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Knives Illustrated - - Contents - STORY AND PHOTO BY JOSHUA SWANAGON

Ev­ery year I look for­ward to SHOT Show, but my body begs me not to go.

Al­though there are dif­fer­ent shows through­out the year, there are two that hold the most rel­e­vance to the knife in­dus­try and knife en­thu­si­asts in gen­eral, Blade Show and SHOT Show.

As each show draws near, my in­ner child starts bounc­ing around like he has been given far too much sugar at grandma’s house and sent home. How­ever, the old guy on the out­side starts to grum­ble a lit­tle and my feet send up a for­mal protest.

The most re­cent scene of po­di­a­try car­nage was this year’s SHOT Show. I heard it said once, a few years ago, that if you were to stretch SHOT Show out in a straight line, it would con­tinue for 15 miles. That’s 15 miles of guns, knives and equip­ment. A ver­i­ta­ble play­ground for gear hounds.

Al­though for me SHOT Show means run­ning from one meet­ing to the next, of­ten in com­pletely op­po­site lo­ca­tions from each other, it is al­ways a nice time to see old friends and make new ones. I also like to take the op­por­tu­nity to check out the cool gear I pass along the way and keep my eyes peeled for great new prod­ucts that I think you, the reader, might be in­ter­ested in for our “New Prod­ucts” col­umn. I would be re­miss if I did not men­tion the Ve­gas nightlife and let you know that if you have a chance to travel to Ve­gas, you must get out and ex­plore. This year the big at­trac­tion was head­ing over to see Las Ve­gas Gun­fights.

At Las Ve­gas Gun­fights you can ei­ther par­tic­i­pate or spec­tate. In our case we spec­tated, since it was full when we ar­rived, and we wanted to check it out first. In a nut­shell, you go into a small arena with ei­ther a team, or one on one, and are given a firearm and two mag­a­zines full of “simu­ni­tion.” Once you are given the go-ahead, you start shoot­ing. When you are out of rounds, it is time for hand-to-hand com­bat. Al­though strik­ing is not al­lowed, th­ese guys go at it. Once the op­po­si­tion is tapped out, the fight is over.

While we were there, we got the added ben­e­fit of see­ing Doug Marcaida, of the His­tory Chan­nel's “Forged in Fire,” judge a match, which was a nice touch.

All in all, now that I have had time to re­cover from the long week and my in­ner child is thor­oughly sated, I have had the op­por­tu­nity to re­flect on what I saw. I can tell you with all hon­esty this is go­ing to be a good year for cut­lery fans.

Stay sharp and keep it real. KI

It is not of­ten that you have the lobby to your­self at SHOT Show. You have to come pretty late in the evening.

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