A multitude of firearm models from an array of major manufacturers will be available for shooters to try out during a one-day event that is totally new to the area.
The 2012 Shooting Expo will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Consolidated Sportsmen of Lycoming County's grounds on Route 87.
National Sporting Goods, a sporting goods shop at 1241 Allegheny St. in Jersey Shore, is hosting and organizing the event.
The staff at National Sporting Goods takes a minute from the daily grind and preparing for the 2012 Shooting Expo to pose for a photo in the shop, 1241 Allegheny St., Jersey Shore. From front are Adam Kordes, Clay Hawkins, Matt Smith, Earl Brown, Dick Kordes and Rod Brooks.
Admission and parking is free, but a fee will be collected for the purchase of "ammunition tickets," which will enable guests to fire the weapons.
The expo was started as a way for the shop to show appreciation to its customers who may be interested in buying a specific model but would like to try it out first.
However, the expo is not limited to shop visitors or potential customers.
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"It's for anyone who may be 'on the fence' or wants to shoot something they may not normally be able to shoot," said Adam Kordes, store owner.
When Kordes started inviting some of the manufacturers the store deals with, he thought four or five would be interested in coming to the event.
To his surprise the responses have springboarded to about 20 major gun manufacturers. According to Kordes, they will be bringing 200 to 250 demo guns.
"You don't very often get to shoot something before you buy it. I mean, you don't get to test drive a gun like you can test drive a car," he said.
Visitors will be able to shoot a range of models - everything from handgun and rifle options. A shotgun range will be set up with skeet shooting and open clay targets.
"We are here to promote shooting sports. It could be a family day or for husbands and wives," Kordes said.
For instance, a woman who wants to carry a small handgun in her purse for safety and protection can try out models such as a .380-caliber. Children can line up at the air rifle range.
At each manufacturer's station, a representative will be on the firing lines to help and answer questions.
"All these manufacturers that are coming are going to be working the gun lines and educating people," Kordes said.
"So you say to these reps, 'I have never seen one of these new Smith and Wesson E-Series 1911.' The Smith and Wesson guy is going to able to show and tell you about it, what to expect and how to shoot it," he said.
Firearm manufacturers participate in these kinds of event 10 to 12 times a year, but this is the first of its kind for this area, the store owner said.
"The manufacturers are excited to get in front of people," Kordes said. "This is something in this area that hasn't been done before."
Giveaways and a gun raffle also will be held.
"Savage is giving away a gun to whoever shoots it the most accurately during the day," Kordes said.
He approached the Consolidated Sportsmen of Lycoming County about using its range for the event because it really seemed ideal.
"They are the only place around that has the facility that could handle the size of this type of event," he said.
The group jumped at the chance to host the expo, he said.
Kordes said it also will give people a chance to check out the club's range if they have never been there.
The National Wild Turkey Federation will oversee youth shooting with BB guns and Airsoft rifles.
Other organizations planning to be onsite include the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Ducks Unlimited.
"So there will be more (activities) there than to shoot," Kordes said.
Cash and credit will be accepted modes of payment for tickets to shoot.
"If you want to come out and shoot one shot out of one gun and that is it, you only pay for one shot out of that one gun," Kordes said. "Or, you can shoot everything there twice. It's up to you."
Refreshments will be served by the Consolidated Sportsmen.
The store's intention is to have such an event every year, so it is hoping for a good turnout.
Kordes really wants the shop to be a mainstay in the community for a long time.
"I plan on being here a long time. I want to be everyone's gun shop," he said.