Industry Optimistic After Strong Showing
At Annual Trade Show
By Jade Moldé
In describing the 2016 SHOT Show, the words “upbeat,” “energized” and “optimistic” were frequently used to describe the mood of attendees at the show. Given the current growth in the market and upcoming presidential election, show attendees were bullish about their 2016 prospects. This year’s show, held Jan. 19–22 at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas, attracted a record amount of buyers — showing the promise of a healthy start to the New Business Year. Exhibitors expressed widespread praise from their experiences at the show.
“Obviously, SHOT Show is important to us,” said Tom Taylor, SIG SAUER chief marketing officer and executive VP of commercial sales. “We made a huge investment in the booth because we want our customers to know we are a total system provider.”
“This year’s opening day was the best I’ve ever experienced, and we’ve been a SHOT Show exhibitor for decades,” said Robin Sharpless, Redding Reloading executive VP. “We are especially thrilled by the international presence — everyone wants to be a part of this industry.”
“This is the premier show for us, and once again this has been a very busy time,” said Paul Pluff, Smith & Wesson director of marketing communications. “The response to our new products have been fantastic, based on what we’re seeing, we’re very much looking forward to the year ahead.”
The buzz from attendees was echoed by NSSF officials, who rated the show a success.
“We’re ecstatic at the response to this year’s show,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF senior VP and chief marketing officer. “And we’re optimistic for a year of strong sales, shooter participation, business-to-consumer outreach efforts, safety education and technological innovation.”
NSSF reports this year’s show attracted more than 64,000 industry professionals, the second highest in show history. The fifth largest trade show in Vegas, SHOT Show 2016 had over 630,000 net square feet of product display and more than 1,600 exhibitors — including 60 new exhibitors on the main floor and 100 as part of the successful SHOT Show NEXT Pavilion.
The Industry Is “Alert”
Last year at the State of the Industry Dinner, NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti said the industry was “determined” in its efforts to educate the public and improve its mission to “promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports.” With renewed anti-gun/anti-industry attacks from those seeking elected office in November, Sanetti emphasized the industry should be “alert” in defending against false accusations during his annual address to the 2,400 people in attendance.
“We have to face the fact our industry is being blamed, and attacked, and pilloried unfairly by politicians, media and agenda-driven social engineers seeking a convenient scapegoat for the result of policies which, ironically, they themselves have championed,” Sanetti said during his annual address to attendees. “The state of our industry is, and must be throughout the year — alert.”
Sanetti highlighted the importance of the industry’s safety message and pointed to the success of programs like Project ChildSafe. Sanetti also placed the onus on manufacturers, distributors and retailers to provide the facts when interacting with those in their community.
“Persuasive, fact-based, confident, one-on-one communications with customers, suppliers, friends and family, are the best ways to gain support for our positions and cut through the cloud of emotions surrounding our issues. If something being proposed or discussed won’t work, say so, say why and say it often. This is especially important when lawmakers and media disparage your company, our industry and your customers,” he said.
SHOT Show NEXT Pavilion Success
In an effort to add first-time exhibitors to SHOT Show, NSSF created the SHOT Show NEXT Pavilion — which provided exposure for 100 companies. “It’s vital to the health of the show, as well as to the health of the industry, that new companies, new people and new products gain visibility,” Dolnack said. “The NEXT Pavilion is just the kind of adrenaline shot the show needs to keep evolving.”
First-time exhibitors were pleased with how much business they achieved at the show.
“I think the NEXT Pavilion has worked out well. It was a good deal, and I’ve probably sold a couple months’ worth of production,” said David Fillers, CEO of DDI, a manufacturer of AK-style rifles.
“We doubled up and had products in the New Product Center. I think that was critical to the good response I’ve had up here in the NEXT Pavilion. This has been phenomenal,” said Drew Gilkerson of Gunner Kennels.
Range Day For Buyers And Media
Held the day before SHOT Show’s opening day, the 11th Annual Industry Day at the Range provided both buyers and invited media an opportunity to test and learn about new products from 170 exhibitors. This year’s event broke records, with over 1,600 media and buyers attending.
“Industry Day at the Range has become an important component to the success of the SHOT Show, providing the opportunity for key industry media and buyers to test SHOT Show exhibitors’ new products before they hit the market,” Dolnack said.
“The valuable media coverage and interaction with buyers is the reason we exhibit at Industry Day year after year,” said Angela Harrell, who handles public relations for Heckler & Koch.
For those wanting to attend next year, CMG Marketing & Events and Triple Curl Advertising and PR — who own and operate Industry Day at the Range — recommend contacting an exhibitor you work closely with and request to be included on their invitation list.
Charitable Support For The Industry
During SHOT Show week, the industry widely supports veterans and preserves the tradition and future of the shooting sports. The 2nd Annual HAVA/NSSF Golf Classic was held on the Sunday before SHOT Show at the Bear’s Best Golf Club in Las Vegas. The event raised money to support HAVA’s mission of bringing healing to disabled veterans through participation in the shooting sports. One hundred golfers from the industry participated in the event, with 38 companies entering as foursomes or individuals.
“Increasing participation in the second year of the Golf Classic was a major goal, and the industry again showed its heart for the HAVA cause by increasing sponsor contributions by 160 percent and the number of players by 84 percent over last year,” said HAVA Chairman Tom Taylor. “HAVA’s cause of support for disabled veterans is a most worthy one, and our industry shows its best instincts as it repeatedly steps up together to further the rehabilitation of the disabled veterans and the wounded active military whom we serve.”
The 2016 SHOT Show Auction, hosted on GunBroker.com, raised $30,966 in support of hunting and the shooting sports. This year’s auction featured a series of “Western Heritage” firearms and a knife to highlight the artistry of legendary names in the sporting firearms industry.
With a winning bid of $14,591, a Baron-engraved Winchester Model 1866 was the top earning item in the auction. A Colt Single Action Army, donated by Colt and engraved by Baron Engraving, brought a high bid of $7,525, while a Doug Turnbull-restored Parker “Lifter Gun” raised $6,775. A Phil Evans hand-forged Bowie Knife fetched $2,075. The Hunting Heritage Trust manages the SHOT Show Auction.
Save The Date
The 2017 SHOT Show will return to the Sands Expo Jan. 17–20. Next year will be the 39th SHOT Show, while the 40th will be held Jan. 23–26, 2018. For more information, visit www.shotshow.org.
Bushnell’s New Warranty: “Yes, That’s Covered.”
Regardless of how your customer’s scopes and binoculars are damaged — on a company hunt, cross-country flight or family road trip — Bushnell has a new answer for these situations: “Yes, that’s covered.” They call it their “No Questions Asked Lifetime Warranty” and it applies to all riflescopes, binoculars and spotting scopes in the Trophy, Trophy Xtreme, Legend, Elite and Elite Tactical lines.
The new warranty, announced at the 2016 Archery Trade Association Show in Louisville, Ky., is fully transferable and covers accidental damage as well as manufacturer defects. The best part is the customer doesn’t need a receipt or warranty card to be covered. Bushnell will simply repair or replace the damaged product with one of equal or similar value and/or specifications. Plus, shipping is completely free.