Opinion: SHOT Synopsis, Future Trends

    SHOT 2017 has come and gone. Hopefully we did our duty in providing the best coverage we could put together to you, our readership. I certainly had an exhausting show, staying up many late nights, even unto first light, hustling USBs over to fellow writers to get material online, flying through Vegas traffic trying to get to the Sands on time, etc…

    But, although we reported on a HUGE variety of products, I did notice some rising trends that subconsciously struck me throughout the show. Although this is only my personal opinion and all views are my own, I think a number of other SHOT attendees could verify some of these trends I noticed.

    Election Ready AR15s

    A number of other writers and attendees constantly were commenting on this fact. Springfield Armory banked on it with the Saint. The fact that so much of the industry tooled up, and a number of smaller AR companies increased production in preparation for a Hillary win was so obvious it was undeniable. AR15s are all over the market already because it is one of the fastest growing rifles in popularity in the United States, but to see the huge extent in person at SHOT just solidified the fact that much of the industry was actually prepping for another bad four years of firearms sales.

    Restricted/Featureless AR15s 

    From Stag Arms with their Featureless Rifles, LWRC with the Cali-Compliant magazine disconnect button, Hera Arms with the oddly shaped stock, and Dark Side Industries with the zero magazine button option, a number of companies were responding to the recent California legislation regarding a complete ban on AR15s with magazine releases. With California being the largest shooting population in the nation, this really comes as no surprise due to the overwhelming customer response these devices have.

    Overwhelming Suppressor Display

    I noticed much more suppressor companies than were there last year. The older companies seemed to be getting a larger presence, like Gemtech, AAC, as well as Dead Air and Silencerco. But I also saw some much smaller suppressor companies springing up all over the show floor. Companies I had never even heard of before. It would appear to be in direct response to the Hearing Protection Act being renewed under a Republican Congress, or just a much more welcoming political atmosphere to begin with when it comes to NFA items or firearms in general. Even Black Hawk!, a traditionally gear and clothing company has come out with a suppressor lineup!

    Rise of the Modular Rifle?

    From the Skeli X11, Robinson Armaments XCR, M+M industries M10X rifles to possibly considering the Strike Industries AR, SCAR, or Fightlite’s multi-caliber sub-gun conversion, there just seemed to be plethora (compared to last year) of polymer framed lower, multi-caliber, folding stock, magazine fed rifles on display. Some were AR15 based, others were Kalashnikov, but all had one thing in common, they weren’t another AR15. It was so refreshing to see fresh designs and thought processes in the industry, something that you really don’t see to much of when it comes to overall rifle design.

    03s Everywhere 

    My final note is that I kept running into and meeting Infantry Marines all over the place. I could have sworn I met a new Marine every third booth or so. From my Scout Sniper Basic Course NCOIC that recognized me even though I only spent a week in the course and then failing out, to various other contacts and other Infantry guys I met over SHOT. Myself and my one buddy kept making jokes about how the shooting industry is really the only place that would take us once we EAS-ed. But on a real note, I want to write a post in the future about this exact topic. I’ve had many people ask me if having a military background makes a difference in the industry. And honestly, I can say that it doesn’t, but I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t helped me at all. But more on that later.


    Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

    Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at [email protected]