Annual Handgun Club Show sees vendor spike

Nathan Liewicki
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Attendees eyed up an array of gun-related products over the weekend

Weather prevented Ernie Gazdewich from attending last year’s South Saskatchewan Wildlife Association (SSWA) Handgun Club Gun Show, but it didn’t this year.

Hundreds of rifles and shotguns were among plenty of items on display and for sale at the South Saskatchewan Wildlife Association Handgun Club Gun Show on Saturday and Sunday. Held at the Moose Jaw Exhibition Convention Centre, the event has increased in popularity since its inception in the early 1990s. 

The Canora, Sask., buyer, seller and consigner of guns and equipment was one of many vendors at Saturday and Sunday’s SSWA Gun Show, which was held at the Moose Jaw Exhibition Convention Centre.

“I have more than 100 rifles, about a dozen handguns and lots of reloading equipment for sale or for exchange,” Gazdewich told the Times-Herald Saturday.

In fact, Gazdewich is in the midst of a gun show circuit, of which he partakes in about a dozen a year. He will be in Estevan next weekend for another gun show.

On Saturday, however, he was thrilled to see so many people walking into Moose Jaw’s annual show.

“When more people come check out the show there’s the potential to sell more items, and it’s a way to promote the business,” said Gazdewich, the owner of Ernesto's Guns and Such.

Dale McBain was also excited to see an extensive turnout at the gun show.

“It (was) a good turnout for us. There’s no question about it,” said McBain, president of the SWAA Handgun Club. “And being in this building here, we actually went from having 50 tables in the Sportsman Centre last year to about 88 tables here.

“There are more dealers and a lot more products for people to see.”

McBain noted that the gun show has been running solid since the early 1990s, and has continued to grow, especially in recent years.

Part of that growth, according to McBain, is tied to the fact that guns aren’t just owned and used by men.

“You'd almost think that hunting and shooting is confined to a particular demographic, but it really isn't,” he said. “It's almost a family show. We get kids coming in with their parents and guys coming in with their girlfriends and wives.

“There's a lot more women getting into shooting. We've even found that in our club there are more women shooting now than previously.”

In fact, McBain doesn’t recall there being any female shooters in the SSWA Handgun Club when he joined.

No matter the gender of an attendee, there were plenty of new and second-hand items for them to view and purchase.

“There were some exhibitors that have antique or collectible rifles and shotguns,” said McBain. “One guys had some Italian double rifles and double shotguns that are just absolutely beautiful guns.”

Clothing, knives, swords and artwork was also for sale, thus fulfilling one of the show's purposes: to give dealers an opportunity to sell their products.

There was, however, another purpose for the show.

“We raise some money for the Handgun Club and we’ve used that over the years to upgrade the range a bit, improve the lighting and do other things,” said McBain. 

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

Organizations: SWAA Handgun Club, Moose Jaw Exhibition Convention Centre, Times-Herald

Geographic location: Canora, Sask., Estevan Moose Jaw

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