I was going through boxes of pictures and keepsakes today, and I found this article from the January 2 - 8, 1989 edition of the Austin Business Journal, which showcased the late Rob Key's "Just Guns" business that used to be located at 1234 South Lamar in Austin, TX. It later moved next to the Continental Club on South Congress Avenue, in the old Cruise Gun Shop location, with a lovely view of the Texas State Capitol outside of his front door. Rob retired and closed the shop around the turn of the century, when he sold the location for a small fortune. It's a super trendy area now. My brother Andy worked at Just Guns in high school, and I spent countless hours in both locations. Rob opened the shop in August, 1987, and I bought my S&W Model 29 from him for $250 that same month. I loved the place. It was an escape for many.
So that this is Thompson related, that's my West Hurley M1 hanging on the wall. It's also my DLO Sten, my M11 .380 with suppressor, and my MG-40 (ANM2) and tripod on the counter in the front. Rob joked to me that I "kept him in business" in 1988.
I was there the day that the guy from the Journal came to talk to Rob about doing the article. It's interesting reading. It mentions that he recently sold a cannon to "a Texas man who shoots the gun for fun on his ranch"...That was somewhat of a fib, as I was the buyer, and I did shoot it on a ranch, but it was a ranch that Rob and I paid $50/month to have access to as a place to shoot. The thing was, I was 22 years old at the time, and it sounded better to make it seem like he sold it to a ranch owner, than a college student. So that's what he went with in the story...
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Here is a photo of Rob firing a SBS at the ranch we used to rent for shooting. When we rented it from the rancher, we paid him for a year ahead of time. We were able to use it for a year, and then we couldn't rent it anymore, because the rancher got so many calls about the machine gun fire. He didn't mind it at all, but his neighbors were freaking out. The rancher honored the rental for a year, and we were happy to have it for that time. We later found a closer place to shoot in South Austin that is now a subdivision.
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I miss Rob. He was a unique personality, and became a good friend. If you had any interactions with him back in the day, they were likely very positive. He passed away in 2013. Here is a photo from the remembrance table at his memorial service.
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