SHOT Show Signals Start of Good Year

The DDH staff returned today from the SHOT (shooting, hunting and outdoor trade
show) Show down in Orlando. By all accounts, the journey was well worth it, although
the staff’s feet are still aching from the miles of booths visited (no really, miles).

The NSSF (National Shooting Sports Foundation), which hosted the event, is predicting
a great year for the outdoors industry. Here’s what it had to say:

ORLANDO, Fla. — Buyers, exhibitors and media from around the globe flocked to Orlando
for the shooting, hunting and outdoor industry’s largest trade show, the National
Shooting Sports Foundation’s SHOT Show. 

Though many trade shows have seen a decline in attendance, SHOT Show attendance remained
strong this year, rising 3 percent when compared to its last visit to Orlando in 2007.
According to preliminary figures, this year’s show attracted 25,384 attendees, 22,098
exhibiting personnel and a record 1,425 members of the media for a total attendance
of 48,907. 

“This has been a tremendously successful show from a number of standpoints,” said
NSSF President Steve Sanetti. “Exhibitors and buyers were very upbeat, the products
sold well, and I’d say the industry begins 2009 with a sense of cautious optimism
in this challenging economy.” 

The show, held Jan. 15-18 at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center, comprised
715,000 square feet of exhibit space, with 1,800 exhibiting companies. 

Business was brisk on the floor throughout the show, according to exhibiting companies
and retailers. 

“It’s been a good show, and, in fact, it’s been above my expectations,” said Phil
Murray of Houston-based clay target maker White Flyer. “It’s really exciting to see
so many people being so positive about the industry. It is very encouraging for the
rest of the year.” 

Not only was total attendance up from the last Orlando show, but the number of buyers
increased 5 percent. 

“Our meeting rooms were booked, and the quality of the buyers at the show was very
good. We saw good volume in our law enforcement booths, and we’re very pleased with
the media turnout,” said Al Russo of Remington Arms Co. 

First-time buyers were impressed with the new products and the size of the show. 

“I came to see what was new, and I absolutely have,” said Bruno Leone, salesman at
Aflaherty’s Outdoor Store in Toronto, Canada.  “I have been impressed with the
new camo patterns and with some of the innovation in rifles that I have seen. I never
was at a SHOT Show before, and I am awed by the size of the show and the number of
people in attendance. The concentrated energy of the industry is exciting to witness.” 

High-tech rifles and handguns have seen a recent jump in sales heading into 2009. 

“It’s been a good show,” said Scott Grange of Browning. “With all of the interest
in high-tech arms, it good to see that the interest in our over/under shotguns was
also up. The SHOT Show specials we laid out for retailers were very well received.
The success here has helped position us for the expected upturn in the economy.” 

New products highlight the show’s offerings each year, which is one reason attendees
say the show is always a can’t-miss event. 

“The most important reason for anyone to come to the SHOT Show is to see the latest
and greatest,” said Ken Jorgensen of Sturm, Ruger & Co. “They’re going to see
the new products that they may not hear or read about for weeks or months.” 

The SHOT Show, owned and sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF),
is the world’s largest showcase of firearms, hunting and outdoor products. It provides
a forum like no other for the industry to show off its newest products that will adorn
the shelves of gun and sporting goods shops in the coming year.
Revenue raised at the SHOT Show funds NSSF’s many programs and services that promote,
protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports.