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June 3, 2021

Why Attend the NSSF Range-Retailer Business Expo?

By Carolee Anita Boyles

When members of the firearm industry gather in West Palm Beach this July for the 2021 NSSF Range-Retailer Business ExpoTM, we will be back together for the first major in-person event in our industry since the pandemic started. This in itself is incentive for retailers, range owners and range operators to attend, but there may be those who say “Oh, I’ll just wait and go to the SHOT Show® in January.”

Hold on just a minute! Yes, the SHOT Show is a “must do” industry event, but it and the Expo are not interchangeable. If you own or operate a range, you need to attend both.

What 2019 Attendees Have To Say

“I attend every range event I can,” said Bill Edwards, owner of Triangle Shooting Academy in Raleigh, N.C. “The SHOT Show lets you get face to face with your manufacturers and see new products. When you go to the Expo, you’ll learn best range practices and what other range owners are doing. They’re different things. The Expo is smaller and more intimate, and you can go one-on-one with other range owners who are doing the same thing you are; they’re looking for more information. At the Expo you’ll have more time to stand and talk to people, to listen to speakers and go to seminars, and learn different things.”

Eric Haddad, owner of Range 517 in Lansing, Mich., and the website, agreed.

“The SHOT Show is awesome for product knowledge and industry insight,” he said. “However, the NSSF Range Expo examines the shooting range industry in a more in-depth and encompassing manner.”

Mitch Tyler, owner of SafeSide Tactical in Lynchburg and Roanoke, Va., attended the 2019 Expo and is planning to go to this summer’s event. Mitch said he went to the 2019 Expo because he’s part of a group of range owners who get together twice a year, and the group decided to make the event the site of one of its meetings.

“I went as kind of a byproduct of someone else saying we should go, and I was really surprised at the value of going,” he said. Although the SHOT Show continues to be the must-attend event of the year for the industry, he said, the size of the Expo makes it a good fit for small range owners looking to improve their business.

“For someone who’s looking at how to improve a range, or someone who is thinking about opening one, you’re a little fish in a big pond at the SHOT Show,” Mitch said. “The Expo is a much more intimate environment where the key players and important vendors you need to see are there, and you can have face-to-face time and extended interaction to talk with other range owners who have done this before.” Going to the Expo also gives you a chance to hear from presenters who are sharing the wins and losses from their own businesses, Mitch said.

“Our industry is unique in that we are a close-knit community, and we really want things to work for everyone,” he said. “The Expo is a great place to start or further those relationships.”

Tom Hudson, owner of CrossRoads Shooting Sports in Johnston, Iowa, also attended the 2019 event and plans to go to Florida in July. He said the Expo is a great way to get away and unplug, and recharge yourself, and give you a re-setting opportunity for your business.

“It’s a very purposeful and meaningful event,” he said. “The education provided is very robust. When I attended in 2019, I was looking at the health compliance and lead management topics and found them incredibly supportive and beneficial.”

Tom said the education program was excellent all the way through.

“You go to an event like that, and you think you know what you know,” he said. “When you go to a show like this, you find out what you don’t know.”

At Morr Indoor Range and Training Center in Lancaster, Pa., partner Tracy Fornwalt said one of the nice things about the Expo is that it’s a smaller, more intimate environment than a big event such as the SHOT Show.

“You have a chance to talk to more people at the Expo,” she said. “The networking and the connections you can make are just a little easier from a logistics perspective than the SHOT Show. It’s a very concentrated effort to dial into retail and range owners that creates a working event where you can navigate and connect with peers.” The networking you can do at the Expo allows you do to some benchmarking comparisons that you can’t always do at a larger gathering, she said.

Although the SHOT Show remains the annual event for the gathering of our industry, the NSSF Range-Retailer Business Expo is the premier gathering for experienced range owners and retailers, as well as people who are just getting started putting together a range or retail operation. With important education sessions on all aspects of range and retail management, the Expo provides networking opportunities and a dedicated trade show that will help any retailer or range operator who attends to manage their business better and drive more dollars to their bottom line.


NSSF’s Range-Retailer Business Expo will take place July 12-14 in West Palm Beach, Florida. The event will offer three days of high-quality education and networking opportunities, along with an exhibit hall full of vendors specific to your business. Learn more and register at

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