Thursday, January 18, 2007

SHOT Show!

In a word…WOW! This event was even more monstrous then I anticipated. I will try and write some impressions of the show and give a few brief reviews. I will also throw in some tips if you ever get lucky enough to attend yourself. So here we go;

When we first arrived it was about 11:30 on Thursday. We had been up and traveling since about 3 a.m. so I wasn’t expecting to do a whole lot. Our hotel looked like a set piece from CSI but as it turned out we didn’t spend much time there anyway. We walked about 10 minutes to the convention center and were struck by how huge the place was. As it turned out it would take you a good 15 minutes to just walk from one end to the other. I checked in and got my entrance badge. To get into SHOT Show you must be part of the industry. One of the neat things for me is that Law Enforcement and Government (read Military) count as being part of the industry. If you don’t meet those criteria then you will need to have an FFL or a business card showing you work for a retailer, distributor, gun manufacturer, etc.

We went directly to the Law Enforcement section which encompassed about a quarter of the show. Except for about 3 hours of walking I spent the next 3 days in the LE section. Anything and everything you could want to see was there and even though you couldn’t buy anything you got the opportunity to handle all of the products and to make contacts with the manufacturers.

What was good about the show? You got to handle the stuff, and often times compare it to it’s competitor by stepping 5 feet one direction or the other. You got to talk to the creators, makers, owners and get the low down and what, when, where, and why. Stuff that you thought was junk due to poor advertisement could turn out to be great like the Spec-Ops Brand. You get to meet some very interesting people.

What specifically did I see that was cool? Well the new S&W M&P45 with the thumb safety is very slick. Beretta introduced and new finish for its Stampede and now offers a cut-down Sheriff’s model. The adventure companies are getting into the tactical market so expect some very cool high end tactical gear. Heritage Arms makes a sweet looking .22 and .32 Single Action at a great price. STI didn’t have the new Texican for various reasons, and I wouldn’t expect to see it soon. The entire Taurus SAA Pistol line is very nice, but the Lightning still has a crappy action. The FN SCAR is sweet, but their pistols really blow. A neat little company Kriss Super System designed a recoil system and then made a gun around it. It’s a .45 SMG with little recoil and only a 2 degree muzzle flip as opposed to the 8 degree muzzle flip of the HK UMP.

A few quick rules for SHOT Show;

1. Wear comfortable shoes. Seriously you will be standing on concrete for 10 hours a day.

2. Bring a back-pack or something to carry all the information you collect. I didn’t the first day and now that I think back on it I’m kicking myself.

3. Eat a big breakfast and carry a snack. The food lines were ridiculous and we ended up not eating during the day.

4. Take notes. When you get home people are going to ask you questions and you will be kicking yourself because you can’t remember the answers.

5. Go with an agenda. You will get lost if you don’t have something specific to look at or for. It was very helpful to go with someone writing for the media and to be looking for specific items for units at work. When you talk to the vendors you look like you know what you are doing.

6. Make sure you are not in a Baltimore Ravens Sports Bar when you down 2 pitchers of beer and cheer on the Colts…by yourself.

7. Feel free to wear your gear. Everyone was decked out in 5.11 or some such stuff or their CAS clothing. Tied for the best was the full TAC gear eating dinner in Steak and Ale and the 5 CAS guys in complete old west git-up in the strip club.

That's all for now. If I think of something else I will add it later. For some photo's of the show go here, here, and here.


José Giganté said...

OK, why the heck didn't you bring back an M&P45 for review?!?!

BTW, I think you stayed in the same crappy hotel I did the last time I was in Orlando for a conference. Had about a half inch gap under the door.

Judge Mint Day said...

I generally hate S&W semi-auto's. I also loath the fact they stuck the M&P title on this gun. With that said this gun rocked. Nice grip and feel with option of changing the backstrap, very smooth and reactive thumb safety, chambered in .45. Hell I don't think anything out there is even close to the GI bid. I'd carry one...and that's saying something cause I'm a gun snob.