SHOT Show 2017

“Gear Up” For The Industry’s Trademark Event

By Carolee Anita Boyles

With 2016 drawing to a close, those retailers who’ve planned to attend SHOT Show 2017 in Las Vegas as one of their New Year’s resolutions will not be disappointed.

Representatives of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) say the SHOT Show — which runs for four days from January 17–20, 2017 at the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas — is the place where you can “Gear Up” your business for the next year and beyond.

“The slogan ‘Gear Up’ has a couple of meanings,” said Chris Dolnack, senior VP and CMO of NSSF. “It means Gear Up for the new 2017 sales year, Gear Up with the latest industry product innovations for your retail inventory or L.E. agency and Gear Up with new knowledge to give you a competitive edge.”

Every SHOT Show is unique, according to Dolnack.

“It remains the world’s largest exposition of shooting, hunting, outdoor and tactical gear,” he noted. “There are always new wrinkles, like this year’s Supplier Showcase on Monday that matches OEM suppliers and manufacturers or NEXT and the Executive Education Seminar.”

The floor plan of the 2017 show will be essentially the same as the 2016 show, when the show added the NEXT Pavilion on Level 3. This allowed more than 100 additional core companies to get some exposure and gave attendees a sampling of new companies they might see on the main floor in the future.

“NEXT was a huge success,” added Melissa Schilling, director of exhibitions & conferences at NSSF. “NEXT will be in the same location it was last year, on the third floor of the Venetian. We’re going to provide 5×10-foot kiosks again this year.” These smaller booths allow potential exhibitors to get some exposure at the show while they await an opportunity to move onto the main floor when an opening becomes available there. This also means attendees have an opportunity to see what’s coming soon on the main floor of the show, particularly from small, innovative companies.

This year there will be one new event in association with the SHOT Show, the Supplier Showcase on Monday. This extends the SHOT Show experience from four days to five.

The Supplier Showcase is a dedicated event for suppliers to present their products to shooting, hunting and outdoor manufacturers. If you use or produce tools, machinery, plastics, metal extrusions, fabrics, OE materials, fabrication, logistics, software, or other products and services for the shooting sports or outdoor sporting industries, then SHOT Week’s Supplier Showcase is an opportunity to connect with each other at the SHOT Show. This one-day only, face-to-face marketplace is perfect for manufacturer owners, engineers, purchasing agents and R&D specialists.


Plan Ahead for Housing

If you haven’t made your room reservation yet, Schilling advised to do it now. “Hotels continue to sell out quickly,” she said.

However, this doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get a room right up to the week before the show — but if you book in the SHOT Show block you’re guaranteed a certain rate. You also have the peace of mind of knowing you’ll have a room when you show up, unlike exhibitors and attendees who have been victimized by hotel scammers who take their money and then don’t book the rooms.

“To reserve rooms in the SHOT Show block, visit to see what hotels are remaining in our block from our official housing partner, onPeak,” Schilling added. “We also encourage attendees and exhibitors to book hotel rooms for next year during this year’s SHOT Show. Please make time to visit the onPeak booth during show hours, right next to the NSSF Member Booth.”

International Sales

For the past two years, exhibitors who attended the show were able to participate in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Buyer Program.

“American exhibitors are encouraged to meet with pre-screened international buyers and global industry specialists,” Schilling said. “U.S. exhibitors are welcome to visit the International Trade Center in the Bassano Ballroom for export counseling or to connect with overseas buyers visiting the show.”

For the first time this year, NSSF is inviting International Associations to attend a networking reception. “This will be a great opportunity to interact with other shooting and hunting association executives from all over the world along with manufacturers and NSSF representatives,” Schilling added.

This program provides the SHOT Show with support from the U.S. Department of Commerce to manage and facilitate matching international buyers with exhibiting U.S. companies and work with U.S. exhibitors to educate them on existing government export programs. The program offers Department of Commerce assistance on a variety of issues to assist show exhibitors, including providing export counsel, assistance with intellectual property infringement (IPR), education on Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP) program, IPR protection measures during the show and means to protect intellectual property in overseas markets. More information about this program is available at


SHOT Week Supplier Showcase: A new addition to SHOT Show week, the Supplier
Showcase will be held on Monday, Jan. 16 — the day before the show opens.

Navigating The Show

The NSSF staff members have continued to make improvements in the SHOT Show’s navigation system.

“We’re constantly working with our Show Planner partner, Core-apps/GoExpo to improve the attendee and exhibitor experience,” Schilling observed. “Most beneficial to the attendees is they can login on the planner or mobile app and their favorite exhibitors and meeting agendas will sync. An attendee can also go through his or her dashboard seamlessly to registration to purchase seminars. We also are going to utilize beacons like we did last year, so attendees will get an alert on their phone when they’re within a certain radius of the beacon. We did this to promote our new NEXT pavilion last year.”

There also are some upgrades to improve the exhibitor experience.

“We have an integration or single sign on with registration and the general service contractor so exhibitors can order badges and deco by going through their exhibitor dashboard,” Schilling said. “All of this is automatically synchronized with the mobile app and on-site way finders. This is especially beneficial to the exhibitor as any digital upgrade purchased for the planner has a presence in three different media platforms. We are also currently working on a Celebrity module making setting celebrity appearances a quick and easy process.”


