2016 Industry Day at the Range Already Gaining Traction

Take a closer look at Industry Day at the Range.

While the 2015 Industry Day at the Range set a record for attendance, our management partners aren’t resting on their laurels. CMG Marketing & Events’ Cathy Williams and her staff are fast-tracking sponsors and exhibitors to ensure next year’s event is equally successful.

“We recently signed Kriss USA as a Supporting Sponsor of our event,” said Cathy Williams, CMG Owner. “We have had the pleasure of working with this company and its wonderful staff for many years as an exhibitor, and we are excited that their sponsorship this year will help continue the successful, upward trajectory that Industry Day is enjoying.”

Following record attendance at the 2015 event and a new invitation-only format that both better controlled admittance to credentialed media members and allowed for a select number of buyers to attend, CMG opened registration for the 2016 event on May 4.

“Exhibitor commitment to the 2016 Industry Day has been very strong in its first 30 days,” said Williams. “We’re already down to just two pistol range slots remaining, and shotgun, archery and non-shooting exhibitor spaces are filling at a steady rate. We’d also like to remind all NSSF and industry members that Industry Day at the Range is a great opportunity to get your brand out there if you’re on the waiting list for booth space at the SHOT Show. Not only can Industry Day provide hands-on awareness with media members and buyers looking for new companies producing quality goods, it’s a great way to get your feet wet with a show as big as SHOT Show before a space on the show floor becomes available.”

The 2015 Industry Day at the Range was attended by more than 1,100 members of media and 400 buyers getting a hands-on try of the goods on display by more than 170 manufacturers. Exhibitors included truck makers, knife artisans and archery equipment crafters, but none were more popular than the firearms and ammunition manufactures. More than 500,000 rounds of ammunition were expended by the crowd.

Industry Day at the Range is held annually on the day before the opening of each year’s SHOT Show. NSSF is the event’s leading sponsor, where we take the opportunity to spread the word about Project ChildSafe and “Own it? Respect it. Secure it.” You can see a preview of how this event works here. Want to become an exhibitor? Click here or visit shotshowrangeday.com.

Chris Dolnack is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisDolnack.

IWA Show Connects U.S. Firearms Manufacturers to European Market

iwa_outdoor_clasics_2015_For many years, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has exhibited at the annual IWA & Outdoor Classics show in Nurnberg, Germany. It is always a productive event for us, but none more so than the 2015 show.

There are many reasons why exhibiting at the IWA & Outdoor Classics is a top priority for us here at NSSF, but perhaps the most important is that it provides us the ability to connect one on one with international buyers, exhibitors and media. These industry professionals have been key to the continued success of our own state-side SHOT Show® and they hold the promise for continued growth as they and our U.S. based members explore the hundreds of opportunities for those on both sides of the pond to do business together.

NSSF’s SHOT Show is the largest trade show of its kind in the world.  With more than 1,600 exhibitors showcasing the latest innovations in firearms, ammunition and shooting and hunting-related accessories, in addition to a thriving exhibitors section catering specifically to military and law enforcement applications, the annual SHOT Show attracts more than 60,000 industry professionals from all 50 U.S. states and 100 countries.

With such worldwide appeal, NSSF began working with the U.S. Department of Commerce International Buyer Program (IBP). Introduced at the 2014 SHOT Show, the inaugural IBP had just a half-dozen participating countries, yet it was so successful at connecting those European firms and buyers with their U.S. counterparts that word quickly spread about the program’s value.  The 2015 SHOT Show IBP grew to representatives from 20 countries. I don’t have to tell you that’s tremendous growth for a program still in its infancy—and that’s a trend we’re committed to continuing with the 2016 SHOT Show and beyond.

To further help this effort, our partners in Las Vegas have hosted a Las Vegas Hospitality Suite during IWA.  Sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority and the Las Vegas Sands and Venetian/Palazzo, the hospitality suite offers buyers and media an opportunity to learn more about the SHOT Show, the exciting city of Las Vegas and the fabulous Sands Expo and Venetian/Palazzo resorts in which the SHOT Show takes place.  Hundreds of visitors stop by our stand daily in the American pavilion to inquire about NSSF membership, SHOT Show attendee qualifications and how the International Buyer Program (IBP) works to connect European buyers with U.S. firearms enterprises.  Many of these buyers have never heard of the SHOT Show and are overwhelmed with the prospects in which they may encounter in Las Vegas each year.  It is this introduction to the SHOT Show that makes us most excited when we are at IWA, and proves the value of face-to-face marketing at trade shows.

