Over the years I have visited many country shows and game fairs and although my interests cover all field sports my main interest has always been shooting, so it’s never very long before I’ve gravitated to Gunmakers Row, or the area of the show where the gun stands are located.
Over recent years there seems to be a trend towards fewer and fewer gun stands at the shows, or at least that seems to be the trend at the shows I’ve attended, and with the collapse of the CLA Game Fair things were appearing to get even worse.
This year, as every year, I decided that I would try to spend a day at The Great British Shooting Show. It’s a show that I have wanted to visit since it was born eight years ago, but there has always been something that got in the way of me getting there. Luckily, things fell nicely into place this year.
On arrival I walked through the doors into Gunmakers Hall 2, directly in front of the Blaser stand. Blaser were busy putting the finishing touches together for the world launch of their new F16 shotgun. Within seconds I realised that this show was like nothing I’d ever been to before. The stands erected by the manufacturers and other exhibitors were absolutely stunning – the gun displays beautifully presented and lit.
Every shooting discipline and every calibre were represented. Everything from Airsoft all the way through to .50 calibre rifle shooting. I could literally spend all day trying to describe just what a stunning spectacle the entire event is.
The question is does The Great British Shooting Show deliver what the visitor wants? The answer is quite simple – yes, it does! The reason it does is because the show focuses purely on the needs of shooters. The vast plethora of products available is staggering. Also, the show’s permanent, indoor home, Stonleigh Park is, geographically, very centrally and easily accessible for all.
There were three large manufacturers, Weihrauch Sport, Air Arms and Blaser who all launched new products for 2016 at the show. The fact that these three high profile players within the shooting industry decided to use The Great British Shooting Show as the platform to launch flag ship guns says a great deal about how the event is regarded within the industry, not only here in the UK, but globally.
However, there was one problem, and I have to be honest and admit that the problem was all my own doing. Being a “show virgin” I didn’t realise what I was walking into and I only went up for just a single day. Because of this there were several exhibits, for example, the SimWay Hunting Simulator, that I didn’t get around to seeing because I simply ran out of time. This is not a mistake that I will be making in the future and part of my preparation for next years’ show will be an overnight bag.
There is no doubt that The Great British Shooting Show is everything a shooter or firearms enthusiast could ever dream of.
Written by Lee Hurst
Show dates- 10th-11th-12th February 2017
Telephone- +44 (0) 1258 857700