Firearm industry professionals gather at largest
trade show for recreational shooting, hunting, outdoor and law enforcement products
LAS VEGAS - The 37th Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade ShowSM (SHOT Show®) opened this morning at the Sands Expo Center for a four-day run, January 20-23, welcoming an expected 60,000 industry professionals eager to see the latest products offered by the firearms and outdoor industry.
Owned and sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation®, 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 provides buyers and media a first look at new equipment and services used for target shooting, hunting, outdoor and law enforcement purposes. The show is open to trade members only and not to the public; consumers will see the products unveiled here on retailers' shelves during the course of the year.
Though firearm sales last year were less than in red-hot 2013, the $8 billion industry nevertheless posted one of its strongest showings ever. Background checks, which serve as an indicator of firearm sales, totaled more in 2014 more than in any year except record-setting 2013. The market for firearms, ammunition and accessories remains strong, with statistics showing more people going target shooting and hunting.
Women continue to pursue owning firearms, motivated by interests in personal and home protection as well as recreational shooting. During the show, NSSF will release a new report on "Women Gun Owners: Purchasing, Perceptions and Participation." One of the report's findings reveals that more than half of women (55.6 percent) who participated in the study saying they intend to purchase at least one firearm in the next 12 months.
The industry notes that violent crime continues to decline even as Americans purchase firearms in record numbers, underscoring that more guns do not lead to more crime, as anti-gun groups inaccurately claim.
"Our industry continues to see new and different customers embrace firearms ownership and the shooting sports," said NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti. "New gun owners-someone who has purchased their first firearm in the last five years-represent about a quarter of the total, and they are younger, female, urban/suburban-based and from many ethnic backgrounds.
"These new participants," added Sanetti, "are altering people's perceptions of who firearm owners are and what they look like. It's very gratifying to see the broad-based appeal of our sports and culture. As an industry, we are determined not only to provide people with excellent gear to enjoy recreational shooting but also to deter legislation intended to burden law-abiding gun owners and provide appropriate safety and educational materials to help deter unauthorized access to firearms."
For the sixth year in a row, SHOT Show will take place at the Sands Expo Center, whose many improvements-including a remodeled, natural light-filled lobby to additional food courts and Wi-Fi hotspots-have drawn widespread approval from attendees. The show is the largest event hosted at Sands Expo Center, and during its run injects $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.
"We're coming off our largest and most successful show last year-a bar we welcome and hope to exceed with the 2015 SHOT Show. Our goal each year is to provide our customers with their finest SHOT Show experience ever," said Chris Dolnack, NSSF Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer.
On the first evening of the show, NSSF will present its State of the Industry Dinner, where an audience of more than 2,000 will learn about NSSF achievements in the past year and be entertained by Las Vegas headliner Bill Engvall.
Major sponsors of the 2015 SHOT Show include Outdoor Channel, Daniel Defense, GunBroker.com, Brownell's, Gamo Outdoor USA, Georgia Department of Economic Development, Mossy Oak, Trijicon, Smith & Wesson and Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, among others. Ram Truck Brand is the official truck of the SHOT Show. Nissan is sponsor of the show's press room.
The show brings together all segments of one of America's oldest and most storied industries-manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, shooting range operators, outdoor media and representatives from wildlife conservation groups.
Outdoor media turns out in force to cover the introduction of products and to report on the firearms and outdoor industry. NSSF has credentialed 2,500 media members for the show. 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 broadcast live.
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.