Impressions from the SHOT Show

Earlier this week I went to see the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show and Conference, a.k.a. The SHOT Show, for the firearms, hunting, shooting and accessories industry. Last year, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), who owns the annual exhibition, fired Reed Exhibitions after decades as show managers. ConvExx is now physically running the expo and did a great job having had only seven months to prepare.

This is the second time I’ve been to this particular expo. The first was in New Orleans many, many years ago. That edition had the best show specials ever—two rifles for ONLY $350,000.  It was an impressive expo, but this year’s edition was even more impressive selling out both floors of the Sands Expo in addition to the second floor ballrooms that were utilized as exhibit space. Educational sessions were stretched over several floors, as well.

Now I don’t know anything about guns except that I’d like to never have the experience of being on the wrong side of one. However, who knew there were so many kinds? Some of my favorite accessories were the camouflage camisoles and matching undies for the ladies. There were tons of different kinds of boots, belts, hats and some other stuff that I’m still trying to determine uses for.

The whole place, including the media room, was packed. Everywhere you walked, it was wall-to-wall people. There were many associations too. My favorite new one was the Snipers Association and you KNOW I had to take a photo of the Duck Dynasty’s booth!

Whatever side of the gun control aisle you may stand on, seeing this community come together was remarkable. People were engaged in conversations and meetings. You could see they had a purpose for being there.

This was my third tradeshow in two weeks—New Media Expo and CES International being the two others. We as an industry are doing a lot of things right. We are providing an awesome platform for commerce. We are providing communities the opportunity to come together in person and celebrate.

This year is starting out gangbusters for our business.

Stephanie S. Selesnick is president of International Trade Information, a longtime global exhibition industry specialist helping U.S show organizers increase international participation in their exhibitions and a well-known speaker and trainer. Follow her on Twitter @stephselesnick.  ... View all articles by Stephanie Selesnick →