SHOT Show 2019 : Reflections of a Gun Writer

What’s Changed?

Obviously, the political landscape has changed drastically. The industry has been hit with what some are calling a slump, but to be clear this isn’t true. The industry is normalizing, not slumping so to say. This is certainly causing a little pressure on the industry. I wonder if it also caused companies to really shift towards sales. Lots and lots of sales with media taking a very distant second place in terms of attention.

There is also not a lot of new guns at SHOT Show 2019, nothing super innovative. Some of my favorites included the Walther Q5 Steel Frame, the CZ P-10’s expanded family, and the Manticore Arms Bullpup Scorpion kit. What does all this have in common?

It’s nothing really new. Just rehashes and improvements to already introduced guns. There wasn’t a whole lot of new. Mossberg’s little gun was neat, as was Franklin Armory’s, but nothing just grabbed me and made me say I needed one this year.

Patches, Swag, and Candy

There was a time where every booth you passed would throw patches at you. Like a rapper making it rain. I used to walk around with some exposed velcro on my pack and people would randomly throw patches on it. I remember one company giving away Polymer 80 kits in VIP packages in 2017. These days You have to ask for patches, stickers, and other swag. This isn’t necessarily a complaint.

I have way too many patches I never went through to want any more. It was still something I noticed and thought was odd. Was it budget tightening? Or an afterthought to making those sales?

It was an odd show and while Vegas was bright and sunny the show was dimmer. Something has changed. With an election right around the corner I wonder how the industry will change? Will it get a sudden bump in sales and R&D departments will get a bump in funds? Who knows, but hopefully that magic and energy is back for SHOT Show 2020.

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Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.