The Size of Their Toys

COPEX separates the men from the boys

Maybe you're made of tougher stuff, and you don't want to just sit around and wait for the bad guys to come after you. The best defense is a good offense. Hide-A-Gun vends an under-the-counter mounting device which keeps a pistol within easy reach yet totally concealed. Ideal for shopkeepers, liquor store clerks, and desk jockeys everywhere. Then there are the Barrett semi-automatic rifles, whose brochure reads like a spiel from an automobile manufacturer: "The rifle's clean lines and functional design display the years of refinement necessary for a mature weapon system. The three-lug rotating bolt offers superb strength, and the high-efficiency muzzle brake reduces felt recoil by 65 percent. Our rugged bipod assembly is fully adjustable and folds either to the front or the rear, and the Sorbothane recoil pad and rear grip aid in maintaining a firm, comfortable shooting position. With confirmed hits out to 1800 meters, the Barrett Model 82A1 is battle proven. Barrett A heavy firepower for light infantry."

"Due to the increased interest in sniping lately..." began the pitch from Accuracy International for their Super Magnum sniper rifle, "designed from the outset as a dedicated sniper's rifle giving guaranteed surgical and reliable accuracy, ease of maintenance, and military robustness. Because of its accuracy and wind bucking ability, it extends serious anti-personnel sniping by at least 35 percent in ranges to beyond 1100 meters, but has the distinct advantage of being able to take on material, armour, armoured glass, and light fires."

The Crane Division of the National Surface Warfare Center also sells sniper rifles, not to mention a full complement of pyrotechnics and demolitions equipment, turret-mounted double-barrel machine guns, silencers, rocket launchers, and armor-piercing shells. Enough firepower, in fact, to either arm or overthrow any number of Central American nations. Gun Gear suggests premium holsters and accessories to eliminate those unsightly bulges when you're carrying, and their brochure included this chestnut: "Firearms are inherently hazardous and can cause injury or death."

Calico designs super-light 9mm weapons that just feel so right in your hands you want to buy a gross of them and try to rout Fidel. Their helix-feed system provides a minimum profile, they eject straight down (ideal for close-quarters combat), and they field-strip in seconds (although not in the hands of New Times reporters) without tools. The guns come with 50- or 100-round magazines, and with the speed loader can unload 50 rounds in fifteen seconds.

Finally, there was the Russian contingent, red-nosed and dressed in ill-fitting suits, hawking surplus KGB paraphernalia. By COPEX standards their display was primitive, a bunch of junk strewn across some tabletops. Crossbows, holsters, bulky body armor and night-vision goggles, helmets, an eavesdropping device that was priced at $300 and brought to mind a glorified stethoscope. Perhaps they just haven't got the hang of this marketing concept yet, but compared to the rest of the wholesalers, their display looked forlorn.

Still, the Russians do know about the hard sell. A representative from a private Miami company with an inventory-pilferage problem had come to COPEX browsing for surveillance equipment A 360-degree cameras, low-light lenses, remote monitors. Clearly, this was one area in which the Russian delegation was lacking, and sales manager Yury Pasternak ("Enterprenership [sic] and person security," according to his business card) admitted as much. But he didn't let it go at that.

"You are not worried about personal security?" inquired Yury.
"No," answered the businessman.
"You should be."

For a mere $80,000 you can turn heads and repel slugs in a Kevlar-lined sable coat.

The deluxe auto package includes ballistic ceiling lining (for snagging stray bomb fragments).

"Designed from the outset as a dedicated sniper's rifle giving guaranteed surgical accuracy.

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