There are three components to the IBP. These include the Showtime Program, where U.S.-based show exhibitors can meet one on one with U.S. Department of Commerce industry specialists from our overseas embassies, and the B2B Matchmaking Program that works to promote U.S. firearms businesses and products to foreign delegates throughout the SHOT Show.

The third component to the IBP is the SHOT Show’s International Trade Center. Here, breakfast, lunch and an afternoon reception are held each official show day. Private conference rooms are available for meetings, and hostesses are available to assist with scheduling. There is an emphasis on creature comforts—complimentary WiFi Internet access, full computer setups with printer capabilities, multi-language translators, and other amenities that make traveling abroad easier—as well that of providing privacy and quiet space away from the bustle of the show floor. More central to making the International Trade Center truly productive for our overseas friends, the center offers something to “both sides of the coin.” For international buyers, experts in U.S.-based firearms manufacturers and distributors are on hand to help identify the exhibitors and products that best match those buyers’ needs and arrange introductions. For the exhibitor, trade specialists from the U.S. Department of Commerce help our U.S.-based businesses identify potential new markets and arrange in-person meetings with the buyers attending those markets.

The feedback we’ve received from both overseas attendees and our U.S. exhibitors participating in the IBP program has been nothing short of glowing and that tells us that NSSF is hitting the mark when it comes to providing a return on the often significant investment in time and money it takes to attend our SHOT Show each year, both for our own U.S. exhibitors and member attendees, but especially for those traveling from abroad. If you’ve participated in either of the last two IBP programs, tell us what you received from the experience and elements you’d like to see added to the program. If you’d like to participate in the program for the first time, we’d welcome the opportunity to provide you additional information and add you to our growing list of participants.

Contact Melissa Schilling, NSSF Director, Exhibitions & Conferences, at mschilling@nssf.org, or me, Chris Dolnack, at cdolnack@nssf.org. We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you next year in Las Vegas for the 2016 SHOT Show.


Chris Dolnack is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisDolnack.

2015 SHOT Show ‘Tremendously Valuable,’ Satisfaction High

The 2015 SHOT Show, held this past January at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, has proven itself to be one of the best across the collective spectrum of exhibitors, buyers, law enforcement personnel and media members of the show, according to a recent survey conducted by NSSF.

While attendance was down slightly from the record-setting number of 2014 that reduction was due to a concerted effort by NSSF to purge the attendance roster of 2,200 non-qualified buyers, an effort those admitted greatly appreciated. Many comments we received indicated both exhibitors and attendees noticed that the crowd quality was higher, leading directly to a more productive show for everyone.

“The show was beyond expectations,” Arthur Grant of Packin’ Fur Defense told us. “We found several suppliers willing to work with us despite our being a small start-up in the restricted Southern California concealed carry market space. We were able to find a distributor to work with, as well as a half-dozen vendors who are new themselves to distributing to retailers.”

It wasn’t just the show floor that got rave reviews. Every one of NSSF’s dozen Retailer Seminars was sold out to capacity, as was SHOT Show University, while many press conferences were filled to standing room only. NSSF’s press conference announcing our research department’s newest report, “Women Gun Owners: Purchasing, Perceptions and Participation,” was still turning people away at the door 20 minutes into the presentation.

Several other areas of the show displayed remarkable growth. The New Product Center had more than 600 products on exhibit, double that from 2014, but the real boost there came in the product scans: 28,000 versus 8,500 from last year. Our International Buyer’s Program was also another event that doubled its participation. Overall, the 2015 SHOT Show was a tremendous success, as you can see below, and that’s something that prompts us to make next year’s show even better.

I’d love to hear your SHOT Show success story. Email me at cdolnack@nssf.org. Contributors will be randomly selected to receive SHOT Show swag.


Chris Dolnack is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisDolnack.

How to Approach Exhibitors: Buyer Advice from 3 SHOT Show Pros


With more than 1,600 exhibitors and hundreds of thousands of products, buyers working the floor of SHOT Show are certainly challenged when it comes to discovering the goods their clients need and connecting with the manufacturer’s reps who can work with them to place orders and close the deals. In an effort to help those buyers get the most out of their time on the floor, we reached out to two high-profile PR and marketing firms to ask them what their clients, SHOT Show’s exhibitors, are looking for when they meet with buyers.

“The exhibitors do want to know how the past year was for their buyers and retailers, what customers are coming into stores asking for, i.e., concealed carry, long guns, specific accessories, etc.,” said Kim Cahalan, Vice President of Media Relations for Media Direct Creative Group, Inc., which counts Rock River Arms, Taurus Brands, Apex Gear, TRUGLO and Wildlife Research Center among its many clients. “The companies we work with really want to know from the buyers and retailers both what’s selling and what’s sitting on their shelves.

