SHOT Show 2022: (Un)certainty at the Sands

Will there be a SHOT Show 2022? If so, what companies will be attending? Which ones will elect to sit this one out? How will that affect the overall public, media, and exhibitor attendance? What if it’s canceled? How will they handle health and sanitation protocols? These are questions we have, and we’re not alone. 

The industry learned a lot in January of 2021 and more still as other events played out. Many companies were dubious about the cost benefits/ROI of SHOT Show in general back before COVID-19.  Now a wide variety of new lessons are available for extraction from the cancelation of NRAAM, the vaccine/mask requirements of AUSA, and the relative success of the annual NASGW show (among others). Some of those might even be categorized as cautionary tales.

When “Industry Day at the Range” announced the continued backing of several Supporting Sponsors1 for the SHOT Show 2022 “Range Day” event2, they did so with what seemed like a sense of normalcy — but also called attention to the availability of one open bay still available, leaving some people wondering what such an “opportunity” represented in the context of SHOT writ large. 

Not too much later, we found out that Sig Sauer, by every measure a major player in the industry, had withdrawn from the show — but made a half-million-dollar donation to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The NSSF runs SHOT Show and a significant majority of the organization’s fundraising comes via SHOT.

And then, considering how multiple conventions (across many industries) have been canceled with very short notice over the past year and a half, it’s no wonder that there is a non-commital sense of uncertainty within our ranks. 

The 2021 NRA National Meeting was canceled in August with very little notice.
The 2021 NRA National Meeting was canceled in August with very little notice.

That is our (un)certainty in a nutshell.

Even so, the folks from the NSSF appear to be as confident as is realistically possible that the show will commence as planned, with a message on their website saying, “After two years apart, it’s time to come together as a community and get business done. The industry is ALL IN for returning to Vegas this January.”

We’ll soon see how the industry’s response affects SHOT Show 2022, Range Day, and subsequent events. In the meantime, here is what we know about the plans for the upcoming show—so far.

Will there be a SHOT Show 2022?

Yes.

SHOT Show 2022, the 43rd annual occurrence of the event, is scheduled to take place from January 18, 2022, to January 21, 2022. As it has been for the past several years, the event will be held at the Sands Expo & Convention Show in Las Vegas, with a new expansion into Ceasers Forum. A pedestrian bridge connects the two, and this expansion brings the total convention area to 800,000 square feet to house over 2,000 exhibits.

SHOT Show 2022 floor plan, Sands Expo Convention Center and Caesars Forum.
The floor plan for this year looks quite different with the Sands Expo Convention Center bridged with Caesars Forum. (Image source: SHOT Show)

The question isn’t whether there will be one, it’s how much of one will there be?

We’re as certain as anyone can be that, yes, yes there will be a SHOT Show 2022

SHOT Show 2022 floor plans for level 1 and 2 at Venetian Exp and Caesars Forum
Few, if any, booths are still available for reservation, indicating hope for a successful convention. 

What we’re uncertain about is how populated the convention will be, in attendees, in companies, and in new products.  Last year proved it possible to release a new product successfully without access to concentrated hordes of media, “influencers”, and publishers. However, last year also proved how crucial an event like SHOT really is to interpersonal relationships, the perceived gravitas of a product launch, and of course to the funding and success of the NSSF. 

What Health and Safety Precautions will be in place?

Here’s how everything stands as of now, though things could change in the next few months.

  • Face masks will be required by all attendees, exhibitors, EACs, labor and contractors while on the show floor and in contracted public areas.
  • COVID vaccinations are not required.
  • If you develop symptoms while in attendance, remain in place and you’ll be directed toward appropriate medical care.
  • Social distancing is required when feasible.
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be installed throughout the show floor.
  • Physical cleaning and sanitation of high-traffic and common areas will be enhanced.
  • All SHOT staff will be required to follow safety protocols.
  • In the anticipation of daily health and safety screenings, cell phones are required for establishing comms should public health officials need to contact attendees.
  • Exhibitors are to disinfect products and displays on a frequent basis, install social distancing signs and markers, use open-ceiling meeting rooms, and place demonstration stools at a safe distance.
  • Exhibitors are also encouraged to consider eliminating business cards by using touchless lead retrieval, provide hand sanitizer stations within their booth, and bring fewer furnishings to allow for more space within the booth.

What if SHOT 2022 is canceled?

This is the part that makes everyone uneasy about committing to the expensive, and often labor-intensive effort of attending the show. Here’s what we know so far.

  • Attendees and Media personnel will get a 100% refund from SHOW Show if the event is cancelled.
  • Exhibitors will receive a 50% refund and a 50% rollover credit for the 2023 SHOT Show.

What can we expect for the upcoming show?

As of now, registration is open and international travel restrictions have eased.  Over 2,000 exhibits are registered so far covering over 800,000 net square feet of floor space.  Plenty of Big Name companies are on the list of attendance, but as mentioned above, some significant players have already bowed out, one of the biggest – Sig Sauer.

