Innovation On Display In Normalized Market
By Jade Moldae
In addition to showcasing new products, programs and other initiatives for dealers and the industry, the SHOT Show provides a prime opportunity for those invested in the law enforcement and tactical communities to “gear up” for the coming year. To that end, SHOT Show is the industry’s largest dedicated exhibit for firearms, protective equipment and tactical accessories to service law enforcement, the armed forces, SWAT and private security.
The Law Enforcement section remains one of the fastest-growing segments of the SHOT Show. To illustrate this growth, when the L.E. section was launched 15 years ago, it comprised 7,000 square feet. In 2018, it covered more than 170,000 square feet — constituting over a quarter of total exhibit space at the show (630,000 square feet). This figure is even more significant, as it doesn’t include the scores of companies exhibiting in the main halls of SHOT Show that also cater to the L.E./tactical segments. In short, attendees had no shortage of booth visits to make during the 2018 SHOT Show, held Jan. 23–26 in Las Vegas at the Sands Expo.
In Search Of Ingenuity
Over the years, the L.E. section of the show has garnered a well-earned reputation as a “first look” opportunity for attendees to witness new technologies and innovation firsthand. Buying trends have shown if a product or technology is selected by a military or agency entity, the civilian market will take notice and seek out options of their own.
John Paulk, Jr., president of Shot Spot in Carrollton Ga., highlighted the importance of carrying products for the law enforcement segment of his business. His store spearheads the Zenith Hero Program, which creates additional opportunities for customers in this segment.
“The LEO segment of the shooting market is very important to us at Shot Spot, as it’s a key cog in the defense of our families, the media and ultimately our liberties,” he said. “Not only do they keep us safe, but we can — in our concerted efforts with manufacturers and the like — return the favor and help protect these brave officers. Our goal is to keep these men and women feeling appreciated and as safe and secure as they leave us.”
Exhibitors reported strong foot traffic and promising feedback from attendees involved in the law enforcement sector.
“The SHOT Show was very busy for us. We had a steady stream of officers and agency decision-makers stopping by to see what was new, and we anticipate several major agencies adopting or updating their equipment with us this year,” said Michael Hess, ASP VP of marketing. “On the ‘B2B’ side, though resellers have some concerns about the industry with all of the consolidation and big players getting bigger, they’re optimistic the economy — and advancements in products and technology — will open up opportunities for new and more business.”
At the TROY Industries booth, President Andrew Finn reported the company’s carbines were in popular demand.
“We welcomed countless agencies and other professional users over the four days of SHOT,” he noted. “TROY’s willingness and flexibility to work within their financial parameters (or unique customization needs) was repeatedly acknowledged as officer-focused. There was a strong interest in TROY carbines for patrol and SWAT officers, as well as school resource officers — and the T&E’s are already out the door.”
During a softened market, innovation and effective programs are key in stirring interest among end users. Ryan Meyer, Daniel Defense director of merchandising, shared next year’s SHOT Show promises to be a big one.
“Because of the normalization of the market, it has allowed people to focus on innovation and I think next year’s SHOT Show will probably be one of the most exciting in several years. The market fluctuation has been a challenge, but it is good in the long term as companies place a greater emphasis on producing quality products to stand out,” Meyer observed.
The Law Enforcement section of SHOT Show continues to be a vibrant part of the
industry’s signature event. Here, an attendee gets a hands-on look while inspecting
a new barrel at the Yankee Hill Machine Co. booth.
SHOT Show Extends Sands Stay
In other SHOT Show-related news, NSSF and the Sands Expo announced a two-year extension of their current agreement — which will keep the SHOT Show at the Sands Expo through 2027.
“Las Vegas and the Sands Expo have been strong venues for the SHOT Show for nine consecutive years and are counted among the reasons for the show’s success,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF SVP and CMO. “With this two-year extension, we look forward to bringing SHOT Show — the city’s fifth-largest trade show — back to these venues for years to come.”
“Las Vegas is experiencing record growth when it comes to business travel, and the trade show industry is a critical component to the destination’s continued success. We look forward to continuing our work with NSSF in the years ahead,” said Chris Meyer, VP of sales at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA).
According to LVCVA, the overall economic impact of the 2018 SHOT Show to Las Vegas was $127.2 million, bringing the cumulative economic impact of the show to the city to $1.1 billion.
“Trade shows like [NSSF’s SHOT Show] are an important part of our business and the Las Vegas economy overall as they bring business travelers who stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and provide jobs for our community,” said Chandra Allison, SVP of sales for The Venetian, The Palazzo and Sands Expo.
Mark Your Calendars
The 2019 SHOT Show will return to the Sands Expo Jan. 22–25. It will mark the show’s 10th straight year at the Sands Expo and 21st overall in Las Vegas. Visit www.shotshow.org.
Editor’s Note: For an extended look at 30-plus law enforcement and tactical-themed products, see this issue’s special New Product Showcase presentation (pp. 38–44).
BOB – Bail Out Bag
Top 10 Scanned Products From THE 2018 SHOT Show New Product Center
|Trijicon Inc.||Adjustable RMR|
|TorkMag||20-Round G17 Magazine|
|Hyskore||12-Gun Modular Pistol Rack|
|Beyer Barrels||10/22 Takedown Barrels|
|Mannybragg.com||The Mark 7 Revolution|
|BENEMO||1-8×24 IR FFP Riflescope|
|Japan Optics Ltd.||1-8×28 Riflescope|
|Eastern Beacon Industries||Ballistic Backpack|
|Helikon-Tex||BOB – Bail Out Bag|
|Daniel Defense||DDM4V7 P|