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Shot Show Review 1993: Dateline - Houston, Texas.

After months of preparation, weeks of anticipation, and hundreds of hours of set-up work, the doors of the Houston Astrohall opened to admit the crowds at the 1993 SHOT SHOW. Inside awaited more than 363,000 square feet of exhibit space at the 15th anniversary show -- an all time record for the shooting industry.

More than 14,400 buyers, dealers, and gun enthusiasts attended the four-day show to get a first look at the new products and programs which will be making news in the coming year. With more than 1,200 booths and displays to see, dealers had a full weekend ahead of them as nearly 27,000 people, including exhibitors, show personnel, and attendees crowded the aisles, making this the most popular SHOT SHOW in history -- at least, until 1994!

Although the design of the hall was an obstacle (the show was laid out in nearly triangular format), the color-coded carpets, excellent maps, and information booths made it possible to navigate the hall quickly so that dealers could (and did) get down to business as soon as possible.

SHOT SHOW trivia buffs may remember this show was originally scheduled for the Anaheim Convention Center in California, but political pressure forced the organizers to seek other facilities at the last minute. As if in answer to this situation, several inches of rain fell in southern California during the week of the SHOT SHOW making it the wettest January in nearly 150 years. The result: The Anaheim convention center was reported to have nearly an inch of water on the floor by Saturday. Everyone from Los Angeles was certainly glad to be in Houston that weekend.

Amidst all the bustle, fun, new faces, old friends, and good times in Houston, exhibitors reported record sales in 1992, along with expectations for even better numbers in 1993. With hopes high and lots of new products on the shelves, this year's show will certainly take its place in shooting industry history.

Without a doubt, the stars of the 1993 SHOT SHOW were the two SOCOM offensive pistols on display at the H&K and Colt's booths. Chambered in .45 ACP (as required by the government) these were both impressive firearms. Each features a suppressor, optical laser sight and infrared laser, and flashlight.

The H&K gun is based on the company's newest introduction, the USP, which was also a big hit at this year's show. The Colt's weapon draws on design and technology from both its AA2000 and Double Eagle guns. The project will most likely move into its second phase later this year.

For two companies, the most newsworthy items at the show were the display booths themselves -- Colt's and Springfield Inc.

The past year was hard on Colt's, but stopping by the booth brought a healthy dose of optimism. On hand was a new lightweight sporter rifle, a compact version of the new and more durable All American 2000, and the highly touted Detective Special revolver. All of these items should prove very popular among loyal Colt's customers, and dealers at the show were certainly doing their best to make sure they had plenty of these items in stock.

In other news from Colt's, the company has signed champion handgunner Jerry Barnhart in a renewed agreement to continue as a member of Team Colt. Most recently, Barnhart has earned top ranking at the American Handgunner World Shoot-Off Championship and the IPSC U.S. National Championship.

Many dealers came to the show concerned over the announcement of Springfield Armory's closing; how would they supply their customers with the popular guns for competition and self-defense which Springfield was supplying?

Fortunately, the answer was to be found at booth #1667 -- Springfield Inc. According to the management, dealers will be able to provide their customers with all the quality P9s, 1911s, Chip McCormick hi-capacity frames, and M1A rifles they need. The company even announced a new dealer program to provide authorized dealers a $25 incentive every time they sell a Springfield Inc. pistol.

To the delight of shotgun shooters, USRAC unveiled its new over/under shotgun, the 1001 in both field and sporting clays versions. The 1001 is based on the popular 101 and comes with either 28-inch or 30-inch barrels and the popular WinPlus choke tube system.

The 1001 also features back-bored barrels -- a design which significantly reduces recoil through the use of a slightly oversized barrel. With a weight between 7 and 7 3/4 pounds, this gun should be extremely popular with customers everywhere and for every purpose.

At the GSI booth, a new 9mm, military-styled handgun was on display which should be one of the hot items on the market -- at least for a while. The Steyr SPP was proudly on display, a handgun with a 15- or 30-round magazine, a 5.9-inch barrel, and a highly researched ergonomic styling that makes it extremely comfortable to shoot. This gun is similar in appearance to a MAC 11, and former "assault rifle" customers should jump at the chance to buy one.

Of course, the folks at GSI were quick to point out that there is no telling how long this gun will be legal for import -- a fact you may wish to point out to customers who are hesitating on the purchase one of these guns.

Mossberg firearms, a favorite among budget-conscious shotgun customers, introduced a new autoloading shotgun -- the Model 60, available with a 28-inch vent rib barrel, a 24-inch turkey/deer barrel, and an 18 1/2-inch plain security barrel. All of these barrels are designated for magnum and non-magnum loads; magnum barrels can accommodate all 2 3/4-inch and 3-inch rounds. The Model 60 also features a five-shot magazine and comes with a Cablelock for safe storage.

