Tuesday, January 24, 2012

SHOT Show Day One AAR

Second part in a series. Part one, Media Day, is here. This is my first day actually walking the exhibit floor at SHOT Show 2012.

Day One. Got up, showered, and out the door by 7:30 AM, a little later than I was hoping but still with plenty of time to make the show before opening. SHOT opens to LEOs at 8:00 AM and the remainder of attendees at 8:30 AM, and it's about 15-20 minutes by bus (it's all of two miles, but Las Vegas traffic is something to behold...).

Had an interesting experience on the bus ride in: I got one of the last few seats on the bus, and a few more folks piled in right before we left. One gentleman made it to the back to the seat next to me, and we got to talking as the bus ride got underway. As it turns out, we have a mutual friend in "Bushwack" - and Bushwack had e-mailed me to BOLO for his friend Tim! Tim called Bushwack and put me on the phone so I could say hi. The internet can be a small place sometimes...

I knew I was in the right place when I walked in the door and was immediately greeted by this:


Yep. An AK with a chainsaw bayonet. Oh, how I've thought about such a beast, only to find out that it's gloriously real... Zombies were the "in" thing this year, with zombie targets, zombie knives, zombie ammunition, zombie clothing, zombie 401Ks, etc. Bright green and traces of red and grey were all the rage pretty much everywhere you went.

One of the things I liked was seeing different manufacturers exhibiting a sense of humor. You'd think that the manufacturer of this fearsome looking rifle:

BFG 50

would be pretty darn serious, right? Well, Serbu Firearms is very serious about the fine firearms they make, but they have a sense of humor, too:

Peace through superior firepower

SHOT Show features hundreds of exhibitors, from huge conglomerations to small businesses and everyone in between. While they're all there to sign contracts and attract customers, many are quite willing to spare a moment and chat about what products they sell and what makes them special. Here's some folks that took the time to talk to your humble scribe:

Got Steel?

MGM Targets, out of Caldwell ID, makes a number of steel poppers and other reactive steel targets. I chatted with them for a bit about using steel targets for new shooters as an extra hook, and they explained the workmanship and detail that go into every target they manufacture.


First-Light USA makes a variety of application-driven handheld lights and accessories, and demonstrated how their "Liberator" series works in the above picture. It's an interesting concept: the light is held in the off hand, leaving the strong hand free for the firearm. This allows the two to be separated for different purposes or brought together quickly to identify threats. It'd be neat to try one out, that's for sure.

SRS Shotgun

Vang Comp Systems takes a great thing - the Remington 870 shotgun - and makes it even better. They fine-tune shotgun barrels to increase accuracy and reduce recoil, choosing to improve the wheel rather than re-invent it. The shirt that gentleman is wearing? It's an overlay of an actual pattern out of one of their shotguns at 50 yards using 00 buckshot. Damn impressive.

Airsoft was *huge* at the show, with at least a half-dozen different manufacturers present. There was a humorous exchange at one of the booths, where they had an airsoft version of the Magpul FMG-9 - I missed that it was an airsoft gun, and mused that it appeared to be a semi-automatic version of the famous subgun-that-almost-was. They had this, as well, which made me smile:

Interesting model

Yes, that is an airsoft version of a TT-33...

Sharp and stabby things were well-represented at SHOT Show (this is for you, Roadkill!):

Zombie knives

Some of Ka-Bar's new "Zombie" line of knives, along with some other Ka-Bar offerings underneath.

High-end stabby

Ontario Knife Company had an impressive display of cutlery as well. There will be more stabby pics later, too, Roadkill...

About this time I was getting hungry, so a quick sandwich and off to the press room to regroup when I ran into this guy:


Lars and I had a running gag where we would randomly snap pictures of each other (leading to the shot in the inset here where I look like a raving lunatic, not that it's any different than any other picture). I ran into Lars several times throughout the show, and each time one of us would "get the drop" on the other and snap off a pic. There's a reason I keep my iPhone in a holster...

Some random shots from the afternoon while walking the floor:


The FAB Defense K-POS Pistol-to-carbine conversion kit was a prominent attraction at the show, featuring a rapid conversion from a pistol to a (SBR) carbine utilizing the accessory rail. It's an interesting concept for security forces and bodyguards, but does require the NFA stamp for a short-barreled rifle.

Crayola Cuffs!

Pink. It's not just for Bersa grips any more.


GEMTECH had both suppressed handguns and a suppressed M240 machine gun. Neat. And quiet.

Taurus Ouchie

Taurus now has a polymer-framed small revolver in .357 Magnum. Sprechen zie ouchie?

And lastly, I thought that these guys really went for the gusto:

Trifecta Draw!

I'm generally not a fan of the "booth babe", even less so in Vegas (Look, if I want to see scantily clad women, there's about a zillion places on the strip), but Magnum Essential Equipment pulled all the stops to get you into their booths: a scantily clad model, a cool giveaway (laser engraved dogtags - very cool!), and free beer. I joked that all they needed was bacon and it would implode in a black hole of awesome.

That about wraps up Day One of walking the SHOT Show floor. There's still two more days to cover, and lots more pictures, but we'll leave that for tomorrow and Thursday (keeping things chronologically rolling, so to speak). There were two floors covering an entire city block - each floor - worth of stuff, and in three days I didn't get to see everything. What's here is what stuck out the most in the 800+ pictures taken...

Man, my feet hurt just writing this AAR...

That is all.

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