Curator's Corner highlights early predecessors to some popular modern day firearms
Fairfax, Virginia - Wanenmacher's Tulsa Arms Show in Oklahoma is the gun show in the United States. Visitors are sure to see some of the most rare and valuable firearms ever made wandering the - literally - miles of tables. And few people have the knack for finding the strangest and most unique firearms like NRA Museums Director Jim Supica.
Supica, who has been coming to the show for decades, still loves wandering the show's floor and you never know what he'll show up with for an episode of Curator's Corner for Cam & Company on Sportsman Channel. This week, Jim brought his friend Jack Valenti, who laid out two rare 9mm prototypes for the camera.
"Jack and his buddy always bring the weirdest 9mm in the world," Supica explained. "I always make it a point to get down and look at their exhibit table."
Exhibit table? That's right. In addition to the plethora of sales tables that snake through Wanenmacher's Tulsa Arms Show, there are a number of educational exhibits to show off some of the more exceptional firearms out there.
First up is an Iver Johnson Pony chambered in 9mm. Designed in the late 1970s to early 1980s, this pistol is a single action like the 1911 and would have been the smallest 9mm in the world. Unfortunately it was never released due to manufacturing problems and only a handful of prototypes exist, of which Serial No. 1 belongs to our very own Jim Supica and is currently on display at the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum at the Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Missouri.
"That gun would have taken the sub-compact market by storm. Those pieces are so popular now," Supica said. "It's the predecessor of all the pocket 9mms that are the hot concealed carry setup right now. People were making .380s in that size, but putting a 9mm cartridge in a pistol that size was revolutionary for the time."
Valenti's second pistol is a Colt prototype 9mm created immediately after World War Two when the United States thought about retiring the old .45. Contracts went out to a few companies to come up with designs and this Colt possesses a couple unique features, such as a hinged trigger guard, to work with a gloved hand.
Get a better look at these unique pistols this evening on today's episode of Cam & Company on Sportsman Channel during the Curator's Corner segment.
Though you won't see those guns there, you can see all the other guns in the NRA National Firearms Museum collection at nramuseum.com