These are tumultuous times for gun owners.
More than ever, the shooting industry is under attack, apparently assigned the burden of responsibility for the actions of evildoers hell-bent on slaughtering innocents. With every innocent drop of blood spilled, another finger is pointed at those whose tools were used to commit atrocities — a unique situation, given that knifemakers and breweries are never held accountable for the deaths involving their products.
As the 2013 Shooting, Hunting & Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show got going today, gunmakers and outdoor media remain well aware of the issues faced by ordinary shooters across America, but it doesn't stop them from bringing new, innovative products to the table.
Last year, the public was introduced to such well-received new products as the Springfield XD-S — finally a compact, single-stack personal defense pistol, in .45 no less — and the Mossberg Flex system, which turned shotgun customization on its head with its Tool-less Locking System.
So what could possibly surprise us this year?
Well for starters, Winchester rolled out its revolutionary new rimfire cartridge, the .17 Winchester Super Magnum, offering range and speed like no other rimfire round before it.
New compact handguns like Ruger's brand new LC380 will also grab the public's eye, tools that will ultimately prove useful in personal defense situations, and without breaking the bank too. In the same vein, we see iconic models being offered in interesting new variations; Walther's legendary PPK, for example, will hit shelves in a rimfire offering, and Remington continues its into the 1911 market with its R1 Carry.
And what about long guns? Remington's Model 783 is already making rounds around web, and even in the midst of controversy, numerous ARs like the DPMS 6.8 Hunter and the Colt Competition M2012 are set to debut in Las Vegas, showing the platform's true usefulness in the world of shooting sports.
As we showcase — as well as gawk at — some of the new firearms, ammunition and accessories hitting the market, we understand that the federal government isn't exactly what one might call "gun friendly," and anything "outdoorsy" is far from being considered mainstream.
But that doesn't make our freedoms any less important. Shooting and hunting are American traditions, and when done in a safe, responsible manner, can provide lifetimes of enjoyment. They're freedoms guaranteed to us by the supreme law of the land, and groups like the National Shooting Sports Foundation — organizers of SHOT Show — will not allow any institution to compromise those rights.
That's why you should care about SHOT Show. As we bring you up-to-speed coverage throughout the next week — and as you begin picking out early birthday/Christmas presents — take time to consider exactly what the outdoor industry means to you, and take the time to appreciate the freedoms you enjoy.
Events like SHOT Show are a clear reminder that the outdoor industry is alive and well, and that outdoorsmen across the nation aren't about to just surrender their rights.
After all, hunting and shooting aren't just hobbies; they're a way of life.