Institute for Legal, Legislative and Educational Action
LAS VEGAS — The 45th Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade ShowSM (SHOT Show®), owned and operated by NSSF® — The Firearm Industry Trade Association—was held this week with more events and exhibit space than ever before. Strong attendance, enthusiastic buyers and sellers, and a series of packed special events that collectively made up “SHOT Week” resulted in one of the top-rated SHOT Shows to date.
The show spanned Jan. 17-20 at The Venetian Expo and Caesars Forum in Las Vegas. Boasting pre-pandemic level attendance with more than 52,000 industry professionals packing the 13.9 miles of aisles over four days eager to view new, innovative products used for target shooting, hunting, outdoor recreation and law enforcement.
“The industry was back in full force at this year’s SHOT Show, and the energy and momentum among all attendees was palpable,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer. “I always say the SHOT Show is like Christmas morning and the Super Bowl all in one, and this year it was that and more. We are thrilled at the positive response from our attendees and optimistic for a strong year of industry sales to come.”
This was the largest SHOT Show ever, marking the second year of expanded exhibit space at Caesars Forum, in addition to The Venetian Expo. More than 2,500 companies displayed products and services in booths covering more than 816,000 net square feet and attracting attendees from 115 countries and all 50 states.
Sentiments from the Show Floor
“I am incredibly excited by the outcome of SHOT Show 2023, we had easily four to five times as much traffic through our booth than any year we’ve ever had, said Jay Reis, Chief Executive Officer, Rushing Ranges.
Ben Fleming, Vice President of Sales at BPI Outdoors said, “The one thing we value most is our wonderful partnerships with our customers. The SHOT Show offers us the ability to work with each one of these valuable customers. We truly wouldn’t be where we are as a company without the people at this show and we’re extremely grateful for their support and friendship.”
“SHOT is very valuable to my team in a number of ways. We are able to be face-to-face with the leadership of our vendor partners. Which allows us to have open conversations that lead to better deals and partnerships long term,” said Hunter Simmons, COO of Simmons Sporting Goods. “SHOT is invaluable for bringing the industry together in the best way.”
“In the firearm industry, there is no better way to set the tone for the year than by attending SHOT Show,” said Sarah Joy Albrecht, Founder and Executive Director, Hold My Guns. “As a nonprofit in this space, the valuable connections we made will help us reach and support even more gun owners in 2023.”
“At a time when businesses across the country are questioning the efficacy of post-pandemic, physical trade shows, along comes the SHOT Show to dispel concerns. There is simply no substitute for meeting face to face with your industry associates and customers, especially in the firearms world, which is under ever-increasing scrutiny by those who wish us ill,” Dan Ferris, owner of MidWest Outdoors Media, said.
One of the most well-attended special events was the NSSF Governors’ Forum, where seven governors discussed the importance of firearm businesses to their economies and their efforts to attract firearm- and ammunition-related companies to relocate to their state. Across America, the $7.9 billion firearm industry supports more than 375,000 jobs.
“On behalf of everyone in the state of Nevada and Las Vegas, we’re just very happy to welcome the SHOT Show and the 52,000 attendees that come here and support our Second Amendment,” said Nevada Lt. Gov. Stavros Anthony. “This is great, people are energized, they’re excited, they want to come in and see the latest technology, the latest equipment when it comes to firearms. I’m here to welcome them with open arms and make sure SHOT Show knows that we support them, and we want them back every single year for a long time.”
Honoring Industry’s Leaders
NSSF announced its 2023 Hall of Fame inductees, honoring three industry leaders who left indelible marks on the industry and the shooting sports. The NSSF Hall of Fame was launched at the 2020 show to honor industry leaders for their contributions to NSSF, the SHOT Show and the heritage of target shooting and hunting in America. This year’s inductees were Bill Ruger Sr., Richard Lipsey and Bob Behn.
The two-day Supplier Showcase featured 539 OEM third-party suppliers meeting with exhibiting manufacturers and exploring their needs for extrusions, fabrication, fabrics, machinery, metal, plastics, software, logistical support and tools.
“For a company like us with 40 people, it’s a great fit. We can come show our wares for two days. The bigger companies come up here and walk around and the engineering people will talk to us. We’ve done it every year, and it’s really helped us increase our business,” said Jeff Miller, Sales Manager at Active Manufacturing.
Supplier Showcase exhibitor Martin Levy, Business Development Manager for DiFruscia Industries, said, “I have invited many other suppliers to this show — it’s a great show for mingling with other suppliers and getting great customers.”
“As a manufacturer, we’re always looking for new possibilities with customers. It’s a win-win when we get to meet new people . . . Not only do we get to pick up potential new customers, but they also get a solution to whatever application or issue they’re facing,” said Supplier Showcase exhibitor Jessica Ramos, Regional Sales Manager for RÖHM Products America, inc.
Education sessions for firearm retailers, shooting range operators, exporters and law enforcement professionals are an important segment of SHOT Show. This year over 6,000 industry members attended SHOT University™, Law Enforcement Education Program and Export Training Sessions to receive in-person classes on compliance, operations and much more.
Traci Lewellin, Owner of Gun City shared, “SHOT University adds an amazing value for us. I can come in here, I have our managers out still looking at booths, and I can learn some of the educational processes to take back to our stores and try to implement them over the next year.”
Off-Site ‘SHOT Week’ Highlights
Many official show events cluster around the four days of the SHOT Show, creating “SHOT Week.” Among them was the NSSF/HAVA Golf Classic in support of Honored American Veterans Afield, a firearm industry-run charitable organization that helps the healing of disabled combat veterans through participation in hunting and the shooting sports. Also, Industry Day at the RangeTM on the day before the SHOT Show gives invited media members and buyers a truly exclusive opportunity to preview and test the latest guns, gear and gadgets before anyone else in the industry. This year, it had 3,400 attendees and exhibitors in attendance.
Expanded Networking Opportunities
This year, the SHOT Show provided more networking opportunities than ever before with an exciting new element at the 2023 SHOT Show: “SHOT After Dark,” featuring three evenings of events that included two networking receptions and an All-Star Jam Concert for all show attendees.
Matt Hutchings, President and CEO of Outdoor Sportsman Group—the concert’s presenting sponsor—said, “The All-Star Jam concert is an event to welcome members of our industry. It’s been a crazy time for the last three years as we all know, so it was really great to get together, reconnect with our old friends and find out what we all need to do to continue to support this lifestyle.”
“This year is one of the best shows I’ve ever been a part of,” said Joe Bartozzi, NSSF President and CEO. “On behalf of NSSF, I’d like to thank all the attendees, exhibitors, media members and our guests this week for helping the industry to succeed and supporting NSSF’s mission.”
Preparations have already begun for next year’s 46th SHOT Show, which is slated for January 23-26, 2024.