The FUD created by politicians in the wake of Newtown has turned our world upside-down.
Sales of guns, accessories, and ammunition are through the roof, but you didn't see execs and reps high-fiving as they plan what to do with all the money. Instead, the mood was uncertain, at best, and fatalistic with some. Panic-buying is in full effect and it's creating far more problems than anyone seems capable of dealing with in the short term while the long-term is so up in the air that planning for anything other than trying to maintain a pre-panic status quo is a dangerous bet for many.
Companies making and selling ANYTHING major AR components are sold out indefinitely. New AR products and features don't really matter right now since most folks aren't going to be able to pick up a new AR anytime soon, anyway. All of the "sexy" guns are priced so dang high that only the "wallet-elite" ready to pounce on the Submit button are getting the goods.
Ammo isn't just scarce, it's GONE. Reloading supplies are backordered for months. Manufacturers are starting to tell us the shortages and backorder volumes are getting so bad that some simply won't tell us how far out orders are.
The biggest questions at SHOT seemed to start "how far behind..." Every distributor we met with was out of stock in just about every popular handgun in .380, .38, 9, 40, and 45. Period. Good relationships with your dealers are worth their weight in platinum.
Finally, there was next to no presence by companies focused on competition shooting products, outside of the pro spokespeople and a few gun manufacturers.
That's unfortunate, considering competition is one of the best ways of mainstreaming gun ownership, promoting skill development among new CCW'ers and letting people who DON'T want to look like a tacti-dork know there's a place for regular folks, too.
Many of the reps for high-end parts makers gave me weird looks when I mentioned the use of their products in a competitive, rather than "tactical," realm. It's like they don't know or just don't care about getting their gear into the hands of more customers.
Admittedly, many of those folks supply gear to the HSLD crowd and don't really deal with 3-gunners all that often. a case in point - when I saw the quick-flip lever on the Elcan 1-4x optic (primarily sold to military and true operator groups) I immediately saw the advantage of a weatherproof and shock-proof small-form-factor zoom optic. When I asked the rep if they have ever seen interest in these from the 3-gun world the guy looked at me like I grew up on Mars.
Despite these challenges and changes in mood, there were still 62,000 attendees and the floors were packed every day of the show with shop owners, trainers, manufacturers, media, and oh-so-many wannabe "operators" bedecked with beards, coyote nylon, MOLLE, and Velcro hats.
Uncle/Daddy/Boss/King Obama gave is "executive powers" speech, a fat slap to our collective faces as he continued his malignant campaign of ignorance, misinformation, and hate for us. His speech was on the lips of every attendee at the show and heavy on the hearts of people whose feet would inevitably wear out sometime on or before Friday.
It was a weird show.
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