In a word…FABULOUS! This year was different for me because I had company. The newest member of the Female and Armed team, and my sweetie, Jim Bogle, accompanied me to his first Shot Show. I think it helped him to have someone show him around a bit, and was a delight for me to see it through the eyes of someone who’d never been. I think he is still sorting through the swag… so am I, LOL!
We were walking through the Las Vegas airport to pick up luggage and I spotted a familiar back. She is tall, slender and with the hat and boots, who else could it be? None other than the indomitable Becky Lou Lacock! We shared a cab to the hotels and had lots of time to catch up!
We settled into our hotel and enjoyed a very nice dinner followed by significant snoring. 3 hour time change, major climate change, plus 5 hours on a plane. I admit it, he snores. Ok, sometimes, I do, too.
Up early to catch a ride to Industry Day with Gun Diva and the Gun Dudes. Love them! Great Friends, wish they were closer so we could get together more often.
Industry Day is a by invitation only event that allows people who are media affiliated to meet a wide variety of vendors, handle the firearms under very watchful eyes (not everyone there is a shooter so the vendors watch closely until they are sure you are safe) and yes, SHOOT!!! Some of them on Full Auto! Gun Diva calls it “the giggle switch”. I have had the privilege several years in a row now, and it never gets old. TOO FUN!!
One of the things I noticed was a lot more service animals attending with their owners. They were outfitted with little doggie ear muffs and their service animal wraps. That was nice to see. Also, there was a tactical response vehicle on display with two working dogs. One was a pup, still in training, sitting erect, alert and watchful on a table near the vehicle, outfitted in a vest. We asked the handler for permission to approach and pet him, and once we, and he, knew it was ok, the kisses were not far behind. I got a serious face full of puppy kisses and couldn’t stop laughing, it was one of the highlights of my day.
If you are a regular reader you know I am partial to GLOCK pistols and Mossberg long guns. That hasn’t changed. I did get to try the Springfield XDM Mod 2 in 9mm. It is now on my short list for next gun. I like the way it feels, like the way it shoots, and I would like to have it to give my beginner students who do not like the boxier feel of the GLOCK an option. The other serious gun that was an eye opener for me was Savage Arms in 308. The target was at 833 yds, if you are numerically challenged, like me, that is about ½ mile. It was a steel plate, too small to see without a scope. There was a spotter, and he offered a few corrections to help me judge the windy conditions. On the 3rd shot I hit is squarely. That was it, I was done. I shoot handguns at 20 feet and rifles at 50 feet. ½ mile? I was jumping up and down, inside. On the outside, I had a grin that told the whole story.
SOG had their knife throwing booth, and an expert to offer tips. Every year I get a little better, but this year I moved up to tomahawks. What fun!! I need to build a target board for my back yard. They also had the smartest giveaways. Little packets of band-aids with SOG was here on them. They came in handy but for another reason.
KRISS was there with the Vector in Full Auto. weeeeeeeeeeee! CMG had an AR with Full Auto, I had a little trouble with jamming (but it had gotten some heavy use by the time I got to it so I don’t blame the gun). To make it up to me, they gave me a fresh Magazine, told me to set it to full auto and let it go. The rep put his hand on my shoulder just in case, to help manage climb, and I dumped it in one burst. Ok, that was a WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!! When I laid the gun down and turned around I saw a line of men with very envious looks that read “Next?” That is also why the band-aids came in handy. Not being a regular AR shooter, during a malfunction my hand slipped forward on the upper and my finger connected with the barrel. Instant blister. Now, two + weeks later, still have a mark. But, I don’t care. It was worth it!!
Shooting, ammo, accessories, knives, give aways…It was truly a great day!
The Shot Show officially starts on Tuesday. 3 levels in the SANDS Expo Center, most people average 7 miles a days of walking the exhibits. Celebrities generally are left alone, unless they are gun celebrities. Gunny had an autograph line that was probably an hour or more. Pro shooters gave demos and talks. My favorite was Julie Golob who I always find delightful. She is as approachable and genuine in person as she appears on her webcasts. She is who she is, warm, friendly and sincere. Plus, she is well spoken and happy to share tips and encouragement.
Getting to meet vendor representatives and gain new insights into their products is a real treat. Networking with major manufacturers can bring discounts, always a good thing.
The number of Booth Bunnies has been declining steadily over the years I’ve been attending as more and more women participate. I did wonder where the Booth Beef was for us, but realized that most of the booths are staffed by men, many of whom could qualify.
There wasn’t a lot of truly new and innovative products, but there were upgrades, or in a few cases, downgrades. The upgrades, or updates, offered enhancements, such as the grip modifications to the Springfield XDM Mod 2. Some companies are trying to tap the women’s concealed carry market. Can Can Concealment does this beautifully with their sport belt, which I use and love. (Got to meet Darlene at the Show, she was in the first time exhibitor area, new this year, as nice in person as on the phone)
Another company is offering their interpretation, and I watched their demo. Clearly, it was given by a woman who is not a shooter as she referred to the grip as the handle, kept her finger on the trigger of the blue gun, muzzled the crowd and her own hand while attempting to show you could re-holster with their product. P T Barnum is often cited as the source of “There is a sucker born every minute”, which in fact is attributed to David Hannum, but the line applies to some of these products. A holster provides a couple key functions, it safely and securely retains your firearm, it allows you to safely access and draw that firearm on demand without hindering the draw stroke. Everything else is preference. If it can’t do that, you probably shouldn’t call it a holster.
I’ve been contemplating starting to compete. So I spent quite a bit of time with Safari Land. Found a paddle holster with a thumb break that I loved and felt comfortable with. When I’m ready, that will be where I turn for a competition holster.
This year Women’s Outdoor News co-sponsored a meet and greet open to women attendees. I saw lots of familiar faces, got to put faces with people I’ve corresponded with, and met many new industry women. What fun! I know I’m a tiny fish, but I’ve had a lot of opportunity, and when I realized how many of these amazing women it was my privilege to know and interact with on a personal level, I realized how lucky I’ve been.
Shot Show, sponsored by NSSF, is an industry convention, and members of the general public really don’t attend, but if you ever have the chance…GO!
Lastly, NSSF has launched Project Child Safe. This is a positive informed effort to promote safety and is worth a look. Please visit http://www.projectchildsafe.org/ for more information and consider supporting this effort.