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SHOT Show 2011
To those who live in Las Vegas, Nevada, mid-January equates to the winter season and therefore thicker clothing and a burning desire for summer temperatures. However, for those who were visiting the ‘City that never sleeps’, they were embraced by weather that hit the mid 20’s and lots of sunshine. If you happened to be at the Sands Convention Center, you would have experienced new firearms of every conceivable shape and size and function on display along with almost every known accessory available. The 2011 Sporting Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show, known as SHOT Show, was there and is the world’s largest trade show of this type with over 1,600 companies representing over 100 different countries displaying their wares across roughly 58,000 m2 (over 630,000 ft2) of floor space. Nearly 32,000 buyers and 2,100 media attended the four-day event, which represented a new record attendance in the many years that the SHOT Show has been in existence.
As always, The SHOT Show is a gathering of manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers that are vying for business of outfitters, dealers, retailers, as well as military and law enforcement divisions. From Ruger to Remington, Burris to Swarovski, and a myriad of other companies, they display their newest, their best, and in some cases their future designs of their respective products. With a new pair of comfortable sneakers, the author was able to navigate the miles of isles and meet and chat with a fair number of company representatives about their products and if and when they would be available to the Canadian market. It may surprise readers to learn that many of these companies are keen to do business in Canada. An inside source to the author claimed that Canada represents 4% of the total market for US firearms industry, which seems like a small percentage unless you take into account that 95% of firearms produced in the USA are domestically sold. That means that Canada represents 80% of the export market for US manufacturers.
There were a few interesting news items as well as product launches at the SHOT Show. One of the most interesting and least publicized was that Khar Arms, known for small, concealable, self-defense handguns had bought Magnum Research, home of the well-known BFR and Desert Eagle handgun product lines. Kel-Tec has become a big name in the industry with new design concepts and product launches, and 2011 was no exception. Their newest product, the KSB, is a compact pump-action shotgun measuring 663mm (26.1”) long and having a barrel length of 470mm (18.5”), designed specifically with an eye towards the firearm restrictions in Canada. While not necessarily a great choice for hunting from capacity limitations, it does cater to one of the fastest growing firearm markets in Canada. Chiappa Firearms, an Italian firearms company, primarily known for excellent quality reproductions of Sharps rifles and classic Winchester lever actions, now produces the Rhino revolver. Several companies were displaying products for the 2012 Olympics such as Walther and Anschütz, and some companies were trying to get into the popular trends such as the introduction of Smith and Wesson’s Governor, a .410 revolver designed to compete with the Taurus Judge. The scale and depth of what is available in the industry is phenomenal and would take a novel to list and describe them all properly.
The organization behind the success of the show, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) also celebrated its 50th anniversary and recounted how prior to the first SHOT Show back in 1979, organizers were worried that nobody in the industry would show up to the event. Obviously they need not have worried, with the wrap up of the 33rd SHOT Show, and a record attendance, the vitality of this grand trade show is thriving each and every year. The only question is at when these new products will be available to your preferred retailers.