I’ve recently returned from Indianapolis where NAA spent three days showing its wares to the faithful at the NRA Annual Conference and Product Expo. As is usually the case at this event, there was a lot of floor traffic and my team and I were very busy each day from 9 to 6 showing (off) our family of mini-revolvers and Guardian pistols.
As I’ve indicated in years past, this is a very important event for me/us as it is the only opportunity we have to interface with the end customers (the other shows we attend, such as SHOT, are trade-only and not open to the general public). While I’m delighted to reconnect with old friends and customers, including several from our Message Board community, I’m particularly interested in introducing ourselves to those less familiar with us and our products. While on the one hand I continue to be surprised by the number of people who have no familiarity with NAA, I recognize the continuing opportunity that represents for us to grow our market.
And while I tend to get most of the compliments (as well as the occasional complaint), I’m the first to recognize that it’s instead the team that travels with me, as well as those we leave at home, who are responsible for most of the impressions people have of NAA. It’s they who make the product, service the orders, handle the repairs and generally make the trains run on time. Truth be told, I have about as much impact on the NAA symphony as does a metronome to the playing of a fine instrument; it may provide some guidance but generally it’s just background noise.
On a broader note, I heard incessant complaints about the continued lack of availability of ammunition in general and rimfire (.22 caliber) specifically. Based on the repeated assurances I get from my “highly-placed” friends in the ammunition manufacturing business, plants are running at capacity and output has never been greater while government sales, year over year, show a continuing decline. The problem? Hoarding, pure and simple.
And just when you thought that general industry demand for firearms might be softening a little, along comes former Mayor Bloomberg who announces that he’s picking a $50 million fight with the NRA, whose fundraising and membership managers must be salivating. The man is as ignorant and ill-advised as he is rich but the gun rights community is thrilled to take advantage of his missteps; what a fool.
Shows like the NRA can be a lot of fun and can be a terrific learning experience for all who attend, exhibitor and visitor alike. And while it’s nice to get out of the office, and we have fun, eat well, etc., I always recognize the time spent away from family my team sacrifices for our company, and for which I am ever grateful.