By Carolee Anita
Just as it is every year, SHOT Show 2020 was busy and crowded. With only mild jitters about the impending impeachment hearings in the air, retailers were looking for ways to ramp up their business for 2020.
After the show, Shooting Industry asked retailers and exhibitors about their show experience, what they liked and what they expect to see for 2020.
Dr. Samir Patel, an orthopedic surgeon who owns Midwest Shooting Center in Criderville, Ohio, was attending the SHOT Show for only the second time.
“Overall the show is very overwhelming,” he noted. “I’ve learned an agenda is very important prior to arriving. As a range and retailer, we take the opportunity to meet and negotiate with vendors and suppliers. It gives us an opportunity to see some new technology and products we can utilize to enrich our patrons’ experience.”
Patel shared there were times when he felt he was competing for attention from exhibitors.
“The SHOT Show is such a large venue catering to the needs of social media influencers, publishers, L.E., military, marketing for manufacturers and, in many instances, directly to the regular consumer,” he said. “These are not negative attributes. But I wish there was perhaps more favor toward range owners and operators. Although SHOT provides a vast educational curriculum dedicated to this part of the industry, I left the show feeling as if I had to aimlessly siphon pearls that would help us improve our patrons’ experience.”
However, SHOT Show offers unmatched educational opportunities — which provided value to Patel’s team.
“SHOT University was especially useful for us,” he contended. “It also allowed us a chance to network with other range owners to discuss and share mistakes and opportunities to improve our business model.”
Barry Laws from Openrange Gun Range in Crestwood, Ky., noticed a change in the attendees at the show.
“There were a lot of younger, fit guys,” he observed. “I don’t know if they were military or who they were, or if the industry is just getting younger and I haven’t paid attention.”
Charles Largay from Nonesuch Precision Services focuses on the competitive shooting aspects of the SHOT Show.
“The major manufacturers are there with their salespeople, but they also have their technical people there,” he said. “This gives me a chance to have good, in-depth conversations with the technical folks.”
Firearms & Parts
Dickinson Arms introduced their Greenwing line of shotguns with an over/under 12-ga. that comes with either a black or chrome receiver.
“A lot of people like the black because the engraving stands out better,” shared Mick Cunningham, regional manager of Tim Bailey & Associates. “It comes with five choke tubes.”
Eric Ellersieck, a firearms trainer and consultant in California, liked the SIG SAUER P365 XL, Springfield Hellcat, Ruger-57 and Ruger LCP II .22 LR.
“These, like all new semi-auto handguns, are only available to law enforcement officers in California so market there is very limited,” he noted.
Iron City Rifle Works has moved into tactical with a rifle for 3-Gun competition.
“It loads fast, is very reliable and has great ergonomics,” added Jason Williams. “Quality is our first priority, followed by weight and then appearance.”
Laws spent most of his time on the first floor looking for new and unusual things.
Top 3 Scanned New Products
From SHOT Show’s New Product Center
1 | Pistol Brace Stabilizer Kit by Recover Tactical
2 | DryFireMag
3 | Longshot Target Camera by Target Vision
“A lot of what I saw was components for the AR-15 platform, which is completely dead in my area,” he noted. “Some of it was interesting, but it wasn’t particularly useful for me. When I did see something I liked and talked to the manufacturers, the margin was minimal. I’m not sure why I would jump in with a lot of these manufacturers when they weren’t really offering any reason to carry their product.”
Largay’s wife attended the show with him for the first time this year, looking for women’s products for competitive shooting. She found shotguns specifically sized for women from Franchi that stood out.
Remington released several new shotguns, including the Remington 870 pump-action turkey gun in .410. Advances in ammunition means hunting turkeys with high-density tungsten shot in a .410 now is feasible.
Miles Hall, a senior consultant of Hall-N-Hall and founder/former president of H&H Shooting Sports in Oklahoma City, called attention to Full Conceal’s unique folding pistol.
“One thing that leaped out to me was a folding pistol from Full Conceal,” he said. “It’s not new, but they’ve refined the product this year. They’ve taken a GLOCK and cut the grip in such a fashion it folds up. You can fit it in your pocket; you don’t need a holster.”
At Savage, the biggest new product was the Renegauge, a 12-ga. semi-auto, gas-operated shotgun. The gas system will cycle 3″ Magnum shells down to low-recoil loads with equal reliability.
The Smith & Wesson Performance Center M&Ps have transitioned to version 2.0.
“They come with optics cuts, Performance Center triggers, options with adjustable fiber optic sights as well as porting and adjustable over travel on the trigger,” said S&W Performance Center General Manager Tony Miele. “It’s available in 9mm and .40; 5″ and 4.25″ barrel lengths.”
Walther introduced the Q4 Steel Frame.
“It is more competition-oriented, and comes either with steel sights on it, or optics-ready,” shared Christoph Gröner, who works in Walther’s R&D Defense team. “It has all the reliability and ergonomics of the Q5, with a 4″ barrel.”
Ammo & Reloading
In the Black Hills Ammunition booth, Inspection Specialist Julie Gladfelter pointed out their new 6.5 Creedmoor, 120-gr. GMX load. Black Hills also has a new 152-gr. .308 Win. Match, 62-gr. 5.56mm and 127-gr. HoneyBadger load in .357 Mag.
