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Gun Trade World is one of the leading European-based publications and a global counterpart to our own SHOT Business magazine. NSSF works closely with its Editor-in-Chief, John Hunter, to spread the word about our programs, the firearms trade both in the U.S. and abroad and, of course, SHOT Show and all it has to offer international buyers, distributors, exhibitors and media members. Recently we asked John to talk to us about SHOT Show and the many benefits it provides our international colleagues. Here’s what he had to say.

As the only international trade magazine for the shooting sports, hunting and tactical markets, it is vital that Gun Trade World magazine engages with as many professionals as possible. Our pages cover industry news, product launches, key personnel changes, major themes and the latest trends—so where better to find much of this information than the biggest international gun and shooting show in the world?

With more than 1,600 exhibitors and over 64,000 trade professionals, SHOT Show is a unique event and a vital part of GTW’s calendar.

Although our magazine has a U.S.-based sales director, the magazine itself is headquartered in the UK. This makes Europe an easy option for news and feature gathering, but the largest single market for shooting and associated industries is the U.S. Because of this, attending SHOT Show is a must for me as the Editor-in-Chief. In four days I can meet dozens of CEOs and sales and marketing managers to gather news and information and set up future marketing strategies, not to mention on-the-ground retailers, who can give me a feel for current trends and general market directions.

If these professionals were solely from the U.S., it would undoubtedly be worth the airfare from that point of view alone. But such a massive event cannot fail to attract interested parties from around the globe, and I try to take full advantage of that. To give you an example, alongside my scheduled meetings with U.S. and overseas exhibitors, I caught up with industry professionals from the UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Australia, South Africa, Austria, Slovenia, Russia, Turkey, Israel and New Zealand, just to list a few. Making these connections are the backbone of my business, and to be able to cover so many of them in just the four days that are SHOT Show is an invaluable opportunity.

Of course, I also attend the IWA event in Nuremberg each March (and have done so for almost 20 years, mainly with my UK trade title Tackle & Guns), but when I first took charge of GTW four years ago, it was clear that SHOT Show also had to be part of my agenda—and I have not been disappointed. Even better, Industry Day At The Range (the day before SHOT Show) affords me the chance to try out new products that I would otherwise never be allowed to see, let alone pick up in the UK—that’s an important point for someone running a trade magazine that hits 125 countries each month. Plus, let’s be honest here: both the Range Day and SHOT show are also terrific fun.

Finally, and as if that wasn’t enough, I can honestly say that not only are many of the exhibitors and attendees vital business contacts, they have also become firm friends. “Combining business with pleasure” is an oft-used phrase, and though I walk through the doors of the Sands Expo in work mode, it’s terrific to be able to do just that in such convivial surroundings. If you’re an international buyer, distributor, manufacturer or member of the media and you haven’t been to SHOT Show, I highly recommend you make this show your first priority in 2017.

The 2017 SHOT Show will take place January 17-20 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Registration to attend will open in the early fall of 2016. International travelers should visit shotshow.org for hotel, credential, visa and travel information, as well as educational opportunities.