SHOT Show 2015 Update!

Show Presents Entire Industry: Century-Old Companies To New Startups.

The 2015 edition of the SHOT Show is set to open Tuesday, Jan. 20 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, and NSSF, the show’s owners, promises an event that’s “Too Good To Miss.” The industry’s mega trade show will feature more than 1,600 exhibitors, including new companies exhibiting for the first time.

“We continue to have far more vendors who want to get into the show than we can possibly accommodate,” said Steve Sanetti, NSSF president and CEO. “Every year we try to make the show better by offering booth space for new vendors if we can accommodate them; we like to see new products and new ideas coming into the show. This year we have about 100 new companies we’ve been able to get into the show, and the waiting list to get a booth still has more than 1,000 companies on it. Our renewal rate is more than 70 percent every year, and that includes attendees as well as exhibitors. That’s one of the highest renewal rates in the trade show industry.”

Sanetti said NSSF continues to improve the SHOT Show experience for all attendees.

“We’re working with the Sands to improve signage, facilities for eating, communication vehicles, electronic navigation and Wi-Fi capabilities,” he said.
Once again, most exhibitors will be in the same booths they’ve been in for the past two years.

“Now, attendees pretty much know where the people they want to see are located,” Sanetti said. “This also enhances the show experience.”

Since the first year the SHOT Show was at the Sands (2010) the show has changed significantly.

“The Sands has made a tremendous investment in the show, as we’ve shared our exhibitor and attendee comments with them,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF’s senior VP and CMO. “They’ve made multi-million dollar improvements to keep us, and they genuinely value our business. We signed contracts through 2020 in order to help secure that financial commitment. We’re the largest event there, and that’s because of our exhibitors and attendees.”

Making a long-term commitment, Dolnack said, has also helped the SHOT Show lock in some long-term certainty in the form of room rates, facility rental rates and food/beverage costs.

“We’re able to provide our exhibitors with ‘rolling three-year guidance’ with what we anticipate in terms of costs such as sleeping rooms,” he said. “Some of that is contractual, and some of it is based on current market conditions in Vegas and what is projected in the market at that time.”

The Sands and NSSF continue to make improvements to navigational aids at the show. Dolnack said attendees will see more digital signage at this year’s show.
“There will be more signs outside the hall to provide information for attendees,” he said. “With the shuttle buses, seminar schedules, and celebrity appearances, there will be more digital signage in the common areas so we can continue to rotate the messaging and keep everyone up to date with what’s happening at the show.”

This year, of course, is the second year that ConvExx has managed the SHOT Show.

“The relationship with ConvExx has worked out marvelously,” Sanetti said. “Last year’s post-show survey showed the highest approval rating of any of the SHOT Shows we’ve ever put on, in the history of the SHOT Show from 1979 until today. That comes three years after the lowest approval rating, which was the first year we were in the Sands. Reed Exhibitions helped us get the ball rolling on improving the show, but ConvExx has had new ideas and fresh ways of looking at things.”


There are a variety of benefits to an NSSF membership, including access to the
NSSF Members Lounge and Member Business Center. The Premium Retailer Membership
has additional yearlong benefits.

Take Advantage Of Show Opportunities

Each year brings with it different challenges and different opportunities, Sanetti said.

“The big challenge this year is how to deal with the ‘new normal,’” he said. “How does the industry and all its members manage this environment — where sales aren’t at the stratospheric levels they were a year ago — but they’re still higher than the traditional levels this industry has experienced? Our members need to figure out how to contend with the new demographics, which include more minorities and women, and the shift away from hunting and toward more target shooting activities.”

Retailers can learn how to handle the challenge of today’s market during the SHOT Show seminars, SHOT Show University and networking, Sanetti said.

“If you don’t attend this year’s show, you’ll miss out on the opportunity to network with other people, get the benefit of their experiences with the new normal, and to plan the year ahead,” he said. “The SHOT Show is the once place you can see the entire spectrum of the industry, from the old-time companies that have been around for more than 100 years to brand new startups who have little 10-by-10-foot booths on Level One. As it always is, it’s a must-attend show.”


Reaching The Media

The SHOT Show provides exhibitors the opportunity to reach a wide range of media.

“The SHOT Show is the largest single gathering of outdoor media anywhere in the U.S. More than 2,500 members of the media come to SHOT,” Dolnack said. “If you work the show and the media properly, you can get a tremendous amount of exposure.”

A major media-related event is Industry Day at the Range, which will be held the day before the opening of SHOT Show on January 19. It provides media — and buyers — an opportunity to handle new products. However, space during event is limited.

