The Sporting Shooter crew (left to right): Mick Matheson, Marcus O'Dean, Alex Juris, Clint Magro, Col Allison, Nick Harvey, Tony Pizzata

SHOT Expo 2012

More than 10,000 hunting, shooting and outdoors enthusiasts made the SSAA’s 2012 SHOT Expo the biggest ever.

“The popularity of this weekend’s SHOT Expo shows that there is unprecedented interest in the shooting sports and outdoor lifestyle activities,” SSAA NSW executive director Diana Melham said after confirming the record attendance.

Held at the Sydney Olympic Park in Homebush, the expo filled one of the exhibition halls with trade stands, indoor ranges and demo areas where caping and butchering skills were taught.

Almost all of the major players in the firearms and hunting trade were represented, including major sponsors Winchester, Beretta and the NSW Game Council.

The Game Council kept busy both days with people sitting for their R-licence to hunt on public land, and literally ran out of time to meet the demand when the show closed on Sunday afternoon.

Council spokesman Greg McFarland said they were expecting the final tally of new licences to exceed 400, a record number for the Game Council at any event.

Interest generated by the impending opening of some NSW national parks to R-licence holders had added to the numbers.

McFarland said he’d also seen an increase in the number of families getting involved, a comment reflected by a number of other exhibitors at the SHOT Expo.

Along with representatives from the CZ factory in the Czech Republic, the SHOT Expo hosted exhibitors from Japan, South Africa, New Zealand and Namibia.

“A highlight of the event was listening to some of the great stories our exhibitors told us on Sunday afternoon – but one stands out,” Melham said. “Achilles Archery, who were a first-time exhibitor at SHOT Expo, were approached by a major movie production company about the possibility of using some of their products in an upcoming Hollywood blockbuster.”

Many products had their debut at the show, from new firearms like Thompson/Centre’s new switch-barrel Dimension to Aussie-made innovations like the Max Box magnetic gun rest.

Like virtually all exhibitors, Sporting Shooter had a great response, especially since we had a full complement of well-known writers on our stand, including ‘Uncle’ Nick Harvey, Sporting Shooter editor Marcus O’Dean, ad man Tony Pizzata, Guns Australia editor John Robinson, Bacon Busters editor Clint Magro, Col Allison, Alex Juris and new web editor Mick Matheson.

One of the few complaints, but an oft-spoken one, concerned the queues to get in and out of the event, although it was only a problem at peak times.

The SSAA NSW was well aware of the issue and will shortly be conducting a survey through their website where showgoers can have their say.

“As with any major event there is always room for improvement and we will use this feedback to make sure the 2014 event builds on the huge success of the Expo,” Melham said.

The 2013 SHOT Expo will be hosted by SSAA Victoria in Melbourne.




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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.