5 Tips to Help You Survive SHOT Show

The SHOT Show panic has begun. The last minute appointments, travel arrangements, house sitters and gear are being lined out. As we get all our details in order, there are several items I want to share with you to help you survive SHOT Show.

Pre-show prep
First of all, some scoff at the ladies getting manicures and pedicures. Don’t scoff. By all means, get a pedicure, or give yourself one. NSSF boasts the 2016 SHOT Show will have a total exhibit space of more than 630,000 net square feet—equivalent to more than 13 acres, the area covered by the New Orleans Superdome or the base of the Great Pyramid of Giza. That means YOU are looking at 12.5 miles of aisles—just a little less than the distance of half a marathon. The last thing you want is a long toenail or callus agitating your feet.

Since we’re discussing feet, miles and isles, I have to bring up shoes. It’s common to want to look your best as you head out to meet colleagues, suppliers and the “who’s who” of the industry. You’re too late if you haven’t already bought and broken in your shoes. NEVER wear brand-new shoes to the SHOT Show.

Although the show boasts 12.5 miles of aisles, you’ll be walking much more than that. Last year pro shooter Julie Golob, and Natalie Foster of Girl’s Guide to Guns invited everyone to a #SHOTFit #SHOOTFit challenge. They suggested socially posting the steps from your pedometer while at SHOT Show. Some who accepted the challenge posted 16 to 17, 000 steps per day. That makes for nearly 70,000 steps or about 35 miles during the show!

Since you’ll be walking MILES, you’d better not only wear shoes that aren’t stiff or new, you’d better also make sure they’re comfortable. When friends ask for SHOT Show tips, my number one tip is BRING A DIFFERENT PAIR OF SHOES FOR EACH DAY AT THE SHOW. This is so your feet will be sore in a different spot each day; because they WILL be sore.

Comfy socks are helpful too. Don’t wear those loose cotton things that fall down and ball up in all the wrong places. I LOVE my merino-wool blend, Farm to Feet socks. They are a SHOT Show must have!

Now that we’ve got the dreaded exercise and sore feet, legs and body out of the way, on to other challenges.

More pre-show prep
Travel can be hard on a person. That’s why I always begin a regime of Airborne and Emergency C about a week before going. This is to boost my immune system in attempt start off in the best health possible.

This show is for trade only and is not open to the general public. That doesn’t mean you won’t still see a plethora of people. 2015 SHOT Show recorded more than 63,000 professionals in the shooting, hunting and outdoors industry in attendance. You will be coming into contact with LOTS OF GERMS!

Combat the germs
According to most health care professionals, a key to avoiding common colds is washing your hands often. Well, if you’ve never heard of it, bless you, but as an attendee, you’ll also be warned of more than the common cold. The SHOT Show Virus is not folklore. The first three years I attended SHOT Show, I returned with the dreaded virus. I’ve never been knocked down so hard and so long as when I caught it. However, the good news is I’ve avoided the crud for three years in a row now!!!

How’d I avoid the SHOT Show Virus? Washing hands is part of it. Hand sanitizer is helpful too. As I mentioned above, a pre-show health regimen is a must. Another is to hydrate. At trade shows, it’s always difficult to drink water, but you HAVE TO. Drink a ton of water, to hydrate and flush your system.


Take the time to rest. Don’t overbook yourself. Review the show floor plan, so you’re not running up and down and back. Make lunch and dinner appointments, so you have moments off your feet and also to nourish your body. I always pack a few healthy snacks that don’t require refrigeration. These get me by in the event an appointment ends up running long don’t have time to stop for a meal before the next.

I always pack a few healthy snacks. These get me by in the event an appointment ends up running long, and I don’t have time to stop for a meal before the next one.

I make my own trail mix, including nuts and dried fruits. Jerky is another perfect snack. I love the variety pack from Jerky Dynasty. Maybe throw in a granola bar and call it good. I also pack the Airborne chewables and take them throughout the day.

Medications, pain relievers and other tools
You may want to pack items that I’ve either had to lend to roomies or run to Walgreens for: aspirin, ibuprofen, Band-Aids and nail clippers. Also, don’t forget to pack any of your required prescriptions.

On a final note, a positive attitude and a smile always make a travel and the show experience a bit brighter. Don’t leave home without it. See you at the show!

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Mia Anstine is an outdoor writer, licensed outfitter, hunting guide, life coach, keynote speaker, and range safety officer, firearms instructor, and archery instructor. She is the founder of MAC Outdoors and Host of the MAC Outdoors Podcast. 

Mia Anstine strives to encourage others to get outside, hunt, fish, shoot, and survive life with others in a positive way.

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Want to write to me?
Mia Anstine
MAC Outdoors LLC
PO Box 31
Ignacio, CO 81137-0031 

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