By Dan Shea
We wanted to give you a quick overview of some new products we saw at the SHOT show this year. Some are getting more intense tests and articles done on them. Others we didn’t get a chance to photograph but will be bringing you reports on as soon as we can.
SHOT Show 2001 was held on January 11-14 at the Ernest Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. Straight talk? Attendance was way down- due in large part to the location of the show- New Orleans doesn’t have the draw that Las Vegas does. Show personnel were heard to say they were 30% under expectations. However, in our interviews with other booth personnel, most seemed to be doing quite well. SAR drew a lot of interest, and that was one of the reasons we were there, and we made a lot of contacts to get new info to the readers over the next year- which was the other reason. Many manufacturers didn’t know how to get the word out to us, and now they have the contact points for SAR.
SHOT is traditionally the place where about 60% of the firearms business in the US is done. This is the place where dealers and distributors go to meet with manufacturers, importers and reps, and to plan out the year’s “Programs” and orders. A large part of our yearly business is done at the booths there, and the new products compete with old standbys. This is a place to put your best foot forward. The parties at night are legendary, but most of the business seems to be done in the booths and at private meetings.
Our take on New Orleans as a host city for SHOT? The hotels were too expensive, and the ones we saw downtown had major problems- we moved out of the Canal Street Day’s Inn after one night- to the Airport Hilton and drove into town rather than go through the hassles downtown. So did almost everyone we spoke with. Flying into New Orleans is very expensive compared to Vegas or Orlando, and the meals are much more expensive as well. SAR will be supportive of SHOT of course, and we will go there again if need be, but we all would much rather be in Vegas or Orlando- lower costs all the way around, bigger crowds, and more to do after hours for those of us who don’t want to “Party” in very dangerous places like New Orleans appeared to be. Vegas has clean streets on the South Strip, and Orlando has Disney, etc.
The issue of the outgoing Mayor of New Orleans and his lawsuit against the firearms manufacturers was overshadowed by the wonderful welcome that the Governor of Louisiana had for us- he wanted to make it clear that Louisiana is a gun friendly state. Still, we would be pleased to not give our money to cities and states that are actively harassing our industries.
There have been a lot of innovations in military style products in recent years, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation had not been particularly friendly towards this aspect of the firearms community, however with their new Law Enforcement section, there is much more interest from our community. We applaud their decision to have an LE section, and hope they continue in the future (2002 in Las Vegas does in fact have an LE section, and SAR is scheduled in that section again). We recommend prospective exhibitors bear this in mind when they are talking with the NSSF about trying to come in, and to tone the displays accordingly.
Next year, back to Las Vegas on February 2-5, 2002. In 2003, it is being held in Orlando, Florida. SAR will see you there!
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V4N7 (April 2001)