The 144th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits at the Music City Center in Nashville, Apr. 10-12, promise to be more engaging than ever before. As ever, the American Hunter staff will be on hand to bring you coverage of all of the show’s hottest ins and outs. In the meantime, however, we’ve got a rundown of some of the “can’t miss” locations you’ll want to put on your itinerary if you’ll be joining us in Nashville this weekend. Now, on with the show.
1. NRA Freedom Festival What red-blooded NRA member could say no to something called a “Freedom Festival?” Rhetorical questions aside, the 2015 Freedom Festival (which is presented by Beretta) should be near the top of everyone’s guest list. Located in front of the main entrance to the Music City Center, the festival will feature interactive displays, exhibitions, an outdoor cafe area and a sound stage that’s due to feature some up-and-coming country talent. And, given that we’re going to be in Nashville, you can bet on that talent being world class.
2. The Collectors’ Aisles Every year, history buffs are treated to interesting finds in the collectors’ aisles. Must-see collections this year include: “Arms of the American Revolutionary War,” featuring patriot-carried arms that saw action at Concord Bridge and Bunker Hill, presented by the American Society of Arms Collectors; “The Machine Guns of World War I,” presented by the Dallas Arms Collectors Association; “The Luger Pistol—In its Most Elegant Form, the Luger Carbine,” presented by the Missouri Valley Arms Collectors Association; and “Smith & Wesson Hand Guns of Famous Shooters,” presented by the Smith & Wesson Collectors Association.
3. NRA Country Jam V This marks the fifth year NRA Country, along with Bushnell and the Folds of Honor Foundation, will offer a free concert at Annual Meetings, and it may be the best show yet. For one, it’s outside on Nashville’s Lower Broadway, the epicenter of country music. Two, none other than Hank Williams Jr. is the headliner. Cue “A Country Boy Can Survive.” NRA Country artist Colt Ford will precede Bocephus on stage. Here’s your chance to see why NRA Country Jam has become a “Family Tradition.” Opens at 6 p.m., Friday, April 10; Broadway and 5th Avenue.
4. The NRA Foundation Wall of Guns (outside Hall B) NRA members won’t want to miss the NRA Foundation’s Wall of Guns event being held each day for the third straight year. Sponsored by Kel-Tec, Kimber and Henry Repeating Arms, the super-stocked wall showcases 70 of the latest models from multiple manufacturers. A $20 raffle ticket buys you a 1-in-100 chance to win your choice of firearm from the wall, or you can increase your odds by purchasing a multiple-ticket package. Proceeds benefit The NRA Foundation, and you don’t have to be present to win!
5. Survival Mindset: Are You Prepared? This seminar is presented by retired Delta Force Sgt. Major Kyle Lamb. He draws from his experience in many military operations as a member of Delta Force including the Battle of Mogadishu (portrayed in the book and motion picture “Black Hawk Down”) and his five combat tours in Iraq to discuss a combat mindset and training for confrontation. Personal danger, explains Lamb, may lurk around any given corner. As an armed citizen, you must be prepared for what the world throws at you. Lamb passes on lessons learned from before, during and after the fight. Second Amendment supporters who believe in the right to self-defense: This is one seminar you can’t miss.
6. The “Pyramyd Air” Air Gun Range A staple at NRA events, the “Pyramyd Air” air gun range offers members of all ages the chance to put the latest model air rifles, air pistols and more through their paces. Walther, Umarex USA, Remington, SIG Sauer and Stoeger Airguns are among the manufacturers participating, ensuring that there’ll be no shortage of variety for 2015’s entry. The range is open all weekend, and is located in room 103 of the Music City Center.
7. NRA Presents Alan Jackson “Keepin’ it Country” Tour with Special Guest Jeff Foxworthy Join us front and center as music legend Alan Jackson hits the stage and treats attendees to an evening of country music entertainment. One of Nashville’s finest, Jackson has sold more than 60 million albums and as a songwriter has had 20 of his own hits reach No. 1. Considered the marquee event of the NRA show, the concert is the perfect event to top off your 144th annual NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits experience. And for icing on the NRA cake, you’ll be treated to a special guest appearance by comedian Jeff Foxworthy.
8. Special Presentation: Thompson: An American Legend The Thompson submachine gun is one of the most noteworthy firearms in history. Born of an idea to create a "trench Broome" to break the stalemate of World War I, it was too late for that conflict. The Thompson became infamous in the 1920s in the hands of criminals, but then redeemed itself during the Second World War. Join author and historian Martin K.A. Morgan as he traces the history of this legendary firearm and discusses the world of collecting the "Tommy Gun" today.
9. The NRA Store Need a new NRA hat? Find it at NRAstore, located in Room 101 at the Music City Center, downstairs from the exhibit hall. Of course, more than just hats will be available for purchase. Remember your weekend in Nashville with an Annual Meetings t-shirt, pick up some shooting gear, and even find new décor for your home. If what you’re looking for isn’t available in Nashville, order it online at the show—NRAstore will cover the tax and shipping is free.
10. NRA Booth 1601 If you can’t visit NRA Headquarters and the National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Va., stopping by the NRA booth at the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits has to be the next best thing. The 2,500-square-foot structure towers two stories and is the place to get all your questions about NRA programs and services answered, meet NRA officers, directors and staff, and learn about new NRA initiatives through interactive displays. What’s more, the booth serves as a mini National Firearms Museum, showcasing some of the best pieces from the NRA collection along with their stories.