Las Vegas, NV – January 2015
My apologies for my delayed follow up on ShotShow. As is with tradition, I managed to bring home the ShotShow plague again this year. I tried everything to avoid it but alas it still attacked and with a vengeance. I certainly had many hours in bed thinking about the highlights, the good and the bad. The standout theme that I noticed this year was still very similar to last year but with more embellishments. Last year the top three themes that stood out were Beards, Billets and Women.
The tactical beards and tattoos were again in full force. Not that I am complaining, trust me. But connected to this theme were the many sightings of service dogs. The ones I met were all helping their injured vet humans. There was an even bigger feeling of support and honor to those that served our country. The appearance of Taya Kyle and the timing of the movie release of American Sniper added to this. If you did not get goose bumps from a sense of pride then something was wrong with you. Last year I also said it was the year of ARs. Of course that was the same this time but now the accessories took first billing and especially blingy accessories.
BCGs. Everywhere. Nickel Boron coated (Devil Dog Arms), Titanium (Lantac USA), Low Mass (AP Customs). Brakes. Everyone has brakes now. And I received my hand polished and engraved brake from Lantac for my 223 rifle! Seems many companies understand their muzzle brakes are great but really annoying to the guy standing next to you. So they have come out with Brake covers. (Another Lantac product) Pretty cool. It pushes the gases out to the front, seems along with the noise. What I noticed especially is that the black rifle is almost out of style now. Now rifles are coated in every color and pattern imaginable. There are skins, Duracoats, Cerakotes, Hydro-dips you name it. Again, Devil Dog Arms made a big splash with their signature line of rifles for women. Partnered with Natalie Foster of Girl’s Guide To Guns they offer a standard and deluxe version of the AR offered in 9 custom colors that are not pink! I love all of them. Rumor has it that Cabela’a may pick up the line. Devil Dog also has a 30CalGal 3Gun ready rifle set up offered in 223 and 308. Called the Cerebus it is a cool color called Nib-X. The rifle comes with Leupold scope of choice, Accu-Grip, CMC Trigger, Dueck Defense off set iron sights, Dual charging handle, Black Hole Weaponry polygonal barrel and more. This is not a “woman’s” rifle. This is a high end out of the box 3Gun competition rifle for all. Offhand Gear owned by friend Sandi Dee has a new line of hand guards for the ladies. They have cut out patterns of Fleur De Lis and coated in their custom colors. Again, not too girly but the most awesome amount of classy bling you could ask for. Get your order in soon, they are running about 6-8 weeks on these things! I met two talented ladies who own and design Beau + Arrow a line of conceal carry purses. A luxury line of beautiful bags. Speaking of Women.
Women made even a bigger impact this year on the showroom floor. Billboards and posters in the vendor booths. I was even surprised when I showed up to an appearance at the ESS Eyepro booth that I was right there in lights on their back wall display. My friend Dianna made Team Captain for Benelli. The junior ladies ages 10 – 16 graced several booth posters. Congrats to Julie Golob for winning Shot Business person of the year! To all of the women owned businesses showing such as Lisa Looper of Flashbang, Sandi of Offhand Gear, Amber Brandly of 2 Vets Arms and so many more. How can I forget the 3rd annual Women’s Outdoor and Shooting Dinner hosted by Brittney Starr. She outdid herself with a hosted bar and dinner buffet at The Public House in the Venetian. 200 plus women all decked out in feather accessories, that was the theme, all in one room. Although I finally was able to have my pals in one place I still did not get a chance to talk with many. A shout out to the sponsors that covered the event; Headlining: LaserMax is lead sponsor 3rd year ina row. Platinum: 2 Vets Arms, Flashbang Holsters, NRA Women’s Network, XS Sight Systems, Benelli USA, Hawke Sport Optics, Ultimate Upland and SIG SAUER
Gold: Galco Gunleather, Remington Arms, Timney Triggers, FrogLube, Pròis Hunting & Field Apparel, Unique ARs, Gunsite Academy, Devil Dog Arms, Prima Outdoor and STI Firearms. Thank you to all for such a successful evening.
Apparently the attendance this year was the second highest ever. It was busy. And I was so happy to see that everyone I knew anyway that had a booth on the floor whether all the way in the back or up front had a successful show. Everyone seemed busy taking orders. As you know one of my sponsors is Devil Dog Arms. They actually ran out of dealer order forms and had to run to the office supply and make more. That is so exciting! I heard this across the board. I was able to see old friends and finally meet in person new ones. I met Mark Walters of Armed American Radio, twice, and have already been a guest on his radio show. I am hoping to add a couple of great companies to my sponsor list. I don’t want to jinks it so I won’t mention any names yet. These things take time to iron out. But ShotShow is priceless for making new connections and strengthening old ones. The celebrity sightings were fun. I met Katie Pavlich, author and correspondent, a buddy of Natalie Fosters, Dana Loesch author of Hands Off My Gun, Charlie Watson of the late Sons of Guns tv show, actor Michael Rooker, saw Sarah Palin from afar and more.
I have learned a lesson for third time and will finally do something about it. I am splurging and have already booked a room at the Venetian for 2016. The Mirage was only across the street but blocks in Vegas are really about 5 blocks in a normal neighborhood. Everything happens at the Venetian so I am tired, especially my feet, of walking back and forth several times a day and night. Besides, they say that is where all of the cool people stay. 🙂