Hello, all, and welcome to the 2017 SHOT Show! I’m Phil Massaro, the NSSF’s Man on the Floor, and I’m here chatting with folks to get a feel for how the show is treating them. I’ve had the opportunity to sit down with a good cross-section of attendees and get a legitimate feel for how they view the SHOT Show. The results are encouraging.

Gary Foster from Kelly Enterprises, LLC, is here to procure some concealed carry handguns for his business, and while it’s his first time attending this show, he was highly impressed with the organizational qualities of the show.

“Everyone here has been more than helpful in assisting me with both direction to the booths I'm looking for and the other necessities of the show,” Foster related. “While we deal with mostly online firearms sales, it is wonderful to meet the company representatives and distributors in person; it adds a new dimension to my business.”

SHOT Show veteran and NSSF Member James Binder—who is with Low Signature Solutions and has attended every SHOT show since 1984, with the exception of 2002 while he was undergoing chemotherapy—gave a rousing thumbs up to the Las Vegas setting.

“I’ve been to SHOT in many different locations—New Orleans, Orlando, Atlanta—but I like Las Vegas over all of the others. My wife makes me an Excel spreadsheet with all of the booth numbers of the exhibitors I want to see and it makes my trip a pleasure.” Binder, whose goal is to purchase long guns, handguns, optics and suppressors for his company, found the staff to be courteous and friendly and more than willing to assist him.

Emma Jenks, representing the Dutchess County Long Rifles (a proponent of the 4-H Shooting Sports in upstate New York), was a first-time attendee who was awed by the sheer magnitude of the SHOT Show.

“The volume of exhibitors and merchandise is a bit overwhelming. I've never seen this much stuff under one roof.”

Jenks, who specializes in training the youth of her area in the shooting sports, is excited with the number of exhibitors willing to help her non-profit organization.

“Our youth group of shooters is slightly more than half female,” Jenks told me, “and engaging the younger kids in the shooting sports is a wonderful thing.” She was more than pleased with all the training aids available to her students.

When asked what else she liked about the show, she told me, “The SHOT Show app for my iPhone has been very helpful. I can easily find anything I need with the push of a button.”

Richard and Lisa MacLeod, owners of Recon Defense, were also in attendance on Tuesday. Hailing from New York State, where some of the most stringent gun laws have been imposed, the MacLeods were interested in New York-compliant modern sporting rifles, as well as other firearms that will assist them in their training classes.

“We’ve been to some large shows before, but never anything on the scale of this,” Lisa said. “This is a whole new level. But in spite of the huge crowd, the exhibitors we needed to find were easily located, and we are very impressed with the courtesy of the staff.”

When I asked Rick about the diversity of a show this large, he responded “I’ve met people that I’ve wanted to meet for a long time and found the items that I’ve only seen in print. Having the ability to hold a firearm or to have a face-to-face conversation with a colleague in the industry is priceless to me.”

It seems as though Day No. 1 was a major success, and I’m looking forward to more of the same from Wednesday. Stay tuned!


Philip P. Massaro is a freelance writer and owner of Massaro Ballistics Laboratory, a custom reloading company. He is also the author of several books under the Gun Digest brand, including Handloaders Digest and Understanding Ballistics: a Complete Guide to Bullet Selection.