Warning: This is a LONG entry, with numerous images.
The week of January 16th once again saw the Sands Convention Centre in Las Vegas, Nevada; host the the 39th annual Sporting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show; also known as the SHOT Show. For those who do not know what SHOT Show is or what it consists of, TPF will give you a quote direct from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) whom organizes the event.
The 39th Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show opened its doors this morning at the Sands Expo Center with industry expectations running high in response to the energized market in America for firearms, ammunition and accessories.
Over the next four days, the show will attract nearly 65,000 industry professionals from the firearms and outdoor industry, including 2,500 members of the outdoor press-the largest gathering of outdoor media in the world-and showcase new, innovative products used for target shooting, hunting, outdoor recreation and law enforcement purposes.
Owned and sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, the SHOT Show is the largest trade show of its kind in the world. The show is open to trade members only and not to the public; consumers will see the products unveiled at the SHOT Show on retailers’ shelves during the course of the year.
You read that correctly, not open to members of the public. We at TPF can already hear our readers rolling their eyes and thinking to themselves, “But we are the consumers!” Which is true, except that the consumers that are mentioned the service companies and persons who are directly related to the industry. Not the end user, otherwise known as the public, but those whom supply the products to the end users such as retailers, trainers, ranges, organizations, etc… That being said, there are ways that the public can attend, and do attend as is evident to many who have attended SHOT know. TPF-Online will not go into details or methods for the public to get into SHOT Show. We apologize, and suggest that you utilize your favourite search engine or firearms forum (for Canadians, we recommend Gun Owners of Canada or Canadian Gun Nutz).
So let us delve into the timeline of SHOT Show.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you “Be of good cheer”
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
When Andy Williams sang “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” back in 1963, Christmas truly was the most wonderful time of the year. Everybody looked forwards to getting presents from “Santa” and opening up their gifts from the jolly ole fat man. Fast forward just over a half a century to 2015, and the most wonderful time of the year fell during the third week in January as the 37th annual Sporting Hunting Outdoor Trade Show once again graced Las Vegas, Nevada, with yet another larger than life event.
It started on Monday, January 19th, under a clear blue sky and temperatures that hovered around a chilly 16º C. Alright, it really is not that chilly to us Canadians, but for Las Vegas, it is wintertime. Thousands of media and buyers attended the tenth SHOT Show Media Day at the Boulder Rifle & Pistol Club (BRPC), located just on the outskirts of Boulder City, NV. Having been to several Media Day events from previous SHOT Shows, BRPC has continued to grow and expand as the annual number of exhibitors has also grown each and every year. Over one hundred and seventy exhibitors were there and catered to roughly a thousand invited media attendees and over five hundred invited buyers, dealers, distributors, and retailers for the day.
This year the Monday event was entitled SHOT Show Media and Industry Day and it is the chance to literally try out many firearms “hands-on” and experience directly existing products, new launching products, and prototype future products. A fair chunk of the items on display are not available to the Canadian civilian marketplace due to being categorized as prohibited devices. Compact handguns meant entirely for protecting one’s self, fully automatic or select fire sub-machine guns for law enforcement and military usage while not the norm, were available for ALL attendees to experience. In fact the roughly 1600 media and industry attendees discharged just over a half million rounds downrange from 9:00 am until 4:30 pm. Unsurprisingly contrary to the expectations of those whom are under the impression or belief that guns are inherently unsafe to use, let alone possess; not a single firearms related injury occurred and there were many satisfied smiles amongst the attendees.
However, after the Monday of live fire and big smiles comes Tuesday morning, when the SHOT Show officially begins, the work starts and the long trek ensues. With sixteen hundred and seventy eight (1678) exhibitors this year, that meant that if you were to be able to instantly transport yourself in front of every single booth and instantly launch into conversation with that exhibitor’s representative that you would have exactly 74 seconds of talking to that person. Consider that there are over 19km (~12 miles) of aisles to walk plus lunchtime plus waiting for a representative to talk to and that 74 seconds gets shaved down considerably. That puts it at say 60 seconds per booth with zero waiting and no travel that was not toward the next booth. If someone can ask about a new product and get the representatives to explain it in 60 seconds or less with all questions being answered, then TPF may have a job for you!
