I am sure by now that many of you are aware of the IWA Show. This is the mecca of the shooting shows in Europe. So being my first time in attending this show, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had seen previous videos and pictures, but it can not prepare you for what it actually does to you!
The early start.
The easiest way to describe the first day, it’s like being a kid on Christmas day! Having had breakfast we set off for the show, getting there for around 8 to 8:30am. Looking like the M25 at rush hour, taxis and cars were waiting to park.
A big glass-fronted building stood between myself and shooting heaven, oh and the mass of people inside trying to get in to!
Having waited to get my press pass, I got to the gates and the computer scanned my pass and there we were. In front of me was the escalators to the press room and downstairs the doors to shooting nirvana.
Right, to the point.
Sparing the dull details, IWA is many things. One, it’s a trade fair. Two, it showcases the newest products from all over the world, not just Europe. Three, you make contacts for business and also make friends.
Whilst showing what it takes to produce guns and paintings etc, with many artisan engravers and gun stockists were showing what they could do.
A big kid, in an even bigger sweet shop!
There’s no denying the smile I had on my face, which I had all day on the Friday, Saturday, Sunday! To see all the different firearms, clothes and air rifles just takes your breath away. First port of call was the March Optics stand, as they were releasing a new scope the “Genesis.”
This, however, was no ordinary scope, as this has 400 MOA of adjustment. Primarily made for extreme long range shooting to 3 miles or as far as a capable bullet could muster. Priced between £5000-£6000 it is not within the reach of many people. This, however, is where military contracts and security firms come to order.
Guns, guns, guns.
I could say nearly every gun manufacturer and ammo producer was there. Ruger, Odin Works, Merkel, Remmington, Mossberg and Everyone’s favourite BARRET. The list was endless but it meant walking a long way, to get to see it all. Though I’m convinced I didn’t and could have done with another day or two to soak it in.
Benelli released their new 828U Sport over and under, one I must say looks very “sleek and sexy.” No rubber going through the stock just your normal pad, with a new feature thrown in here and there for good measure.
“Show me the money!”
If you weren’t short of a bob or two, you would be after seeing some stunning rifles and shotguns. It got me thinking which is my good kidney and could I survive without it or without both? Needless to say, it’s look but don’t touch, with engraving and inset stones showing the artistic flair of the manufacturer.
Rigby, being just one of the high end makes showing their products, certainly leaves you in shock. Clothes made a good showing too, from waterproof hunting gear to the Tweed jackets and leather boots, that the shooting industry is known for.
As you can imagine we made our way around and ended up coming round the pistol sections. From Sig to Ruger to Smith & Wesson it had to have been the busiest part of the show. This is were grinning like a little kid really shows you up. As you scramble to see all the ones you know about whilst leaving sticky fingerprints all over the guns.
It is a disappointment, however, it makes you wonder about the shooting sport that we could have had over here. How well it could have gone, what-ifs were playing around my head and slowly the smile went away.
The real meaning of the show.
There is no doubt IWA is an incredible place to visit, seeing guns, ammo and eating the bratwurst and curry whilst drinking beer. This did, however, bring out the next reason why IWA is a great place.
After all the talking of guns and meetings are finished, there is a mad dash for the taxis. Everyone’s tired and wants to get back and showered. Why? Because the food and drink is amazing. I was fortunate to be invited to a couple of dinners out, courtesy of Scott Country International and the Northern Shooting Show. With friends like the Pace Brothers, Airgun World, The Airgun Show, Nitesite, Huntmag EU joining us, the evenings were going to be long.
Whilst trying to eat our way through the biggest plater of meat I had ever seen, talk got onto the days’ matters at hand. With the introductions over and great bear and food left no mistake, that at the end of the day we are all shooters or have shooting in common. Stories and the topical news articles with our own stories of bungled hunts made light work of the hours.
I am in no doubt, that even tho the firearms and shooting products can be amazing. The shooting community is far and away the most essential part, to what makes things stick.
Meeting new friends and old friends is keeping the shows alive, whilst trying to keep the sport going. Visiting a show helps keep, people in the industry in business. By seeing and buying the products it keeps what we enjoy going.
Thanks to everyone involved and hope to see you again next year!
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