It’s the most wonderful time of the year… and for Gunnies, it isn’t Christmas…
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.