Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show as strong as ever

by Brandon Butler

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) is the trade organization for the firearm industry. Each year, NSSF hosts the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT). The event takes place annually at the Venetian Expo and Caesars in Las Vegas. This year, it occurred Jan. 17-20. Reports indicate strong attendance, with enthusiastic buyers and sellers.

The SHOT Show is huge. More than 52,000 industry professionals packed into 13.9 miles of aisles. Moving from meeting to meeting can be difficult and timely, especially when you run into one of the tire kickers pulling his or her wheeled crate behind them, hoping for a freebie handout, looking like Labrador drooling for a table scrap. Over the course of the show’s four days, attendees were introduced to new, innovative products for target shooting, hunting, outdoor recreation, and law enforcement. 

“The industry was back in full force at this year’s SHOT Show, and the energy and momentum among all attendees was palpable,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer. “I always say the SHOT Show is like Christmas morning and the Super Bowl all in one, and this year it was that and more. We are thrilled at the positive response from our attendees and optimistic for a strong year of industry sales to come.”

The main premise of SHOT is for dealers and vendors to make deals. Sporting goods stores from all over the country, from the largest box stores to the smallest mom and pops, attend to secure the best prices of the year. 

“SHOT is very valuable to my team in a number of ways. We are able to be face-to-face with the leadership of our vendor partners. Which allows us to have open conversations that lead to better deals and partnerships long term,” said Hunter Simmons, COO of Simmons Sporting Goods. “SHOT is invaluable for bringing the industry together in the best way.”

All attendees – vendors, dealers, owners, media and more – leave SHOT more educated about the industry and what the future of the industry holds. There are countless classes and seminars to participate in across all facets of business. This year, over 6,000 attendees participated in SHOT University, Law Enforcement Education Program and Export Training Sessions. 

Traci Lewellin, Owner of Gun City shared, “SHOT University adds an amazing value for us. I can come in here, I have our managers out still looking at booths, and I can learn some of the educational processes to take back to our stores and try to implement them over the next year.”

SHOT is also a gathering of outdoor media. The press room is generally buzzing with writers, television show hosts, radio and podcast personalities all discussing what they’ve seen at the show, plans for the year and past activities. 

For the media, having so many subject matter experts and industry professionals under one roof means they will leave with as many stories as they can find time to develop.  

“At a time when businesses across the country are questioning the efficacy of post-pandemic, physical trade shows, along comes the SHOT Show to dispel concerns. There is simply no substitute for meeting face to face with your industry associates and customers, especially in the firearms world, which is under ever-increasing scrutiny by those who wish us ill,” Dan Ferris, owner of MidWest Outdoors Media, said.

The financial impact of SHOT is huge. The show generates enormous revenue for hotels, casinos, restaurants, shows and more. Few cities in the country, among those willing to have a firearms industry event, can host such a large crowd. Las Vegas appreciates the business. 

“On behalf of everyone in the state of Nevada and Las Vegas, we’re just very happy to welcome the SHOT Show and the 52,000 attendees that come here and support our Second Amendment,” said Nevada Lt. Gov. Stavros Anthony. “This is great, people are energized, they’re excited, they want to come in and see the latest technology, the latest equipment when it comes to firearms. I’m here to welcome them with open arms and make sure SHOT Show knows that we support them, and we want them back every single year for a long time.”

See you down the trail… 

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