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The world’s largest gun show kicked off Tuesday, providing a first look at new products before they are revealed to the public on retailer shelves.
From Jan. 14 through 17, more than 60,000 industry professionals are convening in Las Vegas for the 36th Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show), where more than 1,600 exhibitors are showcasing their latest and greatest.
Owned and sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the SHOT Show provides an early view of new products and services used by target shooters, hunters, outdoorsmen and law enforcement professionals.
Walking among 630,000 square feet of products, it’s clear that vendors have brought a wide range of new and existing goods for the full spectrum of Americans: There’s a gun for all income levels, for men and women and for those from rural areas to big cities.
What’s on display? SHOT Show is a Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for firearms. It is a smorgasbord of guns, ammunition, gun safes, safety locks and cases, optics, shooting range equipment, targets, game calls, decoys, tree stands, scents, lures, hunting accessories and much, much more.
A Living Legend
The best surprise at SHOT Show this year is the appearance of a true American patriot: Al Mampre, one of the 19 living members of the World War II 101st Airborne company whose fight for our freedom and that of our allies was documented in “Band of Brothers,” the New York Times best-seller and HBO miniseries.
Just 20 years old when he joined the Army, Mampre became a medic in the legendary Company E, 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne. He earned two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star during his service, fighting with his brothers in the Battle of the Bulge, Operation Market Garden and other battles in Europe.
SHOT Show isn’t just about sales. It also about networking – swapping tales, tips and lessons learned. Every year it brings together representatives from the hunting and shooting sports industry with accomplished military and law enforcement professionals and veterans.
Media Shoot Out
On Monday, members of the press got to handle, test and learn about the new products at the historic Boulder Pistol & Rifle Club, which was founded in 1933.
It’s not a sight you see every day: reporters blasting targets as close as 30 feet for three hours. This morning buyers got a crack out at the range, as well.
And since the bullets were on someone else’s tab, it made testing the products even more fun.
There was a lot of buzz … and one bit of it sounded like bad news for all those turkeys out there. People were raving about the new Winchester turkey shotgun and Long Beard XR ammo, said to be highly lethal to feathered targets.
As far as ammo goes, the Critical Duty 357 SIG, a high performer after punching through heavy material, remains a crowd pleaser.
Range Rock Star
The rock star of the range and arguably the most exciting big reveal on Day One of SHOT Show was Glock’s new Model 42, a single-stack .380 auto.
Glock released a teaser video previewing its new G42 handgun before unveiling it, and The Big Reveal was no disappointment. What a beauty.
Made entirely in the United States, it is the smallest gun the company has made. The trigger pull weight is consistent with other Glock models, and the pistol comes equipped with Glock's Safe Action System.
Without a magazine, it weighs in at just 12.4 ounces. A single-stack, it is much thinner than the 26 model. It has the classic Glock design, but in a smaller size that is fantastic for people with small hands. This model will be an excellent choice for women.
Thanks to its smart design, beavertail, natural grip angle and intuitively placed controls, it has a comfortable fit unlike many other compact pistols. And Glock says it is just as durable and reliable as its other models on the market.
The Glock 42 is an ideal new option for concealed carry… or as the back-up to your back-up pistol.
Ballet dancer turned defense specialist Allison Barrie has traveled around the world covering the military, terrorism, weapons advancements and life on the front line. You can reach her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @Allison_Barrie.