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When I got my media pass, the SHOT Show allowed for a spouse and provided a ‘guest’ pass for her.    So to the extent that its ok to call a spouse a guest, then this is a guest post.

Many of us look at our passions in a way that is foreign to those who don’t share them.  We may overlook some cool stuff that is right in front of us.

So it was great to have her at the show, and she saw things through a different eye,  especially the greater Las Vegas experience (absent the sin parts of it).   I hope you enjoy this alternate version of the SHOT Show and Las Vegas  experience.

WARNING:  it is picture heavy!!!!



The website titles it: The Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Showand Conference. Its registered trademark is Shot Show.

“It is the world’s premier exposition of combined firearms, ammunition, law enforcement, cutlery, outdoor apparel, optics, and related products and services. The SHOT Show attracts buyers from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. It is owned by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.” This is where manufacturers and distributors sell to retailers and show the media their products.


What can I say, the website very accurately sums  up what you will find at the show! Of course, if you are reading this blog, you no doubt know that.  If you are a gun enthusiast/nut this show is probably what heaven looks like.  If, like me, you can’t tell an airsoft from an assault rifle, the initial exposure is nothing short of overwhelming – acres of overwhelming spread among multiple halls and floors.  It literally translates to miles of walking.

My assignment, as a guest of the Northwest Airguns blog – roam the show, take it in, find things you like (if any) and report on the experience.  I got a color coded badge that said “guest” just so everyone would know I’m not a buyer, media or anyone else that attention needed to be paid to.  That was actually good because it allowed me to roam about undisturbed, camera unobtrusively hanging from my neck.  28I was able to escape the embarrassment of talking to someone who not only knows all about guns, but in some cases actually designed or manufactured them.  As the show progressed and things quieted, bored representatives seemed to appreciate even my interest in their products.

I had not visited the website prior to the show.  Rather, I explored the many halls, taking photos of what caught my fancy.  First and foremost, it was the experience itself.  I walked the halls noting the variety of the items on display.  Yep, as it turns out – “firearms, ammunition, law enforcement, cutlery, outdoor apparel, optics, and related products and services.”  This is exactly what I ended up with photos of as I endeavored to capture the breath of items at the show.  Since I ended up with lots of photos, rather than a long narrative, I’ve decided to log a photographic report in the following categories:  (1) Location; (2) The show experience; (3) Guns, guns and more guns; (4) For the ladies; (5) My favorites; and (6) Reasons to go to the Vegas Shot Show even if you don’t like guns.  (AKA – take your wife.  And yes, I plan to go back next year.)

Location:  The Shot Show is held annually, in Las Vegas in January.  I heard it was cold last year.  But we enjoyed beautiful 70º weather.  Be prepared to walk – MILES.

The show experience
:  The first exposure to the show, with no particular focus, was overwhelming but still pretty darn cool.  I may not have a need for SWAT equipment, lazer engraving machines, or even decoys, but it was amazing to see the beauty and ingenuity of all the precise and highly specialized items.  Plus, I enjoyed access to the media area.

05 The Media room had press kits, work areas, plug-ins, charging stations, AND free coffee, tea and water – a $20 value in Vegas!


The star of the show is, of course, guns – all kinds of guns that you can touch, feel, aim. . .


14The NRA was there, as well as celebrities that,  I admit, I’ve never heard of. There’s a show daily that lists meetings and activities that occur at booths and in conference rooms.  Maybe next time. . .

1008 In the tactical halls everything is heavy duty, water proof, and efficient. You can check out things there that I didn’t even know exist.

Show merchandise spans the gamut from armored vehicles to silly sun glasses.

2425You can buy bullets, or machines to make them.


Guns, guns and more guns: Whatever kind of gun you might be interested in, you’ll find it at the shot show.

07 13

29 39 35For the ladies:  They say purple is the new blue, so who’s to say gun toting fellas don’t want a pastel gun.  But, purses with special gun compartments, and holster bras – definitely for the ladies!

48 47 49

My favorites.  Can’t say I was tempted by a single gun, but there were many things at the show that I WANT.  Here are a few of my favorites, in diverse categories.  (Loved all the high end optics, but all I can do here is a representative sampling. I gushed over the waterproof paper so much I scored free samples.)

26 54 58 51 57Under the category of favorites, I want to say something about guns in America and themes that were apparent at the Shot Show.

Because of the presence of the tactical halls, the theme of guns as weapons and, frankly, out right fear mongering was definitely present.  Aside from the expected cornucopia of machine guns and armored vehicles for the urban war zone, they had things like breach doors – 3 inch thick steel doors with small rectangular openings, I guess to shoot through during the Zombie Apocalypse.  “Because Failure is Not an Option.”  Nuff said about that.


But as we all know, there is more to guns than this.  A different kind of survival is at play, the kind that puts food in the bellies of families and may actually be based on the deepest connection and respect for the natural world.  (Can you tell I’m from a hunting family?)  Anyway, while not nearly as prominent as might be appropriate, this theme was also present at the Shot Show.  Specialized products, including things like decoys, calls, and even butchering kits reflect an intimate familiarity with animals.  However, top honors for the expression of this theme go to the National Wild Turkey Federation Wild Turkey Center press kit.  There is actually a Turkey magazine!  50

The kit was simply beautiful.  Clearly, these folks LOVE turkeys.  And the overtly stated message – “Save the Habitat, save the Hunt.”  I bet this crew is the biggest pro-turkey environmental advocate there is!

Reasons to go to Vegas even if you don’t like guns.  Of course there are fancy dinners and shows if one is inclined to spend the time and money.  (Food prices on the Strip are ridiculous – and the selections are not that healthy.)  We did not engage much with that element of Vegas on this trip.  However, I did spend a full day shopping. Vegas is something of a shopping Mecca.  The Fashion Show Mall is pretty much across the street from the Shot Show.  The trendy high end Venetian/Palazzo mall is connected to the Sands Convention Center.  I didn’t even make it into the Cesar’s shopping development just up the street or find the outlets. In the end I actually spent very little money, but I found the experience extremely entertaining.  Kind of like the Shot Show itself, too much to really explore and take in on the first visit.50 52
In addition to all the glitz, there are in fact many interesting opportunities in Vegas.  While nearing the end of its engagement, on my long walk to the Shot Show I happened on the 50 Greatest Photographs exhibit. 58 I spent a full morning with these very engaging National Geographic photographs.

And speaking of photographs, if you have not ever done so, it is completely worth renting a car and visiting the quite amazing parks that surround Las Vegas.  I took my camera and drove to Hoover Dan, then around Lake Mead to Valley of Fire, a popular (not so cheesy) wedding venue. 004 011OMG – amazing, beautiful, awe inspiring.030 019 031

All I had time for was an orienting drive through.  Next time I hope to hike to see the petroglyphs.  Across the board, the overriding theme to my first trip to the Shot Show – to much to really explore and take in on the first visit.

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