2012 SHOT Show Report
The Truth About “Gun” People, at the 2012 SHOT Show.
Here is a report of this year’s National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor trade show held in Las Vegas in mid-January.
For the third year the largest show of its kind in the world was held at the Sands Exposition center. Two floors with large main halls and side rooms housed, according to NSSF’s press release, 1600 exhibitors. Over 61,000 people attended the four-day event, over 36,300 were buyers, and 2100 plus media people reported on the state of the industry. It was a huge success according to all who attended. I spent three almost full days checking out the displays and speaking with the manufacturers and professionals, even winning a drawing and answering a question that got me a Para-Ord black knit cap!
Self-defense products are really increasing in the market, as are any items related to the AR-15 and AK weapon systems. Foreign manufacturers from Israel, Turkey, China, Russia, Europe, South America, the Phillipines and the US showed their wares. Ammunition, firearms and accessories filled aisle after aisle on both floors of the show. You will probably see the new items in the print magazines in the next 2-3 months, and many websites have already posted their impressions of products they saw. For me, most impressive this year was how well organized the exhibit halls were. For the first two years, the main halls were confusing in lay out and hard to navigate. I will admit several times I got so turned around and lost I finally walked to a wall and found an exit, then got oriented from there. No problem this year. While my feet and hips let me know I’d walked nearly all of the aisles, it was invigorating to see that the industry is healthy and growing, despite the nay-sayers on the left.
Utah “Represents” at the 2012 SHOT Show!
This year I was particularly interested to see the number of Utah based companies at the show. Browning is probably the largest Utah-based entity, Action Target had a great display along with a recently acquired paper target company, greatly adding to their product line. I entered a drawing there and won a belt drop pouch used to retain your empty AR magazines. Berry’s Manufacturing of St. George showed off their bullets and reloading supplies and I got to spend a moment with Sandy Chisholm of North American Arms looking at the new offerings from the Provo based company. Years ago, I had the opportunity to assist Mr. Chisholm in preparing to receive his Utah Concealed Firearm permit. Watch for a factory visit report in the next few weeks here at Defense Actions.
Barnes Bullets, now part of the Freedom Group, had their bullets on display and Coni Brooks invited Defense Actions to visit their Mona, Utah plant in the near future. Cobra Arms of Salt Lake City showed off their self-defense handguns, and Silencerco continued to show their growing line of suppressors. They are a true success story. LAR Manufacturing of West Jordan showed their innovative AR top ends with a unique side-mounted charging handle. Double Tap Ammunition from Cedar City had a great selection of ammo, including many hard to find calibers for rifles and handguns. Desert Tactical showed their innovative bull-pup configured rifles with the .338 Lapua caliber being featured. Gunnision, Utah based Christensen Arms is well known for top-end hunting rifles with the carbon fiber wound barrels. Now they have an AR-15 that has to be hefted to be believed! Utah was well represented in the 2012 SHOT Show.
The 2012 SHOT Show “People”…”An Armed Society is a Polite Society”
In several years of attending the SHOT Show, the people are what make it enjoyable for me. This industry has some of the best, brightest, helpful and polite humans I’ve ever associated with. Gun people are simply “good” people. The main-stream media says we are all a bunch of uncouth red-necks out to kill everything and everyone in sight as well as calling names that can’t be repeated in polite company. The tools we use are demon-ized and given evil characteristics. You know the garbage that comes from that source. I don’t know how many times I heard “Please”, “Thank You”, “Excuse me or Pardon me”, all the civil things that good people do. More than once I saw someone drop something or need a hand and several people grabbed the item and returned it or stood to allow a person with a wheelchair to go first. It was nothing like what those media liberals say and write. One of my good friends pointed out the truth expressed by author Robert Heilein, “An armed society is a polite society.” He said it with a smile as we had discussed how friendly and helpful everyone was, be they exhibitors, information people, security or some one just passing by. It was all good vibes, great products and the great people who make them. An amazing 2012 SHOT Show!
Also noted is how often I go to SHOT Show and wind up running into people I know from home. Mike Davis works for Desert Tactical, I knew him in his previous employment. Ron Davies from Gunnies in Orem was talking with Coni Brooks at the Barnes Bullet display. I ran into Nick Roberts from the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s office, several people I’ve worked with in the Friends of NRA program along with some well-known shooters and industry people. I was third in line to get an autographed picture from TAC-TV’s Larry Vickers. I shook hands with Richard Marcinko, author of the Rogue Warrior books and founder of Seal Team 6. Author and Vietnam era Special Forces vet John Plaster was gracious as always. I spoke with several professional shooters from Glock and Smith and Wesson, got signed pictures from the female shooters for my disabled son. The pictures now are hanging by his bed. Richard Davis, for developing body armor is quite a character to talk with. The late Col. Jeff Cooper’s daughter Lindy was promoting her father’s books and the training at Gunsite. We shared a laugh when I mentioned I could picture her father’s raised eyebrow at all the “stuff” people have to hang on their rifles and pistols these days. It was an almost mind bending experience to see and talk with so many of the people I’ve seen on TV or have read their articles and books. I ran into some instructor friends and just people I’ve met before. It felt like a big family reunion at times. The whole atmosphere is one of excitement and energy with a constant buzz of conversation that can be almost overwhelming the first time you experience it. One of our crew said it was larger and noisier than he imagined it would be, and he was as tired at the end of the day as the rest of us. One thing we were never too tired for was food, and we did some pretty good damage to some of the buffets in Las Vegas.
That winds up my report from this year’s NSSF, 2012 SHOT Show, look for some Utah factory visits and hopefully product reviews at www.DefenseActions.com.