SHOT Show 2018

Get Ready For A Successful Year At Industry’s 40th Annual Mega Event!

By Carolee Anita Boyles

As the 2018 New Business Year is set to launch, plan to attend the 40th annual gathering of the industry at SHOT Show 2018 in Las Vegas. NSSF representatives say the SHOT Show — which runs for four days from January 23–26, 2018, at the Sands Expo Convention Center — is the place where you can “Gear Up” your business for a successful 2018 and beyond.

“SHOT Show is the premier showcase for all the gear your customers need for hunting, shooting, outdoor and tactical products,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF SVP and CMO. “No matter what segment of the industry you’re involved in, we’re all gear heads and want to see and handle the latest gear.”

Each SHOT Show is unique, Dolnack shared, but it remains the world’s largest exposition of shooting, hunting, outdoor and tactical gear.

“This year, we’ll have an extended Supplier Showcase, an expanded NEXT Pavilion on the third floor, an enhanced New Product Center, 150 new companies exhibiting and new focused educational sessions for retailers and shooting range operators,” Dolnack added. “We also have introduced marketing packages to provide value added digital messaging for exhibitors.”

The floor plan of the 2018 show will be essentially the same as 2017, with a few tweaks, according to Dolnack.

“There are 150 new exhibitors on the show floor for 2018 and a few adjustments to improve the traffic flow,” he said. “Otherwise you’ll find most of your favorite companies in their customary locations.”

NEXT continues to be popular with both exhibitors and attendees.

“NEXT is officially sold out (as of early October) and continues to be a success,” said Melissa Schilling, director of exhibitions and conferences at NSSF. “These kiosks have proven to be a huge hit, with continuous traffic pouring in on the third floor. This is an opportunity for waitlist companies to get a foot in with SHOT Show. After a successful NEXT exhibit, the next step for participants is the show floor.”

Last year saw the inauguration of the Supplier Showcase on Monday of SHOT Show Week. 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 your opportunity to connect with each other at the SHOT Show. This face-to-face marketplace is perfect for manufacturer owners, engineers, purchasing agents and R&D specialists.

“The Supplier Showcase was a clear hit so we’ve expanded the footprint and expanded the format to two days — Monday, the day before the show opens and Tuesday, the opening day of the show,” Dolnack shared. “As of early October, we’ve already far exceeded last year’s number of participating suppliers.”

International Sales

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

“The NSSF’s SHOT Show was once again accepted into IBP,” Schilling said. “We are very pleased to continue this relationship. IBP will be on Level 2, Bassano 2701. Multiple translators will be present for assistance with our international attendees.”

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

Security At The Show

In the wake of the tragic incident Oct. 1, the big question on everyone’s mind is security at next month’s show. To that end, NSSF is taking steps to ensure the safety of everyone who attends the SHOT Show.

“There will be a number of enhancements to our security plan for 2018,” Dolnack shared. “Some of these will be visible to attendees such as more video surveillance in the halls and lobbies, more uniformed security and sworn law enforcement officers and more canine officers. Most of what we’re doing will not be visible and centers around increased plainclothes sworn law enforcement officers on the show floor and new procedures and services for exhibitors displaying firearms.”

NSSF will be working with hotels, security agencies and local law enforcement, according to Dolnack.

“Most of the hotels in our room block have long had policies on firearms being brought through the casino floor and/or stored unattended in hotel rooms. In light of recent events, hotels will be observing these long-standing policies and we’re working with our hotel partners, Century Security and the Las Vegas Metro Police Department to ensure a safe and uneventful experience for SHOT Show attendees,” he said.

Navigating The Miles Of Aisles

The SHOT Show’s navigation system continues to be widely used by attendees.

“There are no changes with the SHOT Show app this year,” Schilling informed. “We continue to have a high adoption/download rate.”

