LAS VEGAS — The Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade ShowSM (SHOT Show®), owned and operated by NSSF®—The Firearm Industry Trade Association—made a triumphant return to Las Vegas this week, bringing industry professionals together for the first time in two years and showing strong attendance.
Although the pandemic remains disruptive to American life, the SHOT Show and its attendees demonstrated a willingness to push forward to conduct business and at the same time pay close attention to health and safety precautions. In many respects, the 44th SHOT Show exceeded expectations.
“With our largest floor plan in history, more than 2,400 attending exhibitors, and thousands of buyers here to make new and meaningful connections, we couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome of this SHOT Show,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer. “This is a very tactile business, and it means a lot to buyers to be able to see and handle our industry’s products in person. To our exhibitors, buyers, media, and everyone associated with making this year’s show a success, we extend our sincerest appreciation.”
NSSF President and CEO Joe Bartozzi emphasized that the SHOT Show is the engine that helps fund NSSF’s efforts to protect industry businesses and fuel their success. “SHOT participants and supporters play a huge role in protecting the industry,” Bartozzi said. “NSSF could not do what we do on behalf of industry without the financial support of this show.”
The SHOT Show, which ran January 18-21, put a huge range of products for target shooting, hunting, outdoor recreation, personal defense and law enforcement purposes on display. Attendees were optimistic for another year of strong sales of firearms, ammunition and accessories—and with good reason given back-to-back record-breaking years for firearm purchases. From 2020 through 2021, background checks related to firearm sales reached 40 million, with more than 11 million Americans purchasing a firearm for the first time for reasons of personal security, target shooting and hunting.
This was the largest SHOT Show ever and marked the first year of expanded exhibit space at Caesars Forum, in addition to The Venetian Expo. More than 2,400 companies displayed products and services in booths covering more than 800,000 net square feet, an increase from the 692,000 net square feet of the 2020 show. (The 2021 SHOT Show was conducted virtually.)
Coupled with more than 43,000 registered attendees, the result was a success not only for SHOT Show but also a confidence builder for those who track Las Vegas conventions. SHOT Show and other trade shows are hugely important to the city’s economy. As the fifth largest trade show in Las Vegas, the SHOT Show provides an estimated $88 million in non-gaming revenue to the city.
On the international front, the SHOT Show had representatives from 115 countries register, and despite the significant travel restrictions throughout the world, individuals from 100 countries descended on Las Vegas and the SHOT Show, making it truly a worldwide event. The SHOT Show—which is not open to the public and is for industry professionals only—is the largest trade show of its kind in the world.
The expansion at Caesars Forum provided hundreds of companies the opportunity to move from the show’s waiting list to booth space on the show floor. Small and medium-size companies, in particular, benefitted by being able to reach thousands of potential customers. The new venue received high marks from exhibitors and attendees and provided spacious areas for the show’s New Product Center and the new SHOT Show eXtra table-top exhibitors section.
“Love the new facility, the comfortable flooring and the lighting,” said Mike Smith of Dead Air Silencers. “From our perspective, the people who are here really wanted to be here. They were really focused on business and also catching up in person.”
The overarching sentiment was that while attendance was somewhat down from the last in-person show, there were many positives to take away from this SHOT Show.
At Winchester Ammunition’s booth, Nathan Robinson said, “Business is good and everyone is happy. We’re not here to see the most people but to see those people who want to do business.”
Jeff Penn of Sightron, maker of precision optical equipment, said, “The show has been good to us. We’ve spent quality time with customers and made meaningful contacts. We were able to tell our story to people.”
Tara Yager of ETS Group, known for its clear polymer magazines, was pleased with seeing so many international attendees. “We’ve had lots of international interest in carrying our brand,” she said.
Jonathan Solomon of retailer Redstone Firearms said, “We were able to find new solutions, negotiate better pricing and bond with like-minded people. SHOT Show exceeded our expectations. This event has definitely helped Redstone with plans to continue to grow in 2022 and beyond.”
At Ergo Grips, Xavier O’Connell noted, “We are very pleased to see SHOT Show happen. People who are here were ready to talk business.”
Steve Thomas and Brad Knopf of Range Systems pointed out that “people were prepared to re-engage.”
“Even though attendance was down, we made good contacts and had good conversations,” said Tim Mourning of Doublestar, manufacture of modern sporting rifles and 1911-style pistols.
One of the most well-attended special events was the NSSF Governors’ Forum, where six governors discussed the importance of firearm businesses to their economies and their efforts to attract firearm- and ammunition-related companies to locate in their state. Across America, the $7.1 billion firearm industry supports more than 342,000 jobs. “One of the reasons we’re all here is to show our support for the Second Amendment to our neighbors and communities,” said Nebraska Governor Peter Ricketts.
Hall of Fame Honors Industry’s Leaders
NSSF announced its 2021 and 2022 Hall of Fame inductees, honoring one woman and five men who left indelible marks in the industry and the shooting sports. The NSSF Hall of Fame was launched at the 2020 show to honor industry leaders for their contributions to NSSF, the SHOT Show and the heritage of target shooting and hunting in America.
Women of the Gun Award
At the sold-out “Women of the Gun Event,” champion shooter and firearm safety advocate Julie Golob was named the winner of its first-ever Woman of the Gun Award. The award recognizes Golob’s achievements and contributions to the shooting sports, plus her work to promote the mission and message of the industry’s firearm safety program—Project ChildSafe®
The two-day Supplier Showcase featured 540 OEM third-party suppliers meeting with exhibiting manufacturers and exploring their needs for extrusions, fabrication, fabrics, machinery, metal, plastics, software, logistical support and tools. Supplier Showcase exhibitor Scott Schaffer, President of Gun Snot, maker of firearm lubricants, said, “We have created so many good contacts, it is ridiculous. The return on investment is off the charts, and we’re grateful we got into the show.”
‘SHOT Week’ Highlights
Many official show events cluster around the four days of SHOT Show itself, creating “SHOT Week.” Among them was the NSSF/HAVA Golf Classic in support of Honored American Veterans Afield, a firearm industry-run charitable organization that helps the healing of disabled combat veterans through participation in hunting and the shooting sports. Also, Industry Day at the RangeTM on the day before SHOT Show benefitted from excellent weather and attracted more than 1,700 members of the media and buyers, as well as 175 exhibiting companies.
Outdoor Demo Space & Welcome Back
For the first time in over a decade, SHOT Show had an expansive outdoor space, where hands-on demonstrations by manufacturers were presented and where a Welcome Back Happy Hour for thousands of show attendees and exhibitors was hosted Wednesday evening by NSSF.
Recognizing the Show’s Sponsors
Major sponsors of this year’s show were Daniel Defense, Norma Ammo, USCCA, Viktos, Guns.com, Timber Creek Outdoors, Credova, SCCY Firearms, FN and Ram.
NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearm retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit nssf.org.