The big difference between SHOT Show and the NRA Annual Meeting is the people. Now, granted, there are some great folks in the business and I look forward to seeing them at SHOT, but NRA is equally about the people and the gear. I (and others) refer to the gunnie community as my tribe, and the people that I've chosen to be a part of my tribe (and who have chosen me as part of theirs) are some of my very closest friends.
NRA Annual Meeting is one of the few times we all get together, and it's always an amazing time. Saturday night OldNFO arranged a dinner with a couple dozen of us, and amazingly I had no other commitments. An evening with the tribe was just what the Dr. ordered to remind me what it's really all about. Walking the convention floor - whether as a blogger looking for content or an NRA editor looking for content - the hardware and all the related gear is pretty awesome and keeps you busy.
But it's the people that make the NRA Annual meeting different than trade shows. Catching up with friends, meeting folks you've talked to for years online, in my new role now I get a chance to interact with my online contributors (and find new ones sometimes...). It's about putting faces to names and reconnecting with the tribe. And that's awesome.
As for gear, well, the day job covers that. I will say that two of the awesome things that caught my attention were the FNH-USA M249S, a semi-automatic version of the 5.56 NATO SAW offered to the military and the MG Arms Behemoth, a new semi-automatic .50 BMG long-range rifle. Long time readers will remember I took one of the MG Arms K-Yotes out to Colorado for some prairie dog hunting a few years ago, so I have a bit of fondness for MG Arms.
All in all, though, it was a great show but it is good to be home...
That is all.