“When the buyer gets to the meeting or booth appointment, they should ask right away for the new 2015 promotions, range programs, etc., so the booth staff can dedicate a person to take them through the new product, showing the selling features and benefits of the product to help make their jobs easier when then return to the shop and getting them into the best promotions we are offering,” Cahalan emphasized. “Whatever the buyer needs from the manufacturer, I’d suggest writing those items on the back of their business card and handing it to the point person in the booth. In other words, if that buyer is out of product catalogs, for example, please don’t tell someone in the booth and expect them to remember, even if you are a valued customer. The SHOT Show is so crazy, that kind of request will inevitably fall through the cracks.”

Cahalan emphasized that her clients truly want buyers to have a pleasant and productive experience when they visit their booths.

“Feedback is always welcome. But beating up the folks in the booth about deliveries or other problematic situations isn’t the best way to get such personal and individual issues resolved. Simply put, there’s a time and a place for those discussions, but the show floor isn’t it. Instead, a buyer should introduce themselves and give a short description of the situation they’re having trouble with, then ask to have someone to follow up with you after the show to resolve the situation and get that person’s name and contact information. I believe the buyer will get a very positive response and hasty resolution of their problem by handling it that way.”

Kevin Howard, President of Howard Communications, which reps such prestigious companies as Browning, Bushnell, Hunter’s Specialties, Mossy Oak and Uncle Mike’s, also weighed in on the conversation.

“First thing I’d do as a buyer is check out the SHOT Show Planner link and download the SHOT Show Mobile App to your smartphones and tablets. Next, buyers and retailers should make a list of the products and exhibitors they must see, set up appointments with sales reps for the first two or three days of the show, using the show floor plan to make a systematic list so you are not running all over the show for appointments—then make sure you make the appointments. To maximize who and what you see at the show, make a second list of exhibitors you’d like to see as your schedule permits, creating that list from the SHOT Show Planner you’ve already utilized.

“As you walk the floor in between appointments, make a list of interesting booths you pass,” Howard advised. “Then take the last day of the show to visit those booths and investigate those products that might be good additions to your store or current lines. These will usually be found at the smaller booths, so learn to look for them on your way to appointments at the bigger booth setups.”

Laura Burgess, President of the well-respected firm Laura Burgess Marketing, talked to several heads of the companies she reps for us.

“I would tell a dealer to come to the SHOT Show with an open mind and look for companies that stand out from the rest,” said Burgess’ client Michael Sodini, President of Eagle Imports. “Everyone seems to get stuck in the rut of carrying the same things. Then they ultimately cut each other so it becomes a rat race to the bottom of the barrel.”

Another client on Burgess’ long list, Russ Datson, Director of Sales for Liberty Ammunition, echoed Sodini, stating, “I would advise a dealer to allocate some time to visit with some of the newer companies in the industry. We all get stuck in our comfort zones, visiting with the manufacturers and people we regularly work with, and while it is important to maintain those relationships, it is equally important to familiarize yourself with the upcoming players in the industry and evaluate the products they are bringing to market. Like it or not, trends are prevalent in our industry, a savvy dealer understands these trends and stays on top of them.”

The full list of 2015 SHOT Show exhibitors is available here. You’ll also find the show’s floor plan, product and seminar listings and a schedule of show specials and celebrity appearances there. The SHOT Show Planner can be found here, and be sure to download the 2015 SHOT Show Mobile App available in the Apple App store and on Google Play for iPhone and Android products, respectively, and in a Windows App for Blackberry devices. Click here for more information.


Chris Dolnack is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisDolnack.

New This Year for Media and Buyers: SHOT Showcase Theater

Do not miss the inaugural SHOT Showcase Theater, a collection of exclusive exhibitor presentations, backed with spectacular video support across multiple high-definition big-screen displays, high-definition audio and special lighting. RSVP today.

WHAT: SHOT Showcase Theater
WHEN: Tuesday, January 20
WHERE: Sands Showroom at The Venetian

The 2015 SHOT Show is just days away now and we know that all attending are finalizing their meeting and event schedules to maximize their time at the show. We want to make sure that you include the presentations being offered at the SHOT Show’s newest event, the SHOT Showcase Theater.

Modeled after the success of the New York International Auto Show press conference format, the SHOT Showcase Theater features a special 742-seat presentation center that allows media and VIP buyers a chance to experience the SHOT Show’s hottest new products in a dynamic, multi-media environment.

