Shootah (a portmanteau of “shoot” and “Utah”) is an annual range day featuring Utah-based gun businesses. Shootah 2021 was hosted at the Garth Killpack shooting range in Springville, Utah. The range sits at the mouth of Hobble Creek Canyon and has recently undergone an expansion.
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Like many outdoor exhibitions, there were food trucks, educational courses, wristbands, and widespread swag distribution. But what sets Shootah apart from the average county fair was the live fire. Shooting booths were broken up between two ranges, with most of the exhibitors on the larger range and a secondary range for suppressed shooting. The main range was dominated by machine guns, and it was loud. Most impressive of all was the minigun at the Infantry Defense Systems booth. The unique sound of the minigun was audible over the more common sounds of M-16s, M-249s, and .50 BMG rifles. Infantry Defense also had their unique closed-bolt SAW on display.
Numerous manufacturers and retailers were in attendance, including some of the big-name gun industry players located in Utah. Flux Defense and ReadyGunner had booths on the main range. Silencer companies were especially well represented, with Silencerco, Dead Air, and OSS present on the suppressed range. Guests were able to shoot various suppressors at each booth and get a feel for different cans’ sounds.
SilencerCo had a range of suppressors available on different host guns. This was my first opportunity to shoot the Omega 36M and the performance was very good.
The one and only Mike Pappas was in attendance at the Dead Air booth. I fired their Wolverine suppressor on an AKM. This was the first time I had shot a suppressed AK, and it was very pleasant to shoot. The AK is not known for being a superb suppressor host but with the Wolverine, it worked well.
OSS Suppressors had various cans available to shoot. I tried out the RAD9 and RAD22 suppressors. Shooting at the same time as multiple other firearms is not a scientific test but my impression was that they were very quiet. I also scored several hits at 100 yards with the RAD22-equipped Ruger 22/45 Lite.
Local vendor Next Shot Precision had custom bolt actions available to shoot, including a .223 with a CGS Group Hyperion. This was my first opportunity to shoot that suppressor, and it was as impressive as Pew Science data has made it out to be.
Uintah Precision had their bolt action uppers for the AR-15 and AR-10 on display and available to shoot.
There was a ceasefire around lunchtime, which was a nice chance for everyone to take out their ear protection. The national anthem was sung and a skydiver flew in with the American flag. The helicopter which had dropped the skydivers also landed on the main range.
Off the firing line, there was a long row of exhibitor booths. Unlike the average gun show, where most of the exhibitors are selling Chinese knives and beef jerky, all of the booths were closely related to firearms. The diverse slate of Utah-based exhibitors included Odin Holsters, 1911 Syndicate, Black Arch Holsters, and Sportsman’s Warehouse. Some vendors who had firing line slots also had display-only booths, including Iron Horse Firearms and SilencerCo.
The event ran well, but there were a few issues caused by the record crowd. Parking was a struggle for many attendees. The range is located in a steep canyon and the available parking was mostly filled by vendors. Only one two-lane road leads up to the range and there were traffic jams for most of the day. There were also only 4 porta potties, which led to traffic jams of a different and more risky nature.
The event also heavily advertised the opportunity to “fire a machine gun from a WWII half-track.” There was a WWII half-track at the event, and attendees could fire a belt-fed gun from the vehicle, but it was only a semiautomatic; it was not actually a machine gun. Thankfully, there were several booths where attendees could shoot real machine guns.
The highlight of my day at Shootah 2021 was shooting an AR-18, the select-fire brother of the AR-180. My AR-180 is the coolest gun I own and I have always wanted to try one on full auto. I am happy to report it lived up to my dreams, and the 40-round extended magazine provided all the right Terminator vibes.
Shootah 2021 was a great success, with a large turnout and many big-name companies in attendance. Hopefully, it continues to grow and attract more attendees and exhibitors. If you are in Utah for the 2022 event it is well worth your time to attend.