Random Thoughts On The 2012 SHOT Show

It’s been a week now since returning home from the 34th annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show and I’ve been ruminating on the experience ever since leaving.   No doubt about it…the energy experienced at SHOT this year was very palpable and positive.

To begin, we are three years into the Sands Convention Center experience and I would have to say it’s getting better each year.   While I still yearn for the days back when the show was hosted largely in one main room with aisles long and predictable, I have to say SHOT has done nearly everything possible to make navigating this show floor an easier experience.   Still not perfect, but now with a little past experience and tools such as the smartphone SHOT Show app, navigation has dramatically improved to check out all 1,600 exhibits.

Now, if you’re looking for me to talk about what’s new in this blog post…I’m sorry to disappoint.   Instead, I want to point you to a few other sites that do a wonderful job fleshing out many of the new products on display.   The first site is put together by a friend and fellow blogging colleague, Richard Johnson, over at Guns Holsters and Gear.   His pro staff does such a good job of reporting on many the new product details you deserve to check it out.

Another good source of SHOT Show information is available in video format from the Professional Outdoor Media Association’s new Media Center.   Currently they have about 100 short two minute or less videos showcasing news both from the recent Archery Trade Association show as well as SHOT.   Click on the graphic to check it out.

One final source for good 2012 SHOT Show information is Field and Stream magazine’s online coverage that can be found HERE.

Some might ask why I don’t provide a rundown of new products on this blog.   It’s a good question.   During previous SHOT Shows I have certainly dedicated blog space within these pages to talking about the products—the new, the interesting and the strange.   Truth is I don’t go to SHOT these days with the primary objective of seeing (and reporting) on what is new in the industry.

There was a time earlier in my career when writing about such aspects of the show was important.   As I’ve matured, I suppose it could be said it takes more innovation to impress me.   After all, how many ways can you tweak a flashlight and still be excited about it after watching product development for two decades.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, new products still excite me.   But over the years I’ve learned the SHOT Show for me is much more about making connections and networking than it is observing everything new on display.   Quite honestly, I don’t know how anyone within this industry can fail to find great benefit by attending the trade show.   It is the keynote event within the outdoors and shooting industry.

Today, I’d like to wrap up this post by showing some iPhone pictures snapped at this year’s SHOT.   Here’s hoping they’ll give you a better sense of what it must be like to walk the busy show floor and to take in the unique experience:


One of the cool products I did see at SHOT. Plastic tree stump ground blind marketed by NatureBlinds.com







Many of us walk by this exhibit drooling and dreaming of winning the lottery.


Many exhibits feature celebrity autograph sessions. Here, Lynn Swann, HOF NFL football player greets show attendees for Colt.


Even the SHOT Press Room was a busy place this year with 2,400+ media in attendance covering the show.

©2012 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.