No one is at NSSF’s SHOT Show 2022. At least that’s what popular posts on social media and others would have you believe. Yes, there were quite a few large and small names MIA. Their booths were absent of much more than a few tables and chairs, and a sign dispersed here and there with QR codes to access their latest gadgetry on their respective websites. But considering the difficulties of putting on a production of this size in our current world climate, I was happy to be there, spending face time with my compatriots, renewing past relationships, and creating new ones.
One might even say that only the hardcore ones were present this year. There were many reasons from an assortment of industry staples. From “we’re boycotting because of NSSF or Nevada policies” to “it’s not safe” to “it’s a waste of time.” In the end, a large majority of the booths I wanted to see were present and accounted for. I was a bit happier with the smaller crowds.
In all previous years of my SHOT Show experience, I got sick afterward. My body always ached, coughing and sneezing were abundant, and I would have little or no appetite because my stomach would feel like garbage. With the NV mask mandate in place and the smaller crowds, I’m having none of those symptoms this year. Knowing that life would continue after the show and business would need to be conducted at home, I wore a mask 95% of the time. Did all attendees wear masks all of the time at the show? No. But a majority did, and my opinion is that it did help, at least for me.
Monday’s Industry Day at the Range was a treat. With smaller crowds comes the benefit of additional time and access to manufacturers and their representatives. While my time with them was still short, it was great to see some of the new products in action. However, with the ammunition supply and demand situation, we weren’t able to mag dump on a whim like years previous. Still, heading over to the Barnaul Ammunition booth at the end of Boulder’s Rifle and Pistol Club was fruitful as the kind SOF veteran and I related quickly between bursts of automatic AK fire. Thank you, friend. You are like a fit Santa Claus in January, giving bursts of lead joy to the masses.
Tuesday and Wednesday bring us back inside The Venetian Convention and Expo Center, with overflow now in the newly constructed Caesars Forum. Yeah, SHOT Show got bigger over the 2-year break, at least in square footage. I had boots (literally, if Salomon Speed Assaults count) on the ground at 0800, with direction firmly in mind. I had prepared in the week prior using the SHOT Show app, bookmarking booths I cared about to maximize my time there. As I would arrive at each booth, I would be greeted kindly by the manufacturer’s booth rep, who mostly knew what they were talking about. You see, some reps are more practiced, know their craft, the specs, the application, and don’t get frazzled by the hubbub around them. While others, not so much. If you are a booth professional, I thank you. It takes skill and endurance to navigate conversations as quickly as you sometimes must. Time is something you can never make back.
My favorite booths will be coming in future content, maybe to The Loadout Room, but most certainly to SOFREP.com. To give you a preview, though, my most passionate discussions are centered around night vision, optics, and training booths such as DryFireMag, Mantis, and PTS
Mitch McIntyre served in the US Army as an 11BP in the 82nd ABN as a machine gunner and grenadier. He has one tour in Iraq during OIF. In addition to writing for SOFREP, he manages an indoor airsoft arena in Utah. He has interests in training firearms, concealed carry, preparedness, communications, medical, and night operations. He is also a PC VR gamer and has experience building computers and networks. He has certifications in Six Sigma and computers.