Things to Know about the NRA Annual Meeting

We want to raise our kids to be well rounded. We go to Art Museums, historical locations, Presidential libraries, and museums. We visit places with political significance from presidents of both sides of the political spectrum. And we go to the NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits. We want our kids to understand the importance of culture, history and current events. Here are some reasons we took our kids to NRA Atlanta and some things to know about the NRA Annual Meeting if you have never been!

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Things to Know about NRA Annual Meeting

If you have never been to an NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits, then here’s what to expect and what NOT to expect. The first thing to note is that not everyone goes to the actual meetings. This is our 2nd year and we have only gone to the Exhibit Hall both years. You can get tickets to the main events and breakout sessions if you decide to attend those. But for the others, like us, you can just tour the Exhibit Hall and enjoy the booths.

Not a member of the NRA? It’s easy to join today!

The NRA is a very diverse population of people. Wandering the exhibit halls we saw men and women of all ages and backgrounds: families pushing strollers and wearing baby carriers, elementary kids, boy scout troops, teens, millennials and college age students, couples and retired folks. There were people dressed in jeans and t-shirts, as well as men and women dressed in business professional clothes And everything in between.

Check out the newest Guns: but this is not a gun show where people are purchasing firearms and ammo. This is the perfect place to try out the feel of different guns. You can see all the latest models of guns in a safe environment where the weapons are not fireable. Take a look and compare the guns before you go home and purchase them in your local gun stores.

Enter to WIN Stuff: Many of the booths have raffle style drawings. Sign up to win gear from all your favorite dealers.

Wear Walking Shoes: The exhibit halls are massive, so be prepared to walk. There are some chairs and benches at the ends of the halls, but there are not a lot of places to sit and rest. So be ready to walk and see the booths.

Watch for Discounts on your favorite gear: Whether you are looking to book a hunt out west, buy a purse or handbag, or just want the best gun care products and branded merchandise from your favorite dealer, they probably offer a discount at their booth.

The fun thing about these booths is that the people working the booths are often the people who have designed the products or started the business. I loved the opportunity to chat with the ladies from Gun Toten Mamas. These ladies are knowledgable and personable.

Play Training Games

Some people love to shoot guns, others like to play video games and try out new virtual reality shooting and training exercises. There were multiple booths set up that allowed the conference visitors to try out new shooting technologies.

Going to the NRA Exhibit Hall is just plain fun. Like every exhibit/conference event, there is free swag everywhere. There’s all the normal conference branded content: cup koozies, hats, candy, ink pens and key chains plus some fun things that you only get at NRA! There are many booths that give out bags to carry your loot, but you might want to opt for a backpack or other tote bag to help carry all your goodies!

The NRA Exhibit hall is massive. So, plan some time to just sit and rest a while. We had some granola bars and drinks to snack on about halfway through the morning. There is a cafe area where you can buy food and sit in real chairs, but we just found a corner and chilled for a while.

Meet the people we watch, listen to and follow

When we travel, we listen to audiobooks, music, and podcast. Our top favorite podcast is Gun Talk with Tom Gresham. My husband started listening to this several years ago and we now all enjoy listening – especially to the AfterShow with Tom, Michelle and Jim. We can always count on the podcast being clean, family friendly, educational and fun! So when we got the chance to see Tom doing a podcast live at the NRA Convention, we, of course, had to take a quick picture.

Tom Gresham | Gun Talk Media

But then, it got even more fun. As we were wandering around the exhibit hall, my son heard Tom talking in one of the booths. We walked up, caught his eye and had the opportunity to chat with Tom for about 5 minutes. He took the time out of his busy day to talk, share stories, ask questions directly to the kids and make us feel like we were the most important thing on his schedule for that 5 minutes.

Gun Talk Media has some great training videos if you are interested in taking your skills to the next level. Check out the Personal Defender Series by Gun Talk Media.

Tom Gresham | Gun Talk Media

When our kids have a chance to meet famous people, they learn a lot about human nature. Are the people too busy for us? Do they treat us as a bother or take the time to connect? Each of the radio/TV and public personalities that we met at the NRA convention took the time to actually engage with us. That is an important lesson that was reinforced this weekend in Atlanta. Just because someone has millions of viewers or listeners, it’s always best practice to take the time to engage in conversation!

Who all did we meet?

Instuctor Chris Cerino talked to Luke and shared stories about his favorite 22 as he was growing up.

We saw Radio host Dana Loesch coming down the escalator right beside us, but we made the decision to teach our kids some exhibit hall etiquette. When the famous person is with their family heading to and leaving the event, respect their privacy. Once they are ‘at work’ representing their brand, then it’s fair game time to walk up and politely request an audience, photograph or signature.

Sherriff David Clark walked past us at one point, stopped and took the time to shake our hand. He was gracious and respectful as the people around us stopped and greeted him in the hall.

Since we love the competitive shooting sports, we are big fans of Jerry Miculek, his wife Kay and his daughter Lena. Jerry is arguably “the Fastest Shooter of all Time” and it was an honor to meet him, but it was just as fun to meet Kay who lays claim to the title “winningest female shooter in history”. I’m just a beginning shooter, but I know how much fun is to beat everyone else on a round! Even if I can only claim that title on very rare occasions.

John Scoutten & Bryan Sikes

This was our 2nd NRA Annual meeting but it will definitely not be our last. Remember how we met Alan Kay from Alone last year?

Have you been to the NRA Annual Meeting? What is your favorite part or best tip? I’d love to hear!

And if you are one of these ‘famous people’ that we met, shook hands with or got our picture with, I want to say THANK YOU for taking the time to talk to us. You made our day!

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  1. I’ve never been, but it sounds like fun! There’s no way I could have not asked Dana Loesch have her picture taken with me 🙂

  2. Your blog made me nostalgic. I enjoyed the NRA convention we attended and, as I read this, I was right back there again! I’m tempted to get one of those fancy walkers with the seat and go again next year. Thanks for a great “trip” all over again.

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