Now Canadians and Canadian Companies at the show are not new. TPF has routinely visited long time CSSA supporter Ms. Esteves for years at the Shooting Chrony Inc. booth at SHOT Show. Other Canadian manufacturing companies have been at SHOT for several years such as Toronto based Flash Fog Defense, and last year’s newcomer to the SHOT Show, Modular Driven Technologies. However there was something different about the 2015 SHOT in regards to Canadian companies being represented at the show.
Imagine TPF’s surprise when on every single cover of the thick SHOT Show exhibitor listing guidebook is a large sticker denoting VAULT Distribution and their booth location. Now while Vault Distribution was founded back in 2009; 2015 was its first as an official SHOT Show exhibitor. A Canadian company getting pretty much top exposure to every single attendee who grabs that book, and there were tens of thousands of attendees. Simply amazing! TPF stopped by Vault Distribution’s booth throughout the duration of the SHOW to talk a bit with Mr. Steve Ricker and Mr. Greg Zeitler. Like several other Canadian companies, Vault Distribution has attended SHOT Shows in the past seeking out product lines to deal in and thereby bring those products to the Canadian marketplace. For several years now Vault Distribution has been synonymous with firearms from Kel-Tec CNC Industries Inc., but they also deal with SIG Sauer firearms and Trace Optics to name a couple of other brand names. They will likely be bringing in more products and more brand names in the future, at least we at TPF-Online hope so. However, with how busy the Vault guys were, especially in the latter days of the SHOT Show, odds for Vault Distribution doing just that are better than average!
As has become tradition over the last several years, the CSSA has held various sized Canadian gatherings during the course of SHOT Show. In 2013 was the beginning of the truly sponsored gathering, with a few supporters tossing in a few hundred dollars for food and drink that year. Last year in 2014, the CSSA hosted the first officially sponsored Canadian gathering and it was a great success. In 2015, the gathering was altered slightly in two ways. The CSSA partnered up with the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association (CSAAA), and the event was by “invite” only. Readers will notice that the word invite is in quotes. In 2014 there was a generic posting for the event across every imaginable cost effective medium available, and that included several online forums, and a ton of word of mouth. This time around there was a conscious decision to make the event more geared toward the Canadian industry that was attending the SHOT Show. Businesses were contacted via emails and phone calls and asked if they wished to attend, and were sent initiations via mail. However, even though invitations were distributed, anyone association with the industry was allowed access. It was surprising to see that the CSSA’s rivals, the NFA was allowed into the event as the author knows they did not get sent invitations. As the CSSA hosts stated to TPF, it is a Canadian industry gathering and all were welcome. Kudo’s to the CSSA for not playing the “Invite Only” card, very professional and courteous of them.
A special thanks has to go out to the sponsors of the event, it was easily as large as last year’s in attendance, but so many more industry attendees. Noted sponsors at the event were as follows.
Platinum Level Sponsorship:
Gold Level Sponsorship:
Silver Level Sponsorship
- Canada Ammo
- Calgary Shooting Centre
- Interammo Impex
- Marstar Canada
- The Right Edition
- Vault Distribution
Bronze Level Sponsorship
- Ballistic Bowstring
- Firearm Legal Defence
- O’Dell Engineering
- Select Shooting Supplies
- Trade Ex Canada
- Wolverine Supplies
Many thanks must be given to ALL attendees of the CSSA/CSAAA event, it was a very good and positive event, and you can bet that there will be another for next year! If you do decide to purchase products from or through one of the event supporters, please reference TPF-Online if you remember.
Alas like Christmas, the SHOT Show only comes around once per year… Which may or may not be a good thing. As stated in past installments, the SHOT Show is brain overload for new attendees, with over a billion dollars of product on display including prototypes, new releases, versions of older stuff, and regular line item products. If you ever get a chance and are able to get access, you should attend at least once to experience just how awesomely huge the industry is… Many thanks for reading here at Tactical, Practical and Fantastical.
