Firearm industry professionals gather at largest trade show for target shooting, hunting, outdoor and law enforcement products.
LAS VEGAS — The 39th Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) opened its doors this morning at the Sands Expo Center with industry expectations running high in response to the energized market in America for firearms, ammunition and accessories.
Over the next four days, the show will attract nearly 65,000 industry professionals from the firearms and outdoor industry, including 2,500 members of the outdoor press-the largest gathering of outdoor media in the world-and showcase new, innovative products used for target shooting, hunting, outdoor recreation and law enforcement purposes.
Owned and sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, the SHOT Show is the largest trade show of its kind in the world. The show is open to trade members only and not to the public; consumers will see the products unveiled at the SHOT Show on retailers’ shelves during the course of the year.
The 2017 SHOT Show opens following a year of extraordinary firearms sales-the strongest in history based on NSSF-adjusted background check statistics-and a surprise end to a tumultuous election season. Following those elections, the $6.7 billion industry is seeing purchases continue at a steady pace. Both industry professionals and consumers are optimistic about the future of firearms ownership and the shooting sports. Responding to this optimism, NSSF has added a number of new features to the show.
Kicking off what is now known as SHOT Week in Las Vegas was the 3rd Annual NSSF/HAVA Golf Classic, which took place Sunday at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Bear’s Best Country Club course in support of Honored American Veterans Afield, a firearms industry-run charitable organization that helps the healing of disabled combat veterans and their reintegration back into normal life through participation in hunting and shooting sports.
Monday’s pre-show schedule was jam-packed with events. First on tap was the new Supplier Showcase, featuring more than 260 OEM third-party suppliers on hand to network with exhibiting manufacturers and explore their needs for extrusions, fabrication, fabrics, machinery, metal, plastics, software, logistical support and tools.
Also new to Monday’s pre-show schedule was the much-anticipated Executive Management Seminar. Created to provide executive, senior level managers and rising managers information and insight on the latest management techniques and business practices, the sold-out crowd of more than 160 attendees heard from a top-notch lineup of speakers presenting on topics such as Voice of the Customer, multi-generation management and segment-specific marketing techniques.
Other pre-show events continued to build on their successes of years past. Industry Day at the Range took place on Monday with more than 200 exhibitors, a record number, providing a sneak-peek and hands-on experience to hundreds of firearms, ammunition, optics and vehicles to more than 1,600 invited outdoor media members and buyers. NSSF is the title sponsor of the event.
Finally, Monday was also the host day for NSSF’s annual SHOT Show University, the association’s premier educational resource for firearms retailers and range owners attending the show. Four learning tracks featuring multiple sessions allowed attendees from novice to veteran choose the courses that best suited their business needs. The event expanded its seating this year and sold out quickly, thanks to its extensive list of expert speakers and innovative topics.
New events and features weren’t relegated to the days before the show.
“The SHOT Show is our industry’s signature product showcase and media event that provides the first look at new products from iconic brands as well as new-to-the-market start-up ventures,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “We’re focused on helping to ensure their continued success and to provide an exceptional customer experience for attendees and exhibitors alike.”
More than 160 exhibitors brand new to the main show floor of the Sands are in attendance, as well as an additional 100 new exhibitors in the NEXT Pavilion. Retailers, range owners, law enforcement and military personnel have a bevy of Retailer Seminars and Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) sessions available throughout the week, while manufacturing exhibitors will have the chance to explore import and export opportunities with the SHOT Show’s growing number of international attendees enrolled in the International Buyer Program.
This is the fifth year NSSF is participating in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Buyer Program, which matches pre-screened foreign buyers with U.S. suppliers. This participation has been such a success that John E. Andersen, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Western Hemisphere for the U.S. Department of Commerce will be attending the 2017 SHOT Show. During his visit, he’ll be hosting a special luncheon and panel discussion on Wednesday, January 18, to help exhibitors connect with international trade opportunities.
“There is all sorts of good news for the firearms industry,” said NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti. “But we will always face challenges from those who wish take away our livelihood and our rights. We intend for this year’s SHOT Show to embrace the positive energy the elections have produced while preparing for the future and staying vigilant in our mission to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports.”
Even as Americans continue to purchase firearms in record numbers, Sanetti points out that fatal firearms accidents continued to decline, to less than 1 percent of all fatal accidents nationwide. The industry’s firearm safety education and free gun lock program, Project ChildSafe, and its “Own It? Respect It. Secure It.” campaign will have high visibility at the show.
Tonight Sanetti will speak about industry challenges and opportunities at the annual State of the Industry Dinner. A sold-out crowd of more than 2,100 industry professionals is slated to attend this event, where in addition to the year-in-review presentation and several guest speakers, they’ll be entertained by Mike Rowe, host of the immensely popular television shows Dirty Jobs and Someone’s Gotta Do It, and CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, “a 501(c)(3) public charity that rewards people with a passion to get trained for skilled jobs that actually exist.”
For the eighth year in a row, the SHOT Show will take place at the Sands Expo Center. The show is the largest event hosted at the Sands Expo Center and attracts buyers from all 50 states and more than 100 countries, hosting more than 1,600 exhibiting companies across show floor space that exceeds 630,000 net square feet-equivalent to more than 13 acres. Some 12.5 miles of aisles lead to displays of a wide spectrum of products, including firearms, ammunition, gun safes, locks and cases, optics, shooting range equipment, targets, training and safety equipment, hunting accessories, law enforcement equipment, hearing and eye protection, tree stands, scents and lures, cutlery, GPS systems, holsters, apparel, leather goods, game calls and decoys.
Major sponsors of the 2017 SHOT Show include Ram Truck Brand, Daniel Defense, United States Concealed Carry Association, Aguila Ammunition, Brownells, GunBroker.com, SIG Sauer, Carhartt, Smith & Wesson, Vista Outdoor and Winchester Ammunition.
Anyone with an interest in the show and new industry products can learn more by staying tuned to The Shooter’s Log. Our staff is on hand and will be featuring our special show coverage.
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.