SOFREP braved the mild to moderately chilly weather of Indianapolis in mid-April last week to bring you coverage from the 2023 National Rifle Association annual meeting and exhibits. And while I did not attend any official Association meetings, I visited hundreds of exhibits and looked at what must have been a thousand guns. You could check out everything from the tiniest micro-pistols that look like they shoot peas to the biggest, baddest Barrett caliber 5o BMG.


A big shout out to one of our newest SOFREP 300 partners, Barrett Firearms. Keep an eye out for a future article featuring yours truly banging on the long gun at one of their corporate training sessions.

Above is the Barrett M107A1 50 BMG recoil-operated, semi-automatic rifle for when you absolutely, positively have to reach out and demolish a target from a couple of thousand yards away. The barrel is 29″ long and features a twist rate of 1:15″. The firearm’s overall length is an impressive 57,” and it weighs in at 28.7 lbs. As Matthew Broderick said of the Ferrari featured in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, “If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.” It’s number one on my Christmas list this year.

Palmetto State Armory

Check out this video on Palmetto State Armory. It was one of my favorite booths of all the hundreds of NRA exhibits. My favorite weapon here was an old-school AR 15 that looked just like the M16A1 I carried in basic training. H&R Arms Company makes it and even has the words “Property of the US government” stamped on it. No, it doesn’t shoot full-auto, dammit. They say it is in the “retro M16A1 style”. Still, very cool and worthy of a place in anyone’s firearms collection.

Old-school to the bone. I got to break out my macro lens for this one.

Stroup Knives

Stroup Knives. Veteran-owned and family-operated out of Fort Bragg (that’s what I’m always going to call it), North Carolina.

As it turns out, the “gun show” isn’t all about guns. There were lots of knife vendors there as well. I have to admit; I’m a big knife guy. Ever since I got home, I’ve been kicking myself in the butt for not buying the knife I took a picture of above. Meet the Bravo 5 from Stroup Knives. They are a veteran-owned, family-operated company out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The guys at SOFREP are all about that. We love the piney woods.

I spent about half an hour talking with the owners of the company and the makers of the knives. Yes, they are all made by hand in America by Americans. It fit my paw perfectly. Have you ever held a knife that you just could not seem to put down? That was the Bravo 5 for me. It’s a full tang construction with a sharper than the devil’s tongue drop point blade.

The piece is a collaboration between the actor (SEAL Team) Justin Melnick and Stroup. It will be carried by Melnick’s character on the show next season. 10% of the proceeds of the sale of this particular knife will be donated to the Special Operations Wounded Warriors (SOWW) charity. Now I’m definitely going to buy one. Buy a great knife and help out my brothers-in-arms? Win-win.

The particulars: 

  • Overall length of 7.75″
  • Blade length of 3.5″
  • Handle length of 4.25″ ‘
  • Handle material: Gray G10 or Wooden
  • Blade material: 1095 High Carbon Steel

Kahr Arms

Some impressive engraving: The “Cold Dead Hands 1911”, by Kahr Arms

My “favorite pistol of the show” award goes to the new for 2023 Kahr Arms “Cold Dead Hands 1911”. The beautiful engraving you see here in the grips is deep enough that you’ll have no trouble keeping it in your hand as you shoot. You’ll want to display this baby, but you’ll want to fire it as well. It has what I’ll call a functional aesthetic.

This American classic is built with American steel. The grips are aluminum. The words “Shall not be infringed” are engraved on the left side of the slide. On the right side of the slide, you’ll find the number “76” encircled by thirteen stars.

This custom piece starts off life as an Auto-Ordnance Stainless1911, chambered in .45 ACP. The talented folks at Outlaw Ordnance add the decorative custom touches later. The slide and frame are stainless steel. The gun features a full-length rod guide, high sweep beavertail, TruGlo night sights, a skeletonized trigger, a checkered front strap, and a match-grade barrel.   It is finished off with a custom Plum Brown and Light Sand Cerakote coating that is given a weathered effect.

It is made entirely in the United States of America and ships with one seven-round magazine. It is now number two on that Christmas list I was talking about earlier.

Next Year

I can’t wait to see what the NRA convention has in store for 2024. It’s lively, informative, entertaining, and open to all NRA members.

See you there!