By: Tom Claycomb III
If you haven’t heard of SHOT Show (Shooting Hunting Outdoors Trade Show) it is held every year in Las Vegas and is the largest outdoor event in the world. This year there were over 60,000 attendees.
It is held every year in January, kicking off on Monday with Media Day at The Range. The first half of the day is open to invited-only media and the afternoon is for buyers/media. This time is a great opportunity for manufacturers to display all of their new guns and ammo. All have a chance to check out the new 2023 offerings as well as the old tried and true models.
I go there to work deals, get new sponsors, and gather new info to write about. When you go, your day will start off with breakfast/meetings and then the showroom opens at 8:30. I have a schedule and am running/gunning trying to have a meeting every 30 minutes. Then, for you, there will be dinners and multiple Happy Hours every night. I try to hit 2-3 of them because they’re more laid back and I work a lot of deals at them.
This year I had a new cameraman, Jack Kissel, from Colorado. Being of the younger generation, he has knowledge of all the trackers, etc. On Tuesday we walked 15.4 miles and on Thursday 20.3 miles, so when I say we hit it hard, I mean it! But you can’t excel by slacking, right?
So now let’s move into some of the cool items we saw.
- Umarex airguns came out with a .50 cal. PCP carbine, which is the little brother to their .50 cal. Hammer – that I used a couple of years ago to hunt axis deer and hogs.
- Henry’s came out with two new guns that I still have to test. The new .360 Buckhammer reminds me of my old 95-year-old bear hunting buddy, Roy Snethen’s, .350 Remington which was also a straight-walled case. I guess I want to test one because of my memories with him. If you know Henry’s, then you know that they are a premier lever action gun. But the second Henry’s rifle that intrigued me was their new 9mm Homesteader that uses a Glock mag. It is a fun gun to shoot. Here’s a link to a YouTube I saw: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlZQxd83Z74
- Wee-1 makes a unique little AR .22 which will be an awesome training gun for kids as well as to
throw in your backpack for grouse hunting when backpacking.
- Smith’s Consumer Products is the most creative company out there. I’ve used their products for over 20 years. They make the best knife sharpening gear on the market and a few years ago came out with a knife line. When they do something, they jump in with both feet. I hit them up about a couple of new items which will greatly aid outdoorsmen in processing their game. Keep tuned in. More to come as soon as these items hit the market.
- As far as I know, Trulock is the leader in the choke world. They are my resource center for any choke questions that I have.
- Mantis makes some unique training systems. I tested one last year. This year they came out with one for training with your AR. Can’t wait to test it.
- I met the Elk Ridge knife crew last year at SHOT. They offer a nice line-up of knives for the outdoorsman.
- If you’re an airgunner, you have to check out JSB pellets. They make the most accurate pellets on the market – hands down. When I’m testing a new airgun and want to know what kind of group it can get, I use JSB pellets.
- Met briefly at breakfast with Andrew Howard to discuss Versa Carry holsters. I’ve been using them a lot lately.
- I met with Caracal and will be testing more of their guns this year. Used their .300 BO a couple of years ago and it overperformed. I have a Silencer Co. silencer to test and will test it out on a Caracal rifle.
- Met with Kristen who is the marketing guru for 5.11 gear. I love their tactical pants. They make awesome outdoor pants, plus they are nice enough looking to wear to Church, and I always wear them in my seminars. They have multiple secure pockets plus some have a slot to hold your folder. This year I’m going to be testing out their knives. Reviews will soon be coming. Also, I’m going to test out some of their boots and packs while backpacking.
- Met with Umarex which is my go-to airgun company. They offer a plethora of airguns and just came out with the .50 cal. in a carbine-sized airgun. I shoot airguns a lot and I use Umarex.
- I mentioned above the two new Henrys offering-the 9mm Homesteader and the new .360 Buckhammer. They are doing a joint venture with Remington, which will be making the ammo for the Buckhammer.
- I met for a minute with Bowden Tactical, my go-to company for aftermarket AR parts.
- I have never found the perfect glove, so I stopped by the Seirus booth. I will test out some of their gloves this year. And as I’m typing this article it is -2 degrees outside. I may have them overnight a pair to me!
- Met with the SPG crew, my go-to company for hiking socks but they also make a line of dog gear, and Browning clothing, and they took over the Carhart bag line. Think I’ll have my girls test out their sunglasses for fishing.
- Met with an old buddy who is now marketing for Ditale, a new women’s outdoor clothing line. A big complaint that my girls have is that there is no women’s outdoor clothing out there. There is now! Hold tight girls, my wife and daughter will soon be testing Ditale products, and I’ll soon be running the product reviews.
- Met with Joyce, the marketing queen for Spyderco. She has been with Spyderco forever and everyone knows her. It’s always good to see her. Shawn was with her and has just developed a new folder which I’ll soon be testing. Spyderco also came out with a new lock for folders called the Compression Lock. Be looking for upcoming Spyderco product reviews.
- Met with Heather whom I have known and worked with for years when dealing with Otis. She’s my go-to girl on all gun cleaning needs. Otis is the king of cleaning cables, but surprisingly, this year came out with cleaning rods for all of you old-school guys (that includes me).
- Met with Buck Knives. I used to do a lot with them but haven’t in the last few years. They reinstituted their Pak Lite line, so I’m going to be testing that line. They have a new marketing team; I look forward to working with them.
- I met with Kent, which produces the shells I use for bird hunting.
- Stopped by the Plano booth and was impressed with their hard-sided gun cases and soft-sided bow cases. Going to have to test some of them out as well as their storage tubs.
- SABRE makes a whole line of self-defense pepper spray products but here is one item that caught my eye. It is a plastic pistol called the SABRE Pepper Spray Launcher that shoots a pepper spray ball that blows up on contact. You could shoot it at the ground in front of an advancing threat to stop things from escalating further and defuse a situation.
- I met Keli, a marketing guru that developed a knife for S&W. Can’t wait to be testing it.
- Met with the Alps Mountaineering crew. I use their backpacks, pads, sleeping bags, and tents when backpacking. This year they came out with a new backpack that my daughter and I are going to test.
- Clamtainer – they make plastic ammo containers that are nice for reloaders, shooters, backpackers, and flyers who travel with ammo.
- Met with Andersen Manufacturing. I recently tested one of their lower-level AR’s and got an 11/16-inch group. That got my attention. I plan on testing a lot more of their guns over the upcoming year.
- I met with Benchmade and will soon be testing out their Tag-out, Flyway, and Bug-out knives.
- Real Avid has a new Master Gun Workstation that looks nice.
- Hogue has a new replaceable blade knife.
Well, there are a few items that stood out to me at the 2023 SHOT Show. Look for them to be hitting the market this year.