SHOT Showcase Theater schedule:


FNH USA 10:30 – 10:45 a.m.
Nikon 11:15 – 11:30 a.m.
The Greatest Family in Hunting: Nikon’s family of hunters has grown dramatically over the years through its dedication of providing hunting optics and technologies that are not only useful and relevant — but that help assure hunting success. Like our extended family of hunters, Nikon’s product families continue to grow with over 30 new products being introduced during SHOT Show 2015.
XS Sight Systems 11:45 – Noon
Faxon Firearms 1:00 – 1:15 p.m.
Manufacturing Strategic Solutions for Tactical Problems
Leupold & Stevens 1:30 – 1:45 p.m.
Special Delivery
Outdoor Channel 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Safe Haven is a documentary that looks at the history of Gun Free Zones in the United States. By utilizing original interviews with law enforcement, research experts, public school officials and survivors of attacks, Safe Haven explores how effective, or ineffective, these gun free measures have been and what possible solutions would better protect schools, businesses and the public at large.

Mark your calendars to attend now and RSVP today. We look forward to seeing you there.

SHOT Show Welcomes, Encourages Law Enforcement to Attend


SHOT Show is, without a doubt, all about new products and helping our exhibitors tell the world about them. There are many audiences for those displaying their wares at SHOT address—competition shooters, weekend hobbyists, hunters, self-defense experts and more—but perhaps the fastest growing segment of the show is the community of law enforcement, SWAT, private and executive security and armed forces personnel.

Currently covering more than 186,000 square feet of dedicated exhibition space on the main floor of the Sands Expo Center, our tactical and safety equipment exhibitors display a vast array of equipment and tools those in law enforcement and other public safety positions need to keep themselves and the public safe in the line of duty.

Not only is SHOT Show the place for law enforcement personnel to get a look at today’s innovative firearms, ammunition and gear, it’s also a center for educational exchange. Completely free to attend to members of law enforcement, the Law Enforcement Educational Program—LEEP—is the result of a partnership between Law Officer Magazine and NSSF. LEEP is a series of topical sessions taking place at SHOT Show from Tuesday to Thursday, these sessions covering a wide range of subject matter germane to law enforcement and private security job performance. In addition to these special seminars, law enforcement also have two networking opportunities available to them. The first is a meet-and-greet with armed forces members, while the second is a networking luncheon designed for interaction between various law enforcement agencies, LE personnel and the editors of Law Officer Magazine.

The full LEEP course listing, as well as links to register for the networking luncheon and armed forces meet-and-greet functions are available by clicking here. As NSSF encourages all members of law enforcement to attend and doing so will often require permission from commanding officers or other supervisors, we’ve also provided a tactical planning page for you, as well as a helpful video, so that others in your organization can realize the value in attending this once-a-year event.

Law enforcement members may register to attend in two categories. Buyers for law enforcement and security agencies can register for just $35 before January 13, 2015; registration after this date or on-site during the show is available for $70. All law enforcement members wishing to attend SHOT who are not buyers for their agency can take advantage of their early bird registration fee of $175 before January 13, 2015. These attendees may also register after this date or on-site during the show for $350. We strongly encourage all members of the law enforcement community to register early for SHOT show and sign up for LEEP sessions ahead of the January 13 date, as these sessions will sell out. For more information on how to register for any of these SHOT Show programs as a member of the law enforcement community, call 855-355-7468 or email regmgr@shot.convexx.com.

Diedra Cauley is the director of exhibitions and conferences for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow her on Twitter at @dcauley.

New SHOT Showcase Theater Enhances Product Introduction to VIP Buyers, Media

venetian-showroomOne of the hottest features to debut at the 2015 SHOT Show is the all-new SHOT Showcase Theater. Modeled after the success of the press conference format held at the New York Auto Show, this special 742-seat theater will allow media and VIP buyers a chance to experience SHOT Show’s best new products in a dynamic, multi-media environment. This new Showcase Theater will be located in the Venetian near the show entrance.

Ongoing during the first day of the show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., exhibitors will provide 15-minute presentations of the products SHOT Show attendees need to know about, backed with spectacular video support across multiple high-definition big-screen displays, high-definition audio, and special lighting. Exhibitors will present in categories, allowing buyers and media to attend the sessions they most need.

Prior to the opening of the 2015 SHOT Show, all Showcase Theater presenters will be sent a pre-press list so that you may contact media members individually. NSSF will also be reminding the 2,500 press members and 2,500 buyers to attend this very special event through its own press channels. For the Showcase itself, all audio and visual mechanics will be met by NSSF—all you need to do is provide the content and we’ll produce the event. After the show, you’ll also be provided a full list of Showcase attendees to enhance your post-show marketing delivery.

Exhibitor presentation slots are limited for these special sessions, so be sure to secure your spot now. Contact me at ctatulli@nssf.org or 203-426-1320 ext.214.