The 38th annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) show is happening at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, bringing gun enthusiasts to Las Vegas from across the country and around the world.
Tens of thousands of gun enthusiasts are expected to attend the show.
“For us, this is hometown stuff,” said John Coray, who is visiting from Idaho.
“The SHOT show is one of our biggest sales periods,” said Matt Bangarter with Winchester Repeating Arms.
The show features the latest and greatest in firearms products, from handguns to hunting rifles.
“I knew it would be a big show, but it’s surprising how many vendors are here,” said Idaho visitor Robert Coray.
Business is booming, and organizers say companies are now trying to reach an evolving customer base.
“The number of firearms owners are skewing younger and more urban,” said SHOT Show spokesperson Bill Brassard.
He says more women are also buying firearms. The number of women buyers has increased nearly 40 percent over the last 10 years.
Wendy Benson, who is visiting the show from Georgia, says most women she knows are choosing to carry for self-defense.
“I think people are learning that not everyone in the world is nice, and we need to be prepared,” she said.
Her husband Paul Benson is a firearms manufacturer. He says with the Obama administration pushing for more gun control, he’s seen more interest in people wanting to protect their Second Amendment rights.
“We are not worried about what each other does in the industry. We are protecting the industry itself,” he said.
The passion for the firearms business is evident at the event – the largest gun show in the world.
Firearms only make up about 25 percent of products on display. The rest are items such as hunting equipment, outdoor gear and law enforcement & military related products.
The SHOT Show is for industry professionals only. It’s not like a private gun show where average citizens can buy and sell firearms on site.
The SHOT Show is a networking opportunity. With firearms sales totaling $14 million last year, lots of business can be had.