Industry Celebrates Renewed Optimism,
Opportunity For Further Growth
By Jade Moldae
The 39th Annual SHOT Show, held Jan. 17–20 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, presented a dynamic event for the industry to build early-year momentum in a new-look, “normalized” market. Attendees and exhibitors alike celebrated an “uplifted” mood at the show following the election of Donald Trump as president.
There were thousands of products on display, providing plenty of opportunities for buyers to boost their early-year business. Attendance totaled nearly 65,000, surpassing last year’s turnout — making this SHOT Show the second-largest in its history.
“I think we’ve arrived at a point where we’re balancing the needs of an enormous crowd of industry professionals with the venue and services they need to successfully set the course of their businesses for the months ahead,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF senior VP and CMO.
The 2017 SHOT Show had over 1,600 exhibitors; more than 160 were first-time exhibitors on the main show floor. In its second year, the SHOT Show NEXT Pavilion had an 100 additional exhibitors. In excess of 500 new products from 338 companies were on display at the SHOT Show’s New Product Center. This is the largest event held at the Sands Expo, with total exhibit space eclipsing 630,000 net square feet.
Exhibitors and attendees relayed their SHOT Show success stories.
“SHOT is a great opportunity to showcase our product line. Our traffic numbers were huge, and I think we reached a record number of people this year,” said Jan Mladek, Smith & Wesson director of marketing.
“This is a whole new level. But in spite of the huge crowd, the exhibitors we needed to find were easily located, and we are very impressed with the coursesy of the staff,” said Lisa MacLeod, of Recon Defense.
“SHOT is always very productive for us, giving us time to meet with our existing clientele and a chance to meet new customers and build relationships,” said Matt Allbritton, Daniel Defense VP of marketing.
“We had a very productive show. Our sales numbers are already up as a result, and we’re excited about next year,” said Josh Sadler, of Aguila Ammunition.
NSSF officials report preparations for next year’s 40th SHOT Show are already under way.
Ushering In A “New Hope”
Much like the show floor, the mood of the State of the Industry Dinner was decidedly different over previous years as the attendees hailed the results of the 2016 election season. Attended by upwards of 2,200 industry professionals, the dinner served as an update on 2016 events and NSSF’s projected objectives for 2017.
Robert Scott, chairman of the NSSF Board of Governors, highlighted the impact of last year’s successful #GUNVOTE campaign and NSSF’s involvement in protecting the future of the industry in his annual address.
“The mission statement of NSSF is to ‘promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports.’ While our activities the past year touched on all of these areas, much of our focus was clearly on protecting the industry through efforts related to the 2016 election — the most important election to our industry’s history,” Scott said.
Scott shared control of the Senate was the “critical battleground” that would significantly affect the industry in terms of legislative protection and the composition of the Supreme Court. NSSF invested heavily in nine Senate races; seven triumphed, ensuring a Republican majority for two more years.
NSSF President Steve Sanetti outlined the opportunity awaiting the industry in light of today’s political environment — and emphasized the value of inclusiveness.
“We hope the parade of newcomers to the lawful and responsible enjoyment of hunting and the shooting sports will continue, as it has for the past eight years. We welcome the widest possible inclusion of all American citizens of all races, nationalities and orientations — regardless of whether they live in the city, suburbs or countryside — to join our ranks. We hope all of you will help encourage and welcome the newcomers, for they too are the faces of America’s future,” Sanetti shared.
While the industry presented a united front during the threat of another anti-gun/anti-industry presidency, Sanetti warned against complacency.
“We must put aside whatever differences we may have had, and look forward, not backward. We have been through this before, and we become unified during the worst times. My hope is we stay unified in the better days ahead,” he said. “It is in times of peace when we must allocate our resources to prepare for the next battle, whenever it may come.”
During the evening event, NSSF honored Mossberg Chairman Alan Mossberg with the 2017 Ken Sedlecky Lifetime Achievement Award. Ashley Hlebinksy, Cody Firearms Museum curator at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, was recognized with the Grits Gresham Shooting Sports Communicator Award.
A new event to SHOT Show week, the Supplier Showcase received rave reviews
from attendees. This one-day event created a space for more than 260 suppliers
to present their products to manufacturers.
Supplier Showcase Success
A new event debuted this year: the SHOT Show Supplier Showcase. Held Monday, the Supplier Showcase provided a dedicated forum to enhance connections between the industry’s firearms manufacturers and those third-party suppliers of extrusions, fabrication processes, fabrics, machinery, metal, plastics, software, logistical support and tools.
Nearly 3,000 CEOs, procurement specialists, engineers and others in the firearms manufacturing segment of the industry attended the event. They met with more than 260 OEM suppliers to network and explore future opportunities.
“We saw a huge interest from suppliers participating in this event. Exhibit space sold out immediately,” Dolnack relayed. “We’re already making plans to continue it next year.”
Other Events Of SHOT Show Week
The SHOT Show’s official opening on Tuesday was preceded by other events.
The 3rd Annual NSSF/HAVA Golf Classic, held on Sunday in support of Honored American Veterans Afield, kicked off SHOT Show week. This event has raised more than $150,000 for HAVA since 2015.
Monday saw the return of SHOT Show University, an education forum for retailers, and the 12th Annual Industry Day at the Range, which featured over 200 exhibitors and was attended by an excess of 1,500 outdoor media members and buyers. Additionally, NSSF added the Executive Management Seminar — a sold-out event that provided modern management techniques and business practices to attendees.
Save The Date
The 40th SHOT Show will return to the Sands Expo and Convention Center Jan. 23–26, 2018. For more information, visit www.shotshow.org.