January 20, 2020
By Lynn Burkhead
LAS VEGAS – In the year 1979, the U.S. was going through the beginning phases of a contentious election cycle that would send President Jimmy Carter back home to Georgia after one term and usher in the era of Ronald Reagan as the actor-turned-chief executive moved east from California.
With that as the backdrop, a new trade show emerged upon the nation’s horizon as the first ever Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show—known to millions now as the SHOT Show—raised the curtain in St. Louis.
This week, some 42 years later, another contentious election cycle is underway as the nation rushes towards Election Day this November. And against that backdrop, the 2020 SHOT Show will open its doors once again for a four-day Jan. 21-24 run in Las Vegas at the Sands Expo and Convention Center.
Like the nation itself over the past four decades, the SHOT Show has certainly changed during its ongoing history.
For starters, back in 1979, the first SHOT Show had only 290 exhibitors, some 5,600 in attendance, and a floor space of only 5,200-square feet.
At the 2018 version of the SHOT Show, the number of exhibitors had grown to more than 2,100, the attendance had swelled to more than 63,000 people, and the floor space had grown to a staggering 656,000 square feet.
And this year, those numbers are likely to increase even more as an anticipated 2,400+ exhibitors (including those in the Supplier Showcase and Pop-Up Preview portions of the show) are expected to be in Vegas. With more than 692,000-square feet of exhibit space being occupied—that’s nearly 16 acres of ground—attendees will walk more than 12.5 miles of aisles, or a distance that measures out to just a little less than half a marathon.
To put those numbers in perspective, the host National Shooting Sports Foundation says that the SHOT Show now covers as much or more ground as the New Orleans Superdome does or even the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. All told, the NSSF says that the total weight of exhibits at the 2019 gathering exceeds more than 7 million pounds, the largest such figure in Sands history.
A good chunk of that weight came from more than 15,000 firearms (for display on the show floor) being inspected and tagged by the SHOT Show Safety Advisory Team. And from the looks of things at Monday’s Industry Day at the Range, expect even more firearms to be on display at SHOT this year.
Those firearms and all of the other outdoors gear shown this week in Vegas make up a trade show that is so large now that attendees would be able to spend no more than 22 seconds—yes, 22 seconds! —in an exhibitor’s booth to visit all of the booths during the four-day run.
All that number-speak makes the SHOT Show the largest trade show held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, the fifth largest trade show in Vegas and the 19th largest trade show anywhere in the nation.
But the counting of noses isn't the only thing that tallies up big at the yearly trade show. The nickels are plenty big, too, since the 2019 SHOT Show brought in more than $88 million dollars to the Las Vegas economy.
That's not hard to fathom when you consider that the firearms, ammunition, and outdoor gear manufacturers form an industry that has a staggering total economic impact of $52 billion dollars and supports more than 312,000 jobs across the country.
The voluminous and profitable show, which attracts exhibitors, buyers, and media from all 50 U.S. states and 110+ countries, is owned and operated by the NSSF. And this year, the organization says it will issue more than 2,400 credentials to members of the outdoors and firearms press in town to cover the show.
As a once-a-year gathering place for manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, buyers, publishers, media members, and various non-profit groups, the 2020 SHOT Show continues its run of being held in Las Vegas every year since 2010. Overall, this is the 22nd time the show has been held in Vegas, more than any other host city.
In addition to showing what’s new in the outdoors and firearms industry, NSSF’s annual Vegas run helps to generate millions of revenue dollars necessary to fund many of the organization’s ongoing programs and services that help promote, protect and preserve America’s 2nd Amendment rights as well as our hunting and shooting sports heritage.
As has been the case in previous years, the 2020 SHOT Show will be covered from start to finish by Outdoor Sportsman Group, which has assembled dozens of dedicated professionals in Vegas this week to cover the show and meet with clients.
Look for wall-to-wall, continuing coverage of the 2020 SHOT Show beginning today and continuing all week on several OSG digital and print platforms, including Game & Fish among others.
Also look for show coverage in future Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel and MOTV programming, thanks to attendance and filming by a number of OSG’s premiere outdoors television stars, some of the biggest and brightest names in the business.
If all of that isn’t enough, don’t forget to visit OSG’s various social media platforms all week to find complete coverage of SHOT Show 2020 with new product previews, compelling interviews, and plenty more.
What’s the bottom line here this week? Simply this – the SHOT Show is big and then some. So, if you’re not in Vegas attending the show this week, do the next best thing and tune into OSG platforms all week long for the biggest and the best coverage of SHOT Show 2020!