Case: The SHOT Show is a jackpot for guns and outdoors enthusiasts

AP file photo by Lisa Marie Pane / This year's SHOT Show in Las Vegas boasted more than 2,000 booths spread over 800,000 square feet, and "Guns & Cornbread" columnist Larry Case felt like he covered its 14 miles of aisles twice every day.
AP file photo by Lisa Marie Pane / This year's SHOT Show in Las Vegas boasted more than 2,000 booths spread over 800,000 square feet, and "Guns & Cornbread" columnist Larry Case felt like he covered its 14 miles of aisles twice every day.

Call off the search parties. Send all the guys with the hound dogs home. I know I have been woefully out of touch and you haven't heard from me, but please try to understand.

I've been at the SHOT Show.

As some of you who have followed these pages will remember, what I'm referring to is the annual Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show held in Las Vegas. Aside from Las Vegas and all of its glory, SHOT is the granddaddy outdoors and guns show of the year. It is the World's Fair, the Greatest Show on Earth, the nirvana of all gun-related trade shows.

SHOT this year had 14 miles of aisles to walk (14 miles!), and while I don't think I saw half of what was there, it seemed I walked all of it, twice, every day. The SHOT Show website claims there are more than 2,000 booths spread over 800,000 square feet, and by the end of the day when they rang the bell for the show to close, I was toast.

Then, if you are lucky, you may be invited to a company's after-hours event! All of these are good, and I went to several, but the pace is grueling, my friends.

So that is the thing about the SHOT Show. It is in Las Vegas, and while much of the populace thinks Vegas is THE place to be, yours truly — your humble outdoors scribe — maybe doesn't think it is the center of the universe. I like going to SHOT, seeing all of my industry friends and making new ones, seeing all of the new guns and other products and learning about them so that I can bring them to you. After a few days in Vegas, though, I am ready to get on a plane and get the heck out of there.

Every year when I return, I am always asked: "What did you see out there? Anything good? Anything you can't live without?" Well, yes and no.

Yes, I saw several new firearms that seem good and really interesting, and I would like to try them out. Again, the immensity of SHOT and the miles you travel to see everything is daunting. So do you really see all that is there? No, I fear you don't see half of what is available.

But I can tell you some of what I DID see, and remember, the space doesn't allow for much of it.

Benelli Montefeltro shotgun

Benelli didn't really reinvent the inertia-powered shotgun they have been famous for, but they did significantly change their Montefeltro and M2 line of shotguns. New for 2023, the Montefeltro and M2 shotguns are now upgraded with Benelli's newest inertia-driven system bolt for outstanding performance and exceptional reliability. A redesigned bolt handle improves bolt manipulation, even when wearing gloves.

Its improved ergonomics complement the handsome walnut stock, pairing perfectly with the deep gloss-blue finish on the sleek receiver and barrel. The new two-piece shell latch makes loading the shotgun a faster and easier task. I have not fired the new Montefeltro or M2 yet, but stay tuned.

Bone-Dri rust prevention gun cases

I am hard on guns, I admit it. Guns are meant to be used, and I use them. I hate to clean guns, OK, I am lazy about that sometimes. None of this works well if you spend a wet day in the field. If you haven't returned home with a wet firearm that needs to be dried out before cleaning, you haven't hunted very much.

Bone-Dri makes the claim that you put a damp gun in one of their cases and the case dries the weapon out, with the company it is "the only gun case brand in the world that can eliminate moisture from the entire firearm inside and out by extracting hidden moisture from inside a firearm in order to prevent rust. No other brand compares. Our cases are engineered with Absorbits Moisture Removal Technology." This is going to revolutionize the gun case world.

Stoeger STR-9MC micro compact pistol

There are more sub-compact and micro semiautomatic pistols chambered in 9mm out there than I can count. They all appear to be very similar, and most of them go bang when you pull the trigger, but you need to take a look at the new Stoeger STR-9MC. Why? Here are a few reasons.

For a very moderately priced pistol, the trigger on this little guy is nice. There are multiple sight options on the STR-9MC to choose from, a three-dot system with snag-resistant edges, and optics-ready models with a machined area to mount your favorite red dot included. A tactile loaded-chamber indicator on the top of the receiver is a nice touch. You can see the indicator is up when a round is chambered or can feel it on the gun without looking.

Three interchangeable backstraps (grips) offer a custom fit for the gun to feel right in your hand. Maybe the biggest reason to check out the new Stoeger STR-9MC pistol? The manufacturer's suggested retail price on this gun is $399.

Federal, Remington and HEVI-Shot Bismuth shotshells

Those of you in the shotshell world may have noticed that bismuth is back. As a nontoxic choice in pellets, bismuth may not be quite on the same level as lead, but it certainly outperforms steel. Now with Federal, Remington and HEVI-Shot all coming from the same house, this is a logical move as HEVI-Shot has been producing bismuth shot for a long time.

From the folks at Federal: "Never compromise performance. Hit upland birds and waterfowl harder with a payload of 9.6 g/cc density bismuth shot. Sourced from our partners at HEVI-Shot, the industry leader in pellet technology, HEVI-Bismuth is 22 percent denser than steel, delivering more energy downrange. Launched by the FLITECONTROL FLEX wad, bismuth pellets pattern and connect with better lethality, and their metallic properties make them safe in both modern and classic shotguns."

Well, now that I'm back, stay tuned. I'm sure you will be hearing more of the wonderfulness I saw at the 2023 SHOT Show.

"Guns & Cornbread" is written by Larry Case, who lives in Fayette County, W.Va. You can write to him at

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