Welcome to Las Vegas, Nevada. Home of the 2014 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show; a.k.a. 2014 SHOT Show. This years show was held once again at the Sands Convention Center from January 14th to the 17th and would once again draw people from all over the world.
TPF Online arrived Saturday to an absolutely brisk 20°C with nary a cloud in the skies. This type of weather would continue for the entire duration of TPF-Online’s presence in Sin City.
Fast forward to Monday morning at Media Day, where TPF Online was on site and shooting suppressed .308 AR platforms by 8:05 in the morning, Kriss Super-V fully automatic suppressed SMG’s around lunchtime and followed in the afternoon by shooting trap with KSG’s and Beretta tactical shotguns… TPF also got to play once again with the IWI Tavor akin to the one being raffled off by Gun Owners of Canada; sign up and you can win!
After the extreme joy of Media Day, the next four days are purely SHOT Show and many kilometres of aisles. Over 1600 exhibitors were present and displaying their wares and sales staff across 5.3 hectares (13 acres) of floor space and divided by 20.1 Km (12.5 miles) of aisles. As a tidbit of information, note that the SHOT Show is the 16th largest trade show in North America, and attracts exhibitors and attendees from every US state and over 100 countries. Canada’s hunting, shooting, and outdoor trade industry is valued at roughly one billion dollars annually, and at the SHOT Show the value of the products on the show floor is equal to that. Most people do not realize that Canada is a huge marketplace for firearms, especially for manufacturers from the USA. For every 1,000 guns that are manufactured in the USA, approximately 96% are for domestic usage; sold via retail in the USA. That leaves roughly 40 guns that are exported per 1,000 produced, and Canada imports 35-37 of those. So in 2010 there were 5.5 million firearms manufactured in the USA, which roughly translates into roughly 150,000 US manufactured firearms imported into Canada annually. When you add in all the remaining imports of firearms from other countries, plus the few remaining Canadian manufacturers, it becomes apparent that the Canadian firearms industry is alive and well.
The Canadian Shooting Sports Association decided to host an event during the SHOT Show as most of the industry would be in Las Vegas that week to renew contracts and create new ones regarding firearms, ammunition, accessories and all things similarly related. TPF was present and from discussions with attendees and CSSA representatives, the event was beyond expectations. Hosted at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, the event was originally to be held in the Reno Room, but was shifted at the last moment to the Laughlin Room. There were representatives that reached across the gambit of the Canadian firearms industry. Manufacturers, Distributors, Retailers, and Media were present for the event which had 150 or more attendees at its peak. Both Gun Owners Of Canada and CanadianGunNutz, the two largest Canadian firearms web forums were there as was Calibre Magazine, the only firearm magazine published in Canada. Other media celebrities were there as well such as Scott Funk of YouTube famous Funker Tactical, and Brian Lovig of the Daily Split, among others. There was some nicely present food trays of meats, vegetables and fruits, and the CSSA was fairly liberal in giving out drink tickets that evening. Unfortunately a couple of people left a bit early, but most attendees were present for the 9pm prize draws. Given away at the draws were several shirts, a bottle of Champaign, a heavy-duty backpack, and the grand prize, a Bug-A-Salt. This event had come a long way from the informal resort/hotel room get together with a score of individuals. So many thanks should be given to the CSSA for their initiative in hosting such an event, to the sponsors for making the event possible, and for all the attendees who made this first Canadian Industry SHOT Show reception as smashing success.
The Sponsors of the event were the following:
- Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA)
- Browning Canada
- Calibre Magazine
- Canada Ammo
- Marstar Canada
- O’Dell Engineering
- PGW Defence Technologies
- R. Nicholls (F.N. Sports)
- Select Shooting Supplies
- T.E.C. Trade Ex Canada
- Trigger Wholesale
- Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association (CSAAA)
Obviously many thanks should be given to the sponsors of the event so please feel free to click the links, buy their products or products offered by them and help our industry become even better. To those in the industry, TPF recommends you join the CSAAA if you have not already. Why? As the CSSA is roughly the Canadian equivalent to the American NRA, the CSAAA is the Canadian equivalent to the NSSF in America.
