With a blast, many of them in fact, the 15th annual Industry Day at the Range took place on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, serving as the unofficial kickoff to a week of SHOT Show business.
Held under cloudy, cool skies at the spacious Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club lying beneath a backdrop of arid mountains outside of Las Vegas, the event took place in two waves with media members getting first crack at new firearms and ammunition. At midday, even more attendees entered through the tightly controlled gates as invited buyers, dealers, distributors and retailers arrived from around the country.
In many ways, the day served as a microcosm of the Second Amendment way of life that draws tens of thousands to Las Vegas every year to attend the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoors Trade Show every year.
That show unveils new products and innovations annually for the 100 million firearms owners in the U.S. and the 50 million target shooters and hunters who use their firearms responsibly every year.
In addition to guns and ammunition, there were also plenty of other things on display at the 2020 version of Range Day, including crossbows, hunting knives, cooking equipment, survival gear, industry services, cleaning gear, optics, camouflage clothing, and even vehicles designed for outdoors enthusiasts.
But the biggest attraction of the day was clearly the new firearms, bullets, and shotshells that attendees flocked to try out at dozens of shooting stations scattered across the Nevada desert floor.
While there’s no real estimate of how many actual rounds were fired on Monday—rounds consisting of big game rifle bullets, rimfire ammunition, long-range ammo, handgun rounds, personal defense shotgun shells, and shotshell loads for upland birds and waterfowl—past figures have been reported to be as high as the half-million range.
Whatever the number of spent cartridges and shells was this year, the need for ear and eye protection was constant as the sound of gunfire was present from the opening bell at 8:30 a.m. all the way until the day’s close at 4:30 p.m.
In all, 200 plus exhibitors gave the more than 1,800 attendees a preview of what they’ll see on the exhibit floor when the doors of the Sands Expo and Convention Center swing open for business on Tuesday for the Jan. 21-24 run of the 42nd SHOT Show.
But the difference at Industry Day at the Range was that those in attendance got to actually put their hands onto products…and pull the trigger.
From the latest in carry handguns to carefully crafted side-by-side bird hunting shotguns, to the latest in deer rifles, to the various long-range calibers capable of punching targets as far as 1,000 yards downrange, there was a little something for everyone to line up and shoot.
There was also plenty of new ammunition to fire as well with innovative new personal defense rounds, non-toxic waterfowl loads, upland bird loads, and the latest in bullets crafted to take down big bucks and bulls next fall.
One of the highlights of the day was an innovative new way for big game hunters to fire a smokepole each fall, the NitroFire muzzleloader from Traditions Performance Firearms and the Federal Premium Ammunition Firestick. When Hodgdon powder, a bullet and a 209-shotgun primer are all combined with the collaborative system, the result is a muzzleloading innovation that drew the interest of many, including Game & Fish editor Adam Heggenstaller.
Heggenstaller and many other brand ambassadors for Outdoor Sportsman Group magazines, social media platforms, and websites were in attendance at Monday’s annual Range Day. The considerable OSG presence produced plenty of new product videos, social media streams and posts, and a collection of upcoming digital and print stories that will all come together over the next few days to tell the story of SHOT Show 2020.
With Range Day now in the rearview mirror, stay tuned this week for plenty more as OSG’s collection of editors, writers, and TV personalities flood the exhibit floor in Vegas for the 42nd edition of the SHOT Show. By the time the doors close on Friday, expect the best wall-to-wall coverage to be found anywhere in the outdoors industry.