Firearms Outlet Canada Plans First Tactical-Competitive Gun Show — Firearms Outlet Canada Inc. said today it’s organizing the country’s first Tactical & Competitive Shooting Sports Show for shooters and the general public to learn about guns and gear.

About 10 people a minute were ordering the free tickets after the company e-mailed invitations this evening, said Fred Pellegrino, the owner of Firearms Outlet Canada in Ajax, Ontario, about 45 km east of downtown Toronto. He expects thousands of attendees at the March 24-25 event at the store.

Aimpoint to Zev

“This is for the general public,” Pellegrino said. “Where else in Canada can you go to a gun show where you can look at handguns?”

Aimpoint, Benelli, Beretta, Colt Canada, Glock, Heckler & Koch, Magpul Industries, Mossberg, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Tanfoglio, Vortex Optics and Zev Technologies are among the dozens of exhibitors listed on the event website.

Canada is home to more than 2 million men, women and youth with gun licences required to legally buy or own firearms, and millions more unlicensed family, friends and guests who shoot under supervision. Last year, we bought more than 1,000 handguns, AR-15 rifles and other so-called “Restricted” firearms a week for recreation, sport shooting and competition.

Pellegrino aims to create an accessible Canadian version of SHOT Show, the world’s biggest expo for the firearm industry and media. The Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association and major distributors hold closed events for industry professionals and clients.

Seminars, Machine Gun

Mike Brake, a former member of military special forces and the Toronto SWAT team, will run a seminar on shooting precision rifles at Taccom, as the gun show is called.

Rod Giltaca, CEO of the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights, will also lead a seminar, Pellegrino said. The CCFR is planning a TV show on the shooting sports later this year, the first of its kind in Canada.

One of the exhibitors will display the belt-fed machine gun used by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie Commando.

Firearms Outlet Canada has become one of Canada’s biggest independent gun stores in terms of number of guns sold. Pellegrino recently expanded the shop from 800 square feet to 2,500 square feet, plus a lounge, classrooms and range. The shop and range come to 15,000 square feet, he said.

No PAL Required

The expo won’t have any live shooting, although there may be some simulation booths. Attending won’t require a firearm Possession and Acquisition Licence.

“You do not need a PAL to attend,” said Adam Caruana, one of the organizers. “That’s really the whole point, to introduce people to the shooting sports.”

“Hunting is a proud Canadian tradition, but the shooting sports are unheard of by the general population,” he said. “Our store is geared towards the recreational and competitive market.”

Busy March

March could be busier than usual for Canada’s firearm community. In addition to the Taccom show and several others across the country, the government could introduce its new anti-gun laws that month after its Summit on Criminal Guns and Gangs.

Caruana said the expo will help to assess the appetite of individuals and the market for recreational- and sport-shooting products and activities. Unlike the U.S., which has a large market for self-defence gear, Canada’s individual market is focused on hunting, which is in decline, and sport shooting, which is on the rise.

“It’s just something that I’ve wanted to do for a number of years,” Caruana said. “Seeing a huge gap in the market in terms of common knowledge and accessibility, it’s to bring shooting out of the darkness into the forefront of Canadian society.”

‘Positive Representation’

“There’s not one TV station I can turn on to find an IPSC competition or an IDPA competition,” Caruana said. “We’re looking to fill gaps in that way. We would like to see a general acceptance and a positive representation in 2018.”

“We also want to fill the huge gap that exists between becoming licensed and becoming competent,” Caruana said. “That’s why we wanted to be inclusive of local and notable instructors in the industry.”

© 2018