Sunday, January 18, 2009

SHOT Show Day Four

The final day of the SHOT Show was spent trying to see all the rest of the booths and talk to all the people that I had missed. I hope I got everyone. It was a busy day. I had meeting after meeting. I had one meeting where I spent the entire time walking around the booths to meet people for other meetings. It was fun but challenging.

Overall, the Show was a success. I did find out a few things about it that I found interesting.

1) "Famous" people in the industry are just people. It was great to see that most of them were not wrapped up in themselves. I had many good conversations with these people, and I hope they feel the same way.

2) This was a trade show, which is very different than a scientific conference. At a trade show, the people at the booths are there to sell product to distributors and retailers. At a scientific conference, the people are there to be scrutinized and defend research. Both types of gatherings are designed for networking, and I tried to network as much as possible.

3) Along the lines of the last point, the people working the booths are sales representatives. They are business professionals and not engineers. Their knowledge of their products is limited to what is listed in the catalog. Beyond that, it is hit and miss. This is fine for selling product to retailers. This is not so good for media personnel who must learn about products with enough depth to be able to communicate that product's vices and virtues to their readership. I think every company should bring an engineer that can answer almost any question regarding their products. This is especially true of optics companies, ammunition makers, gun makers, and electronics makers.

4) For the most part, the products at this Show were gimmicks that will sell well because of good marketing. I will not single out any products, but I will say that hunters turned engineers do not make great products. They have great ideas, but they should not be the manufacturers. Engineers turned hunters are much better at making quality products.

5) Optics manufacturers take notice: If you keep using Chinese makers, they will reverse engineer your products and figure out a way to make it less expensive. They will then create their own products that rival yours in terms of quality but with a lower price point. In a few years, they will be your competitor. Chinese optics are getting better and better. It is a matter of time before the days of having to buy German scopes to get top quality will end. No longer will consumers have to pay $2,000-3,000 for that quality. Imagine if you could get the same scope quality as the German big wigs for half the price. Why would you pay more just for a brand name? I know I wouldn't!

6) It seems that every industry has several industry-wide problems that can be masked but not solved. It takes real genius and know-how to solve these problems. The companies that solve the problems that the rest of the industry cannot will soon dominate the market until the rest of the companies catch up or copy the solutions. Innovation should be rewarded with your dollars. Companies that mask the problems with features and marketing should be denied your hard-earned money. When companies discover that marketing gimmicks and useless features fails to capture the consumer, real progress can be made toward better products.

7) Signature models of products are great for sales, but not for the wallet. I would like to see the end of signature models or at least be assured that signature models do not cost any more than non-signature models.

The SHOT Show is a wonderful event. I wish everyone could attend. Hopefully, I will be at the next one in Las Vegas.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is a .22 hornet enough gun to take coyotes effectively at 150 yards? Cool blog.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Charles Shawley said...

It really depends on conditions. In general, I would say 100 yards is the .22 Hornet's limits, but it is all about shot placement. If you can change the next of a fly at 150 yards, then you can effectively kill coyotes with the .22 Hornet. Keep in mind though that the bullets used in .22 Hornet ammunition are fairly thin and do not hold up to high pressures very well meaning that they are not really built for coyotes. I plan to make a big post about an issue related to this later.

6:29 PM  

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