NFATCA Report: V22N10

By Jeffrey Folloder

The Future of Gun Shows

I am writing this column with about a month before the start of the Fall Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot. Twice a year, stretching back for decades, Knob Creek has put on the classic event with few exceptions. “God willing and the creek don’t rise” actually has meaning for this event. If that creek in front of the range gets out of hand, the event gets cancelled. It doesn’t happen often, though. Many regular exhibitors and attendees of the event have chatted at great length about how the Knob Creek classic has evolved. Recently, exhibitors received a letter from the management of the event.

The letter describes how the Knob Creek Shoot is changing from a 3-day event to a 2-day event, with night shoots on Friday and Saturday. The Sunday portion of the event appears to have been eliminated. Is this a good thing? Only time will tell. Certainly, many of the exhibitors have been griping for years that the Sunday sales had all but evaporated. Knob Creek is being responsive to that concern. The bigger question is: What is happening to shows, in general? Whether it is a “Class 3” event or a “regular” gun show things have certainly changed. Sales have slowed, excitement has waned. Even the offerings seem to have become “strained” in terms of “gun stuff.” Again, what has happened?

It used to be that if you wanted a shot at getting something great in terms of a machine gun or a suppressor, Knob Creek was the place to be. Not so much anymore. One long-time suppressor vendor at Knob Creek laments that there have been several shows where he has not sold a single suppressor. “So why do you keep coming?” “I like the people.” And those machine guns? Pretty much every single attendee at any show can whip out their smart phone and have access to dozens, if not hundreds, of venues offering a nearly limitless selection of offerings at competitive prices. The regular gun shows are suffering the same information overload. That great deal on a...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V22N10 (December 2018)
and was posted online on October 26, 2018


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