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January 17, 2007

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SHOT Show 2007: On Booth Babes and Beautiful Rifles

This year's SHOT Show in Orlando had 1,870 exhibiting companies, was attended by 42,000 people and was, as ever, a nightmare vision of America gone mad. It was the biggest and best-attended show since SHOT began in 1979. (As a high-ranking NSSF official said to me with an ironic smile, "Welcome to a 'dying' industry.") As I understand it, the gun biz is selling everything it can make, and so there was not much innovation this year, with one exception, which is the Thompson/Center Icon bolt-action rifle (below). More on it here.

Thompson/Center Icon bolt-action rifle

In additional to its mind-boggling size, SHOT was marked by the welcome return of booth babes, whose photos you can see elsewhere on this website. They were taken by our intrepid Senior Photo Editor Jaime Santa, who was able to get a bunch of terrific-looking women to pose for her camera. If I had tried, I would have been driven off with kicks and curses.

Return of the Booth Babes: The 2007 SHOT Show

The other major trend in SHOT was the astounding growth of what the Show calls its Law Enforcement (actually paramilitary) section, which is now as big as early SHOT Shows were in their entirety. This phenomenon will be explored in a subsequent rant, guaranteed to offend all right-thinking Americans.

Any way, here are photos and thumbnail descriptions of the rifles I found worthy of your attention.


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Dave Petzal

To Chad Love: Thank you for being so honest. I'll bet you feel lots better now.



No argument in general. I'm completely with you in wishing that hunting and firearms suppliers could stay focused on function over flash. But like I said, at SHOT, there's an awful lot of both and something has to set you apart.

The remainder of my reply would probably be better placed in Mr. Petzal's next rant re: the Law Enforcement presence at the show, but anyway...

The LEO side of the SHOT Show has grown like crazy over the last couple of years, especially due to the influx of Homeland Security money that a lot of departments are suddenly finding in the coffers. This is "use-it-or-lose-it" funding, so you're seeing spending on this type of stuff jump through the roof. As a result, the industries that manufacture this stuff are looking for the best outlets, and SHOT is a great opportunity for them. I don't wanna knock that, even though, like others have mentioned, there an awful lot of Soldier of Fortune wanna-bes in the crowd there.

But heck, at shoot day, I have to confess that I was drawn to the rattle of full-auto weapons on the range. For most of us who've grown older, but not necessarily grown up, there's a lot of allure to the whiz-bang side of this business. Doesn't mean I'll be picking up a CAR-15 or one of the new MP5s anytime soon, but I sure do like to look at them.

Anyway, if you want a real shocker, you ought to see what the Paintball industry has done!

Chad Love

Phillip, your reasonable and sane pragmatism keeps trumping my breathless, overwrought generalizations. Please refrain from making sense...:)


Reasonable, sane, and pragmatic... wow. Seldom have I heard those adjectives used in conjunction with my own name.

Maybe I need to go back on the meds?


My point on the 30 TC was that we already have numerous 30 calibers in all action lengths and velocities. Why add another? It's not faster, flatter, etc. Most people who want 30-06 performance in a short action will just step up to a 300 WSM and be done with it. Who knows, maybe it'll work. I knew i made an error as soon as i posted a/b the 308/30-06. sorry.

Ralph the Rifleman

To: Theycallmestick
I agree with you, but American hunters luv the .308 caliber, so it's all in the marketing. Give it a name that catches on, and it sells, and becomes exclusive. We have discussed this .30 cal mystery before on the blog,which I am a 7mm bullet follower;as Dave is..they get the job done, shooting flatter, with less recoil then the .30 bullets.
7mm CT, maybe?

Ralph the Rifleman

oops--7mm TC...way too early to be e-mailing!

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