SHOT Show 2014: Impressions from Vegas

I don't understand the prohibitive nature of no firearms at SHOT Show, particularly since its demographic is represented by quite a few cops and military personnel.

Author Dean Scoville Headshot

If last year's edition of the SHOT Show could have been dubbed “Year of the Zombie,” then this year’s edition is…”Year of the Zombie II.”

Not that there aren’t other attractions and distractions to be had. The Duck Dynasty fellows and novelist Stephen Hunter are here, and Steven Seagal was seen wandering the aisles, perhaps in a show of presence in the run-up to his campaigning to become Arizona's next governor. Then there are the rest of the attendees—hunters, snipers, and cops as far as the eye can see. To quote George Takei: “Oh, my.”

But if the many floors of the SHOT Show are the land of well-developed amygdalas, they are places of civility. One can hardly get one's foot stepped on without a parade of "excuse me’s," even from the uninvolved, which is more than I got from the last Stieg Larsson protagonist who bumped into me. But while such are the proofs that an armed society is a polite society, there are limits. Just as they show remorse for having offended, the "don't tread on me" crowd doesn't suffer liberals or fools kindly. ("But then," to quote Twain "I repeat myself.") These are the peeps whose "no trespassing" signage warns would-be offenders "To boldly go where no man has gone before without getting his ass shot at."

Make no mistake about it, whether it's with the naked eye or through a BAS Tactical TW35RGM scope SHOT Show is an interesting venue for people-watching and part of me is surprised that Errol Morris never got around to documenting it. Maybe he had a four-year wait facing him as companies wishing to exhibit at the show face have these days.

Catching a ride in a limo shared with North Carolina-based Mark Cayton (, I find that he works as an NRA training instructor. My first thoughts are that Cayton is the kind of guy who is far removed from the people I usually encounter in LA. Then I discover he serves as a firearms consultant to the film industry. (OK, so maybe he’s not so far from LA after all, just without the anti-gun bias.) He's worked on both television series and movies, and as such, serves as an ambassador of and advocate for people who strongly support Second Amendment rights. He notes that there are those in the industry that wouldn't be caught at the SHOT Show but there are others who take firearms and their familiarity with them seriously, including "Sleepy Hollow" actor Orlando Jones and "Breaking Bad" DEA agent Dean Norris. That's heartening, because if there's one group of people who should attend the Shot Show it is the Hollywood elite. Make no mistake, the biases of entertainment industry leaders against firearms contributes greatly towards a growing bias by those who are influenced by them. I hope that others in the know take their time to edify others about firearm usage and our rights as Americans concerning them.

Out on the main show floor, I have occasion to speak with readers of Police Magazine at our Booth (#11979) then it's off to see what's new and novel.

While I will largely leave the product roundup reports to those more in the know, I will note that ammunition seems be getting as tricked out as the firearms that fire it.

Even more interesting, Airsoft guns seem to be getting increasingly sophisticated, and for the first time I'm tempted to explore this aspect of the market. Which makes me wonder if growing numbers of others not LE-affiliated might be similarly tempted, thereby fostering the prospect for disastrous encounters such as that in Santa Rosa, Calif., last year.

The guys at the Konus booth had some nice optics, but neither a hunter nor tactical shooter I be. That having been said, the company’s optics—particularly the NTOA-approved Konus Pro M30 2.5-10x52mm—impressed me. Looking through the Konus scopes reminded me of the past's sci-fi fare made incarnate in the present.

The concealed carry market is still huge at this year’s show. In addition to really small handguns there’s a commensurately greater number of accessory-friendly garment lines with which to conceal them. I'm not much of a gun guy myself, but I am intrigued by the new G42 pistol from Glock. It's a .380 ACP with a 6-round single stack magazine and it weighs in at under 14 ounces. Larger caliber guns are promising more bang for your buck with less wear and tear for your wrists. Anything that is ergonomically friendly for we carpel tunnel-inflamed types gets my vote.

I don't favor tattoos personally, and apparently quite a few LE agencies feel the same way (and upon seeing that infamous "18 Forever" meme, can anyone blame us). Addressing this problem, Eclipse produces a product that allows sleeved officers to get into department compliance while retaining the ink work they're proud of. In effect, it's a temporary tattoo that covers a permanent one. Coming in six different skin tones, its sheets can be cut to size and applied over tattoos so as to obscure them for the course of one's shift. Win-win. At least for now. We'll see how things evolve.

Finally, I don't understand the prohibitive nature of no firearms at Shot Show, particularly since its demographic is represented by quite a few cops and military personnel. Might be a liability thing. Whatever else, they're not proning people out at the door. Yet.

I hope to catch sight of Ted Nugent soon. I still can't believe I haven't heard him yet.

More to come.

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