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.

Comedian Bill Engvall to Perform at SHOT Show State of the Industry Dinner

He’s a hunter. He’s a target shooter. He’s one of the top comedians in America today — and among the busiest. He’ll also be our 2015 SHOT Show State of the Industry featured entertainer.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation is pleased to announce that comedian Bill Engvall will perform at the SHOT Show’s annual State of the Industry Dinner, set for Jan. 20, the first evening of the show in Las Vegas.

Bill has starred in numerous television shows, including solo specials, and appeared in several feature films. He is perhaps best known as part of the enormously successful Blue Collar Comedy concert films, which have sold more than 9 million units and are some of the most watched movies and special in Comedy Central history. The soundtrack for Blue Collar Comedy Tour — One For The Road (Warner Bros./Jack Records) was also nominated for a Grammy Award. This fall, he appeared on the top TV hit, “Dancing with the Stars.”

Bill has been at the SHOT Show before and proudly supports America’s hunting and recreational shooting traditions, so he knows that a full house will warmly welcome him.

We look forward to seeing everyone in Las Vegas next month at our biggest and best State of the Industry Dinner to date.

Learn more and order tickets here.


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

2015 Registration Fees and NSSF Member Discounts

Your participation in the SHOT Show funds and supports the many NSSF programs that promote safety, protect our industry, and ensure the sports and livelihood we love are sustainable for years to come. However, with mounting pressure for increased gun regulation and restrictions, the NSSF’s government advocacy initiatives need more reinforcements than ever — your registration fees have a direct impact on our ability to continue our aggressive and focused initiatives on Capitol Hill.

The 2015 SHOT Show registration fees are being modified as a result of growing demand for aggressive advocacy and regulatory initiatives on behalf of our industry. You can further support these initiatives by joining the NSSF membership.

The NSSF is pleased to announce that not only does each qualifying NSSF Member company receive one complimentary SHOT Show registration, we’re also providing new, discounted SHOT Show registration fees for our valued, current buyer members:

Qualified Buyer Categories

NSSF Members $35 (Non-members $70)
(members must register before Jan. 13, 2015 to qualify for pre-registration)

After the Pre-Registration Deadline or Onsite:
NSSF Members $70 (Non-members $140)

Registration fees for all non-buyer categories will remain the same as previous years:

Pre-Registration: $175
After the Pre-Registration Deadline or Onsite: $350

To qualify for these special member discounts, members must:

  • Register using their NSSF membership number
  • Attendee must be an NSSF member company with appropriate credentials to attend SHOT Show as a buyer. One complimentary registration per NSSF member company.

Registration for the 2015 SHOT Show will begin mid-August (specific date to be announced soon). For more information on how to register for the SHOT Show and receive your member discount, go to shotshow.org. To apply for NSSF membership or renew a lapsed membership, please click here or call 203-426-1320, ext. 209.

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

Exhibitors: Are You an NSSF Member Yet? If Not, You’re Missing Out on SHOT Show Savings and Discounts

Membership in the National Shooting Sports Foundation, your industry’s trade association and the owner of the SHOT Show, has a long list of benefits.

For SHOT Show exhibitors, one of those benefits can mean huge savings on booth space at the show.

Non-members are paying $35 per square foot (or $3,500 for a 10×10). NSSF Supporting Members pay $30 per square foot (or $3,000 for a 10×10, a savings of $500). That $500 savings per 10×10 climbs to more than $2,000 for the average size booth at the SHOT Show.

The June 2 deadline for savings is right around the corner. You must be an NSSF member in good standing by this date to receive this booth-space discount.

NSSF-member exhibitors also increase their chances for a booth change at the show.

Priority points continue to be a key factor, but NSSF membership level increases your chances for a booth change considerably. For example, an NSSF Supporting Member with 55 priority points will have a better opportunity than a non-member with 110 priority points. We’ve received more than 500 booth change requests, so we encourage all exhibitors to improve their chances for a change by becoming an NSSF Supporting Member.

If you aren’t an NSSF member yet, please consider joining today — not only to save your company some cash, but to join the more than 10,000 other members that support our industry’s trade association and its mission to promote, protect and preserve our industry and our sports.

To join NSSF or renew your membership, visit nssf.org/join. Contact NSSF Member Services Coordinator Samantha Hughes at shughes@nssf.org with any questions.

Dave Jeannette is Senior Director, Sales for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @DaveJeannette.

2014 SHOT Show Was a Hit

Records were broken at the Las Vegas trade show

Let the record show that the 2014 SHOT Show was the most successful in its 36-year history. And with an extended contract that it be housed at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, the SHOT Show’s future promises continued success and satisfaction. The 2014 SHOT Show was another one for the record books—record attendance, record sales, and record industry unity. The show also registered record satisfaction with attendees and exhibitors alike, with 75 percent of exhibitors completely or very satisfied, and 96 percent of exhibitors extremely or very likely to exhibit in 2015, according to our post–SHOT Show survey. Exhibitor satisfaction is confirmed by the record 96 percent of exhibit space renewals put under deposit onsite, and the 98 percent renewal rate we have reached within a month of the show’s conclusion.