“That day has become so popular that we can’t accommodate every member of the press who wants to attend,” Sanetti said. “So, we’re opening the theater at the junction of the Sands and the Venetian. It will be open for exhibitors to hold mini press conferences. This will keep people in the building and close to the show floor, and give exhibitors the opportunity to show the media and interested buyers what they have in the way of new products and new offerings.”

Called the SHOT Showcase Theater, it offers manufacturers a unique opportunity, according to Dolnack.

“There are 13 screens in the theater, and it will seat more than 700 people. Manufacturers can show a 15-minute multimedia presentation with new product introductions, using very high-resolution video and high-impact audio. It’s a similar opportunity to what you’d see at the New York International Auto Show or the Chicago Auto Show.”

Exhibitors, for more information, contact Chris Tatulli, NSSF director, exhibits and sponsorship sales, at (203) 426-1320, ext. 214; email:

HAVA Invitational Golf Classic

The NSSF and the Honored American Veterans Afield (HAVA) are joining forces to host the 2015 pre-SHOT Show golf tournament. HAVA is an industry-run organization that helps the healing and reintegration of disabled combat veterans transition back into normal life through participation in hunting and the shooting sports.

Registration for the four-person scramble is $200 per player or $600 for a company foursome, and includes prizes, cart, lunch and tee gifts. In addition, there will be a special raffle and silent auction for industry-donated prizes. All the proceeds from this event will benefit HAVA outreach programs.
For more information, visit


According to Sanetti, SHOT Show attendees can learn how to handle the challenge of
today’s market by attending seminars, SHOT Show university and networking.

NSSF Membership Benefits

There are a number of benefits to becoming an NSSF member, Dolnack points out.

“Each retailer’s NSSF membership includes one complementary SHOT Show registration,” Dolnack said. “So, if you join NSSF for $75 and pay for one registration, you’re bringing two people for $110. If you’re a non-member, you pay $140 to bring two people. Do the math; it’s less expensive to join NSSF.
Plus, Dolnack said, membership fees provide additional revenue needed “to help keep the wolves at bay”.

“The SHOT Show is the means by which NSSF is able to provide the services it does to the industry as the trade association, whether it’s government relations in Washington, recruiting new customers through programs like First Shots or helping retailers and shooting range owners become better business people,” he said.

NSSF members also enjoy several advantages at SHOT Show.

“Members get first crack at tickets to the State of the Industry dinner,” Dolnack said. “We also have an NSSF Members Lounge where members have an opportunity to sit down in a relatively quiet environment, have a lunch that has much more value compared to what you can get on the show floor. It’s a good place to sit down and talk with someone if you need a quiet place to have a conversation.”

Members can also take advantage of the Member Business Center.

“The Members Business Center is right across the hall from the member lounge,” Dolnack said. “If you need to make copies or get on a computer, that’s the place to go.”

NSSF’s Premium Retailer Membership offers several other additional benefits, including a defense fund and an in-store review by an NSSF FFL Compliance Consultant.

At SHOT Show, the NSSF booth is in the main lobby.

“Our entire membership department will be there, as well as many of our staff members,” Dolnack said. “They’ll be there to meet members and prospective members, and answer their questions. Attendees can stop by there, or if they’re downstairs, they can come by the NSSF office.”

Information about joining NSSF also is located at


Most exhibitors will be in the same booths they’ve been in for
the past two years — making the show more accessible.

Watch Out For Poachers

As the show approaches, beware of poachers, NSSF advises. These are unscrupulous companies that target trade show attendees.

The first is third-party housing agencies that aren’t affiliated with the SHOT Show. In years past, some of these hotel room resellers have taken payment from SHOT Show attendees and exhibitors without actually booking the rooms, leaving attendees without a place to stay in Las Vegas.

The SHOT Show provides two sources for special hotel room opportunities; one is directly with the Venetian/Palazzo, and the other is through onPeak. NSSF officials advise attendees not to respond to any other related communication you may receive. Information on housing at the show is located at

The other category of poachers is companies that engage in “suitcasing” and “outboarding” at the show. As NSSF points out, suitcasing and outboarding are unethical business practices in which non-exhibitors attempt to gain access to trade show attendees.

“We have undercover people around the show and in the hotels and venues in Las Vegas, as does ConvExx,” Sanetti said. “It’s not fair to the exhibitors who pay the fees and expenses associated with the show and then are poached upon by predators who think they’ll do it on the cheap, who just set up a table in a room and try to entice people away from the show floor.”

Sanetti says this negatively impacts the industry.

