Blacklisted: Lessons learned from SHOT

February 9, 2016  
Categories: Op-Eds

Our official Tactical Hippie is not new to the industry, but this was the first time he had a full Mad Duo experience at SHOT Show. As such, he decided to write up some lessons learned, should any of you poor bastards ever find yourself in a similar position. However, many of the lessons apply to non-SHOT situations as well. Read up.  Mad Duo

Blacklisted: Lessons learned from SHOT

Craig Metzger

Vegas is like a black hole. I would look at my watch and see it was 7:30pm; when I checked the time again a moment later it was 4:30am and I was in a dimly lit room with a bunch of dudes and professional dancers…or at least I thought they were dancers, but they definitely were professional. Not to mention mistaken identity —  people kept thinking I was this one dude (that I was obviously not) numerous times , to the point where people thought I was fucking with them cause I kept saying “I’m not that dude, I’m just a dude.”

Seriously. I never lurked on Losano Ridge or prowled the Bremel Valley. I never kicked doors in Al-Saydiya…but I did play X-Box in a Holiday Inn once.

Anyway, a bunch of cool things stood out/ I’m sure other minions will write about the new Mega Arms 308 or the new winter line from Arcteryx LEAF. Since they’ll handle that, I’ll give you some lessons I learned while rolling with the two highest speed, lowest drag patriotic little trigger-pullers to ever walk the aisles of SHOT Show.
1. Show up to Product Launches On Time.
You know what sucks? Showing up to a range to try out the latest in Gucci blasters, only to be told to go fill out a waiver, to then come back and discover the range is cold. What!?! We just battled our way through the drunk douche parade and nearly missed our exit in speeds that would make an action movie director envious, and now you’re telling us we can’t finger blast this boom stick? Well, it’s our fault and we should have been on time. Maybe it was the fact that Mad Duo Brad had to sculpt his beard into some viking war flag or that Stags had to make sure he had eighteen batteries for the three cameras slung over his shoulder with slings that would make Vickers envious. Either way, we blew it. We didn’t even get a chance to take a pic of said Gucci Blaster and its high rent boom stick companion. We decided, fuck it, we’ll let the IG superstars run with it and we’ll just get a free beer.
What? They’re out of beer? Goddamnit. Fuck this, I’m out.
2. Don’t go to parties after 2am cause Shit Gets Dark.
You definitely want to post up at whatever bar or casino bar you are at to take in the sights (and by sights I mean people). From the professional ladies of the night to the weathered couple who probably live in the bar and want to debate the merits of Hilary Clinton with you, Vegas people are interesting. Yeah, I know it’s sad in some ways but damn it would make for a good anthropologic study. But I digress; there I was sitting at the bar with some people when one suggested we go to this party across the street. It was 2am and when I mentioned the time, they said the party would still be in full swing.
We made our way to the party and upon opening the door I felt like I had just walked into a David Lynch movie. This was a high-end room that had been trashed; there were mannequins wearing state of the art gear to make the most elite warfighter drool with envy, droning music and dudes wearing no shirts. Yeah girls were also there, so keep the homophobia to yourself, but shit was weird and felt like I needed to leave ASAP (my situational awareness was on point). Maybe it was the likely drug-fueled conversations that bothered me. All tough talk and joking aside, that’s not the way most SHOT folks (particularly our friends) roll. Maybe it was because my buddy was trying to save the world and have an intervention like on that TV show (this was NOT the time or place, maybe keep that shit in until morning). There was also that being mistaken a few times for someone else — “seriously, you were never in JSOC?” which was funny at first but then started to get a bit twisted as it continued.
Fuck this, I’m out.
3. Uber That Shit.
We had a rental car but by the third day were over it. You could use cabs but the lines were annoying and communication was less than stellar. Enter Uber. One dude we rolled with had the Uber app on his phone and was setting up rides when we needed them. Damn, it was like we had this secret way of getting out of places that had run their course. There were a few times we took a party bus with the Grey Ghost squad, which was pretty amazing (time with them is always awesome). Too bad we didn’t have the “talent’ with us to take advantage of the poles in the middle of the bus.
Man, if those poles could talk…
4. There are 50 ways to Cook an Egg, Apparently. 
Food in Vegas can get expensive, but you know that; when you head to the strip, make peace with paying $32 for a beer and a burger (real talk). Granted, you can seek better deals or eat at Taco Bell, but the wizards who lay out the floor plan make it extremely hard to find those places. Fuck negotiating with the traffic or walking outside in the sun (I didn’t actually see the sun for a few days, now that I think about it). After trekking the aisles and standing from 8-6 you hit the nearest place to eat and that happens to be the place charging an arm and leg for a meal. However, we did stumble upon a place that had some of the best chicken and sweet tea we’ve tasted. Also on the menu I wasn’t sure if you could order 50 eggs or they can cook an egg in 50 different ways, I would hope you could order 50 eggs at once ’cause that just makes for a better story.
5. Keep the Self-Promo to a Minimum.
Homie, I get it: you have a lot of shit going on. SHOT is great for networking, and of course people want to hear what you got rolling. BUT no need to keep telling me every ten minutes how you are working with some tip of the spear dudes or that you just invented the new and improved c-clamp grip. Being your own PR person is good but only promote when prompted or if it adds to the conversation. I personally like to hear what people are doing and what’s in the works, because maybe there’s ways where we can help each other. But if the conversation is one-sided and self-promotion gets dropped into every new topic, or you interrupt the flow to promote some off topic shit, it gets old. Also, if you plan on talking trash about someone make sure you vett the group you’re with to ensure you won’t end up on some black list.
Not saying that exists, but I’m saying you will end up on said list (again, it doesn’t exist but don’t end up on it).
It’s entirely possible the person you’re talking shit about is our friend, and we may know the whole story.
Smile and wave, boys.
6. Chappy and Water are your Friend.
Chapstick and water are your friends. The casinos do a great job of sucking moisture out of the air and the ten or so $12 beers the night before constrict every blood vessel in your head. Water is the nectar of the gods and if Molly Pitcher was walking the show she would be making sure we were all hydrated for the battle…which isn’t really a battle, but more like a shit ton of walking and talking.
7. Fist Bumps for Days.
Every SHOT show people get ravaged by illness. Sure, some is self-induced with the aid of alcohol and other substances, but sometimes it’s the sinister bio war that gets you. Most people will roll around with hand sanitizer, but I find the fist bump to be the work around. I’m hoping the fist bump becomes the new handshake for 2016. Looks tough, bro-as-fuck and doesn’t spread colon crippling bacteria. Going to SHOT? Start front loading Zinc and Vitamin C, and carry enough hand sanitizer to fill an additional checked bag. It will be worth the money you spend.
All hail the porcelain gods and Theraflu.
In Conclusion:
SHOT Show is great for catching up with old friends and making new ones and mostly it’s full of some of the finest, most patriotic individuals in the world. It’s also great to meet the people you only talk with on the phone or via email, see new shit and rally around causes. Whether it was the numerous charity events being held or making sure we are all on the same page in protecting our rights as free citizens, it was great to come together and show solidarity. Hopefully you follow us on Instagram or on FaceBook to see our coverage from the show. We’re already planning our next SHOT Show and look forward to eating 50 eggs, self-promoting, ubering to fucked up parties, and actually getting a chance to demo the latest in Gucci Blasters.
Until next year, think of this:

