No one is at NSSF’s SHOT Show 2022. At least that’s what popular posts on social media and others would have you believe. Yes, there were quite a few large and small names MIA. Their booths were absent of much more than a few tables and chairs, and a sign dispersed here and there with QR codes to access their latest gadgetry on their respective websites. But considering the difficulties of putting on a production of this size in our current world climate, I was happy to be there, spending face time with my compatriots, renewing past relationships, and creating new ones.

One might even say that only the hardcore ones were present this year. There were many reasons from an assortment of industry staples. From “we’re boycotting because of NSSF or Nevada policies” to “it’s not safe” to “it’s a waste of time.” In the end, a large majority of the booths I wanted to see were present and accounted for. I was a bit happier with the smaller crowds.

In all previous years of my SHOT Show experience, I got sick afterward. My body always ached, coughing and sneezing were abundant, and I would have little or no appetite because my stomach would feel like garbage. With the NV mask mandate in place and the smaller crowds, I’m having none of those symptoms this year. Knowing that life would continue after the show and business would need to be conducted at home, I wore a mask 95% of the time. Did all attendees wear masks all of the time at the show? No. But a majority did, and my opinion is that it did help, at least for me.

Monday’s Industry Day at the Range was a treat. With smaller crowds comes the benefit of additional time and access to manufacturers and their representatives. While my time with them was still short, it was great to see some of the new products in action. However, with the ammunition supply and demand situation, we weren’t able to mag dump on a whim like years previous. Still, heading over to the Barnaul Ammunition booth at the end of Boulder’s Rifle and Pistol Club was fruitful as the kind SOF veteran and I related quickly between bursts of automatic AK fire. Thank you, friend. You are like a fit Santa Claus in January, giving bursts of lead joy to the masses.