A few random thoughts…
- Having a marketing guy for one of the biggest names in the business tell me they were doing their new product strategy based on my “guns are now a lifestyle” approach to things was a HUGE ego boost.**
- Want cheep booze and eats? Head to Ellis Island. $9.99 steak dinner (a HUGE hunk o’ sirloin that was cooked perfectly medium rare) and $6.99 Makers Mark. Oh, and an Elvis impersonator as well. Yes, you could be all hyper-cool at some joint inside the Aria and pay $20 for a shot of bourbon while being surrounded by Asian supermodels, but me, I like my Vegas circa 1985.
- Some of my friends are going ga-ga over the SIG P365, and it does look like a great little gun, but me, I look at it as a SIG’s version of Kel-Tec P11. Eleven years ago, everyone went ga-ga over the LCP, which was essentially Ruger’s version of a Kel-Tec P3AT. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… the most innovative gun designer in the post-Gaston world is George Kelgren, and the rate at which is designs are being copied just proves that fact.
- If you’re in the 5.56mm AR-15 business, good Lord, you better diversify, and diversify QUICKLY. Aside from suppressors (which were surprisingly strong this year…) I didn’t see ANYTHING neat and nifty this year for AR-15 rifles. The price floor for AR’s was set last year at $399, and I don’t think it’s going up any time in the future.
- All in all, product-wise, it wasn’t as good as it was in years past. I had to scramble to come up with six things a day to talk about for Shooting Illustrated, but we got the job done. Aside from the P365, there really wasn’t any “Oh, wow!” products this year, but there were more than a few embarrassing mistakes.
- Business-wise (especially for us on the content production side), it was a helluva show, because the gun companies have figured out that in a post-levee world, they’re going to have to start marketing their products with more effort that just saying “Hey look, it’s in stock! Buy it before it goes away!”. The gun companies now need to move product, which means they want to get their product out there in front of the customers, which means they want to talk with us in order to get it done.
- On a related note, I sold five stories to various NRA pubs at SHOT this year, which will more than pay for the trip. Gonna be a busy few months for me…
All in all… Best. SHOT Show. EVER!!!
* Words. This is my business.
** Yes, it happened. I have witnesses.