Shot Show Day 1
Maree Davidson, FOU US Correspondent.
As an Australian born and educated firearms enthusiast, ex police officer and firearms instructor, who has lived overseas for some twenty years, I walk into the Shot Show in my home city of Las Vegas, Nevada, I am taken back by the fact that I am staring into the true meaning of freedom!
The true meaning of freedom is that you are free to do as you wish until you abuse that freedom. As an American, that means you are free to own firearms, shoot, hunt, carry firearms, and apply for and be granted a concealed carry permit to protect yourself and your loved ones. You are free to appreciate firearms, discuss firearms, and have your community, your country and your police fully support your right to express your freedom through lawful and responsible firearms ownership. To believe in freedom is to believe that your rights should never been infringed due to the individual actions of others. We believe that your freedom can only be limited through your own inability to live up to the responsibilities that derive from your freedom. This is what it means to be an American! This is what it means to every exhibitor and visitor to the 2018 Shot Show!
To understand how Americans express freedom, is to understand our Shot Show! Our American Shot Show is the jingoistic, flag waving, freedom loving, sports loving, expression of our freedom as individuals to pursue liberty, and our responsibility to pursue our freedom responsibly. Our show is organized and run by the National Sports Shooters Federation. Firearms are a major part of this, but people are always surprised that so is conservation, clothing manufacturers, leather manufacturers and retailers, rescue and life-saving equipment, and much more. About half the floor space is taken up with complementary manufacturers and retailers.
Today was day one of a busy four days, walking more than ten miles a day at the Sands Convention Centre on The Strip, viewing new products from hundreds of industry manufacturers, making contacts, renewing friendships, and simply admiring the ingenuity of the worldwide firearms industry. There is an excitement in the air, as those who appreciate freedom, the mechanics of firearms, the history of firearms, the design and usefulness of complementary products, mix in order to create jobs, new products and advance their sport.
The introduction to how we, in this country, view our industry show dispensed with, we now dive deep into our experiences throughout the show. Thus, day one!
Today, Tuesday, the first day of the 2018 Shot Show, we drove in from our home near the national parks and lakes in the South East corner of the metro area, too the Sands. When we arrived, we quickly made our way from three floors underground, through the casino floor, through our immense indoor Venice styled shopping mall complete with indoor canals, across the shopping mall grand square of Venice recreation and into the Sands. As we passed security, and rounded a dog leg turn in a hall as large as a city street, we were confronted by a crowd of over a thousand people, all bustling, all trying to view small new product stands, stretched out along a chandeliered corridor as far as you could see. We had struck the Next Pavilion, an area of one hundred new product and manufacturer stands, some half mile, and two floors up from the main product display halls.
We fought through this third floor crowd, making our way halfway down the corridor, then making a sharp left turn through ballroom doors and into the press room. From there, some half hour after leaving the car three floors underground, we could take a deep breath and plan our assault on the show, which stretched out over five floors of the Sands Convention Center before us.
What stood before us this first day of the Shot show was some fifteen miles of booths, spread over more than 630 000 square feet, or almost fifteen acres of floor space, spread over five floors! Daily there are up to around 50 000 people in that fifteen acres of floor space, collected by corridors as large as Melbourne’s Burke Street Mall! Even with this acreage, the show is said to run out of room by the close this coming Friday! Yes, with over 1600 exhibiting companies, and up to 15000 stands or displays, the Shot Show is so successful that it is running out of space!
Before I go onto describe the Shot Show geography further, I wish you to Just imagine the jobs that could be created in Australia if the state and federal governments actually supported legally licensed sports shooters, hunters, and their industry! Just imagine the jobs generated for entire classes of people the Australian Government draws its stubborn unemployment figures from! Imagine the size the Australian Shot Shows would expand to, and the revenue this would create! Imagine the apprenticeships, training, skills, and upskilling that the industry in Australia could provide! Sadly though, even from afar, one can see that with Australia losing its course through over regulation and bureaucratic strangulation, and the need of small loud left wing political groups and parties to manipulate all in society to fit their image of what they view as utopian society, all we can do here in America is to feel sad for our cousins from what was once the Lucky Country!
Right, after the rant about an Australia I feel I have lost, back to the show!
As already stated, the Shot Show is spread over five floors of the Sands Convention Center. The first floor is an immense space of over 180 000 square feet of stands. From small boutique manufacturers, outdoor equipment manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, life-saving equipment products, complementary products to firearms, and of course, firearm manufacturers. The floor space is divided into some more than four miles of isles containing the various outdoor and firearm related products and stands, displaying everything from life-saving first aid kids, to British outdoor hiking clothing, and finally to fine quality competition shotguns carved from the finest of European regrowth trees.
Moving from the first floor of the Shot Show to the second, you find the majority of firearms manufacturers from around the world, as well as ballroom size halls filled with the latest in life-saving law enforcement equipment. This is stretched over more than 250 000 square feet of display space, over some six interconnecting halls. From Sig Sauer to Smith & Wesson, and over a hundred more besides, are laid out the largest of the world’s firearms manufacturers. Each stand containing up to two hundred of their best product. Between the stands is some five miles plus of corridors, and 25 000 people.
Floor one and two takes at least two days to simply walk the stands. To give scale to how large floors one and two are at the Shot Show, we estimated that you could play eight or more AFL games simultaneously and only a ball kicked out of bounds would have any chance of landing in the middle of the game going on next door! There is a little Australian buried deep in us all!
Taking the escalators from level two to level three, you find yourself back in the area of the press rooms, NSSF ballroom, and the Next Pavilion. Moving again upwards to the ballrooms of floor four and five, you find ballrooms stretching over some 150 000 square feet, containing product release and launch parties and education sessions.
So, that is our Shot Show! Five floors, several AFL games, and a crowd to match! Today, we spent seven hours moving between floors visiting old friends, bonding with new ones, and viewing products suitable for our businesses, including firearms instruction and shooting tours for Australians! My fitness watch clicked over eight miles of walking and talking, and at the end of it all, we were exhausted as we slumped into our SUV and headed down the freeway heading home, as we watched yet another desert sunset in Vegas.
Over the next few days we will be reporting on new products suitable for the Australian market, such as Mossberg’s new range of Category B tactical feel bolt action rifles. We will also be giving you a taste of what Australian sports shooters could own if worldwide sports such as 3 Gun were allowed by the politicians and their police advisors, who spend more time fearing the public rather than ensuring the maintenance of freedom, and with this will give a logical reason argument as to why Category C/D rifles should be owned by legally licensed and shooting club recognized sports shooters. Finally, I would encourage you to get in touch with us at Firearms Owners United and send us your requests for us to fulfil! Check your favorite manufacturer to see what products they have at this year’s show! Who would you like us to visit on FOU Thursday afternoon? Get in touch! Give us your questions to ask anybody, or you request for pictures of any product! You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More Day 1 photos HERE
All photos kindly supplied by Keith Slater
Introducing our US Corespondent, Maree Davidson. Maree is an NRA Instructor & RSO, a writer, Ex-cop an,investigator,teacher, lecturer, and historian. She loves life,travel, the outdoors, firearms, and freedom. You can reach her direct at: email@example.com