SHOT Show Report: Day 1&2

Posted on February 18, 2013
It’s the classic case of the best laid plans of mice. When I was planning for the show, there was a big list of “ok, I need to do X, Y, Z, etc” and “I can’t miss____” and so on. These plans were based off my previous experience with trade shows and such. The problem is, however, that none of the trade shows I’ve been to come anywhere close to the scale of this one. Let me give you an idea of what I’m talking about here. I have a pedometer app on my phone. I’ve tested it in the past and it’s pretty darn accurate. I left for the show at 7:00am on Tuesday and started the app before I left. The battery on my phone died around 3:00pm. The last recorded distance I walked was about 12 miles. One gentlemen I met also had a pedometer. In 2 days he had gone 56 miles.

This place is f***ing huge.

...and crazy.

Thousands and thousands of booths stretched as far as you can imagine. Just when you think you’ve made it to the other end of the show floor, you turn a corner and there’s another, equally large show floor filled with more booths. There is a persistent thought that casinos purposely design the layout in a confusing way to keep people from leaving. I think those same people designed this show. I kid...a bit. It’s actually amazingly well laid out and with 60,000+ people in attendance, it hasn’t felt claustrophobic at all. I’ve never had to wait more than a couple moments to talk with a company rep and the aisles flow well (except for those occasions when a group of people will stop in the middle of the aisle and just start chatting thus blocking everyone from moving. You know who you are. Nobody likes you. Move over next time.).

The booths are amazing too! The big manufacturers spared no expense putting their displays together. Some of them are 2 stories tall with private offices and everything! If you haven’t looked at the booth gallery I posted to Facebook, I suggest you check it out.

But who cares about that junk?! Let’s talk about guns!

There are quite a few companies trying to get their foot in the door. The first is a company called Caracal. I was impressed by their selection and some of the ideas on their guns. They only started in 2003 and they came out swinging. The thing that really got my attention was their “Quick Acquisition Sight System”. It’s seriously hard to describe how it works or even WHY it works so well but trust me, it works so naturally that I was left saying “why doesn’t every gun do this!?” Seriously, it’s that awesome.

Next was a Turkish company by the name of Canik and I really love the styling and feel of their guns. I can’t exactly place my finger on it but they look like Russian gangster guns. They’ve got some good weight to them and the lines are very unique. They’re still trying to jump through all the import hoops so I couldn’t get any MSRP prices, unfortunately. I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes on this company.

Finally, we have Armscor/Rock Island Armory’s new 22 TCM pistol. This is a bit tough to explain so stick with me here. Take a .223 rifle round, yank out the bullet, cut the brass in half, neck it down then put the bullet back in and crimp it. That’s a 22 TCM round. It’s the same length as a 9mm. The bullet is, essentially a .22 caliber round. So why do that? Because you get a 2000+ FPS round out of a 5” barrel pistol with almost no recoil. Giggity, indeed.

Other things from the show: 5.11 Tactical has some of the nicest people in the world, as does Turnbull Mfg. Even though the show required that all firing pins be removed, people STILL need to seriously work on their safety technique and awareness of where the barrel is pointed. I’ve never had so many guns pointed right at me before. I’d expect that at some local gun show at the county fairgrounds but people here are supposed to be industry professionals. Also, I wouldn’t feel comfortable working in Springfield Armory’s booth. Look at the picture to the left. Notice how all the guns are pointing inward at the sales rep?

So those are my first two days there. Stay tuned tomorrow for further reports.

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