What Now, With SHOT Show Canceled?

It may have been expected, but the news that 2021 SHOT Show is canceled still is jarring. Companies are amid plans to shift gears regarding new product announcements, virtual events and more.

What Now, With SHOT Show Canceled?

It may have been expected, with everything going on in the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the news that 2021 SHOT Show in Las Vegas is canceled still is jarring.

No show. No range day. No evening parties, lunch meetings, scurrying from one room on one floor to the show floor. No wandering the aisles looking for a booth. No 24/7 pelting of visual-aural stimuli from the casinos. No swollen feet at night, throbbing heads the next morning or crazy flights, expense reports, explanations about those expense reports and follow-up emails, calls and internal reports.

Whew. Gotta admit, we're going to miss some of it. After four decades, and Las Vegas being "that" city, SHOT Show and all that goes with it is our industry's annual spotlight. Now it's gone for at least a year for the first time since it began in St. Louis in 1979.

What next?

Companies are amid plans to shift gears regarding new product announcements, virtual events and more. Some may plan in-person hunting and shooting events and work more with the outdoors media. Some may increase internal communications channels and information output.

While things are in flux at the moment, savvy executives and their teams have been working on a Plan B for a while. We contacted a handful of industry veterans to see what they're doing in the wake of the show cancelation. (This story will be updated.)

Sig Sauer Makes $500K Donation

Sig Sauer is donating $500,000 to the National Shooting Sports Foundation to support the important work the NSSF is doing on behalf of the entire shooting, hunting, and outdoor industry.

During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NSSF was instrumental in defending the industry and insuring retailers and manufacturers alike were declared essential to personal safety and the defense of America and kept our respective businesses open.

“It’s disappointing that we will not be able to gather as an industry in 2021 at SHOT Show. However, given the recent rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the world we fully support the difficult decision of the National Shooting Sports Foundation to cancel SHOT Show,” said Tom Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President, Commercial Sales.

“The NSSF, and its staff, are truly remarkable and all of us at SIG SAUER are thankful for their continued efforts. In the absence of SHOT Show, SIG is pleased to announce a $500,000 donation to support the NSSF’s ongoing work in education, safety initiatives, compliance and security resources, import/export guidance, consumer activation initiatives, government relations, and operational needs for 2021.”

Redding Reloading: Focused on Production, Holding Pricing

Redding Reloading is focusing its efforts on meeting development and production demand, according to executive vice president Robin Sharpless. The company will be celebrating its 75th year in business in 2021 and has attended every show since it began in St. Louis in 1979.

"We believe NSSF has made a very sound decision to protect members of our industry at all levels. Prior to the NSSF's decision Redding had decided to not offer new products for the SHOT Show in 2021 and dedicate all engineering and production resources to meeting the incredibly high levels of demand which have stemmed from the unrest and concern throughout the nation," Sharpless told Shooting Sports Retailer.

"The needs of our customers and our commitment to quality will always come first. Additionally, the ownership of Redding had made a decision to hold 2020 pricing throughout 2021 in recognition of the financial hardships the COVID-19 crisis has imposed on so may in our handloading community. The new year represents Redding's 75th year of operation and we choose to celebrate it with this gift to all those we have had the pleasure of calling our customers.We look forward to better days ahead and hope we can all come together safely to celebrate our sports at the 2021 NRA Annual Meetings."

Vista Outdoor: More Virtual

Back in August, Vista Outdoor launched a series of virtual sales shows to support its Buy Group customers, with weekly shows dedicated to specific groups for content review through an online portal. At the end of each week, attendees could get questions answered by Federal’s sales staff and product teams through live chats.

“Our distributors and retailers are hungry for information and product news. They need to hear from us and since we cannot be there in person we created our own virtual experience,” Federal SVP Hunting & Shooting Sales Jim Bruno said at the time in a press release. “As a result, our efforts will benefit the end consumer because we will provide the latest and greatest products and information to be made available from our distribution customers who attend these virtual shows.”

With this already in place, look for more virtual releases in 2021 for other Vista Outdoor brands.

New product videos with detailed information on features and benefits were the focus of the shows. Other digital content included messages from Bruno and Federal Ammunition President Jason Vanderbrink; examples of upcoming product advertising; trade marketing tools and displays; plus, pricing, terms and hot show specials for Buy Group members.

New-for-2020 ammunition from Federal’s sister companies Speer and CCI were featured. New intros included Federal Premium Terminal Ascent, Federal Premium Force X2, Speer Gold Dot Carry Gun and the CCI MeatEater Series.

Business customers and Buy Group members interested in more information on Federal’s virtual Buy Group shows should contact their Federal sales representative.

Henry Rifles: Moving Forward on Production

Dan Clayton-Luce, communications director for Henry Repeating Arms, said the company will continue its focus on video and product development.

"Over the past few years, we have had a small team go out to SHOT Show, mostly for meetings with hunting and shooting sports organizations to determine products that will be the best fit for their fundraising endeavors," Clayton-Luce said via email. "For the 2020 SHOT Show, we also had the pleasure of announcing a few new products like the Henry X Model and a new line of hunting ammunition called HammerDown that we helped Federal Premium develop specifically for lever guns.

"For the 2021 SHOT Show, we had plans to attend as usual despite not having a proper booth and also exhibit at Industry Day at the Range. This would have been the first time that we formally set up space at Industry Day at the Range, but with the cancellation of SHOT Show proper, we are also withdrawing from this event. On one hand, this gives us a bit more bandwidth to focus solely on production as we are smack-dab in the middle of an overwhelming level of demand. On the other hand, we miss out on a great place to show off new product and be a part of the SHOT Show "buzz."

"We have put a lot of focus on video production over the past couple of years to showcase new products with our own YouTube channel and grow relationships with other reviewers already in that space. This is something that we plan to do even more of moving forward because it gives us a great platform to show people how new products actually perform.

"Great American Outdoor Show is another one that we usually attend, but that just got canceled recently as well. We're holding out hope that the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits stays on the calendar because we have a ton of new products that we're excited to show off, and we love having the opportunity to do that face-to-face with our fans."


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