Monday, February 28, 2011

Blast from the past, SHOT Show 1987 with airsoft.

When I say I have been into airsoft for a long time, 
I really mean a looooooooooooong time.

Just dug up some pictures from the first time airsoft guns were shown at the SHOT show.
Now, back in 1987 , the SHOT show was a whole lot smaller than the behemoth it has become,
here are some pic's taken from the over-walk in the Riverside center in New Orleans.

 Realtree has a 10ft inline booth, Federal really stepped up with a 20x30

 You can see Safarilands 20x20 end cap booth, 

Crosman had a huge display, of course no where near today's size.

That was just about the entire show, I have not been able to find how many vendors were there, but it was not a huge number.
Now here was our booth, Airsoft, brought to you by Command Post

No aeg's ( they had not been made yet), some "Classic" ( now days) MGC guns.
Lots of spring TM's and such.
On the left side is the Para Ordnance Model 85 paintball sub gun, yes para got into the bizz by 1st making a primer propelled full auto paintball gun, a few years later they had the idea for a double stack 1911 frame, and the rest was history .
That is Laurence ( Larry) Lee Littlefield in the monkey suit.
The founder of Command Post and  a hell of a guy to work the trade shows with.
How about that display? 
The paint was still wet when we loaded it into the suburban to drag it to New Orleans.
You have to love the magic marker signs, made up just for SHOT
We were right across from a 10x10 booth that was selling some strange looking knives,
Spyderco, I think the name was, I don't think they ever caught on.

Me in Jackson Square after set up, yes, I was young once.

Now some pictures of Command Posts command center.
We started in a two room office, moved to a house that had been converted to a law firm and then ended up in a three story old department store on the main drag of Crestview FL.

This was the sales center, we put the money into inventory and computers,
not so much in ambiance.

My office, 1987/2011 my desk at home looks just like that, in fact I am using the same computer! 
I wish I remembered what model those were, I know that they cost us and arm and a leg back then.

I think I found a commercial for that model, see below
We were so "too cool for school" in the past!!!!!!

If you expand the pic and look close, you can see the stacks of Tokyo Marui springers in the black and silver boxes. The daisy boxes in the foreground are part of the huge amount of "soft airs" that we had.
Daisy only marketed them for a year or so, we bought all of their inventory when they shut down the line.
I think it was about two box cars full, yes we had a train spur at the back door and got a lot of our freight via railroad, not kidding about this, it was a lot cheaper way to ship.
We used to get paintball by the boxcar from R P Shear, 
man that was a mess if the boxes had shifted during travel.

I will try and get the catalog scanned after the North Atlantic Airsoft Expo is over,
Will be updating from the Expo each day, 
I know I said that when I went to SHOT, but this one is close to home.
Just a couple more pic's to suffer thru, hey old men like to reminisce.

 Massad Ayoob ( Google him) shooting a Para Ordnance model 85
Paintball subgun at the Trail Glades range in Miami in 1987 during a LFI 1 course.

Ernie Franco (great knife fighting instructor and a super guy, RIP) 
Lynn Thompson (Founder Cold Steel knives) and I at Epcot center Orlando in 1988 (I think).

Ernie could cut you six ways from Sunday before you could even blink, I learned a lot from that man, he was truly a super guy that died too early.
Lynn was a trip then, and if you have seen any of his you tube Cold steel proof vids, he still is now.
Man, was I ever that young.

See you tomorrow,
And remember,
Stay Thirsty My Friends.

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  1. The old MGC S&W M76, a great airsoft piece that really set the trend for gas guns that followed. That Para Ordnance gun was a trip, it's crazy that that thing got made and was available without a license. I remember saving up for one (I was 12) only to find out it was discontinued soon after.

  2. I traveled all over the US promoting the model 85. it was the coolest gun out at that time, powered by small pistol primers, 38 cal paintball, 1200 rds per min.
    Sales were alright for it, the cost of ammo made it more of a toy than a training tool. we developed a reloading tool towards the end that really cut down on the shooting cost, but all in all it was just too expensive to be a toy.
    Did get used in a couple of TV shows, a lot of press and as a trainer in a couple of depts that had MAC's.
    The S&W 76 has always been my favorite, I remember having 50 of them stacked on pallets in the warehouse. we would shoot each gun before we would ship them, every day right after lunch I would trot back to the shipping door and shoot at some wood crates on the other side of the RR tracks, great way to relive stress after talking to customers all day!

  3. i stated playing paintball in 1983, and still have my orignal guns to this day, and still play...

    my buddy had 2 of the Para "MAC's"... man we used to get in trouble with them.. :)