Release 11.0: Kansas City, 21 June 2000

Another small GWG -- this one at LinuxFest 2000, a sadly disorganized Linux trade show in Kansas City. I'd been invited to do the opening keynote. Greg Palmer (the show organizer) actually put this event on the show schedule for LinuxFest. This triggering a minor flap on Slashdot by hysterical anti-gunners, which we cheerfully ignored.

The crew came in from Colorado for this event (see 7.0). Kevin Fenzi brought his WinMag, which I duly enjoyed. But we had toys to play with that were more fun; we had automatic weapons. The range rented us a mini-Uzi, a Heckler & Koch MP-5 (both of these shoot 9mm), and a Thompson submachine gun (.45ACP). A master-class shooter and gunsmith named Denny (I never got his last name) gave us a brief course in submachine-gun technique, then we blazed away.

It was a very interesting experience; I'd never fired full-auto before. Of the three weapons, the Heckler & Koch was by far the most controllable; after shooting it, I immediately understood why it is widely popular for police and covert-ops use. The Thompson was the most interesting to shoot. It has a strong tendency to pull up and left, but the quality of the recoil feels kind of homey and comforting if you're as fond of 1911-pattern pistols as I am. The Uzi was kind of intermediate -- somewhat easier to control than the Tommy, but not as shooter-friendly as the H&K. I can also report that an Uzi on full auto eats ammo with unbelievable speed.

Towards the end of the session, I got to try the H&K with a laser sight. This is a wicked combination -- it's much easier to hold aim on a target with the designator on, because you get instant feedback on which way the recoil is making your sight picture drift.

Denny smiled benignly on the proceedings. He was clearly enjoying watching us enjoy ourselves -- and also, I think, enjoying the fact that we were all experienced gun-handlers who learn quickly and don't play stupid. It must be particularly nerve-wracking to supervise a bunch of careless randoms playing with Uzis...

I had to split after an hour and a half or so to prep for my opening keynote. But many targets were perforated, and we all had a good time.