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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

SHOT Show 2012 Recap, Wrap Up, and Final Thoughts

Yes, SHOT Show 2012 is now officially behind us.... and not a moment too soon as far as I am concerned. My typing finger is in full-on carpel tunnel mode. Still, I wanted to take a few moments and recap things a little bit as well as take a look at who the big winners were this year at SHOT.

People turned out in record numbers this year to be apart of the amazing event that is SHOT Show. This year SHOT Show set an overall attendance record of more than 61,000 people (up from 57,390 last year), as well as a record for media coverage with 2,466 representatives (up from 2,074 last year). More than 1,000 media representatives also attended the SHOT Show Media Day at the Range event.

I think that these figures are a powerful testament to the fact that America's love affair with firearms is indeed in full swing. The industry is booming right now and last week people all over the globe were overcome with the desire to be witness to all of the latest and greatest items that were being showcased at this year's show.

This year we saw everything from the most predictable expansions of current lines to brand new surprise offerings that I personally never would have thought would be coming. There were also several new start-up companies offering some amazing new and unique niche products. We saw everything from over-the-top sensationalistic silliness (Did you see "The Ultimate Zombie AK-47"? Hello!) to brilliant new twists on old familiar platforms. There were amazing things being showcased ranging from a $130,000 Beretta shotgun to a custom Glock Motorcycle and just about everything in between.

I also think that its safe to say that the industry is planning to make 2012 "the year of the zombie". From the aforementioned Ultimate Zombie AK-47... to zombie themed lime-green ARs... to zombie themed optics... to lime-green zombie knives and pistol bayonets... to zombie themed shooting targets... zombies and zombie killing gear were everywhere. Heck, I even think that somewhere on the convention floor they might have had actual zombies jumping over actual real life sharks... or maybe not... I digress.

So, who were the big winners at SHOT Show this year?

Well, lets look at this from an "Internet buzz" viewpoint. According to my blog hits and keyword search data - and keep in mind that I covered almost everything that went down at SHOT - it looks like the big winners are as follows...

1. Ruger (In a statistical landslide)
Ruger made a big push in the run up to SHOT Show by announcing the release of several new firearms. This marketing blitz made a really big splash in the online firearms community and was in my opinion a huge success. They also had everyone on the edge of their Internet seats when Jeff Quinn of GunBlast.com teased the entire world by mentioning the phrase "Ruger SR-30" in one of his videos.

2. Springfield Armory
Without a doubt, the biggest surprise at SHOT was the unveiling of the new Springfield XD-S single stack .45 ACP (soon to be also available in 9mm and .40 S&W). The buzz and excitement generated online was immediate and decisive. People are very excited about this new handgun and will be chomping at the bit to get to put down their money on this new design.

3. The .300 AAC Blackout 
I think that it is safe to say that the .300 AAC Blackout is now here to stay, and we can probably stop referring to it as a wildcat cartridge. Since its inception, the response from consumers to the new cartridge has been nothing but positive. SHOT Show 2012 showed that the industry giants are now also officially behind the cartridge. A wide range of manufacturers will be offering factory rifles and uppers chambered for the cartridge in 2012 as well as several ammunition companies now offering loads and components for reloading.

4. Sig Sauer 
Sig Sauer made a big impression by rolling out a boat load of new pistol and rifle offerings. The product that generated the most buzz on my blog turned out to be their new P224 pistol. The P224 looks like its going to be one heck of a pistol and something that should greatly appeal to the Sig Sauer faithful as well as anyone else who is looking for a top-notch concealed carry pistol.

5. Daniel Defense (In a virtual tie)
My blog saw a great deal of traffic from people searching for pictures and information about what Daniel Defense was bringing to SHOT Show. They introduced some new flash hiders and muzzle brakes, as well as a rifle chambered in the above mentioned .300 AAC Blackout (which will begin to ship at the end of this month). I personally am a big fan of their rifles, and for Daniel Defense to feel the need to get behind the .300 AAC Blackout I think it says a great deal about the cartridge going forward.

5. US Palm (In a virtual tie)
US Palm introduced two new products this year that really have people excited. They introduced a quad stack AK magazine that will be available in several different capacities as well as a take down AK style rifle. They are both really cool products and the breakdown AK is absolutely amazing. What US Palm has basically done is to create an AK style rifle that can be broken down and packed away in a small little package without any tools and in a matter of seconds. Put a folding stock on that thing and/or make it into an SBR and you just may have one of the best bug-out-bag guns ever made.

The other big thing that really stood out at SHOT Show 2012 is the fact that most all of the big new products that were announced are either already in the pipeline or will be shipping in the very near future. This is huge! I think that it has now become apparent to most of the big players in the firearms industry that if you are going to cash in on the massive consumer demand generated by all of those awesome new products, then you have to have the supply available to meet that demand. This is going to be a big win/win for both the industry and the consumer.

I tell ya what... its a great time to be a gunnie, isn't it!?

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