Mike Rowe: Host Of “Dirty Jobs”

State Of The Industry Reception

The State of the Industry Dinner is always held opening night of the show. This event recognizes the important accomplishments of our industry during the last year as well as addresses the important challenges we’ll face in the upcoming year. Steve Sanetti, NSSF president, will present industry updates important for every professional to hear.

State of the Industry attendees will be treated to a performance by Mike Rowe, host of the hit TV show “Dirty Jobs.” Rowe, who has been dubbed the “dirtiest man on TV” from his experience on the program with more than 300 different, unglamorous jobs, has hosted and narrated several other shows — including “Somebody’s Gotta Do It,” “Deadliest Catch” and more. Rowe is also the CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity that provides financial assistance to people working toward a technical or vocational education in a skilled trade program. The Foundation has been instrumental in granting more than $3 million in scholarships, like the Work Ethic Scholarship Program, for trade schools across the country.

NSSF officials report tickets for this event generally sell out by mid-December. More information is available at

Education At The Show

As usual, attendees will have lots of opportunity for education at the SHOT Show. First is SHOT Show University, which will be held on Monday, Jan. 16, in the Venetian. The cost for SHOT Show U is $250 for NSSF members and $500 for non-members. If you’re a Premium NSSF member, however, you can receive one complimentary SHOT Show U pass. To find out more about Premium Retailer Membership, visit

This year’s SHOT Show U is shaping up to be another great learning experience for retailers, Schilling noted. “We have a jam-packed schedule offering multiple tracks. Four tracks will be available for retailers to choose from: Range Development, ATF Compliance, Masters, and New Operator,” she said.

After a keynote address on the Seven Traits of Successful Leadership, retailers will break up into smaller groups to follow the track of their choice. Retailers following the Range Development track will learn how to add a range to an existing store and increase margins through training. The ATF Compliance track will include a Form 4473 review and training and on the Acquisition Disposition book. On the Masters track, retailers will explore the legal formalities in forming, buying, selling, merging and financing a business. The New Operator track will look at management strategies and buying and selling used guns.

For more information about additional classes that will be held on all four tracks, visit

Retailer seminars held during the SHOT Show provide dealers with opportunities to learn more about how to grow their businesses and stay current with industry trends and issues. At the time of this writing, Schilling informed 14 seminars were planned but more could be in the offing. Topics include intellectual property issues, NFA forms, suicide prevention, social media, and the always-popular “Ask the FBI/NICS” session.

Besides SHOT Show U and the retailer seminars, there will also be classes for working L.E. officers. This year the Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) will be presented by NSSF, Police Magazine and the National Tactical Officers Association, during which national experts will present class sessions every day. The program is free for L.E. officers, but they should register ahead of time. More information about the LEEP program is online at

New this year is the Executive Management Seminar. Taking place the day before the show opens on Monday, Jan. 16, this seminar will cover the hottest management techniques and business practices in the industry today. Attendees will hear from leading authorities on topics such as Voice of the Customer, multiple-generation management and segment-specific marketing techniques to help you better hone your business action plans.

This seminar is open to NSSF Members and non-members. Registration fee is $175 for Members and $275 for non-members. For more information, go to


The 2017 SHOT Show’s layout at the Sands Expo will be very similar to previous years.
NSSF officials report this continuity helps attendees maximize their time on the floor.

Insights For Working With The Press

For SHOT Show Exhibitors reading this article, there are several ways to interact with the press in the Press Room. Exhibitors can put materials there or access the press conference room, and meet with selected media or schedule a press conference to make an important announcement.

Exhibitors can reserve a bin in the Press Room, where they can put materials for the press to pick up. If an exhibitor isn’t utilizing the Press Room properly, he or she is missing an opportunity, according to Schilling.

“We’ll continue to offer exhibitors bins to present their media kits in the Press Room,” Schilling added. “And once again, we’re hosting a special media invitation-only breakfast at the New Product Center. It’s expected to take place Wednesday morning, prior to the opening hours of the show.” 

Exhibitors should be sure to fill their bin with press kits, and monitor them daily in case they run out. These bins can be reserved online. The link to do so is on the show website in the Exhibitor Resource Center at

Another tip for exhibitors to keep in mind: utilize technology. Members of the press are much more likely to pick up information on CDs or flash drives than they are to pick up big folders of heavy paper, no matter how pretty the catalogs are.


Chris Dolnack

What does the “Gear Up” slogan mean?

“It means Gear Up for the new 2017 sales year, Gear Up with the latest industry product innovations for your retail inventory or L.E. agency and Gear Up with new knowledge to give you a competitive edge.”

Launching 2017

Although there are plenty of other shows during the year, none of them takes the place of the SHOT Show. It launches the year and showcases everything available within the trade. It’s a networking show, an educational show and a media show — all spreading the word across the industry.

“The SHOT Show brings our entire industry together in one place,” Dolnack said. “It’s the kick-off to the sales year, a rallying point in challenging times and the one place you see everyone and everything you need to gain a competitive edge. Nowhere else can you meet the top executives of the manufacturers and wholesalers, speak to the engineer who designed a new product, meet with 2,500 media members and network with 65,000 like-minded industry members.”

2017 SHOT Show Hours

Tuesday, January 17
8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, January 18
8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Thursday, January 19
8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Friday, January 20
8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

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