SHOT Show 2013 Sets New Attendance Record (VIDEO)

Well, the numbers are in and the 2013 SHOT Show or Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show set an overall new attendance record.

As noted in a recent National Shooting Sports Foundation press release, the annual event held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, was a huge hit.

The largest trade show of its kind in the world and the fifth largest trade show in Las Vegas, the SHOT Show attracted a record overall attendance of 62,371, including a new high for buyers and more than 2,000 media representatives. More than 1,600 exhibitors filled booth space covering 630,000 net square feet.

This year marked the 35th anniversary of the event and had a chance to talk to NSSF Communications Director Bill Brassard Jr. about the continued success of SHOT Show.

“It’s all good news,” Brassard said.  “We set a new overall attendance record, a new record for buyers and for media members in attendance.  So, all this adds up to a very successful show.  We’re very pleased.”

When asked about the show’s importance to the gun community, Brassard said, “If you’re in the industry this is the place to be, this is place to network, this is the place to share our concerns and this is also a place to recognize how popular our sports are – target shooting, hunting – and also how popular and growing the interest is in purchasing firearms for home and personal self-defense.”

Indeed.  It is the place to be.  But it’s also important because, as Brassard noted, SHOT Show tends to be a bellwether of what’s to come for the entire year, not just with respect to new products, but also with respect to market trends.  A well-attended SHOT Show typically translates to a profitable year for the industry as a whole.

“We expect 2013 to be a continuation of the strong sales that were evident in 2011 and in 2012, Brassard said, pausing to point out that “there may be some challenges ahead legislatively, but we’ll have to look at that in the months to come.”

Yes, the gun control debate in Washington and the president’s plan to curb gun-related violence in the wake of the Newtown tragedy loomed large at the event.  It’d fair to say that it was on everyone’s mind.

Given that the NSSF is an apolitical organization, Brassard did not want to comment on the politics going on in Washington, though he did refer us to the NSSF’s official statement on Sandy Hook, which you can read here (The NSSF offices are located in Newtown, CT, approximately 3 miles away from Sandy Hook Elementary School).

He also emphasized the good work that the NSSF does with the profits it makes from SHOT.

“The revenues from SHOT Show help sponsor many of the programs that the NSSF runs, including the promotion of firearms safety education program, like our Project ChildSafe program that distributed 35 million gun lock safety kits to people and also programs that promote participation in both hunting and shooting,” Brassard explained.

“So when gun makers and ammo suppliers and other exhibitors participate in the SHOT Show, they are actually helping to fund these programs that support the entire industry in the future.”

Next Year’s SHOT Show will also be held in Vegas, at the Sands Expo, Jan. 14-17.

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