COVID Kills The 2021 SHOT Show

The Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show, commonly referred to as SHOT Show, has been cancelled. The annoucement that the firearms industry trade show, which is one of the largest conventions in Las Vegas every year, was made by the National Shooting Sports Foundation on Friday morning.

On the official SHOT Show website, the NSSF went into greater detail about the decision to cancel the four-day event, which was expected to bring more than 50,000 attendees from across the globe to the Sands Convention Center.

NSSF has remained in constant communication with Nevada officials throughout the year in our planning for the 2021 show. While there has been a concerted effort to expand the allowable levels for large gatherings by the county and state, with positivity rates peaking during our key planning period we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 show.

Sadly, these spikes are currently transpiring worldwide. Given the sheer complexities, diminishing timeline and immense logistical planning required to conduct a trade show as large as SHOT, NSSF simply could not move forward at this point with so many unknowns and variables. We truly appreciate the guidance of Nevada and Las Vegas officials in allowing us to communicate this news to our exhibitors and attendees well in advance of the show. We would also like to thank the Sands directly for their help and efforts to navigate this unprecedented situation.

Despite the challenges of trying to plan for SHOT Show in the midst of the pandemic, the NSSF says that floor space in the Sands Convention Center and the expanded footprint at Caesar’s Palace were nearly sold out, and next year’s event promised to feature more companies than any in the convention’s 42-year history.

Rescheduling SHOT Show wasn’t really an option, but the 2022 SHOT Show is still scheduled to take place January 18-21 in Las Vegas.

The news of SHOT Show’s cancellation came just a few days after the National Rifle Association announced that one of the biggest consumer shows was also going to be axed because of coronavirus concerns. The Great American Outdoor Show, which stretches over nine days in February, had to be scrapped because of crowd restrictions imposed by the state of Pennsylvania, which limits the size of indoor gatherings.

Since the NRA created the Great American Outdoor Show in 2014, the show has been a much-anticipated annual event and a major boon for the state and local economy. More than 1,100 exhibitors and tens of thousands of people from Pennsylvania and indeed around the country and globe would converge on the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex each year contributing approximately $75 million to area businesses and state coffers, according to official local estimates.

The NRA will certainly miss the opportunity to celebrate America’s great firearm, hunting, fishing and outdoor heritage, but we look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones at the Great American Outdoor Show scheduled to be held February 5 – 13, 2022.

GAOS is held at the Pennsylvania Farm Show complex in Harrisburg, and those who’ve attended in years past know how crowded the show can get, particularly over the event’s opening and closing weekends when tens of thousands of folks are typically wandering through the acres of guns and gear on display.

While gun store owners, firearm distributors, and manufacturers will undoubtably be able to still take care of business even without the face-to-face contact that the SHOT Show provides, the absence of SHOT and GAOS will most definitely be felt by the industry. I’ve always been on the media side of things, but from my perspective, one of the real benefits of SHOT, GAOS, and even the NRA Annual Meetings are the opportunities to spend time together with people who you may only see once or twice a year, as well as getting a chance to connect with folks you’ve never met before.

I’ve seen ideas for marketing campaigns to grassroots organizations to pro-2A legislation take spark during cocktails and conversation with a group of friends and colleagues at SHOT, and I can’t help but think that the cancellation of SHOT Show is going to have an impact, if only on the potential collaborations and campaigns that will never be sparked by an off-the-cuff conversation in a crowded convention aisle or a late-night bourbon at a hotel bar. I understand the logistical reasons for cancelling the 2021 SHOT Show, but it will definitely be missed next year.