Federal has partnered with conservationist, chef, author and hunter Steven Rinella to develop the MeatEater Trophy Copper line of rifle ammo, 3rd Degree turkey loads and new Federal Premium Bismuth shotshells. The MeatEater line also extends into CCI, with Copper-22 and Maxi-Mag and Mini-Mag .22 LR and JHP .22 WMR loads.
Hornady has added a line of handgun ammunition specifically for hunting: Handgun Hunter.
“It uses a 95% weight retention bullet that’s monolithic and lead free,” shared Preston Lentfer, Hornady technical service rep. “It has an elastomer tip, which creates beautiful expansion.”
Calibers include 9mm +P up to .460 S&W Mag.
“We’ve also added .30-30, .45-70 and .450 Bushmaster to our Blackout line,” Lentfer continued. “It’s important to guys out east who are restricted to straight-wall cartridges and who like to run suppressed. These are very quiet, and the bullets expand wonderfully at subsonic velocities.”
At Redding Reloading, EVP Robin Sharpless showed off a new slanted concentricity gauge.
Barnes launched some new handloading components, including a .30-caliber bullet designed for long-range shooting and a 6.5mm match bullet.
“On the ammo side, we have our Barnes Vortex shotshell loading our Expander slugs,” said Michael Painter, Barnes senior product manager. “We load 12- and 20-ga. in 2.75″ and 3″ shells.”
Winchester’s newest offering is AA Diamond Grade shotshells.
“This takes on the tradition of the historic AA ammunition, which has been around since 1965,” informed Ben Frank, Browning Ammunition brand manager. “We’re harder shot and copper plating it. It’s for serious sporting clays shooters.”
The company also has expanded its .350 Legend line to include a 255-gr. open-tipped suppressed round.
“It’s very quiet and fun to shoot,” Frank added.
Largay liked the new March Scopes’ new F glass scopes.
“It was great to get hands-on with them and compare it to some other new releases from other companies,” he said. “They also were giving a preview of their precision riflescope coming out later in the year. It’s expensive, but if you play the competitive shooting sports game to win, you need the best equipment you can afford.”
Largay also ordered scopes from Vortex Optics, Nightforce Optics and Athlon Optics.
“With those, I can cover the range of prices and capabilities for my customers,” he noted.
Hawke Optics has a new, small Nature-Trek monocular.
“It’s very compact, easy to carry and easy to use,” shared Ralph Askren, Hawke regional sales manager. “It comes ready to mount on a tripod or on a window unit.”
Faneema Cutlery specializes in knives made from Damascus steel.
“We have a factory in Pakistan,” said Ghulam Abbas, Faneema manager. “The metal is imported from the U.S. into Pakistan and the blades are made there. They then come back here and we finish them.”
Laws noted the We Knife Company, from China, makes some beautiful knives.
“I’m very excited about them and I wanted to become a dealer,” he said. “But they have a 20% margin. For me to take a risk on a Chinese company for a premium knife doesn’t make sense. I understand manufacturers trying to keep themselves healthy by not giving away margins, but if you don’t give away margins who wants to carry your product except discounters and big boxes?”
Eyes & Ears
Bei Bei Safety has developed a combined eye and ear protection product designed to make both more comfortable. Manager Jason Peng said by combining the two, the company has eliminated the discomfort of earmuffs pressing the tops of the ears into the earpieces of safety glasses.
N Ear offers custom-fitted hearing protection for shooters. Company Co-Founder Mads Staerke said it was designed as industrial ear protection, which has crossed over into hearing protection for shooters.
“We can also insert communication for two-way radios,” he said. “So, it can be used by a SWAT team.”
G-Tech has created a technology called Therma Grip, a heated bar that runs through the middle of a waist pouch or the front pouch of a hoodie.
“It heats your hands, which helps heat your core,” informed Parker Evans, G-Tech EVP of business development.
Ellersieck liked the SnapSafe line of security safes and lock boxes.
“There’s a large variety of sizes and types, with adequate quality and a price point that will work for my customers,” he said.
The American Rebel Safe Company stood out to Hall’s team.
“They’re still small enough they’re trying hard to cater to specific markets,” he said. “Some of the safes have a grease board on the front for an inventory of what’s inside.”
King’s Camo is a lifestyle brand designed for all kinds of outdoor activities, including hunting, birdwatching, outdoor travel and expeditions.
“Our camo is Rocky Mountain specific, and we feel it will provide the most effective results when hunting in high alpine areas,” relayed Preston Powell, president of Yukon Outfitters.
Glenn Rotkovich, owner of Lead Valley Range in Deer Trail, Colo., liked some of the new targets from Action Targets.
“They’re modular, so they give you the ability to hang different things on the base rather than have a pre-set target,” he said. “I can change these and make them different targets and get greater usage out of them.”
Largay noted the two-day Supplier Showcase is an awesome forum for parts and tools.
“There are all kinds of things that make my job as a gunsmith easier and faster,” he declared. “It’s a great piece of the show with great people.”
Additionally, Largay found the Pop-Up Preview on Wednesday particularly useful.
“It’s invaluable,” he noted. “There are new products and new things that can solve problems.”
Hall also called attention to the Supplier Showcase.
“It’s where a lot of dealers found all those little important things you can’t find anywhere else,” he said. “There are lots of gizmos and gadgets you just wouldn’t think of as being important, but they are.”
Editor’s Note: Additional excerpts from this article are available on www.shootingindustry.com.
For those who attended SHOT Show, what other products would you add to this list? Let the SI team know! email@example.com