Firearms News was present at the very first Big 3 East Media event back in 2007, and we have attended every one since. A very important and constantly growing industry event, it brings together writers, bloggers, videographers and industry people from around the world.
'Big 3' stands for Tactical Guns, Tactical Gear and Tactical Training and consists of three days of presentations, seminars, shooting, food and fun. Held twice a year in Daytona Beach, Fla., it has become the 'Woodstock' for the hardcore gun media.
This year saw 34 companies in attendance with some 150 people at the event. During this time, tens of thousands of rounds were fired on the site's pistol, 100-yard carbine and 800-yard rifle ranges from a host of handguns, shotguns, carbines, precision rifles, machine guns and suppressed weapons.
In addition to the normal festivities, the crew at Big 3 East presented two awards at this event. One was to an exceptional member of the firearms media and the other was to an exceptional member of our industry. Attending members of industry chose the media person, while members of media chose the company to receive the award.
In the end, Firearms News/Guns & Ammo writer Patrick Sweeney received an 'Exceptional Media Award' for his work, Firearms News contributor Jim Grant received an honorable mention and Tactical Walls took home the well-deserved industry award.
I've had the pleasure of knowing Patrick Sweeney for more than a decade. During this time, I've found him a fierce competitor on the firing line and have lost more competitions to him than I care to count.
Extremely knowledgeable and good-humored, he is both a colleague and a friend. Never without his trademark Canon, he's quick to offer advice or a tip to improve your shooting. Or, if you feel froggy, to take your two dollars after he beats you by 'just a fender' in an impromptu competition. It's the 'just a fender' shtick which keeps the uneducated coming back for another try.
Off the range, he has worked very hard educating new shooters and sharing his wealth of knowledge with LE officers. The author of a host of books, Patrick Sweeney holds the prestigious title of Handgun Editor at our sister publication, Guns & Ammo. In the pages of Firearms News, you'll find him covering the world of sound suppressors in detail. I was happy to see his hard work recognized by members of the industry.
On the flip side of the coin, members of attending media carefully considered before finally coming to a unanimous decision to recognize Tactical Walls. I first met Tim Matter and Chris Woods from this innovative company a couple years ago at Big 3 East.
Friendly and very down-to-earth, they impressed me when they went out of their way to help while a friend and I were recovering a badly mired road grader (don't askâ€¦.). They are, simply put, good people with a truly useful product. It was good to see both Tim and Chris, their company and their products recognized by members of the media.
For more information on Tactical Walls and their products, visit www.tacticalwalls.com.