After the Wednesday round of the 2016 SHOT Show, I sat down for an evening of quiet work, to finish up a few articles I had from the day’s show-trekking. Less than an hour later, I was standing in a crowd at Battlefield Vegas, watching a Chieftain tank crush a sedan.
Wait, how did I get there? As part of my agenda for SHOT Show each year, I make an effort to coordinate with other folks in the industry, to arrange meetings and interviews. On my list this year was Ron Cheney of Battlefield Vegas, one of the major machine gun rental outfits in Las Vegas. Ron had reached out to me previously to ask a technical question about one of the tanks he owns, and after some brief back-and-forth, he sent me a text Wednesday night: “There’s a huge party out here going on right now, we’re going to crush a tank.”
Well, so much for getting work done.
A quick Uber over to Battlefield Vegas, and I was exchanging handshakes with Ron and he began showing me around the place. Battlefield Vegas is a machine gun rental business, but Ron has taken the operation to the next level, with a whole experience built around HMMWVs, Jeeps, tanks, and other military vehicles. Unlike a museum however, Battlefield Vegas’s military hardware isn’t for show; I asked Ron about his collection, and he said “every vehicle here is or will be a working vehicle.” The Sherman tank he asked me about? That will become a touring vehicle (complete with air conditioning and LCD screens) patrolling the streets of Vegas looking for folks who want to be picked up in style for their machine gun shooting experience.
Enough chitchat, though; I am guessing you want to see a car get crushed:
Beyond SHOT 2016 – that was the name of the party – was a hoot. Hosted by Battlefield Vegas and OSS Suppressors, it went on into the night with gun and gear giveaways, tank rides, car crushes (oh yeah, there was more than one), and free drinks. According to Ron, about 90% of his staff are veterans, and Beyond SHOT reflected this with constant shout-outs and thank-yous to all the veterans in the crowd.
Eventually, though, I had to get back to my hotel room and get ready for the next day at SHOT, but I promised Ron I would be back. We agreed to meet up Friday for the full tour of the place. When I arrived, I got a chance to snap photos of the vehicles in daylight:
“But Nate”, I hear you say, “this is The Firearm Blog, not the Armored Fighting Vehicle Blog!” How right you are:
Ron graciously gave me a tour of the Battlefield Vegas armory, AKA Gun Nut Paradise:
Deeper into the vault, we find that Battlefield Vegas has just a few more guns:
What good would a trip to Battlefield Vegas be, though, if we didn’t shoot anything? On that account, Ron had me covered (hey thanks, Ron!):
Larry Vickers I may not be, but that was still a heckuva good time!
Finally, Battlefield Vegas is not quite all fun and games, as they have repeatedly made public their assessments of their working guns through TFB. These experiences over such high round counts, while not scientific, are still very valuable, and Battlefield Vegas has released information regarding their AR-15s, Kalashnikovs, handguns, and even optics. According to Ron, Battlefield Vegas has even provided support to the military in the form of HMMWV maintenance advice, since their fleet has so many miles on them.
Hopefully you all enjoyed this look inside Battlefield Vegas, despite it not being my usual thorough (long-winded) technical (dry) detail-oriented (nitpicky) historical (passe) type of article. If you’re ever in Las Vegas, definitely give Ron’s operation a look.