NRA National Firearms Museum

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

The NRA National Firearms Museum (website not working at present) is situated in the same building complex as the NRA Headquarters Fairfax, Virginia. The Assistant Curator, Matt Sharpe, was kind enough to give me a personal tour (exclusive tours can be arranged in advance ) . The exhibits start with the development of the first handheld cannons and continue through history to the present. I cannot speak more highly of the museum – it holds an amazing and diverse collection of guns, many of which you will never see anywhere else,

The photos I took are pretty bad, but I hope to do a follow up post with better quality photos taken by professional photographers.

The Mayflower gun. This .66 caliber gun is the pride of the Museum. It was found hidden in the home of John Alden (one of the Pilgrim leaders who came over in the Mayflower)
A handgonne
I have forgotten what this was, but it was beautiful.
The Confederate display.
This was the personal arm of Police Officer Walter Weaver, who lost his life during rescue operations at Ground Zero. The gun was found in the rubble and returned to his family. They donated the gun to the NRA.
A failed attempt at modernizing the Thompson submachine gun.
“Model 10″. Don’t know this is. It resembles a Ruger 10/22 inside a bullpup stock. That big thing on the front is a flashlight.UPDATE: MP pointed out in the comments that the Model 10 was a failed attempted at a semi-auto police shotgun.
A miniature Luger that actually fires tiny cartridges!
A 4 Bore that belonged to Henry Morton Stanley!

I am pretty sure admission to the Museum is free. If you are without a car, catch the DC Metro (orange line) to Fairfax, VA and then go the remainder of the distance by Taxi (the taxi cost me about $16).

National Firearms Museum
11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA 22030-9400, United States
(703) 267-1600‎

Again, many thanks to Matt for giving me the tour and sharing with me his extensive knowledge of the collection.

Tomorrow I will post photos of the NRA Vault 🙂

  1. According to, exclusive tours can be arranged by calling (703) 267-1600‎. 

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

More by Steve Johnson

Join the conversation
2 of 31 comments
  • Doug Wicklund/NFM Doug Wicklund/NFM on May 10, 2010

    This is a response to Ted Kaliszewski. Unfortunately, the Sten SMGs (MK II and MK III) we have represented on loan to the National Firearms Museum collection are dummy gun examples that do not have functional fire control systems. If we can assist further, please feel free to email nfmstaff [at] nrahq [dot] org

    Doug Wicklund
    Senior Curator

  • David David on Oct 30, 2010

    The PD I worked at for years had 12 of the MP 10's. I used to keep them clean and cared for. Great shotguns.