This weekend is the world famous biannual legal machinegun shoot at the Knob Creek Range near West Point, Kentucky (a little southwest of Louisville). It bills itself as the largest civilian machinegun shoot in America. I wrote a four page essay about my three trips to the shoot at KCR as the 14th essay on my March 2016 book Putnam Liberty Notes. The pic below of me in the doomsday modified Dodge Durango with 50 cal. mount was taken at the Fall 2013 shoot.
For those in more oppressive states than Indiana and Kentucky, and for my foreign visitors, let me clarify the legality of this shoot. Current U.S. law classifies any weapon capable of fully automatic fire as a machinegun, regardless of whether it is a belt fed automatic only gun like the M249 or MG42, a mag fed selective fire rifle like the M16, or a mag fed selective fire subgun like HK’s MP5. Current U.S. Federal laws allow the civilian ownership of machineguns for non-felonious adults citizens who pay a $200 tax, undergo fingerprinting, submit to a Federal background check, and endure a large wait/processing time. Further, each MG is registered with the BATF and requires a $200 fee to transfer ownership. MGs are regulated under the NFA34. Suppressors (aka silencers) and short barreled (under 18 inches) shotguns are also regulated by the NFA34.
This is complicated further by the 1986 ban on the manufacture of new MGs for civilian ownership, while those already existent were grandfathered as legal. (New manufacture of suppressors and short barreled rifles and shotguns was not banned). Thus, the price of pre86 transferable MGs has skyrocketed in the last 30 years. A forty year old, pre86 transferable M60 belt fed in 7.62 Nato can cost in excess of $20,000. Yep. ATF licensed Class 3 dealers can still buy new MGs, but not retain them in their personal collection/ownership after retiring their license.
Enter the shoot at KCR. Many people, including myself, cannot afford a Class 3 weapon. The shoot at the extensive ranges at the rural KCR has a main line where guys who own legal MGs come for a weekend and exhibition shoot their MGs at old cars, junk appliances, etc. Further, on Knob Creek’s lower range two gentlemen rent actual legal MGs to people to fire on the spot under their supervision. This allows guys like me to legally shoot actual MGs.
I attended the KCR shoot on three occasions between Fall 2012 and Spring 2014. Over the course of these three shoots, with my wallet screaming, I paid to fire the M14, FAL, M249, M60, and HK21. It is very expensive, usually 3-5 times the price of the ammo to rent/fire these guns. I do not want to think of how much I money spent, and I cannot currently afford to do it again! Perhaps the highlight was hosing down a junk refrigerator from the offhand position with a long burst from an M249.
The shoot at KCR attracts thousands of people twice each year. I personally heard a girl who was operating one of the rental ticket lines say that she knew of a German family who flew over each year to shoot MGs at Knob Creek.
If one does have money and does not have military experience with MGs, attending the shoot at KCR might be a good idea for basic familiarization. However, if you do not already own a good defensive pistol, centerfire rifle, a good quantity of spare mags, and a couple of cases of ammo –forget the creek and attend to your needs.
Going to the shoot at KCR is fun, but somewhat of a distraction. The environment there is not hard core patriot, personal defense, or white nationalist. It surely is not about homesteading or building sustainable, white, agrarian communities that could weather an economic collapse or an EMP! The attitude at KCR is one of a gun centered theme park with heavy doses of the U.S. military and “conservative” politics. If you attend, expect anti-Islamic bumper stickers, not anti-Israeli ones.
I have not attended a shoot there since the Spring 2014 shoot, and do not plan to in the future.
© Copyright 2017 by Joseph Charles Putnam of Orange County, Indiana. All rights reserved.