While you slept on January 18, we took a significant step toward returning to normalcy in the firearms industry. The Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show, more commonly known as the SHOT Show, returned to an in-person exhibition in January 2022 with strong attendance. 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.
SHOT, as we longtime attendees call it — is owned and operated by NSSF, the firearms-industry trade association. 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.”
SHOT, which ran January 18-21, puts 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 gun 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.
The 2022 event was the largest physical SHOT Show ever, and it 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. 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 attended.
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, benefited by being able to reach thousands of potential customers. “Love the new facility, the comfortable flooring and the lighting,” said Mike Smith of Dead Air Silencers. At Winchester Ammunition’s booth, Nathan Robinson said, “Business is good and everyone is happy.” At Ergo Grips, Xavier O’Connell said, “We are very pleased to see SHOT Show happen.”
It’s important to our Gun Tests coverage for us to attend as well. It gives the writers a chance to put their grubby mitts on the goods and see what lights our fires. That will be reflected in our articles for the rest of the year and into 2023.