Ditto for attendees, with 82 percent completely or very satisfied and 86 percent extremely or very likely to attend the 2015 SHOT Show. Total attendance increased 8 percent, to more than 67,000, in a year where we re-qualified attendees in the redbadge- buyer category, requiring documentation to verify purchasing authority.

All in all, the 2014 SHOT Show was a testament to the passion and enthusiasm that retailers, exhibitors, and industry associates share for our industry and the SHOT Show. It’s rewarding to know that all of our time and effort paid off, and you can rest assured that we’re working on making the 2015 SHOT Show even better.

The 2014 SHOT Show was very fortunate to have so many dedicated sponsors contribute to this record-setting year. For many of our sponsors, this is not the first time they have stepped up. Outdoor Channel marked its fourth consecutive year as the show’s Pinnacle Sponsor, the highest sponsorship level associated with the show.

Outdoor Channel’s unprecedented support of the 2014 SHOT Show demonstrates the company’s unwavering commitment to the outdoors industry and all that the industry’s premier trade show stands for.

Daniel Defense returned this year with some creative elements, including Venetian and Palazzo room key cards and pub-style tables near food vendors to facilitate quick meals and short meetings—not to mention the Daniel Defense–branded staircase in the main entry area to the Sands Expo.

Thanks, too, to Caracal for providing the shuttle service between the neighboring hotels and the show, saving many the time and money associated with taxi lines. GunBroker.com continued to be an extraordinary partner of the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the SHOT Show, sponsoring the NSSF Member Lounge and Business Center.

GunBroker .com is a great example of an NSSF member that makes the extra effort to help grow hunting and the shooting sports.

Also returning was ArmaLite as the title sponsor of the SHOT Show mobile app. This show-navigation technology enriches the SHOT Show experience for buyers and attendees, and we greatly appreciate ArmaLite’s support in this effort.

Ram Trucks returned as the official truck of SHOT Show for the third year running.

Smith & Wesson provided generous support as the Platinum Level Education Sponsor for the industry’s largest professional development opportunity for firearms retailers—SHOT Show University.

NSSF, owner and sponsor of the SHOT Show, extends its sincere thanks to all of our sponsors that contribute to its enduring success. We anticipate continued industry support in 2015.

With the Sands being an ever-improving venue, NSSF has contracted to stage the show there through 2018, adding another year to its agreement. The Sands recently completed a $37 million renovation that significantly upgraded its facilities, including redesigning and remodeling the lobby and adding escalators, new carpeting, Wi-Fi hotspots, food outlets, digital signage, and other amenities that have enhanced the trade-show experience for exhibitors and attendees. The 2014 SHOT Show is the fifth largest trade show in Las Vegas and the largest trade show of its kind in the world.

The show generates more than $73 million for the Las Vegas economy, and, more relevant to NSSF and its members, the SHOT Show provides your industry’s trade association with 80 percent of the revenue it directs during the year to promote, protect, and preserve that very industry.

Next year’s show will be held Jan. 20–23. See you there.

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

SHOT Show Attendance Soars to New Record

View and download photos from the 2014 SHOT Show from flickr.com/photos/shotshow.

Attracting industry professionals from the United States and more than 100 other countries, the SHOT Show shattered attendance records this week, giving industry professionals good reason to believe that 2014 will be another strong year for sales of firearms, ammunition, outdoor gear and law enforcement equipment.

The 36th SHOT Show ran Jan. 14 to 17 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center. Attendance figures eclipsed last year’s total by the second day of the show and finished at more than 67,000, an increase of 5,000. “I think that really speaks to the quality of the event and the enthusiasm and passion of our industry to provide quality products for hunting, target shooting and personal and home defense,” said Chris Dolnack, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

NSSF, the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, owns and manages the SHOT Show.

The $6 billion industry has enjoyed robust sales the last several years, fueled in part by newcomers to the shooting sports who, according to an NSSF First-time Gun Buyers Report, are younger, more female and more urban based. Newcomers have identified target shooting and personal and home protection as the top reasons for purchasing their first firearm.

During the show, NSSF issued a first-of-its-kind report that confirmed the importance of the shooting sports to the U.S. economy. “Target Shooting in America: Millions of Shooters, Billions of Dollars” revealed that the money target shooters spent in 2011 resulted in $23 billion being added to the nation’s economy and supported more than 185,000 jobs nationally.