Enough about the single greatest Canadian event at SHOT, let s get back to the SHOT Show itself! If you happened to be around and observant enough at the right times and locations, attendees of the 2014 SHOT Show could have seen all sorts of celebrities either at an exhibitor’s booth, or wandering around the show itself. As always nearly every top competitive shooter in the USA is there, nearly every hunting/outdoor channel personality, plus all sorts of celebrities including the following:
- Acting: R. Lee Ermey, Steven Segal, Les Stroud, Joe Montegna
- Racing: Bobby Labonte
- Military: Kyle Lamb, Robert Brown, Chris Costa, Larry Vickers
- Online: Colion Noir, FPS Russia, Hickok45, GunBlast, Funker Tactical
- Other: Jeff Foxworthy, Ted Nugent, Craig Morgan, Governor Rick Perry
The lists of people of greater than average fame, whom are present at SHOT Show are in the several scores of numbers. The number of attendees increased by 5,000 above last year’s total, to an excess of 67,000 attendees. As always there are literally hundreds and hundreds of new product launches at the show as well as celebrity endorsements for them. Whether the items are existing, revised, revamped, resurrected or truly new, the SHOT Show is where dealers will see it for their respective customers. TPF Online is lucky in that this was the eighth (8th) SHOW Show that was attended, and not a year goes by that something new is not learned or brought back to Canada. Hopefully you will be able to attend a SHOT Show in the future if you have not already.
SHOT Show 2015 is once again held in Las Vegas, Nevada. At the Sands Convention Centre once again from January 20th-23rd, 2015. We at TPF are looking forwards to it and the next CSSA Canadian Industry Gathering.
You are trapped in your home and you are not alone. You can hear the intruder moving around as though they own the place. This time however you will be defending your self and taking the life from the defiler of your castle. You load up with the salt because you have heard it hurts more. You rack the slide and roughly aim down the sights. Holding your breath, you await the perfect moment to squeeze the trigger. Seconds later you are standing over the carcass of the intruder, grinning from ear to ear, knowing that there is one less piece of vermin to harass other innocents. Hearing more from others in the other room, you rack the slide again and become the hunter in your home, With the yellow and black gun in hand, you go forth to give the scum of the universe a lesson in Castle Law. Now before all of you readers start to A) Scream YES to self-defence, or B) Chastise the author for such fear mongering; please note that there are perhaps millions of these god-forsaken pests that deserve to be eradicated and that could just be those in your own backyard.
You read that correctly, TPF-Online has gotten to review one of the most sought after guns in the last couple years. You may have seen the videos online and you might have dreamed about owning one to complete your arsenal of weapons for removing unwanted guests from your home; but this gun is all about filling the target full of holes. Holes made by salt. Huh?!? That is correct, TPF-Online is pleased to be able to bring our readers a review on the Bug-A-Salt.
Conceived in 2010 by the mind of artist (and surfer) Lorenzo Maggiore, the Bug-A-Salt took several years of conceptual work and testing until it was locked into it’s current design form. It was in late 2012 that Bug-A-Salt became reality, starting with a pre-sale effort on Indiegogo, a crowd-funding website, Mr. Maggiore created a conceptual video and created a goal of a $15,000 to be able to ship the first container of Bug-A-Salt guns from China to California. The response was staggering. Sixty six (66) days after launch, with a viral video, his fund-raising efforts caught the wallets of over ten thousand people across seventy countries, and raised in excess of a half million dollars when the fundraiser closed on September 11th, 2012.
Now it is the author’s belief that nearly everyone has at some point become seriously annoyed with house flies or other insects and bugs in their home. The Bug-A-Salt is a modern version of the fly-swatter. It does cost more and is far heavier, but it very rarely misses the target if used properly, unlike the swinging hands/papers/books/etc… The fact that it is in effect a miniaturized, air powered shotgun, is just an added bonus. Moulded in black and yellow plastic with numerous fly images embossed in the surface, the Bug-A-Salt measures approximately 550mm (21.6″) in length and masses 635.0 grams (22.40 oz) unloaded.
