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The Third Floor of the Venetian. It’s one of the smaller sections of the show, but certainly one of the busiest. The companies here exhibiting on NEXT are relatively new to the industry, but I and they were amazed at the volume of traffic and business being conducted. Coming out of the Press Room, the third floor was like a beehive, completely abuzz with activity.

Man on the Floor - 2018 SHOT Show Day 2

Writer Phil Massaro, right, found some terrific new optics to try out in the coming months after talking with Randy Speth at Riton Optics, also exhibiting on the NEXT row.

I stopped by a few booths to get a feel for things with these new exhibitors and received lots of positive feedback from them. Brady Speth of RITON Optics was very pleased with the volume of inquiries and future customers at his table. “The setup was a breeze, and we are so busy I have to take some customers down the hall to chat. I never expected this kind of volume!” RITON is a Veteran-owned company from Arizona, making some great optics, and I’m excited for their future. “We’re very excited for 2018 and can’t wait for SHOT 2019,” Speth told me. The RITON scopes and binos are good stuff — you should give them a look.

The good folks at KALIX TEKNIK, makers of a classy adjustable rifle stock, are here from Sweden and also had a great response to their products. Magnus Lundback, one of the owners, stated “I’m very pleased with the amount of attention we’re receiving here at SHOT. Coming from Sweden we were a bit nervous, but this has been a fantastic experience. It’s much different from the IWA Show, and I like the way SHOT Show works.” Lundback explained that one of the booth stickers representing their company was missing from the New Product section, but the SHOT Show officials quickly fixed the problem. That kind of attention from the staff at NSSF and its show management partners left a great impression on him.

Man on the Floor - 2018 SHOT Show Day 2

The author, left with Will Murphy of Gun Guardians, one of the exhibitors new to SHOT Show and displaying his innovative AR-15 pistol grip on the NEXT row on the third floor of the Venetian.

Bill Goodreau was manning the Hunting Shack Magnum table, a maker of fantastic ammunition, and was happy with the business he was experiencing as a new NEXT exhibitor. “It seems there’s a lot more getting done this year at SHOT Show. Our table has been busy all day so far. Even up here on the third floor, we’ve had lots of attention and made all sorts of contacts.” HSM has a great product line, so it’s probably not a hard sell, but it goes to show how much business is getting done upstairs and how valuable NEXT is to these new exhibitors and buyers and press attending the show

Finally, towards the end of the day, I met Will Murphy of Gun Guardian, makers of a truly innovative AR-15 pistol grip that converts into a lockable trigger block. He is enjoying the show as well. “We’ve got orders placed and are meeting all sorts of good folks. This has been a great couple of days. Very glad we joined this year.”

Truthfully, these were just three of dozens of exhibitors I spoke with on the NEXT row. As we head into Day 3 of SHOT Show 2018, do yourself a favor and hop on the escalator to the third floor to give these products a look. I promise it’s worth your time.