Combined data from Target Shooting in America and Hunting in America, a report released last year, shows that spending by target shooters and hunters had a total impact of more than $110 billion on the nation’s economy in 2011, supporting more than 866,000 jobs.

“Communities and businesses of all sizes benefit from these activities,” said NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti. “Our industry is proud to be an economic driver that has helped workers keep their jobs and support their families even during the most difficult economic times.”

Displays by more than 1,600 exhibiting companies filled the convention center and also rooms in the adjoining Venetian. Total show exhibition space was 635,000 net square feet, or 13 acres of product display.

Manufacturers of firearms, ammunition, optics, cutlery, apparel, accessories and law enforcement equipment introduced new products and services that retailers will offer consumers during the course of the year.

The past year was a challenging one for industry, which battled state and federal legislative efforts to restrict ownership of certain types of firearms. In addressing 2,000 industry leaders at the State of the Industry Dinner, Sanetti declared, “The State of our industry is renewed. More persons are entering the recreational shooting sports than ever before.  More hunters, more target shooters, more women, more diverse groups, more licensed gun owners and, as you all know, more firearms sales.

“Perhaps the best news of all is that, despite tremendous increases in these numbers, violent crime with firearms has decreased dramatically during the last five years, to early 1960s levels.”

Sanetti also pointed out that firearms accidents account for less than one percent of all fatal accidents in the country, according to the National Safety Council.

Safety was on display at the SHOT Show, with many companies showcasing the latest gun safes, cases and lockboxes. Also, NSSF’s national firearm safety education program, Project ChildSafe and its “Own It? Respect It. Secure It.” campaign, was highly visible at the show.

Outdoor Channel was once again the show’s Pinnacle-level sponsor.

Some of the country’s most well-known radio personalities, including Mike Gallagher and Lars Larson, broadcasted live from the show’s new “Radio Row.”

Among the many awards bestowed during the show was the NSSF Ken Sedlecky Achievement Award presented to Bob Morrison, longtime industry executive and former president and CEO of Taurus. SHOT Business magazine presented NSSF’s Sanetti with the Bonnier Outdoor Group Special Achievement Award in recognition of his industry leadership during the past year.

For the third time, NSSF hosted a charity golf event at the SHOT Show in partnership with the PGA Tour for Birdies for the Brave. The event at TPC Summerlin raised more than $100,000 for military homefront groups.

The SHOT Show is not just about selling and buying products. The show provides educational opportunities for firearms retailers at SHOT Show University and other seminars, and for law enforcement professionals at the Law Enforcement Education Program.

This was the first SHOT Show under its new management company, ConvExx.

The SHOT Show, which pumps more than $73 million into the Las Vegas economy, is committed to the Sands Expo & Convention Center through 2017. Next year’s SHOT Show is scheduled for Jan. 20-23, 2015.

Bidding Ends Tomorrow for 2014 SHOT Show Auctions

Three auctions for special-edition items are underway, with all proceeds benefiting programs to further America’s hunting and shooting sports heritage. Bidding will close at 5 p.m. EST on Jan. 17, the final day of the 2014 SHOT Show.

Henry Repeating Arms recently announced that they have begun production of the Original Henry Rifle for the first time in 150 years – and this rifle was selected to receive very special treatment in honor of the rifle’s designer, Benjamin Tyler Henry, as the 2014 SHOT Show Rifle. The SHOT Show Henry Tribute rifle will feature serial number BTHENRY0001.

Read more about these auctions and get your bid in before it’s too late!

Under New Management

New management company is changing SHOT Show for the better

(Original full story appears in SHOT Daily – Day 1)

Last spring, when then-current SHOT Show management company Reed Exhibitions made the surprising move to restrict certain types of firearms at its consumer hunting and fishing shows, the National Shooting Sports Foundation decided it was time to look for a new SHOT Show partner. It wasn’t an easy decision to end what had been a very successful 30-year run, but NSSF’s mission to serve the shooting sports industry took priority. After an exhaustive national search involving the trade show industry’s top management companies, NSSF announced it had found the perfect fit with ConvExx, based right here in Las Vegas.

ConvExx offers a unique combination of extensive large-show and Las Vegas experience, which will serve our exhibitors and attendees well. By taking on the SHOT Show, ConvExx will now manage two of the top five trade shows in Las Vegas. That kind of experience will serve both NSSF and ConvExx well, considering an estimated 60,000 people are expected to walk a 2014 SHOT Show floor that will cover 630,000 square feet of booth space filled by more than 1,600 exhibitors.

To further ensure that the transition to a new management team went as smoothly as possible, NSSF brought SHOT Show sales in-house by hiring a couple of SHOT Show veterans. Former Reed Exhibitions employees Dave Jeannette and Chris Tatulli have been hired as senior director of sales and director of exhibit and sponsorship sales, respectively. They will now be responsible for developing sales and sponsorship opportunities and forging strong relationships with members and industry customers.

