The 39th Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show, owned and operated by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), signaled a positive year ahead for the firearms industry. Strong attendance, upbeat buyers and sellers, and a series of packed special events that collectively made up “SHOT Week” resulted in one of the top-rated SHOT Shows.
The show spanned January 17-20 at the Sands Expo. Industry professionals packed the aisles from the opening bell, and attendance totaled nearly 65,000, surpassing last year’s turnout to make it the second most attended SHOT Show ever.
At one of the show’s biggest events, the NSSF State of the Industry Dinner on the first day, NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti, in a speech titled “A New Hope,” listed a series of priorities that industry will focus on to help protect its future and that of its customers. “Our overriding hope is that when it comes to helping stop the misuse of firearms by criminals, and preventing access to them by legally prohibited felons, the violently mentally ill, and the drug gangs who terrorize disarmed inhabitants of our cities, the American public will realize we are all on the same side.”
There were thousands of products for buyers to see on the show floor, encompassing firearms, ammunition, accessories, optics, knives, gun safes, apparel and law enforcement equipment, among other categories. More than 500 new products from 338 companies were on display in the show’s New Product Center, sponsored by U.S. Concealed Carry Association. In addition to the more than 1,600 exhibiting companies on the main show floors, the NEXT 2.0 Pavilion provided first-time vendors from the show’s extensive waiting list with welcome visibility and potential new customers.
SHOT Show is the largest trade show of its kind in the world, attracting attendees from more than 100 countries. “I think we’ve arrived at a point where we’re truly balancing the needs of an enormous crowd of industry professionals with the venue and services they need to successfully set the course of their businesses for the months ahead,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, “That’s not a small feat, and we are pleased to see that our efforts to produce a continuously high-quality show has once again paid off.”
The show drew excellent reviews from exhibitors and attendees.
Jan Mladek of Smith & Wesson said, “SHOT is always a great opportunity to showcase our product line. Our traffic numbers were huge, and I think we reached a record number of people this year.”
Matt Allbritton of Daniel Defense said that celebrity appearances at their booth were a huge draw for them. “Additionally, SHOT is always very productive for us, giving us time to meet with our existing clientele and a chance to meet new customers and build relationships.”
GunBroker.com’s Donald Hall said, “We’re swamped! It’s been a banner year, with our gun auctions drawing all sorts of customers. We’re happy to sponsor the NSSF Member Lounge and happy to see it full of members.”
Ram Trucks’ vehicles were on display in the main lobby of the Sands Expo. “The attendees are always passionate, as pickup trucks play an important role in the outdoor lifestyle,” said Dave Sowers. “SHOT is an excellent venue for meeting new potential customers.”
In addition to title sponsors Ram Trucks, U.S. Concealed Carry Association and Daniel Defense, SHOT Show supporters included Aguila Ammunition, Brownells, Carhartt GunBroker.com, SIG Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Vista Outdoor and Winchester Ammunition. “We couldn’t do this year after year without our sponsors,” said Dolnack. “We appreciate them taking their support of SHOT Show to another level.”
For buyers like Recon Defense’s Lisa MacLeod, the show was a success. “This is a whole new level,” she said. “But in spite of the huge crowd, the exhibitors we needed to find were easily located, and we are very impressed with the courtesy of the staff.”
At the Vista Outdoor booth, the crowd was thick and J.J. Reich said, “We have had several outdoor personalities give presentations this year, including some online personalities like Hickok45 and 22Plinkster. Our new product releases received a lot of attention.”
Aguila Ammunition’s Josh Sadler was pleased with the show as well. “We had a very productive show. Our sales numbers are already up as a result, and we’re excited about next year already. Thanks, SHOT Show!”
At the State of the Industry Dinner, the sold-out crowd of more than 2,200 were treated to the unique humor of Mike Rowe, star of the wildly popular Dirty Jobs television show and advocate of skilled trade workers. He had the crowd rolling in laughter for more than an hour. Other big moments were the presentation of the NSSF Ken Sedlecky Lifetime Achievement Award to Alan Mossberg, who guided O.F. Mossberg and Sons for decades, and the Grits Gresham Shooting Sports Communicator Award to Ashley Hlebinsky, curator of the Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, writer and TV personality.
The SHOT Show’s official opening on Tuesday was preceded by many events.
The kickoff event the 3rd Annual NSSF/HAVA Golf Classic, held on Sunday in support of Honored American Veterans Afield, which works to aid the healing process of military veterans through hunting and other shooting sports activities. More than $150,000 has been raised in support of this effort since the golf outing began in 2015.
Monday saw some of the SHOT Show’s most popular pre-show events-SHOT Show University, an education forum for retailers; Industry Day at the Range, an opportunity for media and buyers to experience hands-on testing of products; NSSF’s first Executive Management Seminar, providing business information to executives and rising managers; and the all-new Supplier Showcase, featuring more than 260 third-party OEM suppliers that reached a crowd of nearly 3,000 designers, engineers, purchasing agents and others in the manufacturing sector.
“We are very pleased with the outcome of the 2017 SHOT Show, particularly how our new offerings like the Supplier Showcase were received,” said Dolnack. “We want all our attendees and sponsors to know that our dedication to listening to their feedback, innovating at SHOT Show and working hard to improve the show experience for everyone will continue.”
Preparations have already begun for next year’s 40th anniversary SHOT Show, which will return to the Sands Expo on January 23-26, 2018.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 12,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, visit www.nssf.org.