SHOT – Trade Show for Gun Geeks

By Dave Dolbee published on in General, News

The Show is a Few Days Long; its Impact is Year-round

What is SHOT?

Quite simply it is gun Mecca for shooting geeks. Unfortunately, it isn’t open to the general public. You have to be a dealer or select member of the media to gain admission.

Beyond that, SHOT is when more than 60,000 industry members converge on Las Vegas in January. Upon entry, they are treated to the grandest show for the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade.

SHOT Show and logo

At SHOT, over 60,000 manufacturers, dealers, retailers and media meet for a four-day extravaganza.

Imagine a gun show that is so big, it has its own map application for your smart phone or tablet. You can rent a GPS unit to help navigate between floors. If you have a meeting on another floor, it is a minimum 15-minute walk to navigate to the nearest exit, head up a flight of stairs or escalator and navigate the next floor to your destination.

This is not a consumer show even if millions of dollars of product are ordered. Before the first dealer or buyer enters the venue, every weapon is disabled by removing the firing pin. Then each weapon is inspected by ATF to confirm it has been disabled and tagged with a serialized ATF seal.

Before blowing off the SHOT Show as a members-only event in which you can’t play, you need to understand how the SHOT Show actually benefits you directly. SHOT is an event that generates more than a handful of cash for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which is looking out for your rights.


Much of the funding that propels the National Shooting Sports Foundation, owner and sponsor of SHOT, to fulfill its mission comes from the SHOT Show.

“Promote, protect, and preserve hunting and the shooting sports”

is the mission of the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting, and shooting sports industry, and NSSF invests in hunting and the shooting sports to do just that.

Participation in the SHOT Show generates as much as 80 percent of the funding for NSSF programs. One such effort is a proactive government relations program to guard your rights and business interests. Today, for example, NSSF continues its multifaceted campaigns against legislation that would enact microstamping, ballistics imaging, and limitations and outright bans on traditional ammunition. One visible result of its efforts last year was New York’s deactivation of its costly ballistics-imaging program, which never contributed to the solving of even one crime.

In addition, NSSF invests SHOT Show revenue in customer-recruitment campaigns, such as Families Afield and First Shots. The former has actively remedied legislative barriers preventing family hunting participation, and the latter has offered newcomers the opportunity to learn firearms and firearms ownership fundamentals at member ranges, while actually experiencing the fun of shooting under the careful supervision of qualified instructors.

15 rifle displayed on a wall at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas

Each gun is disabled and inspected and tagged by the ATF before being displayed at the show.

NSSF’s government relations actions led to the passage of legislation that preempted the frivolous lawsuits that nearly crippled the industry. The law allows the manufacturing industry to concentrate its resources on constructive research and development, rather than on unwarranted legal defense. NSSF’s successful efforts on behalf of firearms and ammunition manufacturers to gain uniformity with other industries in the schedule of Pittman-Robertson (Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration of 1937) excise payments alleviated much paperwork and debt, freeing manpower and money for further R&D.

First Shots has demonstrated that participants come back to the introductory range to shoot and to make purchases. The Boy Scouts grants can be used only at NSSF member retailers’ businesses.

NSSF research gathers information, including customized market surveys, that help businesses better understand industrywide trends as well as local demographics. At SHOT Show, formal educational opportunities are presented through SHOT Show University and Retailer Seminars. Throughout the year, in different parts of the country, Retailer Education Seminars give FFLs a better understanding of ATF compliance requirements.

These many activities of NSSF are only a sampling of the programs that are funded, in great part, by the revenue generated at the SHOT Show.

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Comments (1)

  • Rick Rosado


    I would love to go to a show like this. I have been thinking about applying for an FFL but not sure where to start. If anybody know please post. In the subject line write FFL. THANKS


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