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15 Awesome Things I Saw At The Massive U.S. Gun Show Only Insiders Can Attend


More than 65,000 people gathered in Las Vegas, Nevada this week for the nation’s largest annual gun industry convention, SHOT Show 2020. Organized by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), SHOT Show brings together the world’s best in shooting sports, law enforcement, hunting, and armed forces to share their products and businesses, but more importantly, to shoot the globe’s latest and greatest firearms in the Nevada desert.

With more than 2,000 exhibiting manufacturers and companies crammed into the 13-acre Sands Convention Center, it’s physically impossible for a single visitor to see everything. But after just two days of being tightly surrounded by guns, ammunition, Navy SEALs, military dogs, tactical gear, camouflage, and American flags, my faith has been restored in the status of freedom and the Second Amendment in this country.

Since SHOT Show is not open to the general public (only gun industry business people who buy guns or gear at wholesale, and gun-related media are allowed in), I’m excited to share some of the more impressive or interesting products and companies that stuck out to me, as a novice female shooter. Let’s start with the guns.

1. SIG P365 SAS (Sig Anti-Snag)

Sig Sauer’s P365 is one of the most popular choices for a concealed-carry pistol. Their new model, the P365 SAS, was announced last year and features a unique sight that many were able to test for the first time at SHOT this year. Instead of having a traditional iron sight at the end of the gun and on top of the slide like most pistols, in their efforts to make the gun “anti-snag,” Sig embedded a green bullseye sight that almost seems to light up at the rear of the slide.

There seemed to be a trend in more electronic and red dot sights (I’ll get to that later) across manufactures, but Sig’s version of this “point and shoot” sight trend was my personal favorite.

2. Two Fun .22 LR Pistols

Even though .22 LR pistols aren’t the best choice for self-defense or a concealed-carry weapon, they are extremely fun to shoot. The combination of cheap ammunition and lack of recoil makes them great for training or learning to shoot.

I got to shoot two different .22 LRs: Glock’s newly introduced Glock 44, and Ruger’s Mark IV with a suppressor. I can’t really compare apples to apples here, since shooting with a suppressor (silencer) is THE most fun, but the Glock 44 was almost just as fun even without a suppressor. Women are the fastest-growing segment of the firearms market, and I think Glock’s decision to make a new .22 that appeals to women for both its size and ease of shooting is a smart move.

Shooting the Glock 44.

3. SIG CROSS Bolt-Action Rifle

Shooting a target from 500 yards is not something I had done before, or even known how easy it can be. With a helpful spotter at the SIG Sauer range and some optics, I hit targets at 100, 300, and 500 yards with their new ultra lightweight hunting rifle, the SIG CROSS.

4. Old Timey Western-Style Revolvers

A number of exhibitors showed off Western movie-inspired revolvers that are more focused on style than practicality. I’m not sure if this is the Hollywood influence of shows like “Westworld” and “Deadwood,” or just the greatness of American capitalism.

Potentially problematic Betsy Ross flag and confederate solider grip designs by Heritage Manufacturing, Inc.

This one looks Pablo Escobar-inspired.

5. More Guns

Lever-action rifles by Marlin also follow the trend in making ultra light hunting rifles.

SIG Sauer’s P320 M18 was fun to shoot but also a great example of the civilian market craving military design. This is the commercial version of the gun that is currently the official sidearm of all Marines.

Some AK-47s with Romanian parts.

The new “Hellcat” is Springfield Armory’s attempt at competing with other popular 9mm conceal-carry weapons.

5. Red Dot Sights

There is clearly a trend in the pistol game right now for slide-mounted red dot sights. Once you get used to them, they can be easier and faster to shoot than your traditional iron sight. It’s as simple as point the red dot where you want it to go, and shoot.

I got to shoot with several of them, including SIG’s Romeo 1, and an Aimpoint model on this Glock 45 pictured below. The main downside is that unlike traditional sights, the glass can get dirty and they are battery powered. Anytime electronics are involved, the reliability of the gun decreases.

6. California Compliant

The state of California’s (often meaningless) regulations on guns lead to manufacturer niches like this:

Manufacturers are always creatively adapting their designs to make their guns “legal.”

7. Freedom Throne

It could be yours for only $17,800.

8. Good Dogs

9. Triggering Gun Cleaning Mats

The company Tekmak makes thick, durable mats designed to protect your guns and your work surface while cleaning firearms. They also make gun mats and doormats with designs that are not shy about their customers’ political leanings. One Tekmak representative said their mat picturing Trump on top of a humvee with explosions, a bald eagle, and an American flag is their most popular design.

10. Grenades

11. Silencer Shop

I already discussed how fun shooting with suppressors (a.k.a. silencers) is, but the not so fun part is obtaining one legally. Despite their all-around usefulness, especially for preventing hearing loss, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) treats them as deadly weapons of destruction. The ATF makes the process of obtaining a suppressor tedious, long, and expensive.

Silencer Shop is taking advantage of all these disadvantages in ATF’s process by jumping through the hoops for customers. Their digital kiosks located at local gun dealers make the federal registration forms and fingerprinting seamless. Plus, another good boy was hanging out at their booth.

12. Cute And Fluffy Decoys And Target Practice

Prairie dog practice targets.

These spinning critter tails bring all the coyotes to the yard.


13. Heavy Duty Artillery

The rounds on top of this mini tank were longer than an average human hand.

14. Semi-Trailer Mobile Range Arming Women Shooters

Karen Butler started the Shoot Like A Girl movement, which invites women to shoot guns and bows with instruction and guidance from other female instructors. I got to shoot in Shoot Like A Girl’s mobile range that features a military grade firearms simulations system and a live fire archery range.

The organization provides an encouraging, comfortable, and safe environment to introduce women to shooting sports. “Shooting revived my confidence. It just makes you feel good about yourself to aim at a target and hit it,” Butler said.

15. The Freedom Cabinet

The “Freedom Cabinet” was designed by metal artist Shane Henderson in his garage, but quickly went viral, drawing attention from politicians, celebrities, and freedom lovers.

What looks like a piece of metal art on your wall, is actually a safe storage space for your firearms, flask, Bible, and anything else you might want to protect from grubby hands.