2014 SHOT Show Auctions: Place Your Bids!

Three auctions for special-edition items are underway, with all proceeds benefiting programs to further America’s hunting and shooting sports heritage. Bidding has already begun and will close at 5 p.m. EST on Jan. 17, the final day of the 2014 SHOT Show.

2014 SHOT Show Rifle

Henry Repeating Arms recently announced that they have begun production of the Original Henry Rifle for the first time in 150 years – and this rifle was selected to receive very special treatment in honor of the rifle’s designer, Benjamin Tyler Henry, as the 2014 SHOT Show Rifle.

The Original Henry Rifle is back in all its American-made glory. The Original Henry Rifle is virtually identical to its history-making forerunner in all aspects, except caliber. The SHOT Show Henry Tribute rifle will feature serial number BTHENRY0001.

This 2014 SHOT Show rifle is being auctioned exclusively at GunBroker.com. The rifle is available for viewing and bidding now and will be displayed at the SHOT Show in the GunBroker.com booth, No. 15404.

2014 SHOT Show Handgun

Turnbull Manufacturing Co., the iconic restorer of vintage rifles and shotguns, has recently aimed their manufacturing and design skills to the production of high-quality handguns and this first Deluxe Model of their new 1911 Classic–featuring Serial Number 1911001– has been selected as the 2014 SHOT Show Auction Handgun.

The gun will be displayed at the SHOT Show in the GunBroker.com booth, No. 15404, in a custom glass-topped walnut display case. The case will also go to the high bidder to facilitate display in the high bidder’s home or office.

This 2014 SHOT Show handgun is being auctioned exclusively at GunBroker.com. The handgun is available for viewing and bidding now.

2014 SHOT Show Knife

H.H. Buck & Son revolutionized the knife industry in 1964 with the Model 110 folding hunter. A cornerstone of this year’s 50th anniversary observance is the creation of a one-of-a-kind 110 folding hunter by legendary knife maker David Yellowhorse. This special knife will be featured as the 2014 SHOT Show Auction Knife.

As a special addition to the 2014 SHOT Show knife auction package, the high bidder and a guest will be invited to visit the Buck Knives headquarters in Post Falls, Idaho, to tour the facility, receive a special package of Buck promotional items and have pictures taken with their knife and Buck executives.

The knife, being auctioned exclusively at GunBroker.com, will be displayed at the SHOT Show in the Buck Knives booth, No. 14504, and is now available for viewing and auction.

All SHOT Show auctions are administered by the Hunting Heritage Trust for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. All proceeds from the auctions will benefit programs to further America’s hunting and shooting sports heritage.

SHOT Show: The Event That Keeps on Giving

The SHOT Show may only be a few days long, but its impact is year-round!

When more than 60,000 industry members converge in Las Vegas at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in January for the SHOT Show, millions of people gain the immediate benefit of the greatest show on earth for the shooting, hunting, and outdoor trade.  How’s that? You see, the SHOT Show provides NSSF with the majority of its income.

The year 2013 has been a year like no other with record-breaking sales coupled with unprecedented attacks against the shooting and hunting industry.  These attacks by headline seeking politicians and their willing accomplices in the media have upped the ante in Washington, D.C. and in an increasing number of states that threatens the very existence of our industry like never before.

NSSF has stood fast as the industry’s trade association in the face of this onslaught, promoting our industry’s lawful position on countless topics such as so called “assault weapons,” high capacity magazines, background checks for private sales, firearms safety in homes, and the shameful failure to put disqualifying mental health records in to the NICS system.

In addition, NSSF invests SHOT Show revenue in customer-recruitment campaigns, such as Families Afield and First Shots. The former has actively remedied legislative barriers preventing family hunting participation, and the latter has offered newcomers the opportunity to learn firearms and firearms ownership fundamentals at member ranges, while actually experiencing the fun of shooting under the careful supervision of qualified instructors.  Other NSSF investments of SHOT Show revenue in hunting and the shooting sports’ future come in the form of the Collegiate Shooting Sports Initiative (CSSI). CSSI helps strengthen existing collegiate varsity and club shooting programs, and it aids in the founding of new ones.

NSSF also launched Project ChildSafe, a nationwide initiative to promote firearms responsibility and provide safety education to all gun owners. Since 1998, the program has provided more than 36 million free firearm safety kits that include a gun lock to gun owners in all 50 states and five U.S. territories.

These activities of NSSF are only a sampling of the programs that are funded, in great part, by the revenue generated at the SHOT Show, a four-day event in January that’s success is felt throughout the year by millions of hunters, shooters and firearms owners. Thanks for your continued support of the SHOT Show and NSSF in our continued fight for our industry and to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports.

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