Attendees log into the planner or mobile app and schedule times with their favorite exhibitors. An attendee also can go through their dashboard to register for seminars. Everything the attendee is doing is automatically synchronized with the mobile app and on-site way finders. This is beneficial to the exhibitor as any digital upgrade purchased for the planner has a presence in three different media platforms.

State Of The Industry Reception

The State of the Industry Dinner has always been held the opening night of the show, but this year the format will be different — featuring a condensed program — and has been replaced by the State of the Industry Reception.

“We’ve changed the format and will hold the event in the Palazzo Theatre, off the casino floor,” Dolnack said. “There will be a reception, followed by a State of the Industry address from NSSF Board of Governors Chairman Bob Scott and NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti.”

On Tuesday, January 23, the State of the Industry Reception will begin with hors d’oeuvres and an open bar from 5:30 p.m. until 6:15 p.m. This will be followed immediately by the State of the Industry address, delivered by NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti and NSSF Board Chairman Bob Scott. The event will conclude at 7:00 p.m.

With even more emphasis on networking, the 2018 State of the Industry Reception has been redesigned to give attendees more time to interact with their industry colleagues and take in the world-famous Las Vegas hospitality. Further information is available at

Although the new, condensed State of the Industry Reception will not accommodate live entertainment (a hallmark of the State of the Industry Dinner in years past), the Venetian will host two nights of entertainment with comedian Jeff Foxworthy. A perennial show favorite, Foxworthy will celebrate the 40th anniversary of SHOT Show by taking the stage of the Venetian Theatre Jan. 24 and 25 at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at

Educational Opportunities

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, January 22, 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

The 2018 SHOT Show U is shaping up to be another great learning experience for retailers. It features two keynotes: Julie Golob’s “Leadership Through Influence” and John O’Leary’s can’t-miss session “On Fire: The 7 Choices To Ignite A Radically Inspired Life.” Four education tracks — Retailing 101, Master’s Class, Range Operation and Compliance — with 16 different courses are designed to meet the needs of every range or retail operator.

Retailers following the Retailing 101 track will learn about dealer liability for firearms-related injuries and buying vs. leasing. The ATF Compliance track will include a Form 4473 review, and training on the Acquisition and Disposition Record and NFA compliance. On the Master’s track, retailers will explore maintaining retail relevancy and new media marketing. The Range Operations track will look at the evolution of the modern range and using technology to grow membership.

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. Topics in the Retailer Seminars are developed from inquiries and feedback received all year long from retailers themselves and from a special retail advisory council. Retailer Seminars run throughout the SHOT Show, giving attendees the flexibility to mix each day with education and exhibits. As of the middle of September, 12 seminars were planned but more could be in the offing. Topics include navigating the NICS system, using YouTube and digital ads to grow your business, engaging urban communities, handling today’s media and an ATF town hall meeting.

Besides SHOT Show U and the retailer seminars, there also will be classes for working law enforcement officers: the Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP). The program is free for law enforcement officers, but they should register ahead of time. More information about the LEEP program is on line at

After a sold-out inaugural 2017 Executive Management Seminar, NSSF is once again offering this specialized training, which addresses the needs of industry professionals from up-and-coming managers to presidents and CEOs. Taking place Monday, Jan. 22, this seminar will cover the hottest management techniques and business practices in the industry today. Participants will hear from leading authorities on topics such as how to thrive in a changing market, cultivating leadership skills, workforce development, avoiding derailment and improving mental toughness to make better decisions.

This seminar is open to NSSF members for $275 and non-members for $375. You can register for the Executive Management Seminar when you enroll for SHOT Show, or you can log into your 2018 dashboard to add this event.
Registration is now open. Sign up at

Parting Thoughts

Although there are plenty of other industry events during the business year, none of them can match the depth and breadth of SHOT Show’s impact.

“The SHOT Show is the one place you can go to see everything and everyone to give you a competitive edge. Where else can a retailer go and meet the company president and the engineer who designed a new product? When an in-store customer asks about the product, the retailer can quote the company president or engineer,” Dolnack concluded.

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