SHOT Show eXtra will be a new feature, which is a combination of two previous pavilions. As described by the official SHOT show website, SHOT eXtra “presents the next generation of shooting, hunting, and outdoor industry companies in an easy-to-browse table-top pavilion.” It will be located to the New Product Center, which is moving to Caesars Forum.

Educational and training opportunities will also be available at the 2022 show. All new SHOT U courses will be available in a la carte fashion with over a dozen classes available as well as the Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP).

What Can Retailers and Ranges look forward to?

Along with the New Product Center and exclusive education through SHOT University, it appears there are going to be quite a few new exhibitors in attendance. Some of those include 25 new firearms exhibitors, 27 new Law Enforcement products and services, 15 new training and safety equipment exhibitors, and 14 new custom manufacturing exhibitors. This information can be found on the Show’s Retailers and Range page to learn more.

Law Enforcement and Armed Forces?

A  Kickoff Meet and Greet for Law Enforcement and Armed Forces is scheduled for Monday the 17th from 5:30-7:00 at the Canaletto Restaurant. Attendance will be limited to ensure social distancing, so early registration is recommended.

LEEP classes throughout the week include:

  • The Changing Face of Public Communications During and Era of Unrest
  • Shooting Range Maintenance and Best Practices (InVeris Training Solutions)
  • Law Enforcement Handguns and Reflex Sights (Trijicon)
  • Time step up our game. Why do we need to train officers like we do athletes? (VirTra)
  • Roles of the Law Enforcement Sniper (Daniel Defense)
  • The Business of Noise: Firearm Ranges and the Bang! Factor (Troy Acoustics)
  • The Training Triangle – Training Facilities to Provide Comprehensive Use-of-Force Training (Clark Nexsen)

In the New Product Center, LEO’s and Military personnel are invited to see visit dozens of new exhibitors in a wide range of relevant categories. Law Enforcement Products and Services alone boasts 101 new exhibitors. Training and Safety equipment has 50, and Men’s and Women’s apparel combined is over 100. Those are just a few, though, so take a look at the LE and Armed Forces page to see more.

Manufacturers and Suppliers?

This part of the show is the annual meetup for manufacturers and suppliers to meet exclusively. Over 500 suppliers with countless materials and solutions firearms industry are slotted for attendance.

SHOT Show 2022 Suppliers Showcase
SHOT Week’s Supplier Showcase provides an opportunity to connect with a wide range of manufacturers and other industry professionals. (Image source: SHOT Show)

1Supporting Sponsors include Action Target, Armscor, Bushnell, Federal Premium Ammunition, Maxim Defense, Rock Island Armory, Ruger FIrearms, Savage Arms, Springfield Armory, TrueTimber, Walther Arms, and Winchester. 

“The last year has been an unusual one for our country and industry, but we’re very much looking forward to seeing our colleagues, friends and partners in person again in 2022. We anticipate seeing many exhibitors returning next year and are excited to welcome new manufacturers to our exhibitors list. It’s going to be a big year!” Kelsey Puryear, Industry Day at the Range Manager

2The 2022 Industry Day at the Range will take place at the Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club in Boulder City, Nevada on Monday, January 17, 2022, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. More information about Industry Day at the Range can be found at SHOTShowRangeDay (dot) com.   

3 SIG announced their intended absence on October 11th, the first major company (that we’re aware of) to do so. They explained, in part, 

…after thoughtful consideration, deliberation and a review of current circumstances, SIG SAUER has made the decision to not exhibit at the upcoming 2022 SHOT Show and will alternatively be making a $500,000 donation to NSSF to support both its mission and ongoing critical support of our industry.

For over 30 years SIG SAUER has attended SHOT Show, and we did not come to this decision without much thoughtful deliberation.  Our number one priority throughout the pandemic has been, and will remain, our employees.  SIG SAUER has an extremely large presence at SHOT Show sending over 140 employees to the show and our pre-show Range Day event.  Maintaining this presence, or even a scaled back minimum presence for 2022, represents a significant health risk to all 2,600 of our employees across our 13 U.S. locations, as individuals attending the show return to our facilities and risk continued exposure to our entire employee base. 

Additionally, based on the circumstances as they are known to us today, it is incumbent upon us to review this decision from a financial perspective.  For the first time in many years, the SHOT Show space was redrafted, necessitating the need for a complete booth re-configuration and design.  Out of pocket expenses from this point forward will be well over $1 million and based on the uncertainty of large scale shows and events, this expense is not financially prudent.

Stephanie Kimmell is the firstborn daughter of Missouri's Pecan King, worthy scion of a Vietnam veteran sailor turned mad engineer-orchardist-inventor-genius. With a BA in technical writing, she freelances as a writer and editor. A Zymurgist greatly interested in the decoction of fermented barley and hops, she is in many ways a modern amalgam of Esther Hobart Morris, Rebecca Boone, and Nellie Bly. She hunts, fishes, butchers, and cooks most anything. When not editing or writing, she makes soaps and salves, spins wool, and occasionally makes cheese from cows she milked herself. Kimmell is a driven epistemophilic who loves live music and all sorts of beer.

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