SHOT Show is back after being canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
I was able to attend the show and so was this week's guest Gabby Hoffman. Gabby has been one of the top outdoor writers in the country for quite some time. She also hosts the District of Conservation Podcast where I've been a guest several times.
Gabby and I compare how attendance at this year's show stacks up to years past, some of the covid mitigation efforts, and how a number of large companies dropping out affected everything. It was certainly a different experience than in years past, but it seemed fairly successful overall. The crowds weren't back to the level they used to be, but they weren't small either.
The understandable absence of some larger gun companies may have provided more of an opportunity for smaller companies to entice buyers. This is especially likely since there weren't many noticeable trends in the industry beyond the introduction of the new .30 super carry caliber. So, buyers looking to find stock two years into the pandemic may be willing to entertain offers from anybody with product. Companies like Sig, Springfield, and Berretta who decided not to attend, probably don't need the show to make sales while their smaller competitors may be more reliant on the exposure the show offers to grow their sales.
But, industry dynamics weren't the only thing on display at SHOT. Politics also made their way in. Gabby describes what she saw at the Governor's Forum where a collection of six Republican governors gathered to describe their approach to bringing in new gun companies. She said they each made their case to the industry that their state would do the most to incentivize and protect gun makers who relocated to their respective states, a big recent trend fueled by increasing hostility to the industry in the northeastern states many were founded in.
Plus, contributing writer Jake Fogleman and I talk about the return of "smart gun" prototypes with one even ending up at the show. And, he explains new details that emerged this week showing Dominion Energy was more connected to the shadowy PAC that tried to suppress gun voters in last year's Virginia election.