Annual SHOT Show features commentaries on the times we live in

Reach featured a holster that attaches to the side of a desk, clearly marketed toward educators. Beathard notes that this and more offerings at the SHOT Show provided a commentary on the times that we live in today. (Photo by Jane Beathard)

I attended the annual Shooting, Hunting & Outdoor Trades (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas recently. It’s always interesting and generally provides some good “grist” for my story mill.

It is a huge event held at the Sands Conference Center on The Strip. There are literally hundreds of exhibits that draw thousands of outdoor enthusiasts and police officers from all over the world.

This year’s show was billed as having the most vendor displays ever. But I did not find that to be true. In fact, I was a bit disappointed overall and heard others expressing similar sentiments.

The new products area, one that generally fields unusual or quirky items, was only two-thirds full. And most of those were the new model guns, grips, and holsters.

I did notice a trend though.

Handguns appear to be getting smaller with many falling into the sub-compact category. New type grips help users hold handguns steadier. And there are more and more ways to carry a handgun concealed under clothing or in a belt or handbag.

No doubt this is a sign of the times we are living in.

One display that was clearly being marketed to educators and school officials (the promotional poster showed textbooks) featured a “holster” that attaches to the side of a teacher’s desk and provides quick access in an emergency.

That was another sign of the times – a sad one, though.

I was disappointed in the Winchester and Remington exhibits where historically significant guns are usually on display. These guns are generally borrowed from the Cody Firearms Museum in Wyoming and are fun to see. For example, one year all the Winchester rifles that had been presented to U.S. Presidents were on display.

Winchester had none on display this year.

Remington had a few on display – mostly ones that had belonged to company figures. I was not impressed.

I did catch a glimpse of TV’s Chuck Norris – star of Walker, Texas Ranger. Norris was signing autographs and posing for pictures in the Glock booth. I expected him to look old since the show has been off the air for nearly 20 years. I was pleasantly surprised to see that he looked much as he does in the current re-runs. Hasn’t seemed to age much.

There were about 100 people waiting to take his picture or get his autograph. I didn’t want to wait, so I moved on.

One highlight of the show was a “fireside chat” – actually, a press conference – with the secretaries of agriculture and the interior fielding questions from about 150 writers and TV reporters.

I found their comments about the expanding use of federal public lands noteworthy. It would seem for the moment that President Trump has found two knowledgeable loyalists in these men.

I sat next to a Sands staff photographer at the press event. He was a wealth of information and shared some of my observations about the show.

He said organizers are looking at dividing next year’s show into two venues for greater convenience. One would be at the Sands and one at the new Caesars Forum that is due to open soon.

Categories: Ohio – Jane Beathard

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