38th Annual SHOT Show Off to a Big Start in Las Vegas
Industry professionals, media and retail buyers gather at largest tradeshow for target shooting, hunting, outdoor and law enforcement products
For members of the media, the kickoff of the annual SHOT Show begins a day before the show opens with the “Industry Day at the Range.” (Jeff Phillips photo)
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The 38th Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) opened its doors Tuesday morning at the Sands Expo Center with expectations running high given the energized market in America for firearms, ammunition and accessories.
Over the next four days, the show will attract some 60,000 industry professionals from the firearms and outdoor industry, 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 SHOT Show on retailers' shelves during the course of the year.
SHOT Show 2016 opens amid a national trend of surging firearms sales. In December, the NSSF-adjusted total of more than 2.2 million background checks represented an increase of 37.6 percent over the same month a year ago. For all of 2015, background checks, which are used as an indicator of sales activity, were up 8.8 percent over 2014.
The $6.6 billion industry is seeing more people going target shooting and purchasing firearms for personal and home protection. The multi-year trend of more women purchasing firearms for protection and recreational shooting shows no sign of easing up. And recent NSSF research shows that minority populations in the U.S, particularly the growing Hispanic population, have a genuine interest in learning about the shooting sports.
Even as Americans purchase firearms in record numbers, industry points out that violent crime continues to decline, underscoring that more guns do not lead to more crime, as anti-gun groups inaccurately claim.
"Despite the political challenges being mounted against our industry, it is gratifying to see the American people supportive of firearms ownership and to see new and diverse customers taking their first shots and enjoying our sports," said NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti. The week prior to the SHOT Show, NSSF rolled out a Big City Tour of its First Shots introduction-to-shooting program at area Las Vegas shooting ranges that was attended by more than 400 participants.
For the seventh year in a row, SHOT Show will take place at the Sands Expo Center. The show is the largest event hosted at Sands Expo Center, and during its run injects nearly $90 million in non-gaming revenue to the Las Vegas economy.
SHOT Show attracts buyers from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. Hosting more than 1,600 exhibiting companies, the show floor exceeds 630,000 net square feet-equivalent to more than 13 acres or the area covered by the Great Pyramid at Giza. Some 12.5 miles of aisles lead to displays of a wide range 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.
"Even though we have a satisfactory rating from last year of 84 percent from our attendees, we're always looking for ways to improve the experience of the SHOT Show and provide customers with their finest SHOT Show ever," said Chris Dolnack, NSSF Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer.
The show's New Products Center has been enhanced. Last year, more than 400 new products were displayed in the center, receiving more than 32,000 barcode scans.
Another enhancement is the new "SHOT Show NEXT" segment of the show. Designed to provide attendees with an introduction to companies currently on the waiting list for exhibitor space on the main show floor, SHOT Show NEXT provides exposure to newer companies and products coming to market.
NSSF State of the Industry Event
On the first evening of the show, NSSF will present its State of the Industry Dinner, where a capacity audience of more than 2,000 will hear from NSSF President Steve Sanetti, learn about NSSF achievements in the past year and be entertained by industry favorite, Jeff Foxworthy.
The show brings together all segments a historic American industry-manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, shooting range operators, outdoor media and representatives from hunting and wildlife conservation groups.
The largest gathering of outdoor media in the world covers the SHOT Show, with NSSF having credentialed 2,500 media members. On the day prior to SHOT Show, Industry Day at the Range provides invited media and buyers an opportunity to test and learn more about new products. SHOT Show will again feature Radio Row, where major conservative radio hosts, including Mike Gallagher, Dana Loesch and Lars Larson, broadcast live from the venue.
In a longstanding tradition, SHOT Show provides a full lineup of professional development opportunities for attendees. Sold out is SHOT Show University, where firearm retailers can learn about new marketing strategies and compliance with federal regulations. Law enforcement professionals have their own series of education seminars.