Loading the Bug-A-Salt is very simple. Open the flip-up cap, allowing the “Ammo Hopper” to be accessed. Fill the hopper with ordinary table salt. Close the hopper’s lid. Done! The Bug-A-Salt is now ready for assaulting the forces of the evil empire of insects. Racking the charging handle like a pump action shotgun actually performs multiple internal actions. Not only does it set-up the spring-powered air-piston for the blast of salt, it engages the manual trigger safety and extends the rear sights. The visibility of the orange plastic rear sights is the indicator that the Bug-A-Salt is charged and ready to shoot. With a theoretical bug-lethal range of just under 0.9m (3 ft), the wielder of this weapon does not even need to come near the offensive multi-legged pests as previously required by fly-swatters and flip-flops.
Actual mechanics of the Bug-A-Salt are quite interesting. Upon racking the slide back, a small tower with a cross-drilled hole in it extends inside the salt hopper. This hole is in the same direction as the barrel axis. Gravity causes the salt in the hopper to fill the cavity in this tower. Due to this, it is likely that insufficient salt may be used if held on angles and with lower levels of “ammunition” in the hopper. The racking of the slide backwards is against a spring which powers the pneumatic system, and it also engages the safety level and the rear pop-up sights. In order to fire, the rack must first be pulled back forwards as it is not a spring returned system; then the manual safety must be disengaged. Pull the trigger and the aforementioned tower springs back down in line with the steel barrel tube and the spring loaded piston is released. This causes literally a pinch worth of salt to be expelled from the barrel at sufficient velocities to perforate the targets with at several dozen grains of salt at least.
Fully loaded, the Bug-A-Salt has approximately a 50 shot capacity. If you need to use up the whole hopper on bugs and flies indoors, you may have a more serious problem. TPF-Online asked about the “ammunition” for the Bug-A-Salt and inquired about alternative load-outs. Pepper? Sugar? Flour? The answers a resounding no… Pepper is too thin and gets caught in seams and edges of the internals, sugar is actually too large and has sharp corners which quickly wear down the internals. Flour just gums up everything. So while the Bug-A-Salt is multi-munition capable, the consequences are reduced reliability and a voided warranty. Another helpful tip was to prevent issues with moisture causing issues with function; unloading the Bug-A-Salt between warfare sessions will remove possibilities of clumping salt and failure to feed and fire. Obviously with this product being evaluated during the height of the Winter season, valid targets are scarce for exterminating, but supposedly the corpses of Bug-A-Salt’d flies and insects are pretty much desiccated, meaning dried up therefore an easy cleanup.
FEATURES (As per product description)
- No batteries
- Extremely inexpensive to use
- Excellent for flies on windows
- Excellent for bugs on ceilings and in corners
- Fun—Say goodbye to insect intruders
Of course the whole idea of this product is to eliminate flies and other insects, arachnids, and arthropods. For the reader’s information, arthropods in this context are basically millipedes and centipedes. Being wintertime, TPF was unable to target live specimens to determine actual kinetic effects on actual bugs, and resorted to alternative impact measuring methods. To use a quote from anti-gun Joe Biden; TPF unleashed two “Blasts” from this plastic, salt-loaded, pump-action, miniature shotgun at a sheet of aluminum foil from both 30 cm & 60 cm (11.8″ & 23.6″) distance. At 30cm the salt pattern measured roughly 43mm (1.7″) in diameter, with a few pieces of salt penetrating the aluminum foil target. At the longer range of 60cm away, the salt pattern opened up to roughly 71mm (2.8″) in diameter. While none of the salt particles went through the foil target, there was sufficient cratering to make TPF believe that the odds of an insect’s survival at that distance are non-existent.
Colourful and satisfying to use, the Bug-A-Salt has an MSRP of $34.95 USD. It is available directly from Bug-A-Salt or from Canada’s online source, Fly Shooter, which is the Canadian distributor for the Bug-A-Salt gun. As always, it truly is your opinion if you, the reader, believe this product to be Tactical, Practical or Fantastical.
