SHOT Show and Booth Babes

booth babes unpopular opinion

leeanna vamp evike

Hey, it’s SHOT Show again which means it’s time for the annual shouting match about booth babes. As you might be able to tell by the image above, I have done a bit of a 180 on the topic of booth babes over the years. There was a time where I was adamantly opposed to them, but any more I just don’t care. I am still opposed to the subset of girls with guns that’s all weird and porny, but having been to a lot of SHOT Shows I’ve never seen booth babes cross that line.

But now that SHOT Show is here, it’s time for people to complain about booth babes. The first sort of people who complain are women who feel like booth babes devalue actual professional women in the firearms industry, which I can sort of see a point to. But then when I start to dig in on that idea, I don’t think it really matters, because no one is going to confuse a booth babe with an actual product expert. At this point, we all know what booth babes are here to do: look pretty and attract people into the booth. They’re models and their job is to look hot. No one is going up to a booth babe and asking them how Colt determined that 17 pounds was the ideal spring weight for a 1911.

However, I don’t really have a problem with women objecting to the use of booth babes. I may disagree, but hey at least professional women in the industry are in a position of some authority on the subject. There’s one group of people that I can’t stand though, and it’s the White Knights who decide to rail against booth babes in hopes of receiving a head-pat from Estrogen Voltron for showing how progressive and forward thinking they are. If someone ever writes a post that says “I’ll never buy a gun from Brand X because they use booth babes” all they’re doing is virtue signaling for other people to show off how un-sexist they are.

At this point, my feelings on booth babes are pretty straightforward:

family guy who cares

So yeah. It’s time to calm down about booth babes, everyone. To the white knights out there, no one is going to sleep with you because you’re just so offended by booth babes, so calm down. No one is putting a gun to the head of those women and forcing them to go work our trade show, they’re professionals. They’re getting paid. That image up at the top? That’s of Leeanna Vamp, who is a well known cosplayer and professional model. You think she just showed up in the Evike booth one year for giggles?

22 thoughts on “SHOT Show and Booth Babes”

  1. So, to sum up: you don’t really care, but care enough to write an article about it. You don’t have a problem if professional women object, or if women object generally, but any man who objects is a “white knight” just trying to get laid. And booth babes are just fine, anyways, because capitalism makes everything alright.

    Cool story, bro. :p

    1. Obviously I care enough to write a post, that’s what I do. What I don’t care about is companies choosing to use booth babes. What I do care about is people whinging about how terrible it is. Are there legitimate objections to using hot women to attract people to the booth? Of course there are. But no one is actually raising those, it’s either “OMG booth babes, I thought the industry was past this” or “OMG booth babes how sexist I’ll never buy a gun from these people.”

      Now, if someone constructed a logical post about how using booth babes perpetuates the negative stereotype of the firearms industry as dominated by horny, fat, white guys, we might be able to have a conversation about that.

      Edit: oh and yeah, capitalism does make everything okay.

      1. Honestly, it strikes me as similar to the construction industry. I remember the CAT, Kubota, etc reps were always leaving my father calendars with women leaning on the new backhoe or bulldozer or whatever they were trying to sell.(EAA and magpul I’m looking at you)

        The difference is, the firearms industry needs to break out of that market and into the populace at large. It doesn’t really matter who the heavy equipment manufacturers cater to, their market is construction companies with tons of money. If the firearms industry wants to get out of the ofwg stereotypes and ensure a market for their wares other than highly contested government contracts, they need to attract women. Women who then won’t sign up for the MDA or everytown emails to be counted as members.

      2. How do you think someone might complain about booth babes besides saying “how horrible objectification of women is”, and perhaps threatening to boycott companies that participate in such practices? “[T]he industry [should be] past this” (or said, perhaps, “does not need this because it’s inappropriate”) and “booth babes how sexist” are, in fact, legitimate criticisms. You didn’t link to specific examples, so I’m going on the general argument.

        Discarding even these criticisms as white-knighting leaves … what exactly?

