I had just finished putting away my M1A after a good afternoon of shooting when a member of my gun club walked up to me holding a small, stamped veteran of days long passed. He asked me, “Ever see one of these?” I grinned ear to ear. “Why yes,” I replied. Not only had I shot one, I had trained how to perform unit level maintenance on the M3A1 ‘Grease Gun’ back in my days in the 82nd Airborne. I hadn’t seen one in more than 20 years.

For those of you who have never held or seen the ‘Grease Gun,’ it’s no beauty queen, but it did the job it was designed to do. Despite it’s ugly outward appearance, there’s an elegance to the simplicity of stamped machinery and firepower contained within the riveted shell of the ‘Grease Gun.’ I had always wanted one. Living in NY, I resigned myself to a life long unfulfilled with gun lust for the ‘Grease Gun.’ The next thing that crossed my mind was wondering how this guy was able to get hold of one. I didn’t know him, he looked to be about the same age as I, so I politely asked how he acquired her. It turns out, law enforcement officers have certain privileges.

He began to brag about it, about how expensive it was, blah, blah, blah. “Dirtbag,” I thought without saying. It just solidified my position on the egregious distinction between the ‘sheep dog’ class and the ‘sheep.’ My blood boiled, but I let him finish. Heck, I couldn’t fault him for acquiring such a wonderful firearm. He didn’t make the rules. That Saturday, he was just another guy on the line enjoying a piece from his collection. Could I really hold it against him? Then I thought about that again.

In an alter universe, freedom loving men who obeyed the law used to be able to purchase these luxuries. It was ok for him to be on the line that Saturday ripping through .45 acp rounds like he was storming the U-boat base in Brest, France circa 1944. But me, a law-abiding taxpayer, decorated veteran, respected member of the community, deacon in my church, finger-printed CCW holder, ME I couldn’t be trusted with such firepower. Then he handed it to me and asked me what I thought of it. The jealousy melted from me.

I took the magazine out, unscrewed the barrel and removed the bolt and dual springs from the receiver. It was really filthy, had a lot of actual packing grease still throughout the insides. I pointed that out to him. I separated the cocking mechanism housing and then looked up at him. He looked at me with incredulity. He had never taken the ‘Grease Gun’ apart despite having it for about six months. Shock upon shock. I smiled then asked him jokingly, “YOU ever see one of these?” I then continued to show him how to remove the trigger guard and wire shoulder stock.

It was really a pleasure to hear that automatic fire. It was an even greater pleasure to hold an important piece of our national heritage that day. I only wished I didn’t have that burning feeling in my stomach at being unable to own something that I could afford and safely maintain.