For years, I’ve been trying to find a way to attend SHOT Show. I’ve always considered SHOT to be the premier playground for all military and law enforcement personnel. At SHOT show, one can find everything from Barrett .50 cal rifles to tactical pajamas and quite literally everything in-between. It has just always seemed like Shangri-La for someone with my interests. And now, after spending a full day there, I can honestly say my assumptions weren’t wrong.

When I first entered the main exhibition hall, I really couldn’t believe what I was looking at. Let me give you a good mental picture of what I saw:

Picture all of your favorite gun and gear brands. Now, picture all of those brands accessible for you to peruse in one city…now picture them all in one room. To be fair, there are so many companies represented at SHOT that ONE room isn’t exactly accurate. There are probably a half-dozen or more rooms you can bounce between in pursuit of seeing quite literally every piece of tactical and safety gear on the market today. The employees and salespeople at each booth were all courteous and helpful to answer any questions we had.

“Arctic Mannequin” SHOT Show 2022. Gear worn includes: BEYOND, BLUE FORCE GEAR, INVISIO, TACOPS, PROTECH and more. Author photo.

Yesterday alone, I browsed dozens of company booths. I checked out the HK booth, the Geissele booth, the QuiqLite booth, the S&W booth, and a bunch of booths centered around body armor and plates. I got to see what the newest (not even in production) concealable body armor is and got to lay hands on what that feels like. Trust me, it’s great. Beyond that, I got to spend a few minutes talking to UFC legend and Hall of Fame Royce Gracie. It was a total honor. He’s been someone I’ve admired for more than two decades now.

One aspect of SHOT that I hadn’t really ever heard about was the free swag. When I say free swag, I don’t mean that companies had stickers you could pick up as a memento; I mean companies were giving away bags, backpacks, coffee cups, shirts and a bunch more. I walked into the exhibition hall with only my press pass and the clothes on my back, and I quickly realized I’d screwed up. I grabbed a free bag and went full gangbusters shoving swag into it. I knew I brought my big suitcase for good reason!

TACOPS M-9 Medical Backpack. This backpack was specifically designed with the guidance of a Tier 1 PA who also served as a SPECOP 18D medic. Author photo.

Tuesday night, SOFREP Editor Sean Spoonts and I were able to attend the 4th Annual Green Beret Reunion event that, in obvious addition to dozens of former Green Berets, was attended by Tim Kennedy, Luke Rockhold, and “The Iceman” Chuck Liddell. According to its website, “The Green Beret Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides all generations of U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers and their families with emergency, immediate, and ongoing support.”

It was cool to witness the camaraderie and brotherhood the Green Berets of all ages share with one another. Men who clearly hadn’t seen each other in years embraced old friends. Liddell and Rockhold were friendly and accommodating to all of the people in attendance who either wanted to say hello or to grab a quick pic. Their presence at the party was a nice touch. The “Iceman” even got in a little dancing with the band. Tim Kennedy worked the room like a politician, but it was clear that Kennedy wasn’t putting on a front. It was easy to see that he was genuinely happy to be there among his brothers. The event was held in the Beer Garden at the Paris Hotel and our party deck overlooked the Bellagio fountains, so we got some great free water shows while there as well.

The Bellagio Fountains water show from the Beer Garden at the Paris Hotel, Las Vegas. Author Photo.

In short, if you ever have the chance to attend SHOT, say yes. If you find yourself with credentials to SHOT, but you can’t afford the flight to Vegas and a room at the official SHOT hotel, then take out a home equity loan or beg a rich friend for a ticket on miles. Better yet, fly Spirit Airlines and stay at La Quinta Inn. The point is, whatever your situation if you have the chance to attend SHOT Show; find a way to make it happen!