January 15-18, 2013. These were the days that the 2013 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. With this being the 35th anniversary of the event, one would have expected the event to be a little more upbeat and celebratory in nature. However with the looming issues of multiple executive orders by President Obama and the idiotic “gun control” laws being tabled by the State of New York, the mood was slightly more somber at the largest trade show of its kind in the world.
That was not to say that the manufacturers, distributors, and retailers whom attended as exhibitors and consumers were not busy hammering our deals and displaying new products for 2013… If anything the business side of the industry has been at its highest levels in years with order delivery dates being a year for some instead of a couple of months due to commercial demand. In the few days following the Sandy Hill tragedy, consumer fears resulted in unheard of demand for products, such as Brownell’s selling of 36 months of typical inventory of P-Mags in under 72 hours. Three years of standard sales compressed into under 3 days. Firearms are in such high demand that orders prior to the SHOT Show had already exceeded 800,000 units above currently produced items. That was a SINGLE firearms manufacturer who has orders for over three-quarters of a million firearms and the trade show had not even started yet. From a business perspective 2012 and 2013 are banner years for the industry due to worry about bans and confiscations by the current government administration.
Enough depressing thoughts however. With over 62,000 attendees, plus exhibitors, the 2013 SHOT Show had a record level of attendance. Over 2,000 media representatives scoured the 5.85 hectares (630,000 square feet) of booth space and got the news on what products are new, and what products are hot from over 1,600 exhibiting companies. With over 1,600 companies and the officially open time of the show being a total of 34.5 hours; it equates to only 77 seconds of visiting time per booth. Now that does not seem that bad, except it does not include the 28km (17.4 miles) of aisles of walking between exhibitor booths. So in reality attendees who want to travel the entire show spend roughly 5.5 hours walking the show which drops that down to roughly a minute per booth. Go search on YouTube or google and you will see that most stops are several minutes long. So IF you are going to SHOT Shows in the future, please remember a couple of things.
- Plan out who you need to see versus want to see
- Bring a very comfortable pair of shoes (or two)
- For those who are looking to sign purchase agreements – Bring a cheque-book and a pen
- For Media who have to lug around their equipment? One word – Cardio
- Have fun
Now amidst the hustle and bustle of the SHOT Show there are attendees from all over the world. In fact over 100 countries have people at SHOT Show in various capacities, and Canada is no exception. Similarly to the past half-dozen or more years, the author was there representing the Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) and as well, TPF in a more recent capacity. One of the evening events that became an informal tradition was a CSSA/Canadian Meet and Greet during the show. While last years was not held due to a lack of foresight, this year was special. With the help of a couple Canadian supporters, the event was a fully fledged social gathering.
Special thanks to the following organizations and companies:
- The Canadian Shooting Sports Association: For encouraging TPF to exist and continue this fine tradition of holding a SHOT Show gathering for Canadians who attend.
- O’Dell Engineering, Trigger Wholesale, and the Korth Group: These three companies made it possible to bring in the food and drink to keep the attendees from having parched throats and empty bellies. It was their support that made the event such a great success.
With the President of the CSSA and the executive director of CILA present as well as a multitude of individuals the evening lasted from 7:00pm until just before midnight, the gathering was well attended and a good time was had by all. Discussions ranged from the current state of Canadian and US affairs regarding firearms to the top Canadian firearms that people should own. Newly found Calibre Magazine was there with several copies of their first publication, which was well received by all attendees.
Nearly twenty people partook of the gathering and while slightly more manoeuvering room would have been appreciated, it was a very enjoyable time and deemed a success, especially due to the last-minute preparations. As the first such event hosted by the CSSA at SHOT Show that was sponsored by members of the Canadian shooting industry, talks are already in the works for expanding and improving the venue for the next year’s SHOT Show. On behalf of the CSSA and it’s members, TPF-Online would like to thank O’Dell Engineering, Trigger Wholesale, and the Korth Group for their contributions, a damned good time, and we look forwards to next year. Please be sure to visit these wonderful companies and find out who their dealers are in your area and have a look!
Also many thanks to Mr. Ly @ Transgressive Media for his images of the event.