NRAAM: Around the Convention Floor in Dallas

Dan Z. for SNW

When the doors opened on the 2024 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits it wasn’t a mad dash onto the show floor and the morning of day one started a bit slow. That changed a couple hours later but it made Friday morning a good time to talk with exhibitors.

This worked out well as Dan Zimmerman, editor of Shooting News Weekly, and I met with the new General Manager of Burris and Steiner, Bruno Beccaria.

Bruno Beccaria (left) and Jordan Egli, director of marketing for Burris and Steiner, talk about the broader optics market, opportunities for Burris and how they can take advantage of those opportunities. (Photo: P. Erhardt)

Under the Beretta umbrealla, Breccaria has headed up Franchi, then Benelli, and is now one month into his tenure at Burris and Steiner. An avid hunter, Beccaria knows both shotguns and rifles, but firearms are different than optics, so he’s getting up to speed on some of the unique aspects of the optics business.

During our meeting he touched on those differences, where Burris is positioned within the optics market, and some of the product strengths Burris has versus its competitors. The optics market is a challenging and competitive market, which explains why Beretta tapped Beccaria to take the reins.

By late morning the show floor started to look a little more like the usual bustling NRA Show floor, where attendees pack the aisles and crowd the booths.

Springfield Armory’s booth was hopping mid-morning on Friday. Late on Saturday it would be positively jammed packed as they gave away one of the limited edition M1A 50th Anniversary Rifles. Photo: P. Erhardt

Big name companies dominate the show floor, but smaller exhibitors draw attention too, and it’s down these aisles of the 10×10 booths that you find unique and out-of-the-ordinary products.


Uncommon USA’s telescoping flagpoles had guys in awe of the extension on demand. Photo: P. Erhardt 


Meanwhile over in the arts and crafts section, the Bullet Casings Dress by Miona weighs in at about 14 pounds and guarantees you never make it through airport security. Photo: P. Erhardt

The NRA Show is more and more a show for rolling out new products, especially in person to interested consumers. Olight used the opportunity to introduce not only new products but to venture into a new product category.

David Chow of Olight announced the company’s first red dot pistol optic, and the unique features of its design. The rechargeable Osight – also available as a green dot – utilizes a magnetic charging cover that shows you the percentage of power in the unit.

The crowd attending the new products presentation was excited by the new optic announcement, especially when they found out the MSRP would be $199.99 (red) and $129.99 (green). Photo: P. Erhardt

Dan has a more in-depth look at the features of this new optic from Olight that you can read here.

Many of the show booths have celebrity guest appearances with sponsored shooters, YouTube personalities, and even MMA legends. But let’s be honest, one stands above all the rest, and that man is Sammy Davis. Sergeant First Class Sammy Davis of the United States Army was awarded the Medal of Honor for his exceptional heroism during the Vietnam War. He was also awarded the Silver Star and two Purple Hearts.

Federal brought out the big guns in their booth with the legendary Sammy Davis. Photo: P. Erhardt

There are very few men like Sammy Davis, and it’s humbling to walk the same aisles with this man. Though he’d never say it, we all fall short by comparison, but we’re reassured that there will always be men like this when they are needed most.

Speaking of need, around every corner and down every aisle at the NRA Show you run into something you’re sure you need, and not just want.

You can go broke real fast here if you don’t exercise some fiscal discipline. But hey, that’s what credit cards are for, right?

I stopped by the Colt booth to watch Master Engraver John Pease work on a 1911 slide. He makes it look so easy you fool yourself into thinking you could engrave a gun. That is until you remember you’ve never had a steady hand and can barely color within the lines.

When it comes to a custom engraved firearm, leave that work to an expert, like John Pease. Photo: Dan Z.

The year of the lever gun keeps rolling along and you’re seeing more and more lever-actions in various booths. Over in the Henry booth, no strangers to the lever gun, they had their Lever Action Supreme turning heads.

Meanwhile, Herring had their latest lever-action rifles (and pistols) on display.

Top is Herring’s Modern Lever-Action Rifle with 16.25” barrel chambered in 5.56 NATO. Bottom is the custom show version of their Bandito Lever-Action Pistol with a 7.25” barrel chambered in .350 LGND. Photo: P. Erhardt

Another one of those small 10×10 booth finds came when I stumbled across OpticGard. They make protective polymer covers for optics. Currently they offer 11 models for red dots from Holosun, Trijicon and Vortex with more in development. The price ranges from $24.95 to $34.95 depending on color patten and size.

OpticGard’s covers offer protection without limiting functionality or adjustment. They also offer a removable training lens to help shooters learn to use both eyes when shooting. They had me at color options. Photo: P. Erhardt

Not all the action was on the floor. The ‘meetings’ part of NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits were ongoing and scattered throughout the convention center.

Once again there was a long line of people hoping to find a good seat to watch Former President Donald Trump address the NRA members later on Saturday afternoon. Just down the hall though, NRA’s Hunters’ Leadership Forum was hosting a luncheon. Photo: P. Erhardt
The Managing Director of HLF and NRA Hunting, Peter Churchbourne, addressed the crowd, highlighting the extensive work NRA Hunting does. Photo: P. Erhardt

Finally, the one booth I really enjoyed visiting the most was that of Black On Ammo Apparel Company. Owner Shawn Menzie, a former Marine Combat Engineer and Primary Marksman Instructor, has a unique design style and does all his own design work – which is copyrighted, by-the-way.

This is his fifth year in business and he’s been exhibiting/selling at the last three NRA Shows, including this one. You can find his apparel online but he’s also in a handful of independent retail gun shops, a couple in Canada, and even has a reseller in Switzerland. The designs are real good so I gotta believe more retailers will be picking up his line sooner rather than later.

As soon as I came across Shawn Menzie’s booth and saw his designs I knew I wasn’t getting out of there without doing at least some modest damage to my credit card. Photo: P. Erhardt

It was a challenge limiting myself to picking up just two t-shirts and a hat. His Freddy the Frag design is hands down my favorite. If cool t-shirt designs are your jam, and you like the idea of supporting a small up-and-coming business then be sure to check out Black On Ammo.

Next year’s NRA Show will be in Atlanta – a great host city – April 25 to 27, so make your plans now. And bring plenty of cash…for the essentials, of course.

2 Responses

  1. “…the Bullet Casings Dress by Miona weighs in at about 14 pounds and guarantees you never make it through airport security.”

    The poor woman who has to polish each and every one of those cases to keep it looking good…

    1. Actually it can be worn through TSA security.
      Empty shell casings are allowed in carry-on bag as long as the projectile is no longer intact. They are allowed only if the primer has been removed or has been discharged. If the projectile is attached & the powder has been drilled out, it is considered a replica and not allowed in carry-on.

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