a lot questions when you have thousands of people roaming the convention floor.

My two favorite guns on display this year were the 22 WMR CZ 512 Tactical and the 20 ga pump slug gun 620 with option for tight turkey choke.

CZ 512 Tactical is a semi automatic rimfire with adjustable stock made by ATI, round hand guard that covers most of the threaded 16 and half inch barrel. It is the best fitting rimfire rifle I have had my hands on. These rifles come in 22 LR or 22 WMR. 25 and 10 round magazines respectively. The fun factor is through the roof.

CZ 620 pump gun has plastic stock, 22 inch smooth barrel with a rifled removable choke to add accuracy. I was told you can use your favorite 20 ga turkey choke as an option. Light and compact with low power scope or red dot sight, this shotgun  is perfect for hunting wild hogs or deer anywhere in the South. Shorter distances and thick vegetation is what this gun was designed for. I’m putting my order in now for next year’s season.

There were many interesting offerings at the CZ-USA’s booth like new line of 557 bolt action rifles, the Western Series line of rifles, new and improved double guns and the attention getter CZ Scorpion EVO cal. 9mm Luger. I have shot the full auto version couple of years ago during my trip to CZUB factory and reviewed it then.

The last thing I would like to briefly talk about is comparison between CZ P-09 and the legendary CZ 75 B. I always wanted to do side by side shoot with two out of the box 9 mm handguns CZ-USA is offering. The legend and the future. Both these guns have been reviewed here before so I will only focus on the side by side comparison and what matters to me in a handgun not what is general consensus. You have to look for that in other publications.

Trigger. The P-09’s new Omega trigger system is just that, new and improved. Hard to believe trigger that good in an out-of-the-box gun. Do not discount the option of upgrading the 75’s trigger with little custom gunsmithing. It becomes target pistol at very low cost.

Weight and balance. I can not declare a winner here because it depends what the purpose of the gun is. P-09 is lighter(polymer frame) better suited for all day carry but the 75’s all steel construction makes it possibly the best balanced handgun ever. Few ounces will help to keep the gun on the target during rapid fire.

Grips. P09 comes with interchangeable back straps. The 75 has plastic grips with option to buy aftermarket rubber (my favorite) or wood.

Capacity. It is hard to beat P-09’s 19+1 capacity. That is a lot of rounds in one gun. The gun never feels out of balance even with twenty rounds in it. That’s a lot of brass, copper and powder. 75’s 16+1 plus is not too shabby either but new technology gets the upper hand.

The P-09 comes with decocker and also manual safety if that is your preference, light rail and whole lot of potential to become a legends in it’s own way. But who has forty years to wait.

These guns are both fun to shoot because they are both comfortable and accurate. Today’s world demands new and improved without loosing the charm of the old and proven. P-09 accomplishes that but never discount the legendary 75 and its performance. There is something to be said about what classic guns have to offer.

Bobby Holik

Bobby Holik, Czech American NHL Legend teamed up with CZ-USA in 2011 to promote the CZ line of bolt action rifles, semi-automatic handguns and handcrafted shotguns. The ice hockey center began his U.S. career with the Hartford Whalers, won two Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils and went on to plan for New York Rangers and Atlanta Thrashers. In his 1,314 career NHL games, Holik scored 747 points (326 goals, 421 assists) and became of the the most productive Czech born players in the NHL.
Like his grandfather, Bobby treasures our outdoor heritage. At home on his ranch in Wyoming, Bobby understands our responsibility as custodians for the land and wildlife on a first hand basis.

CZ-USA

CZ firearms are imported to United States exclusively by CZ-USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ceska Zbrojovka, a.s. Uhersky Brod (CZUB) of the Czech Republic whose history dates back to 1936. CZ firearms have been available through distribution channels in the US since 1991 through independent importers and in 1997 CZUB recognized the need to control its own destiny and established CZ-USA with its headquarters in Kansas City, KS. All distribution, sales, marketing, warranty and parts support operates from Kansas City location. In 2005 a great opportunity came to CZ-USA by acquiring Dan Wesson Firearms, traditional American manufacturer of premium 1911 style handguns and unique revolvers with interchangeable barrels.