SHOT Show 2023 and MGS Trade School
Every year in Las Vegas, NV, over 100,000 people converge into the Venetian Expo (formerly, The Sands Expo) and Caesars Forum for the largest firearms and outdoor convention…S.H.O.T. Show! SHOT Show, or the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show, is an industry- and media-only event put on by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which is the firearms industry trade association. This year was the 45th annual SHOT and the 3rd SHOT we attended as MGS Trade school, and man, oh man, was it good to be there. More about that later.
Last year I was spoiled, because the attendance was way down as the country was still dealing with COVID restrictions. Why was I spoiled, you ask? Because SHOT Show is usually jam-packed with attendees, it is tough to utilize your time efficiently. Regular attendance prompts a lot of quick “yes yes, I love it……reach out to me next week” responses—not in a getting blown-off way, but due to the sheer amount of people you have to jockey with for time.
Friday is typically the slowest day with the crowd, and last year every day was like Friday. This year, attendance was off the charts, so it was back to slammed with people, but MGS was still able to network, connect, and partner.
What We Accomplished at SHOT Show
Regardless of increased turnout, this year was still a huge success for MGS Trade School in many different ways. We are putting together ways to better benefit our students and keep them first, always. One of those is as simple as getting discount codes that are exclusive to our students and alumni, from different companies within the industry. Which, while just scratching the surface, was still a big win for us.
Another big item we were looking for was sourcing a fourth build option to go along with the Advanced Gunsmithing II final projects. I am happy to say the platform is sourced, and the instruction manual is being written as we speak. Unfortunately, because we are accredited, I cannot discuss programs we have not completed so be on the lookout for the announcement later in February. I can tell you we are all super excited for this.
MGS Moving Forward
Now to my opening statement about it being good to be there. As this is my 9th SHOT Show but only 3rd with MGS, I got to see a change in the recognition of MGS as a resource in the firearms industry. The first one we attended in 2020 was a lot of explaining—who we are and what we do.
I regularly had to steer questions in the right direction, whether prospects asked if we taught them how to shoot, or if we could help them get their carry permit. Given that 2021 had no SHOT, and 2022 we were still compared to other gunsmithing schools, name recognition is substantial progress.
This year I was stopped numerous times by people who either knew someone who was enrolled, were enrolled, or wanted to work with us in getting employees trained. I would walk into a booth with my MGS Trade School shirt and see immediate recognition and that was such a great feeling seeing all of our team’s hard work paying off.
It’s good to know that even with the growing crowds, we can build great relationships within the industry. I look forward to becoming more and more of a resource for the Firearms industry each year, but more importantly, I look forward to finding more and more ways to benefit our students and keep them first. Always.
By: Zeke Stout, MGS Trade School Director