Nearly 60,000 firearms industry professionals will make their way here to the annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade ShowSM (SHOT Show®) Jan. 17-20 to get a first look at the new products and services they hope will excite customers in 2012.
The $4.1 billion industry continues to be a bright spot in the anemic U.S. economy, as sales in 2011 topped the previous year's. Through December, adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check statistics, an indicator of industry sales, showed 19 straight monthly increases over the same period of the previous year, and background checks for Black Friday, Nov. 25, set a new one-day high.
"We are grateful and proud that our industry has helped maintain jobs from the manufacturer through retail levels during these difficult economic times," said President and CEO Steve Sanetti of NSSF. "Industry is delivering products that people desire for sporting purposes and personal and home defense. We see no reason why this won't continue during 2012. Buying activity at the SHOT Show will give us a first look at the industry's prospects for the year ahead."
The 34th annual SHOT Show will take place for the third straight year at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. The largest trade show of its kind in the world, the SHOT Show attracts buyers from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. Manufacturers and distributors display a broad range of products, including firearms, ammunition, optics, reloading, locks and cases, shooting range equipment, targets, training and safety equipment, hunting accessories, law enforcement and tactical equipment, hearing and eye protection, tree stands, scents and lures, cutlery, GPS systems, holsters, apparel, leather goods, game calls and decoys.
Given the size of the SHOT Show at more than 600,000 net square feet, the Sands is stretched to capacity. Improvements made to the venue prior to the 2011 show to improve crowd flow, seating and signage were given an enthusiastic thumbs-up by attendees in the post-show survey. Enhancements to the 2012 show include making room in the sold-out exhibition halls by having larger exhibitors voluntarily reduce their booth space so that smaller companies could move off the show's waiting list and onto the show floor. "We received outstanding cooperation from our longtime, voting member exhibitors who sacrificed some of their booth space for the good of the show," said Chris Dolnack, NSSF's senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "Our exhibitors instinctively understand that what's good for the SHOT Show is good for the marketplace. As a result, we anticipate a vibrant, successful show."
NSSF will present its State of the Industry Dinner on the first evening, with Outdoor Channel serving as the title sponsor of the event. The Foundation will show its State of the Industry video and present an achievement award to a most-deserving recipient. NSSF also will assist in the kickoff of the 75th anniversary celebration of the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Act, through which the industry has contributed nearly $7 billion to wildlife conservation since 1937. A crowd of more than 2,000 will be entertained by comedian Larry the Cable Guy.
The 2012 show, whose theme is "One Industry -- One Voice," will bring together manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, publishers and wildlife conservation groups to conduct business, exchange ideas, renew contacts and reaffirm the unity that has been the hallmark of the shooting sports industry in these challenging times.
For retailers, the SHOT Show provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to gain a hands-on education about the products they'll be discussing with their sportsmen customers. New products seen at the SHOT Show will arrive throughout the year at retail stores.
The largest number of outdoor media in the world turns out at the SHOT Show to cover the introduction of products and to report on the firearms and outdoor industry. NSSF credentialed more than 2,000 media members for the 2011 show. At SHOT Show Media Day at the Range, scheduled for Monday, Jan. 16, the day before the show, members of the press can handle, test and learn about the new products that will be on display over the next four days.
With all segments of industry in attendance, the SHOT Show provides a perfect setting for organizational and educational meetings. On the day before the show opens, retailers take advantage of SHOT Show University to learn from experts about new marketing strategies, store financials and compliance with federal regulations. Additional seminars for retailers are scheduled during the show covering topics such as knowing your competition, exporting firearms, hiring smart and the benefits of utilizing GunBroker.com, along with presentations from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Law enforcement professionals will have a series of seminars to choose from as well.
The SHOT Show is a "must-see" event for industry professionals, who can register to attend the show at www.shotshow.org . The website is also the place to find out all that's happening at SHOT during and after the show.