Calling the shots

GTN looks ahead to the 2020 SHOT Show with the event organisers and headline sponsors

SHOT Show is owned and sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry. The show is produced and managed by ConvExx and sponsored by GBSA partner Streamlight.

Each year, the show welcomes exhibitors, buyers, media and industry professionals from all 50 states and over 100 countries. Held at Sands Expo Centre in Las Vegas, the show will run from 21-24 January 2020.

Since the first SHOT Show in 1979, attendances have risen from 4,700 to over 60,000 and as the largest – and heaviest – event held at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, SHOT Show now exhibits over the equivalent of 10.9 American football fields.

To prove the scale of the event, if you were to visit every individual booth during the show’s runtime, you would only have about 22 seconds at each one. 

Mark Oliva replaced the retiring Michael Bazinet as director of public affairs in 2019. He explained: “SHOT Show provides a venue to the industry to showcase the latest models of firearms across the range recreational shooting, hunting and self-defence markets.

It is the epicentre for the newest and most popular of modern firearms. It allows manufacturers, distributors, retailers and ranges to plan annual sales and orders. 

“The SHOT Show is to the firearms industry what the Detroit Auto Show is the auto world. This is where manufacturers bring to market the years of research and development for their products for firearms, ammunition and related accessories.

The show has been held at Sands Expo Centre, near the world famous Venetian Resort, since 2010. Mark adds that it will be SHOT’s home for the ‘foreseeable future’. He commented: “Las Vegas is a good fit for the SHOT Show and the Sands has been accommodating to our growth.

“SHOT Show has maximised every available square inch of exhibition space. The National Shooting Sports Foundation is in the planning stages to grow the show to additional locations in Las Vegas.

With traders visiting Vegas from across the globe, SHOT has established relationships with markets from America, Europe and Asia. “SHOT Show features the leading manufacturers as well as growing manufacturers across the country and the world.

Bornaghi Italy, Cheddite France, Chiappa Firearms Italy, Istanbul Silah – Istanbul Arms, J.G.Anschütz GmbH & Co are among the international companies who will exhibit this year,” says Mark. 

“Additionally, many of the US-based manufacturers, including Beretta USA, Benelli USA, FN, Colt, Remington, SIG Sauer and others that export firearms will be exhibiting. The SHOT Show is regularly attended by international attendees, including foreign law enforcement and military representatives.”

Mark served as a US Marine for 25 years, including tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, alongside British troops. It was here that Mark gained an appreciation of the UK’s shooting market. “The professionalism and love of the shooting sports shown by our British allies was the hallmark of those tours,” he recalls. 

“It was a fond memory to share our stories of days chasing wild game in the field. I was able to strike up a friendship with a British Royal Marine in Washington DC, with whom I shared a dove hunt in Virginia. His recollections of stag hunts in Scotland, driven hunts in England and dove hunts during his tours in South Africa struck a chord.

“There is a deep tradition and respect for wildlife that we shared and his stories are the reason I’ve made it a goal to ‘cross the pond’, don the tweed and make my own memories of the British hunting traditions.”

As the largest firearms trade show in America, if not the world, the event draws tens of thousands of attendees each year and has a waiting list of exhibitors planning to bring their products to the market.

Mark explains: “The benefit of SHOT Show to the firearms and ammunition industry is it provides a venue to showcase the latest innovations. The technology incorporated into today’s firearms and ammunition translates to production firearms that exceed the quality of custom firearms of yesteryear. 

“Todays hunters and recreational shooters are seeking precision firearms that deliver performance in the most austere and demanding environments.

“Hunters who go abroad for a once-in-a-lifetime hunt or those who rely on their firearms for military and law enforcement service, or self-defence, want to know their firearms, ammunition and the accessories that are used with them, will perform exactly as advertised each and every time. SHOT Show is a place for these manufacturers to showcase their products that do just that.

“Planning for this year’s SHOT Show literally began even before last year’s show concluded. We are very proud of the event we provide for our members and attendees and look forward to welcoming them to our doors.” 

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