        And, while capitalism has a lot of great qualities, the way it is used to justify and support patriarchal institutions isn’t really one I can get behind. Just because there’s a market for beautiful and even willing models to be used to irrelevantly titillate an unfortunately gender-biased audience doesn’t justify the practice. It’d be like holding your year-end company party at a strip club; nothing against strip clubs, but unless your company is another strip club, it’s wildly inappropriate for a business function, even if the tips are good for the dancers.

  2. The lady is a cosplayer? She’s in the top picture? Wow, she must really be a master (mistress?) of disguise. I could have sworn that was a real bird!

  3. Caleb, when we met up at SHOT all those years ago in Orlando, I remember making a comment about the gorgeous girl at one of the booths (was it TacSol maybe? I forget…) You, being more of an industry “insider” than me, informed me that she was actually part of the company, and really knew her shit. I felt like a complete idiot. Ever since then, unless she’s wearing a bikini (or standing in front of Mark Serbu’s booth), I don’t make any assumptions.

  4. Attractive models get hired to promote products.
    It’s not new, and it’s not going away.
    It’s not exclusive to the firearms industry. The same technique is used to sell hot dogs on street corners.
    And everything else you can think of, including products designed for women.
    Ever see an ugly woman in a bra commercial? Or selling makeup or hair care products?
    Yeah, me neither.
    It has a net zero effect on the goal of bringing more women into the gun culture.
    Besides, SHOT Show does not exist to bring women into the gun culture. It exists to promote products.

    If you don’t like it, stay out of those booths, so I can get a clear shot with my camera.

  5. I’m annoyed that resources are spent on booth babes to get people into the booth, instead of that money spent towards R&D or quality control, a patronizing smoke & mirrors or distraction-via-boobs, if you will.

  6. Next year, level up from booth babes to having a Deadpool cosplayer dropping his Deagle-brand Deagles to drool over your hottest tactiblaster.

    Then double down the next year with femme-Deadpools.

    Props to whoever gets a convincing Punisher. Glock’s already good-to-go with R Lee Ermey.

    1. Dude that would be fucking amazing. More companies should incorporate pop-culture cosplay into their marketing. Can you imagine the Remington booth with a dickload of people in CoD kit?

      Wait, that would look like the regular remington booth.

  7. One “Booth Babe” in particular is not just some model hired by a gun company to look good holding one of their firearms. Dania Vizzi, in the Perazzi booth is a shooter. She is on the USA Shooting National Shotgun team and a junior world champion in Olympic skeet. If someone asks her about a Perazzi shotgun, she probably could answer their question.

    1. I wouldn’t refer to someone who is hot but also a professional as a booth babe, because that’s clearly not their role. A booth babe is someone who is pretty much eye candy hired to attract bodies into the booth.

  8. Are the women in question forced into the job? Do they feel that they are adequately compensated? I would surmise the answers to be “no” and “yes”, in that order. Men like to look at women. Overthinking it is just that–overthinking this thing. As long as they don’t get in the way of the weapon I’m trying to look at, I have no problem. Then again, I do the same a motorcycle shows–I’m usually trying to get a better look at the bike. I may look at the woman when I’m done with that. Often not: I usually have an impulse to buy the poor things a sandwich. They often look as if they could use it.
    My wife, no shrinking violet, doesn’t have a problem with them either. Then again, she seems to like being a woman, & doesn’t spend her time railing against the patriarchy.
    To paraphrase Jerry Clower, she doesn’t want to be made equal with men. She doesn’t want the demotion.

  9. Men look at women. Women look at men. For the same damn reason. Every time the booth babe complaining starts I just shake my head. Take a look at the young men in some boat advertisements. They’re not put there for the guys.

  10. I spent almost all my time on the second floor so I didn’t have much of a chance to walk around where the clowns typically were.

    On the second floor there were quite a few women working booths. A vast majority were genuine employees of the company that they were representing and knew the products. Almost none that I remember were in low cut shirts, and short skirts or other attire typical of booth babes. But at the same time I remember there were a few that I would consider quite beautiful.

    TBH I don’t miss the booth babes. I like the fact that I can step up to virtually any of the booth staff and reasonably expect to get an answer to my question. And if they don’t know, since they are an employee they know who to ask.

    If I want to see boobs, there are plenty of strip clubs, shows, or I could spend the money and go to the porn show.

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