SHOT shows impresses with outdoor gadgetry

I am once again meandering the aisles at the annual Shooting, Hunting & Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas. 

The National Shooting Sports Foundation sponsors the event, which draws 1,600 exhibitors and many more thousand attendees from all over the world. All are associated with law enforcement, hunting, or media outlets that cover those activities. Needless to say, security is tight.

To say this show is huge is putting it mildly. It showcases cutting edge technology in everything from firearms and range targets to outdoor clothing, mobile dog kennels, and treestands. 

There are knives guaranteed to help hunters field dress a deer in 10 minutes, as well as the newest grinders, slicers, and game processing equipment.

The Israeli military is here with the latest in sniper rifles and scopes. I also saw ladies' lingerie fashioned of camouflage and lace. Talk about variety!

A couple of displays caught my eye. 

A pocket-sized safety device called SPOT Gen3 uses GPS technology to connect hunters, hikers, cyclists, boaters, and other outdoor enthusiasts with the world. 

Unlike a cell phone, it works virtually everywhere – even in remote areas of the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The press of a button will bring help to an injured or lost hunter or hiker. The gadget also sends regular signals to friends and family members, allowing them to monitor progress and location of the user.

A SPOT representative said the devices have led to 4,100 rescues worldwide since first introduced in 2007. He said they are most popular with pilots of private aircraft. 

SPOT Gen3 isn't cheap. A $149.95 annual fee is required, as well as regular battery changes. But that would be a small price to pay for a life saved.

Another interesting gadget I spotted was the Swedish FireKnife. Strike the premium steel blade against a piece of removable magnesium concealed in the handle to ignite a campfire or stove. A company spokesperson said the colorful FireKnife is available in outdoor stores everywhere.

I also met representatives of the Kids & Clays Foundation. The organization sponsors sporting clays and other shooting events around the country to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities. They've raised $15 million in recent years. And they are always looking for donations of firearms.

Dates of upcoming Kids & Clays events all over the country are available at

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