“That hurts the exhibitors who pay the fees because attendees are being drawn away, and it hurts the industry, because the fees they pay support the NSSF’s programs to support, protect and preserve the industry and the shooting sports. It’s something we’re addressing aggressively; I warn poachers of all sorts that they’re as unacceptable in Las Vegas as a poacher would be in the game field. We will turn you over to the appropriate law enforcement agencies or security personnel for ejection from the premises,” he said.


Attend SHOT Exhibitor Academy

Last June, NSSF hosted the first SHOT Show Exhibitor Academy — providing exhibitors information on how to maximize their time and budgets at the show. ConvExx gave exhibitors an inside look at their side of planning for the show.

“ConvExx showed exhibitors how to design and maximize traffic in a booth,” Sanetti said. “They discussed all the services that are available in the Sands and the Venetian complex and showed them how to work best with the move-in/move-out workers — even the workers inside the show that handle lighting and cleanup.”

Dolnack said 103 exhibitors attended.

“All the exhibitors had to do was get themselves to McCarran International Airport and our partners in Las Vegas took care of everything else,” he said. “We had programs on how to budget, save money on freight and tie in your sponsorship,” Dolnack said. “Ninety-seven percent of exhibitors who attended said it was worth their time, and they’d either come back or would recommend it to others to attend,”

The second SHOT Show Exhibitor Academy is planned for the summer of 2015. Additional information about the Academy is available at

Mark Your Calendars

The 2016 SHOT Show will be held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center Jan. 19-22.

SHOT Show Auction Offers Unique Collectibles

The 2015 SHOT Show Auction features unique firearms and a knife sure to attract the attention of bidders throughout the nation. They are being auctioned exclusively on The auction, which began on Dec. 21, 2014, will end at 5 p.m. EST on Jan. 23, 2015, the final day of the 2015 SHOT Show.

The Hunting Heritage Trust administers the auction for NSSF, with all proceeds benefiting programs to further America’s hunting and shooting sports heritage.


The floor plate of “The Hornady Number One” rifle is richly engraved.

Hornady Number One

Hornady Manufacturing Co. has placed its name on a firearm for the first and perhaps only time in the company’s history.

“The concept of creating a one-of-a-kind Hornady rifle has been percolating for several years and we are excited to make ‘The Hornady Number One’ a reality for 2015,” said Hornady President Steve Hornady. “But, we don’t want to alarm our friends at Remington, Winchester or Ruger. Hornady has no plans to build any rifles beyond ‘The Hornady Number One’.”

Hornady teamed with the Hunting Heritage Trust and some of the most innovative and respected names in the shooting sports industry to create “The Hornady Number One”. The rifle is a hunting-style bolt-action in .300 RCM with serial number H0001.


Phil Robertson donated his Mossberg Signature Series Model 930 to the SHOT Show Auction.

Mossberg Duck Commander Signature Shotguns

Mossberg announced its Signature Model Duck Commander Series to a rousing success in 2013 and one of the Signature Models’ biggest fans has been Duck Commander icon and Robertson family patriarch, Phil Robertson. Robertson hunted every day of the 2013-2014 Louisiana waterfowl season with his Signature Series Model 930 and has donated the well-used Model 930 to the SHOT Show Auction.

In addition to Robertson’s signed Duck Commander 930, the auction package will include a new-in-box 2015 Mossberg DC Pro Series 930 Signature 930 Model. The new Pro Series 930 is the gun Robertson requested to replace his original Duck Commander 930.


Ross Tyser BullElk

Ross Tyser Bull Elk Bowie Knife

The Ross Tyser classic selected as the 2015 SHOT Show knife is a Bull Elk-themed Bowie knife. The Bowie features an 8-inch Bowie blade made of 1084 and 15N20 Damascus, with a length of 14 inches from blade tip to handle butt. The guard is hand-textured bronze followed by a Damascus Ferrule. The handle is Sambar Stag capped with a hand-textured bronze butt cap with an applied hand-carved solid pewter bugling bull elk.

Century Arms International Made-In-America Rifles

To emphasize the made-in-America aspect of these auction rifles, the high bidder will visit the Century Arms facility in Vermont at the company’s expense to participate in the assembly of the rifles. The highest bidder will build and own two pieces of unique AK history: including Serial Number One of the RAS47, the first 100 percent U.S.-made stamped AK; and Serial Number One of Century’s new C39V2, 100 percent U.S.-made, milled AK. Each rifle features a custom-made stock set by Lucid Solutions of Mitchell, S.D.

In addition to the rifles, Century is providing a pair of sequentially serial-numbered 9mm TP9SA pistols imported from Century’s partner in Turkey.

By Carolee Anita Boyles

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