Yes, that’s Leanna Decker with a blaster from Radical Firearms.

Leanna Decker with Radical Firearms


Thanks you Radical Firearms for the images of Leanna Decker.(@leannadecker_)

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About the Author: Craig Metzger is some sort of evil creative genius who enjoys everything from Billabong to Zev Tech. He’s one of those dudes who mountain bikes, hikes and snowboards with the same enthusiasm as he does spending time on the range, offroading in Moab and attending Ren Faires. He’s definitely our first minion so far to have a subscription to Thrasher magazine. Kyle Lamb (the Viking Tactics Kyle Lamb) really does call him the Tactical Hippie, that’s a true story. Although we cannot confirm rumors that he played the role of Everett in Delta Farce, we can advise you to check out his work on his website or on his blog.
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Craig Metzger

Craig Metzger

About the Author

Craig Metzger is some sort of evil creative genius who enjoys everything from Billabong to ZevTech. He’s one of those dudes who mountain bikes, hikes and snowboards with the same enthusiasm he has for spending time on the range, offroading in Moab, fly-fishing and attending Renaissance Fairs. He’s definitely our first minion so far to have a subscription to Thrasher magazine. Kyle Lamb (the Viking Tactics Kyle Lamb) really does call him the Tactical Hippie, that’s a true story. Although we cannot confirm rumors that he played the role of Everett in Delta Farce, we can advise you to check out his work on his website or on his blog.


  1. Billy

    Doesn’t sound like much as changed since 2006, my last SHOT. Other than seeing buddies, one uses a lot of energy during the day and kill way too many brain cells at night. Always had a good time though!

  2. Wilson

    Here I was thinking at least one tip would have revolved around the picture, namely :don’t rock a tactical belt Blackhawk! with leg drop holster when wearing nothing other than a thong: chafing will occur.

    Or is that why Chapstick is such a big deal?

  3. Spencer

    As this was my first year at SHOT show, i wish i would have read this before hand. Chapstick, fist bumps, uber. Holy fuck you hit the nail on the head. I was so sick the day after I got back from shot that I didn’t stand up for 2 days.

    This should be a sticky before every year’s SHOT, not after it.

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