In stark contrast to the bitterly cold weather that greeted those attending the 2015 ATA Show earlier this month in Indianapolis, standard-issue chamber of commerce weather for the Las Vegas Valley is making its presence known this week.
With more than 1,600 vendors and an expected show crowd pushing past the 60,000 people mark, that’s good news for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) as the 36th annual SHOT Show (www.shotshow.org) opened on Tuesday in Las Vegas at the Sands Expo and Convention Center.
The first day of SHOT Show business on Tuesday featured numerous industry announcements, product unveilings and personalities making autograph signing appearances at the huge number of booths on the show floor. While it will be a while before any official numbers are announced, the show aisles were very congested, suggesting that this year’s show will be robust from start to finish.
With much to see and many industry representatives to meet up with, the OutdoorChannel.com editorial crew found plenty of opportunities on Tuesday to gather content and photos while checking out the latest and greatest in the shooting, hunting and outdoors world.
With that backdrop, here are the initial sights, sounds and comments that grabbed our attention.
2015 SHOT Show As Big As Ever
After its best SHOT Show ever a year ago, NSSF officials are predicting an even bigger and better event this year. “We’re coming off our largest and most successful show last year – a bar we welcome and hope to exceed with the 2015 SHOT Show,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF senior vice president and chief marketing officer, in a news release. “Our goal each year is to provide our customers with their finest SHOT Show experience ever.” According to the NSSF (www.nssf.org), this year’s show floor exceeds 630,000 net square feet, a measure that is equivalent to the more than 13-acres that the Great Pyramid at Giza covers. That translates into nearly 12.5 miles of aisles for 2015 SHOT Show attendees to explore during the event’s four days. Over that time, NSSF officials say that the event will pump some $90 million in non-gambling revenue into the local economy.
Comedian Bill Engvall Entertains NSSF State of the Industry Dinner Crowd
Known for his participation in the famous “Blue Collar Comedy Tour,” Las Vegas comedy show regular Bill Engvall had a crowd of nearly 2,000 people in stitches from non-stop laughter on Tuesday night. Engvall entertained the NSSF’s annual State of the Industry dinner where attendees heard about the current health of the shooting and hunting industry in addition to gaining insight on the important work being done by the NSSF. Engvall performed in pinch-hit fashion after longtime Tonight Show host Jay Leno abruptly cancelled his previously scheduled appearance at the event several weeks ago when anti-gun forces became critical of his appearance at the dinner.
Firearms Industry Remains Ablaze
While not as robust as the red-hot, record setting year of 2013, NSSF officials indicate that 2014 nonetheless marked one of the strongest years ever recorded in terms of gun purchases. Evidence of that can be found in the number of 2014 federal background checks performed with gun purchases, an indicator that was second only to the number of background checks seen in 2013.
“Our industry continues to see new and different customers embrace firearms ownership and the shooting sports,” said Steve Sanetti, NSSF president and CEO, in a news release. “New gun owners – someone who has purchased their first firearm in the last five years – represent about a quarter of the total and they are younger, female, urban/suburban-based and from many ethnic backgrounds.”
Sanetti says that these new firearms owners are “…altering people’s perceptions of who firearm owners are and what they look like.”
“It’s very gratifying to see the broad-based appeal of our sports and culture,” he added. “As an industry, we are determined not only to provide people with excellent gear to enjoy recreational shooting but also to deter legislation intended to burden law-abiding gun owners and provide appropriate safety and educational materials to help deter unauthorized access to firearms.”
Outdoor Channel’s Safe Haven Documentary Shown at SHOT Show
At the first day of SHOT Showcase Theater in the Sands Showroom at The Venetian hotel, Outdoor Channel’s Safe Haven documentary was shown to those attending. The NSSF indicates that the documentary looks at the history of Gun Free Zones in the United States, and how effective or in-effective they have been. With interviewed comments from attack survivors, school officials, law enforcement and researchers providing a portion of the video’s backdrop, Safe Haven looks at results from Gun Free Zones and explores possible solutions. These solutions offer advice that can better protect schools, business locations and the general public from attacks than the idea of Gun Free Zones.
Outdoor Channel Live! Features SHOT Show Stream
Want to see firsthand what’s happening in Las Vegas at the 2015 SHOT Show? Then visit www.outdoorchannel.com later today at 7 p.m. ET to see a live daily recap from the show floor. Ed Head, Michael Bane and yours truly will provide an overview of the day including reports on new products unveiled, recaps of events that take place today on the SHOT Show floor and the latest in Outdoor Channel celebrity sightings and news as this year’s Golden Moose Awards draws near.
Beretta A400 Extreme
As the world’s oldest gunmaker, Beretta USA (www.beretta.com) continues to push the shotgun shooting envelope with its introduction of the new A400 Extreme shotgun in black synthetic, Optifade or Max-5 camo finishes. Gas-operated and able to handle shells from 2 ¾ inches to 3 ½ inches, the new Beretta scattergun also features a Micro-Core recoil pad. Weighing 7.8 pounds and using the OBF-HP interchangeable choke tube system, this new Beretta shotgun should be a winner in the duck blind.
Remington V3 Shotgun
One of America’s oldest and best gunmakers is making waves in the shotgun world with the introduction of the new V3 semi-auto gas-operated shotgun. Able to shoot 2 ¾ and 3 inch-shells thanks to the shotgun’s SASG2 Gas system, this 12-gauge model features twin-bead sights, a self-cleaning action and the Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades finish on the receiver and stock (in the Field Sport 12/28 model), this 7.2 pound shotgun should win over plenty of new waterfowling enthusiasts.
Notes and Quotes…
Outdoor Channel television personality Jim Shockey made a number of booth appearances to sign autographs, pose for photos and deliver seminar talks. At one such talk, with his daughter Eva Shockey sitting nearby, Shockey laughingly asked if anyone could explain why Eva had so many more social media fans than he did.
Speaking of Eva Shockey, the immensely popular Outdoor Channel television personality and current huntress queen was featured in a cover story in the Jan. 20, 2015 edition of SHOT Business Daily, a news magazine provided to attendees each morning. In that interview, Shockey talked about the pros and cons of social media and how it has allowed her to promote hunting along with attracting criticism. “My entire life has been in the digital age, so social media is something I’m used to,” Shockey was quoted in the SHOT Business Daily story. She then added that “My dad warned me that I would be a target for anti-hunters. Regardless, social media is an unbelievably great platform to promote my passion and connect with fans, so I decided early on that I’m willing to deal with the hurtful comments if it means encouraging others in a positive way to join and proudly enjoy hunting.”
The Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) and the NSSF awarded the prestigious Grits Gresham Shooting Sports Communicator Award on Tuesday. This year’s award went to Mark A. Keefe, IV, the magazine editor-in-chief of American Rifleman and the editor of Outdoor Channel’s American Rifleman Television program…