SHOT SHOW 2020
IT’S ALL ABOUT FAMILY
SHOT Show 2020 is in the books!
Thank you to everyone who made the time to come by my book signings or stopped me on the floor to say hello. It is humbling that the novels are resonating with so many people, particularly in a community that has been so good to me and my family both in and out of uniform.
My first SHOT Show was in 2004. I was in Virginia Beach at the time when my Teammate, Mark Owen, called me from Vegas to say I had to get out there to check out SHOT Show. I was on a plane that night. Back in 2004 SHOT looked much different. The entire “tactical” side of the show could almost fit in one of the larger booths today. It has been interesting to see it grow and evolve over the last fifteen years. I missed a few due to deployments or training but made the majority of them. I was a “gear guy” before I entered the military, was a “gear guy” during my time in the Teams, and am still a “gear guy” today. I always wanted my platoons to go downrange with the latest and greatest equipment available and SHOT Show was the place to find out if the private sector was working on anything that could possibly give us an edge against the enemy.
It was very natural for the gear I used in the SEAL Teams and continue to use today to find their way into the pages of my books. I use gear, equipment, and weapons to develop my characters. Just like all those who have walked the warrior’s path, I can tell a lot about someone not just by what they wear but how they wear it; shoes, pants, belt, pistol, blade and how they are worn all tell a story. To have come full circle and be signing books that contain the gear from the companies I’ve been connected to all of my adult life in their booth’s at SHOT Show is surreal.
Thank you to SIG SAUER for being such an amazing supporter and for hosting my podcast from the elevated position in your booth, although for those who have not been, “booth” is a bit of a misnomer, it’s more like a city block. Thank you to BLACKHAWK/EAGLE, DANIEL DEFENSE, AIMPOINT, and GATORZ for hosting my book signings. They were packed! An AIMPOINT was on my rifle when I ventured into Afghanistan and GATORZ sunglasses have been on all my deployments since I first picked them up at a motorcycle shop in Chula Vista, CA back in 1998. Marty Daniel of DANIEL DEFENSE has been in my corner since we first met. Thank you for all your support. Your rifles seem to be multiplying in my safe. And, it makes me so proud to see my friend, Josh Waldron, at the helm at EAGLE INDUSTRIES and SEAL-founded BLACKHAWK.
I kicked off the show on Tuesday morning with a VTAC podcast with Kyle Lamb in the SIG SAUER booth. We then were able to link up again on Wednesday and do a Vets React BLACK RIFLE COFFEE Podcast with Richard Ryan. Richard, of course, had to que up The Delta Force and Under Siege. We had a blast! I did another one with Trevor Thompson where we watched scenes from Charlie Sheen’s masterpiece Navy SEALs.
Surprised by STEPHEN HUNTER
The biggest surprise of SHOT Show was being ambushed at one of my book signings by the legendary Stephen Hunter, author of the Bob Lee Swagger series of novels among many others. I first read POINT OF IMPACT prior to joining the military and was immediately taken with Hunter’s protagonist: Marine Corps sniper, Bob the Nailer. I had long been fascinated by the sniper, but it was Stephen Hunter who cemented it as my future specialty in the profession of arms. For him to have blurbed my first novel out of the gate and to have now become dear and trusted friends is one of the greatest honors of my life.
JIM SHOCKEY was able to sneak up on me at a signing as well, though that’s no surprise. He is one of the most accomplished hunters on the planet after all.
Another show highlight was getting to catch up with CHUCK and GENA NORRIS. We first met in 2009 when I still wore the uniform. Almost ten years later Chuck would blurb THE TERMINAL LIST to help launch my first novel. To have one of your childhood heroes take the time to help you transition from the military is humbling beyond belief.
When I think about SHOT Show, I don’t think of it as a convention where I went for “work” in the SEAL Teams and now go for “work” in the private sector. Maybe that’s because I’ve never thought of what I did in the military or what I do now as an author as “work.” I look at them as professions and it just so happens that I look at SHOT as a family reunion. I look forward to SHOT every year, not so much for all new weapons and gear, although those are extremely cool, but to reconnect with family. Clint and Heidi Smith at THUNDER RANCH took me under their wing as a young SEAL officer and have been there for me and my family ever since. I’ve looked up to Larry Vickers long before he ever knew who I was. We’d be introduced by my Teammate Monty LeClair of CENTURION ARMS ten years after I first read about him in the July/August 2001 issue of American Handgunner Magazine. Larry is one of a very small group of people I trust when researching weapons for my novels, and the 1911 he built for me is one of my most treasured possessions.
Please check out the great work my friend JOHN DEVINE is doing at RESCUE 22, an organization dedicated to stemming the tide of veteran suicide through providing fully trained service and support dogs to those in need. They even got me to put on the bite suit this SHOT Show and get munched by a couple of Belgian Malinois. My upcoming novel, SAVAGE SON, is strong on the dog work, and John was there to answer my dog questions at all hours of the day and night. Thank you, my friend.
Volunteered for the small dog
But got the Big one too!
This is by no means an exhaustive list as it was such a pleasure to catch up with everyone: Dom Raso at DYNAMIS ALLIANCE, Donny Vincent, Andy Stumpf, Bill Rapier at AMTAC BLADES and AMTAC SHOOTING, Daniel Winkler and Karen Shook of WINKLER KNIVES, James Yeager at TACTICAL RESPONSE, Jeff Houston at TAC 7, Clint Emerson of 100 DEADLYSKILLS, Colion Noir, Tom Flanagan at EAGLES AND ANGELS, Larry Keane at NSSF, Mike Sauers of FORGED CLOTHING, Samantha Bonilla, Jon Hart at SITKA, Cole Kramer, Amy Robbins of ALEXO ATHLETICA, Marcus Torgerson, Jason Swarr and Ben Tirpak at SKILLSET, the crew at TOMAHAWK STRATEGIC SOLUTIONS, Justin Melnick of SEAL Team CBS, Bernard Kerik, the legendary Ken Hackathorn, Mickey Schuch at CARRY TRAINER, Andrew Arrabito of HALF FACE BLADES, James Christiansen, Daysha McGrath at TOMAHAWK CHARITABLE SOLUTIONS, Ryan Michler of ORDER OF MAN, Chris Osman at RHUGED, the Team at IRONCLAD, Jon Dubin at PINEAPPLE BROTHERS, Elizabeth Ridenour at BROTHERBORN, Jared Ogden at TRIUMPH SYSTEMS, Rick Stewart at AMERICAN ZEALOT PRODUCTIONS, Dana Loesch, Rob Bianchin at CABOT GUNS, Eli Crane at BOTTLE BREACHER, Jason Morton at CZ, Dean Capuano at SWAROVSKI, everyone at CONGRESSIONAL SPORTSMAN’S FOUNDATION, and Matt Graham at ARES WATCHES.
I’m already fired up to see everyone at SHOT Show 2021!