Each year, thousands of firearms enthusiasts pack themselves into a convention center just to get a look — and if they're lucky, get their mitts on — the hottest new pistols, rifles, shotguns and gear about to hit the market.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation's annual Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas has been dubbed by some in the shooting industry as "the Super Bowl of the outdoor industry," and for good reason. Just as stories swirl around football's big game in the week leading up to it, the same could be said for SHOT Show.
Of course, there's no bigger story at the 2013 SHOT Show — or any SHOT Show in years past — as the new products that are rolled out for gun enthusiasts to ooh and ahh over. From pistols to smokepoles, SHOT Show gives gun enthusiasts the chance to see the latest and greatest the industry has to offer. Whether your scene is hunting, tactical, vintage or any other scene imaginable, SHOT Show is guaranteed to have something that will pique your interest.
Take Sturm, Ruger & Co., for example, which will roll out its brand new, compact, personal-defense option, the LC380. There's also Remington, which is proving to the public that you can still get a great hunting rifle without breaking the bank with its brand new Remington Model 783.
There's also Winchester rocking the rimfire world with its brand new cartridge, the .17 Win. Super Mag., which is already being touted as the world's fastest rimfire round.
Besides the guns and ammo being rolled out, holsters, optics, safes, blades and a host of other gear options are all are paraded throughout the showroom as the perfect companions to those brand new firearms on display as the demand grows louder and stronger.
After the fiscal explosion that was 2012, gun companies are more than happy to oblige.
Last year proved to be a benchmark for the gun industry, with cash flowing in at unprecedented levels. Companies like Ruger, Smith & Wesson and Hornady reported all-time high sales, and the FBI recorded the most background checks in a single day on Black Friday.
December followed the trend set the previous month, with a NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 2,237,731 background checks beating the NSSF estimate by 58.6 percent. By year's end, the NSSF-adjusted NICS 2012 totalof 13,780,285 was a huge increase over 2011, which saw a year-end total of 10,791,275 — that's a 27.7-percent increase.
Whatever the cause of the spike in gun ownership may be, the trend is sure to continue in 2013, and the unprecedented demand will surely be fueled by the new products on display at this year's SHOT Show.
Niche the Niches
Trendy subcultures within the shooting world only add fuel to the fire, not only appealing to existing gun owners, but also those who've probably never held a gun in their lives.
Still one of the newer trends at SHOT Show, zombies seemed to pick up speed at the 2012 SHOT Show with zombie products littering the showroom — and this year will be no different. From targets, gear and apparel, to firearms designed specifically for the purpose of fighting off the undead, the zombie craze is going strong — despite the whining of a vocal minority — and if it's getting folks interested in shooting, then what's not to love about it?
Similar to the zombie craze, doomsday preparation has taken off in the gun community as a means to prepare for the end days. Shows like National Geographic's Doomsday Preppers have proven to be a success, highlighting what is apparently not just some small niche, but a widespread practice. As such, gun companies and gear manufacturers have bought into the craze, providing preppers with everything they'll need to get their families through the apocalypse — whatever the catastrophe may be.
Still, not every storyline has been gun-friendly.
This year more than any other, gun control efforts have stolen the spotlight. With fears of a looming assault weapons ban hanging in the mind of nearly every gun owner in America — and one state even seriously considering a widespread semi-automatic ban — gun rights activists are more united than ever in the preservation of our way of life.
At SHOT Show, our voice is heard loud and clear, and that our Second Amendment rights will not be easily surrendered.