This year I conquered SHOT Show with all the agility of a two-year-old wielding a sharp knife. No one got hurt, but that was due to close adult supervision, not because the circumstances were so favorable. My veteran husband steered me through the show with nods, prods, nutritional snacks, and well-organized visual aids. I only broke down sobbing once, but I missed my nap that day. I felt just like a kid walking around, picking up a pin from almost every booth (oooh, shiny!) I didn't find a pin saying, "it's my first time," but I wish I had. I also could have used a pin saying, "yes, I really shoot." The first pin would have cultivated a support system for my husband, while the second would have provided me with a deeper level of instruction on safety features.
For all you people who are planning on attending for the first time next year, let me prepare you: you will be asked, "what do you like most about the show?" almost more than you'll wonder how many different weapon mounted lighting systems exist. Because I have now pondered this question more often than Jerry Miculek practices reloads, let me share my answer. The guns and accessories are great, but the people are greater. I have never heard of another industry where the legends talk happily with the common folk. I could easily name off ten of the greats who graciously shook my hand and engaged in conversation. And it wasn't just the shooters who were accessible. Meeting the weapons or gear designers and talking with them was like meeting Walt Disney. "Oh. You're the reason I have so much fun." On top of that, having them take my off-hand comments and use them to inspire modifications to their product was like when God listened to Moses and parted the Red Sea, "yeah, that could help your situation. I can do that." Bam! Done.
The new gear was great too. When I laid eyes on the new Glock 42, my heart skipped a beat at the slim lines, and I told the booth staff, "that's my next back-up weapon." After holding every single Glock 42 in the booth several times, my husband had mercy on the staff and dragged me away. I snuck back the next day, but the staff successfully distracted me by saying there was a cute little holster for their Glock keychain available at Blade-Tech. Next year they'll have a weapon mounted lighting system for the keychain too. I was also inspired by Hogue's new gorgeous double rifle bag and their new duty weapon holster. I can hardly wait to order a few for me! My one suggestion to vendors- maybe instead of pins, keychains, and mini weapon mounted lighting systems, hand out napkins to wipe up the drool.
The only thing that really gave me pause was constantly being handed something pink. My favorite color is green, but being female means that the one pink item in the booth will eventually end up in my hands. After a few of these surprising color-coded encounters, I concluded that if it goes, "bang!" fast and accurately, I don't really care what color it is. It was sweet that men tried to include women by making something in a color they hoped the ladies would like. Kind of like when the birds on the NatGeo do the crazy mating dances. It may not be sexy, but it's nice to know guys care. And no, much to my disappointment, I did not see a pink weapon mounted lighting system.
As the day 4 delirium set in, everything became a blur. I found myself walking the aisles aimlessly. Camouflage blended one booth to the next. I had conversations with mannequins about the power factor of different weapons mounted lighting systems, and which type of on/off switch was a safer deployment method. Eventually I sat down in a chair and realized I couldn't feel my feet. But it was worth it. I had seen the entire SHOT Show and it only took me four days. My husband and I will be recuperating on the range. Extra ammo is appreciated, but please, no night stages requiring, well, you know.
- Laurel Yoshimoto
Laurel is an average shooter who fell in love with shooting sports eight years ago. She resides happily with her loving husband and young son in Southern California and is proud to serve in Law Enforcement.