As I write this, Publisher Rich Lucibella, other S.W.A.T. staff members and I have just returned from the 2012 SHOT Show in Las Vegas.
SHOT is an acronym for Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade. The first show was held in 1979 in St. Louis, Missouri. Since then, it has also been held in Dallas, New Orleans, Atlanta, Orlando, Houston and San Francisco. Over a third of the shows have been held in Las Vegas, boasting 13 of the 33 events—and it’s scheduled to be held there for at least the next two years.
A lot has changed over the years. In the 1980s, SHOT was semi-formal, and suits or sports jackets and ties were the usual— and sometimes required—dress, while recent shows have seen booths manned by folks in polo shirts with their company’s logo. And while law enforcement and military have been nearly half the entire show in the last few years, in the beginning SHOT was almost strictly hunting. In fact, event organizers banned words such as tactical, police, military and SWAT.
This year’s SHOT Show was a record breaker, with more than 61,000 people attending and over 1,600 exhibitors.
With the economy and jobs on everyone’s mind, the next time you hear a politician talking about gun control, remind them that firearms and related items are a $4 billion a year industry, accounting for many thousands of jobs and money being pumped into the economy.
While other publications will run a “Special SHOT Show” issue about what’s “new and exciting,” you won’t see that in S.W.A.T. Why not? Because new does not necessarily mean better, and rushing articles to press does not allow an author to fully evaluate a product. Rather than show our readers glitzy photos of a new product and what in actuality amounts to a press release from the manufacturer, we prefer to perform in-depth tests and evaluations.
An example of this is one of the firearms that was the talk of last year’s SHOT Show: good concept and great marketing, but the gun I received for review simply would not run, despite being sent back to the manufacturer to be “fixed.” The performance of the gun was in fact so dismal that I decided not to waste any ink on it at all. Our loyal readers deserve nothing less.
With that said, we did come across some pretty interesting products at this year’s SHOT, and if they live up to our expectations, you’ll read about them here in the coming months.
On a personal note, Chris L., I’m glad you’re OK. All of us who’ve been in a shooting know what you’re going through and you have our support.
Until next time, stay low and watch your back.