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Okay, the initial shock and awe has worn off, you may or may not have figured out the numbering system and the staff that directs foot traffic knows you on a first name basis. Welcome to the 2017 SHOT Show Day No. 2!

I’d like to discuss trends today and get a feel for what those on the floor—or in the trenches—are seeing. I waited, wisely I hope, until the coffee had kicked in and all of us were semi-focused before I started to ask any questions.

Kevin McCartney of Southwest Iola Firearms was visiting the show and shopping diligently for CCW/home defense firearms. McCartney, a long-time retailer, listens to the demands of his customers and plans his show accordingly. This year he found the latest trends pointing toward a deviation from the traditional AR/AK style guns and toward the pistol-caliber carbines.

“They simply make more sense as a home-defense weapon,” McCartney stated.

Jim French, a veteran retailer, told us he was seeing increased interest in long-range precision guns. “There is more interest in the guns that can dot an ‘i’ at 500 yards,” he said.

These sentiments were echoed by Owens Ordinance Tool & Machinery’s Marc Nelson, who said, “Premium long-range rifles and optics are the next big thing.”

Scott Chamberlain of Sons of Liberty Gun Works feels the MSR and handgun markets will continue to dominate. Chamberlain, hailing from Australia but recently relocated to Texas, explained that an AR platform, if made with function in mind foremost, is one of the most desirable firearms on the scene.

“I’m not talking about flashy colors and stuff like that,” he said. “I’m talking about rock-solid performance, the kind of performance that law enforcement demands. Keep it simple and it will sell.”

Though the floors were crowded, everyone seemed truly happy with the show and glad to be here. All of the people I spoke with indicated the Event Staff were both courteous and helpful, and all planned to attend next year. With the show now at the halfway mark, I think that’s a pretty good indicator that the last two days will be just as positive.

 

Philip P. Massaro is a freelance writer and owner of Massaro Ballistics Laboratory, a custom reloading company. He is also the author of several books under the Gun Digest brand, including Handloaders Digest and Understanding Ballistics: a Complete Guide to Bullet Selection.