At the SIG booth the P228 was proudly on display as the military's new M11 compact pistol. Chosen in the last quarter of '93, this was SIG's first chance to show off its popular 9mm, small-framed pistol bearing the M11 stamp.

Along with the 9mm, SIG also had the newest P229 .40 S&W on display. With the popular SIG name and the added attraction of the popular .40 caliber chambering, this gun's popularity continues to climb.

One of the most popular pocket guns on the market, the Backup DAO, is now available in a single action version, dubbed the Backup II, from AMT. Still chambered in the popular .380 caliber, this little handgun has found a growing market among both civilian and law-enforcement customers.

New from AMT also is the company's .22 WMR hunting rifle with stainless steel, free floating barrel and all stainless steel construction. The stock is made of black matte fiberglass and is fitted with Uncle Mike's swivel studs for sling attachment. The removable recoil pad provides storage for ammo, cleaning kit, or survival knife. A 10-round rotary magazine is standard with this rifle.

One of the most respected names in leather holsters has introduced a premier line of nylon holster products. New from Tex Shoemaker and Son is the RanShar Ny/Tex line of nylon holsters and law enforcement accessories. All RanShar products are made in the U.S. and will be distributed by Tex Shoemaker. These tough holsters, bags, shell holders, and belts are constructed of DuPont Cordura nylon for optimum durability and carry a 100 percent guarantee against defects. All products are available in black, tan, and camouflage.

Competition action shooting continues to be a major driving force in our industry and Bianchi International has taken a giant step forward this year to capture a large share of this market with its Gilmore Signature accessories line. Including red dot scopes, visible laser sights, Ring Leader scope mounts, and protective eyewear, the true flagship of the line is the Speed Leader holster, which is designed to be totally adjustable to the needs and shape of the wearer. Endorsed by both Riley and Kelly Gilmore, you can expect these products to be an instant attraction for all your customers.

Winchester/Olin has capitalized on the popularity of its Black Talon handgun ammunition by introducing a Black Talon rifle ammo line of products. The Black Talon rifle line features a copper alloy front section with a unique hollow point design which expands into four "talons" upon impact, bringing the projectile to more than one and one-half times its original diameter. These bullets are perfect for large, heavy game where delayed expansion is a necessity to penetrate thick hide and heavy bone, such as elk, moose or grizzly. The Black Talon rifle line is available in .308, .300 Win Mag, .30-06 Springfield, and .338 Win Mag.

Also new in the Black Talon label are the two final chamberings in the handgun cartridges: a 180-grain .357 Magnum and a 250-grain .44 Magnum. For law enforcement and home defense, these revolver rounds will be some of the best sellers on your shelves.

Until now, handloaders who enjoy the excitement of high-performance ammunition have had to settle for out-of-the-box rounds. For these customers, Speer has introduced their new Gold Dot hollow-point bullets for handgun reloaders. Utilizing Speer's popular Uni-Cor technology, the Gold Dot line is designed with jacket flutes and an octagonal hollow-point with interior nose core flutes to deliver the controlled peelback, dynamic expansion, and weight retention of the best-selling defense ammo on the market.

As these bullets reach their maximum expansion, a gold dot in the center of the projectile is exposed, showing that the bullet has performed at its peak with maximum weight retention and no core separation.

As the sporting clays market continues to expand, Beretta continues to be a major player among serious clays shooters and customers. This year Beretta has introduced two new sporting clays guns which combine the winning features of a Beretta shotgun with an entry level price. The new 686 Onyx Hunter Sport and 686 Hunter Sport o/u shotguns are designed with the versatility needed by beginning sporting clays shooters. Both are equipped with a wide vent rib, a radiused butt pad, and Beretta's Mobilchoke system of interchangeable choke tubes for in-the-field versatility.

The Onyx Hunter features a non-reflective black finish on the receiver and barrels to reduce glare and satin finish on the wood. The Hunter Sport has a coin silver receiver with scroll engraving and satin finish on the stock and forend. Both guns are chambered for 3-inch shells and are available with 28- and 30-inch barrels.

All along the aisles, in the seminars, at numerous receptions and parties, and even at nearby restaurants, the stage was being set for our industry in Houston from January 11 through 14. There were plenty of new and exciting guns and gadgets to be seen, lots of friendship and hospitality to share, and optimism for everyone.

As the outlook for our industry and our nation continues to brighten, the loyal old customers will continue to frequent gun shops around the country, and there will be lots of new faces as well. If the warmth and happiness from the 1993 SHOT SHOW last until next year, each one of those customers will be greeted with a smile and a handshake -- any you'll be seeing them for many years to come.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Publishers' Development Corporation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:firearms exhibit
Author:Farrell, Scott
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Mar 1, 1993
Previous Article:The archery aisle.
Next Article:Layoffs and patent trouble at ailing Colt's.

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