Answers to Important Questions:
Q&A with NSSF Senior Vice President Chris Dolnack

Chris Dolnack
Chris Dolnack
National Shooting Sports Foundation

With the SHOT Show’s return to Las Vegas, in a slot of weekdays in a venue other than the Las Vegas Convention Center, you probably have some questions about the 2010 edition.  Following are some that may have occurred to you, and Chris Dolnack, senior vice president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation which owns and sponsors the SHOT Show, answers the most commonly asked questions about this year's event.

Q. With the current state of the economy, many trade shows have seen a drop in attendance. How has attendance been at the SHOT Show over the past couple of years?
A. The SHOT Show is one of the few trade shows that has bucked the trend of declining attendance. In fact, the 2009 show experienced a 3 percent increase in attendance (48,907) when compared to its last visit to Orlando in 2007. In 2008, the show in Las Vegas shattered every attendance record in its history with 58,769.

Q. Where will the SHOT Show be held over the next few years?
A. Based on constant feedback from our members and show attendees, we entered into a rolling three-year agreement with the Sands Expo and Convention Center for 2010, 2011 and 2012

Q. Why is the show being held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center?
A. Because in our post-show surveys our exhibitors and attendees consistently tell us that the SHOT Show should be in Las Vegas in January no matter what.  The Sands Expo offered us attendee-preferred January dates, according to our surveys, through 2012, and the location is second to none.

Q. With the show being held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center for the first time, what differences can we expect to see compared to previous shows in Las Vegas?
A. Exhibitors will have their booths on Levels 1 and 2. Meeting rooms and the banquet hall will be centrally located on Levels 3 and 4, which is much more convenient.  And we’ll be in the heart of the Strip, surrounded by hotels and restaurants in every price range.  

Q. Why is the show being held Tuesday through Friday?
A. Weekday dates were available for the coveted January dates that we wanted, and the weekday hotel rates were much more favorable for our attendees and exhibitors.

Q. What is NSSF doing to lower costs to attend in 2010?
A. Our partners at Reed Exhibition have been aggressively renegotiating our room rates so the average across the board is under $100 while the average room rate in 2008 was over $173.

Q. What is show management doing to make sure that qualified attendees come to the SHOT Show?
A.  For 2010, we’ve implemented additional screening layers to help further qualify buyers and we are placing more restrictions on “guest of show” badges in addition to advising exhibitors to limit their badges to booth staff and company employees.

Q. As a buyer/exhibitor, how do I make the most of my SHOT Show experience?
A.  Here are some links to answer your question: Buyers Click Here!  Exhibitors Click Here!  Be sure to check out the tips on getting the most out of the show.

Q. What is NSSF doing to increase law enforcement attendance? Also, what is being done to increase traffic in the law enforcement section of the show?
A. We are planning to offer a law enforcement version of SHOT Show University the day before the show and to offer law enforcement oriented seminars. Stay tuned for more details.

Q. Is the concealed carry of a firearm permitted at the show?
A. Per our lease with the Sands Expo and Convention Center, no personal firearms or ammunition is allowed. Only firearms on display by exhibitors whose firing pins have been removed (and have been inspected by SHOT Show Safety Advisors) will be permitted on the show floor.

Q. Due to limited parking, driving to the show is not recommended. What alternate forms of transportation are available in Las Vegas?
A. First and foremost, being centrally located on the Strip, many SHOT Show attendees will be staying within a 10-minute walk of the Sands Expo and Convention Center.  In addition we’ll have shuttle buses running as we usually do–and don’t forget the monorail, though the closest stop, Harrah’s, is about a mile away. Another option is the Deuce, which travels up and down Las Vegas Boulevard.

Media Day at the Range:
A tradition continues on the day before the show begins

In recent years, the day prior to the official start of the SHOT Show has become a "must attend" for many, especially for retailers attending SHOT Show University and media attending one or more of the hands-on shooting events held at local ranges.  These media shooting events are coordinated not by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the owner and sponsor of the SHOT Show, but by companies within the industry.

Capitalizing on the fact that the SHOT Show brings together the world's largest gathering of outdoor media, manufacturers and others have been joining forces to attract many of those communicators to special events that feature their products. NSSF invites such program organizers to enter the details of their events on the form accessible at the SHOT Show Web site if they would like promotional assistance.

Are You Promoting with a Celebrity?
If you are an exhibitor promoting your booth, a press conference or a party not restricted to invitees by featuring a celebrity, then NSSF, the owner and sponsor of the SHOT Show, would like to know about it—and help spread the word. First, however, you must complete the form at the SHOT Show Web site,

"Each year we receive calls asking us about special events being held in conjunction with SHOT Show," said Diedra Cauley, NSSF director, exhibitions and conferences.  "This year we've decided to provide exhibitors the opportunity to share this information, and we can assist in promoting it to the attendees if they wish.  We're interested in any media day, demonstration day or celebrity appearances in their booth.

"We plan to make this information accessible on the SHOT Show Web site," Cauley added, "just like we post press conference information."

The first organized shoot we've learned about, the fifth annual "Media Day at the Range," held with the support of Bass Pro Shops, will take place at the Boulder City Pistol & Rifle Range, in Boulder City, Nev., from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 18, 2010.

"This event will give media members the opportunity to handle and shoot new products being introduced at SHOT Show from many of the industry's leading manufacturers," said Cathy Williams, who is organizing the event.

"We're expecting more than 60 manufacturers to register for Media Day, and since we will take reservations until Dec. 1, the list will continue to grow.  What better way to get a jump on next year's new product line-up all in one place?" Williams added.

Opportunities not only to handle new products but also to shoot will present themselves, and so will the chance to interview company representatives about their latest items.  Lunch and refreshments will also be included, and transportation will be provided to and from the range as well as from other shooting events taking place that day.

Writers interested in attending may register online. Click on the Writer Registration tab, which will direct you to a short form to complete.  For more information, visit, e-mail Cathy Williams or call her at 703-587-7142.