by Jeff W. Zimba
The annual firearms and outdoor equipment show known as SHOT (Shooting Hunting & Outdoor Trades) was held this year January 28th through January 31st at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas Nevada. This year’s show, sponsored by NSSF (National Shooting Sports Foundation) included 569,000 square feet of exhibit space and was attended by over 37,000 industry people. With 1,726 companies exhibiting at the show and attendees from 192 countries worldwide, there were plenty of items of interest, regardless of your personal interests.
To give you an idea of the enormous size of this event, 10 miles of carpet were rolled out for the aisles of the show. If you were to try and visit every booth at the show over the entire 4 days, during the show hours, you would have to spend less than 68 seconds at each booth! SHOT Show is certainly not a typical gun show. Nevertheless, anyone reading these words should make an earnest effort to attend one in the near future. You will not be disappointed.
The floor plan at SHOT Show is designed to place businesses in designated areas of interest. This is fantastic for those attending as you can glance at the map (yes a map is necessary to find your way around due to the size of the event) and head to the section of your interest. While the show includes such categories as General Shooting and Hunting, Outdoor Wear, Cutlery, Optics, Outfitters and others, the area most visited by the readers of Small Arms Review was the Law Enforcement section. This section seems to be the fastest growing category at SHOT and looking through the aisles there you will find such familiar names as Gemtech, H&K, Ares Defense, FNH-USA, John’s Guns, Buffer Technologies, Knight’s Armament, Barrett, Lauer Custom Weaponry and many others.
Rules on displaying military style and law enforcement firearms have relaxed greatly over the last few years. There once was a time where none of these “non-sporting” guns were allowed at the show but those days are fading away fast. This year’s show featured several belt-fed firearms, suppressed firearms, and military style firearms of many shapes and sizes.
One pleasant surprise I noticed this year was the addition of SHOT Show TV. It was a dedicated television channel reporting on highlights of the show and it was broadcast to area hotels. The hosts of the television program were showcasing many of the new and interesting things that could be seen this year at the show and they had a fantastic segment discussing the Law Enforcement section. They were talking about the technology that is explored in the search for better military weapons, and how the entire industry benefits from the “trickle down” of the ever-improving designs. Their point was that the money spent on military firearms R&D greatly exceeds that spent in the sporting gun field and the benefits are often shared industry wide. They also had some great comments on the assortment of sound suppressors that were available and how their use greatly enhances the safety of the shooting sports. This was an excellent addition to an already great event.
After Hours Events
Much of the industry dealing that happens during SHOT Show is done after hours in demonstrations, meetings, parties and dinners hosted by individual businesses. There are certain events that are considered “A-List” affairs and are handled on an invitation-only basis. Some are annual events and others are unique to specific shows. Long Mountain Outfitters (LMO), based in Henderson, Nevada (only a few miles from “the Strip”) hosted several special events at their facilities before, during and after SHOT Show. One that may be of particular interest to the readers of Small Arms Review was a gathering on Saturday night with 135 of the movers and shakers in the Class 3 community. This was a meeting, after almost a year of organizing discussions, for the formation of the National Firearms Act Trade & Collectors Association (NFATCA). Further details of this important new association will be covered in a future issue of Small Arms Review. Earlier that day, LMO hosted the American Entertainment Armorers Association (AECA) meeting and open house. Sunday, the National Society of Forensic Analysts visited LMO.
There are always manufacturers and distributors who wait to debut new and improved items during SHOT Show. They are quite often anxious to get these items in the public eye, and live-fire demonstrations for media, select purchasers and potential end users are a great way to do that. When SHOT Show is in Las Vegas there are a few places that can accommodate these demonstrations with prior planning. This year we were treated to some live fire at the Desert Lake Country Club located in Boulder City, Nevada. It is about 30 minutes from “The Strip” and approximately 10 miles from Hoover Dam. This facility has over 80 acres of land and includes ranges up to 300 yards with a covered firing line and a 5,000 square foot clubhouse complete with restaurant and pro shop. Nestled in the middle of a high mountain range, the scenery is nothing short of breathtaking. They have a 1-mile long, 20-station sporting clay course and another 1-mile long, 24-station 3D archery course on site to allowing you several perspective views of their facility. The people running the range were extremely helpful and accommodating, even considering the unusual nature of some of the firearms we tend to specialize in testing. I would encourage anyone going to the Las Vegas area to visit this facility. Watch for a feature article on the Desert Lake Country Club in a future issue of SAR. Their contact information is: Desert Lake Country Club, 12801 U.S. 95 South Boulder City, NV 89005. Tel: (702) 294-0029. Website: www.desertlakecc.com
Several new products were unveiled at SHOT Show 2005. Those listed below are but a few of those that the author thought were particularly interesting and wanted to pass along to the readers of Small Arms Review. Watch for in-depth articles on these new products in future issues of SAR.
Tactical Innovations, Inc. had a neat sub-caliber conversion for the AR15. It was a replacement upper receiver that would accept .22LR American 180 drums. Billed as the AM15 it requires no modifications to your factory lower receiver.
Tactical Innovations, Inc.
HCR 85 Box 8024
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
Stag Arms, LLC had an impressive display that included their STAG-15L. This is their left-handed, AR-15 style rifle and is manufactured to eject empty brass to the left side and includes a left side ejection port complete with dust cover, brass deflector and forward assist.
Stag Arms, LLC
515 John Downey Drive
New Britian, CT 06051
Gemtech had their new STORMFRONT .50BMG Suppressor at SHOT Show. This impressive unit weighs in at a little over 4 pounds in a package less than 12 inches in length with an outside diameter of 2 inches. It uses a 2-point mounting system and was designed for the Barrett M82/82A1, M88 & M107.
P.O. Box 140618
Boise, ID 83714
Robinson Armament Company, well known for their M66 Expeditionary Rifle and Recon Carbines, had their new XCR Modular Weapon System on display. This new weapon platform gives the shooter the options of a side-folding stock, a free-floating quick-change barrel, an integral rail system, and easy caliber conversions.
Robinson Armament Company
P.O. Box 16776
Salt Lake, UT 84103
Ares Defense Systems, Inc., manufacturers of the Shrike 556 Weapons System, had a few new products on display. One that stood out was a drop-in gas piston system for the AR-15 / M16. Unlike other gas piston systems on the market today, this one simply replaces the gas tube, handguards and bolt carrier and installs in a completely unmodified, factory upper receiver.
Ares Defense Systems
P.O. Box 10667
Blacksburg, Virginia 24062
SRT Arms from Tempe AZ had their new Typhoon .223 sound suppressor on display. The Typhoon is an Inconel and Stainless Steel full-auto capable .223 suppressor. It measures just 4.7 inches long by 1.5 inches wide and weighs only 18 ounces.
1739 E. Broadway Rd. # 1-161
Tempe, AZ 85282
BETA C-Mag is now offering a complete C-Mag system for the 9mm AR-15/M16 SMG including magazine, loader, pouch, lubricant, manual and screwdriver tool. It has a suggested retail of $289.00. Ruben Mendiola made a large purchase at SHOT Show and will run them on special at $269.95 plus $12 S&H, available April to May 2005
Ruben Mendiola, Jr.
P.O. Box 450219
Miami, FL 33245
Future SHOT Shows SHOT Show 2006 is scheduled for February 9th through the 12th and is again at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas. Start making plans now. All 570,000 square feet of vendor space has already been booked and it is certain to be another excellent show. For more information about SHOT Show please visit them at: www.shotshow.org.
This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V8N9 (June 2005)