The 40th Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade ShowSM(SHOT Show®), owned and operated by the National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), celebrated the milestone with more events than ever before. Strong attendance, upbeat buyers and sellers, and a series of packed special events that collectively made up “SHOT Week” resulted in another top-rated SHOT Show.
SHOT Show is the largest trade show of its kind in the world, attracting attendees from more than 100 countries. “From our humble beginnings in St. Louis in 1979, to now being one of the leading trade shows in the world, we’ve come a long way in 40 years,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer.
The show spanned Jan. 23-26 at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas. More than 60,000 industry professionals packed the aisles over four days eager to view new, innovative products used for target shooting, hunting, outdoor recreation and law enforcement purposes.
“We had good, reputable media coverage, both print writers and video, and had more time to discuss products with buyers and media,” said JJ Reich of Vista Outdoor. “It was a great show all together, with lots of traffic.”
Smith & Wesson’s Chris Bovat stated, “Everything went smoothly, from set up and arrival of all of our gear, to the actual running of the booth. 2018 was great for us.”
“It was a hugely successful year for us … we’ve done more business at the 2018 show than ever before,” Patty Cueller at Aguila Ammunition reported.
The SHOT Show has grown exponentially since it started in 1979, in St. Louis. That inaugural show attracted 5,600 attendees and had 290 exhibitors covering 51,153 net square feet of exhibit space. Compare that to the 2018 show with an attendance of more than 60,000 and attracting 1,660 exhibiting companies occupying more than 645,000 net square feet of space, completing filling the Sands Expo. Taking the new, two-day Suppliers Showcase into account, more than 2,100 companies exhibited at SHOT Show this year.
NSSF introduced a new, streamlined State of the Industry format that was well received. Big moments at the reception were the presentation of the NSSF Ken Sedlecky Lifetime Achievement Award to legendary outdoor communicator Tom Gresham and NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti sharing a series of priorities that industry will focus on to help protect its future and that of its customers.
There were thousands of products for buyers to see on the show floor, encompassing firearms, ammunition, accessories, optics, knives, gun safes, apparel and law enforcement equipment, among other categories. Nearly 550 new products from 367 companies were on display in the show’s New Product Center, sponsored by U.S. Concealed Carry Association. In addition to the more than 1,660 exhibiting companies on the main show floors, the NEXT 2.0 Pavilion provided 100 first-time vendors from the show’s extensive waiting list with welcome visibility and potential new customers.
The show drew excellent reviews.
“Our company has only been up and running since October, so I don’t think there has ever been an actual brand-launch here at SHOT Show, so that may be a first,” said Phil Davy at VIKTØS.
“All of our expectations were met, and as always we had a great show, doing lots of business. We’re looking forward to next year, for sure,” said Winchester Ammunition’s Nathan Robinson.
SHOT Show’s official opening on Tuesday was preceded by many events.
The kickoff event was the 4th Annual NSSF/HAVA Golf Classic on Sunday in support of Honored American Veterans Afield, which works to aid the healing process of military veterans through hunting and other shooting sports activities. More than $200,000 has been raised in support of this effort since the golf outing began in 2015.
Monday saw some of the SHOT Show’s most popular pre-show events — SHOT Show University, an education forum for retailers; Industry Day at the Range, an opportunity for media and buyers to experience hands-on testing of products; the Executive Management Seminar, providing business information to executives and rising managers; and the expanded two-day Supplier Showcase, featuring more than 460 third-party OEM suppliers of plastics, metals, tools, fabrics and software that were able to reach a crowd of more than 4,000 designers, engineers, purchasing agents and others in the manufacturing sector.
In addition to title sponsors Ram Trucks, U.S. Concealed Carry Association and Daniel Defense, SHOT Show supporters included Aguila Ammunition, Lucas Oil, Freedom Munitions, GunBroker.com, Mossy Oak, Carhartt, SIG Sauer, Smith & Wesson, VIKTØS, Vista Outdoor and Winchester Ammunition.
Preparations have already begun for next year’s 41st SHOT Show, which will return to the Sands Expo on January 22-25, 2019.