The annual Shooting Hunting and Outdoors Trade Show, hosted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, has come and gone. The 2024 SHOT Show was like none of the others that I’ve participated in. But, like every other SHOT, I was shot afterwards.
This was my fifth year going to SHOT Show. The first year, I went as a hanger-on. I was going to work on a project with a company and they asked if I wanted to get into SHOT. How could I say no? It was easy. I had zero responsibilities.
In September of 2019, I was awarded the Blogger of the Year at the Gun Rights Policy Conference by the Second Amendment Foundation. Some friends encouraged me to get a website going and apply as a media member. It worked!
For those of you who don’t know, the NSSF SHOT Show is for industry people only. This is not a trade show for consumers to go and check out. SHOT is for the industry members to wheel and deal – and those who report on it. To be perfectly honest, a better option for consumers who want to have a similar experience, they’re best off going to the NRA Annual Meetings or the NRA Great American Outdoors Show.
In 2020 & 2022 I went, but really took in all the fun stuff at SHOT Show. The hanging out. The going to parties. Maybe sneaking into a few parties where I didn’t have invitations to. There were people who were working, and I was just working it! In 2023 I went with fellow News2A contributor, John Petrolino, a.k.a. The Pen Patriot. We spent a lot of time trying to connect with companies and build relationships with them. The business-pleasure relationship was shifting, and I started to pay even more attention to the actual work being done.
This year was very different from other SHOT Shows. This year I was doing some live stream broadcasting from the Samson Manufacturing booth. Of course, when they asked me if I wanted to do this, the answer was “yes.” If they asked me how I was going to do it, I needed to come up with an answer.
I also need to come up with some guests. Over the years, I’ve built up a decent reputation and a very big friend list. One of the objectives I had with starting a show was to increase my circle of friends. I’m very honored to say that my friends list is overwhelmed with plenty of Second Amendment influencers, but also the movers and shakers. I am humbled to know so many people that are really out there and getting things done. Samson lined up some of the guests, but I brought in some of my friends as well.
I did something else that was very new for me. I brought in a couple of friends as part of my media team. I’ve been very much a one-man show, with support from some key friends. So I didn’t really have a long list of things I needed my media team to do. They had a lot of time to check out the show for themselves.
The goal for SHOT Show 2024 was to do a live stream every day from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. On Thursday, we had a bonus show and we did a little bit of live streaming when Samson raffled off a Rifle that was signed by the band 3 Doors Down.
The broadcast on day one wasn’t so great. It started off with one of my media team having his phone accidentally taken by someone else. We needed to get that resolved before anything else was to happen. After I got settled and set up I still had some problems. There was some shuffling around to get on Wi-Fi. We were finally forced to use someone’s phone as a hotspot. In all the haste, my settings on Streamyard weren’t set up properly, the video was spotty, and the audio was almost nonexistent. Fortunately, I recorded the audio onto a mixer/podcast machine, and I had a good version of the audio for re-airings.
Later on day one I was a guest on a live broadcast with CloverTac and Ghost Tactical. They were doing the same sort of thing that I was doing, but they were doing it much better. They showed me what they were using to set things up and they came by the following morning to straighten me out. The shows that I did the rest of the week were so very much better– thanks to these two creators.
Some of my first guests were Cody Wisniewski from Firearms Policy Coalition and Jim Irvine from FASTER Saves Lives. Cody talked about some of the successes FPC has had recently. Jim talked about how FASTER is growing and the amazing work they are doing in schools around the country. Nick Wong, a Trustee from the Coalition of New Jersey Firearm Owners, came to the broadcast and he popped on to present Cody with a check for a $5,000 donation to FPC from CNFJO.
On the second day, I had Ben Sanderson and Stephen Willeford from Gun Owners Of America on for some chats. They talked about some of the successes the GOA has had with the pistol brace litigation. Stephen Willeford talked about what he’s been doing with GOA as well as his involvement in stopping a mass shooting at the southern springs church in Texas.
Tony Simon from the Diversity Shoot and The Second Is For Everyone was another great guest I had. Tony is always fun to have on the show and we talked about the work he’s doing in New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. Simon talked about how he went to Nebraska to do some Diversity Shoot events and include others in his message.
The third day was jam packed! I had Alan Gottlieb from the Second Amendment Foundation on to talk about the success that they had that week and how SAF has been involved in shaping the Second Amendment legal world. Currently they have 59 different cases they’re involved with.
I interviewed Robyn Sandoval from A Girl & A Gun. She talked about how in 2023 they trained over 40,000 women. She also talked about the upcoming AGAG conference. Yehuda Remer, a.k.a. The Pew Pew Jew stopped by to chat. Remer talked about his newest book, “Spot Ghillie,” which is a “Where’s Waldo” for the gun community.
In the afternoon, I was able to sit down for about 45 minutes and talk with Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and Maggie Mordaunt. Grossman wanted to talk about what FASTER Saves Lives is doing. Then we spent time talking about Mordaunt and her courses teaching hunting to youth. Mordaunt and Grossman have a new book out called “On Hunting“ that we also discussed. I hopped on again and did a little bit of an impromptu live stream, while Samson gave away the rifle autographed by the band 3 Doors Down.
I was able to film RSWCs episodes with Matt Mallory and Klint Macro from Meet The Pressers, Jake Wiskerchen from Walk The Talk America, and Deb Ferns from Babes With Bullets. I recorded a spot with Mike Piwowarsk and Earl Boone from Arms Room Radio. I had a chance to be on True Southern TV with Luke Williams. That was a live stream where we may have had a couple of drinks.
It was a very busy SHOT Show for me. I did not get a chance to walk the floor and see the new lever action rifles that are out there. From what I understand, almost everyone is making a lever action rifle these days. Going to events like this to me are about making friendships and building relationships. Every time I go to one of the big events, I come back with a handful of business cards of new friends that I need to build on.
I am taking some notes and putting some thoughts to paper. Ok, I’ll be voice to texting in google docs — because I think there are some things I’d like to do differently. I certainly didn’t get to do everything I wanted to do. I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted to see. And I didn’t get to interview everyone I wanted to interview. But life is full of experiences and lessons to be learned.
My next big event is going to be going to Harrisburg for the Great American Outdoor Show. I will be teaming up with John Petrolino and we will be “working it” more and “working” less. But, from what Petrolino is saying, I might be mistaken, it’s gonna be work.