With the NRA’s annual convention in town, there are probably enough guns and ammunition at the Georgia World Congress Center to supply a small army.
Boasting “15 acres of guns and gear,” the 2017 National Rifle Association Annual Meeting has attracted roughly 800 exhibitors, gun enthusiasts galore, and even the President of the United States for the first time in 34 years.
Here’s what you’ll find there this weekend:
Modern tech marries modern weaponry
Virtual reality isn’t just for fun and games anymore. The NRA convention showcases how the technology can be used to try out new weaponry and improve gun safety.
In anticipation for the Annual Meeting, the NRA announced the launch of Carry Guard, its new program that will provide insurance, legal coverage, and training for gun carriers. At the convention, the Carry Guard was on full display. Using virtual reality headsets, the program engages participants in a series of scenarios that forces users to determine whether or not to shoot at someone in self-defense. In one case, the participant stands in a convenience store when a man rushes in and points a gun at the clerk. In real time, the player must determine whether it is legal to fire at the man.
Aimpoint, an optics company that manufactures red dot sights, is also showcasing its new virtual reality experience that allows customers to test drive its optics before buying the product. Using an HTC Vive headset and a rifle equipped with the red dot sight of their choice, customers are immersed in a virtual snow environment where they use the sight to hunt wild boar. Similar to an arcade game, the experience even provides a score for the player and tracks the accuracy of each shot.
Also on display are multiple tech products to help sharp shooters improve their aim—even at home. L.A.S.R., or Laser Activated Shot Reporter, and LaserLyte both use—obviously—laser technology to provide a quick and cheap shooting session. With a webcam, computer program, and laser gun, L.A.S.R. allows customers to use objects on their wall as targets while the program tracks accuracy statistics. LaserLyte, which is even used for law enforcement training, provides multiple target types to test accuracy, quick draw speed, and reaction timing.
Guns, guns, guns
At the NRA Annual Meeting, the weapons are sleek, powerful, and quite simply—everywhere.
Celebrities. Oh, and President Donald Trump.
Like every year, the Annual Meeting draws dozens of musicians, world-class marksmen, and celebrities. But this year also made history.
For the first time since Ronald Reagan in 1983, the President of the United States attended the NRA convention. In his first trip to Georgia since the election and on the eve of his 100th day in office, President Trump used the opportunity to speak about building the wall at the Mexican border, defending the Second Amendment, and praising the state for voting for him—all while protesters took to downtown to demonstrate against the president. (The crowd inside, however, gave him a standing ovation.)
Throughout the weekend, the exposition will feature celebrities such as Jerry Miculek, who’s known as “the greatest shooter of all time,” Medal of Honor recipient Sammy L. Davis, and world shooting champion Doug Koenig.
Camping gear, taxidermied animals, and customizable equipment
Although you can’t walk more than five feet without bumping into another gun, the exposition isn’t focused entirely on them.
The Annual Meeting attracts exhibitors selling all kinds of other products—many hunting-related—including ghillie suits, all-terrain vehicles, tractors, motorcycles, gun safe dehumidifiers, customizable hearing protection, and plenty of taxidermied animals. You can also buy other weaponry such as airsoft guns and all kinds of knifes.