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SHOT Show Ahead
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Having plowed through a near record number of press releases again today, you'll realize that something big's on the horizon. No, not a civil war over our right to keep and bear arms (at least not yet). This is the annual rush of information leading up to the annual SHOT Show.

Our friend Michael Bane said it best on Monday, "if there were 48 hours in each day before SHOT, I'd still be behind." Every marketing director, product manager, sales exec and buyer in the industry totally understands. Early January is a tough time to have any show. It's a really tough time to have the industry's largest.

But we do, so everyone's rushing to get ready. That's why you're also seeing lots of traffic in our news section.

Next week will be equally hectic, but we'll all be involved in trying to see everything at SHOT (meaning about 5 miles of walking -briskly-per day) keep the things we see straight in our heads, recorded in our cameras and ready for sharing, while simultaneously talking with almost anyone we meet in the intimate crowd of about 22,000 attendees.

If we were honest, we'd all admit that we wouldn't miss it for the world.

This is also the week that "rumors are flying". Next week, we expect to hear some big news about one of the country's oldest firearms brands making some big changes in how it does business. We're also expecting official word of a minimum of one major industry acquisition.

With any luck, the companies who have hesitated to introduce new products that bear any resemblance to the modern sporting rifle will realize that despite what politicians are saying, the American consumer is once again voting with their checkbook.

The modern sporting rifle is what they want, and they're willing to pay top dollar (top dollar plus in many instances) to get one.

It's also unrealistic to ignore how personal defense handguns are flying off the shelves. , Companieis introducing slimline, single-stack pistols in a variety of calibers will find themselves dealing with the problem of how to deliver the quantities distributors and dealers will want.

And a quick factual aside on the huge demand for AR-style rifle magazines.
Based on the order numbers I've seen, all the magazine makers in the United States, working at full capacity -seven days per week- will only deliver about ten percent of the numbers needed to meet existing orders. That's a backlog of outrageous proportions. It's also why some online sellers are offering AR-style magazines for $100 each. OK, that's greed, but it's demand-based.

Some things we know are coming down the pike next week include a variety of new guns from Ruger.

The new rifle offerings include - but are not limited to- their highly popular Ruger American Rifle in two new calibers (.22-250 Rem and 7mm-08 Rem) and a variety of compact models averaging about five inches shorter than standard, a Varmint/Target version of their very popular piston-driven SR-556 Modern Sporting Rifle, and a 10/22 takedown with a black finish and (yum) a threaded barrel, a standard 10/22 rifle equipped with a LaserMax laser, their Gunsite Scout Rifle in stainless steel with an eighteen-inch barrel and a Model 77/17 in .17 hornet.

On the handgun side, Their SR model semiautomatic pistols will expand to include the SR45, a 10+1 capacity .45ACP, a Commander style SR1911, a .380 caliber version of their LCP that's billed as "their lightest recoiling personal protection pistol yet", a threaded-barrel version of their popular SR22 .22 LR pistol, and a variety of their .22 caliber target pistols (the 22/45 Target, Mark III Target and Mark III Hunter) with new -and very cool looking-grips.

And Ruger's also adding a receiver drilled and tapped to accept Picatinny rails, scope rings and two magazines to the Mini-14 Rifle, while SR-22 and SR556E rifles will all come with Ruger "Rapid Deploy" Sights, a windage adjustable rear sight and an elevation adjustable front sight. They fold if you're using optics (unless you co-witness) but can pop right up if needed.

Looks like it's going to be an interesting SHOT Show, inside and out.

Meanwhile, in Washington we're hearing that Vice President Biden is going to be sitting down with the National Rifle Association tomorrow.

I'm hoping the NRA will deliver a simple message to a man who's not known for paying close attention: No bans. No negotiations.

It's the message the estimated 8,000 new NRA members enrolling each day would want delivered. It's time to push back-hard.

We'll keep you posted.

--Jim Shepherd

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