Australian Gun Culture Part 17: SSAA Shot Show in Brisbane, Queensland

The SSAA (Sporting Shooters Association of Australia) has a Shot Show in Brisbane, Queensland on 26-27 August, 2017. Australia is a day ahead of the United States, because of the international date line.

Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona -( Media are required to wear the florescent vest pictured.  In the United States, Media are vetted before either the NSSF Shot Show or the NRA Annual Meeting. At the Australia Show, there is vetting, but the vest is also required.

The Australian Shot show differs in a number of ways from its American cousins. As you might expect, it is smaller.  Australia only has 7 percent of the number of people that America does, for a continent the same size as the lower 48 states.

In the United States, the Shot Show is for industry people, at least people that can show a relationship to the industry.

Before I started writing full time, I attended the show as a firearms trainer and Federal Firearms License holder.

The SSAA Shot Show is not small. The SSAA is similar to the American NRA, without the Second Amendment.  Last year, the SSAA Shot Show had over 12,000 attendees.

For comparison, the American Shot Show had about 65,000 attendees in Las Vegas, and the NRA Annual Meeting had a bit over 81,000 members show up in Atlanta in 2017.

The SSAA Shot Show is a bit closer in flavor to the American Shot Show. As a percentage of the population, the SSAA show has a higher percentage of attendees than either the American Shot Show or the NRA Annual Meeting.

At this years show in Brisbane there were over 130 exhibitors, many with multiple tables and displays, spread over two floors of the RNA Brisbane Showgrounds.


The SSAA SHOT Expo is Australia’s premier event for the Sports Shooting Industry and showcases shooting, hunting and outdoor trades to enthusiasts, those wishing to participate in the sport and the general public with the view of improving public awareness, professionalism and safety.

The Sporting Shooter’s Association of Australia is the nation’s biggest organisation for sporting shooters and is proud to bring such an exciting event to members and those interested in the sport to your city.

There was a long line to get into the show this morning, and the event was crowded. The air rifle gallery sponsored by the SSAA was very popular, as were the other exhibits. The Queensland Police Weapons and Licensing booth was busy as well.

Unlike the U.S., which has a single, annual event, the SSAA Shot Shows are held in multiple cities around the Country. Sydney will host the next Shot Show in 301 days, on June 23-24. Then Perth will have another show 401 days from now in October of 2018, followed by a show in Melbourne in May of 2019.

At the Brisbane show, attendees may handle firearms if they are directly supervised by a person with a proper firearms license. At the show, a staff member at one of the displays told me that all their staff are properly licensed, so as to allow people to handle a firearm under their supervision.

The Barn is a popular firearms and outdoor shop in Oakley, Queensland, Australia. At the Shot Show in Brisbane, the counter was crowded with attendees.

As with the United States show, no live ammunition is available at the firearms displays.

A major difference is that no handguns may be handled. They require a much different license.

The Australian gun culture is alive and well, and learning to live with some of the most restrictive gun laws in Western civilization.
©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Link to Gun Watch


About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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Jay Carter

I don’t find the firearms regulations in Australia that restrictive. You can get almost everything with the appropriate licence. For example, semi automatics are available to farmers for pest control or people helping farmers with pest control. Firearms ownership is high but, unlike America, incidents are low. Our firearm culture is different in that it is about hunting and shooting rather than ‘defence’. We are a less fearful people than Americans, with less per capita problems with firearms incidents. Take from that what you will.

Wild Bill

, Australian firearms regulations are not restrictive… if you are a subject. Americans are not subjects. And what the heck is a firearms incident? That is not a statistical category that I have ever heard of. Whom ever your people are they are not less fearful than Americans, they are less prepared and less free.

Jay Carter

HI Wild Bill. I am Australian. By firearms incident, i mean gun violence, gun accidents, injuries and deaths cause by guns. ‘Incident’ is just a catch all term for kids shooting thier mum by accident with handguns from their hand bag or the recent mass shooting using assault rifles in Las Vegas. Massive problem in America, no? As for American’s not being some of the most fearful people on the planet – your mistaken there. ‘Prepared’ you may be (sure, in military hardware, but basic understanding of situations and the world outside America is… somewhat lacking), but despite your slogans… Read more »


Jay carter, do the rest of the free world a favour and move to a country that has no freedoms like china instead of imposing such idiotic views on the rest of society which want freedom. Also you don’t have the right to lecture anyone about not knowing what life is like outside such country when across the Tasman New Zealand has none of the restrictions that Australia has while not experiencing the mass shootings that you see on television.

Jay Carter

Hi Michael. NZ has had mass shootings. Look it up. Though their historic problems with gun violence are far less than we’ve had here and of course in America. Yes, their firearms laws are less restrictive. It’s also a pretty short flight, so if you really want that Assault rifle still you can keep it in NZ and fly over and shoot it any time you like. I bought my 10/22 in NZ a few years ago and brought it back to Australia. I had to hand in the one I had originally . It was cheaper there and I… Read more »


NZ had mass shootings prior to 1997. They had none since so that proves that you don’t need strict gun control laws to stop mass shootings and Paris shows that they don’t stop mass shootings. Also they’re not assault rifles as an assault rifle has a select fire capability which is not what we’re talking about. What we’re talking about is semi automatic firearms and there’s plenty of good reasons why we should be allowed to own them in Australia. Right now I can’t even compete against other people in competitions like 3 gun, IPSC just to name a few… Read more »


I’m so sick of people who think that our laws are great yet have never actually set foot outside of Australia let alone been bothered to do any real research. Mate do some proper research instead of making yourself look like a fool on the World Wide Web. It’s not just America as most of the European countries think we’re nuts for having the restrictions we currently have along with New Zealand as their laws are far less restrictive and have none of the problems that the media puts on your television screen every night. So do yourself and the… Read more »

Jay Carter

Huh. Travelled a bunch. Laws here aren’t as open as elsewhere (though you’re a little selective in your assessment of Europe) but are you missing out on something with your hunting and shooting in Australia? What, you wanna have a shiny AR with a 30-round clip? What for? The zombies coming over the hill? Some fantasy scenario? I think too much TV for you pal. If you want one become a professional pig shooter. Otherwise, what’s the point?


So not only do you ignore the clear evidence that stands right in front of you but you also resort to completely immature arguments like zombies and fantasy scenarios. I think you are too far below the mental age to own a firearm.

Jay Carter

Hi Michael in my last post above there is a typo – your opinion is in the vast minority, not majority. But I guess lyou already knew that. Ok say the laws here are ‘more restrictive’ (they certainly are for many countries , but then we don’t have the problems they do – no gun laws in Somalia, care to live there?) what is it exactly you would like changed? You want semi autos available to everyone ? If it’s a sporting rifle with a sporting size magazine, sure why not. The Browning BAR was a great sambar gun. But… Read more »


It’s not American gun laws that I refer to as it varies greatly across state borders. I’m also in the process of getting a handgun license however we can’t use 38-45 calibre pistols for IPSC, action match and police match competitions. Tell me how that makes sense. I hold my views because I look objectively at the laws and think ‘how does this make sense’ and ‘how does this one save any lives’?

Jay Carter

Michael I definitely agree that our laws are not evidenced base nor hold up to scrutiny, but the majority of people who don’t shoot think they are great and I haven’t found my shooting and hunting disrupted to any great extent. I don’t think The 96 change in laws is the reason we have not had mass shootings since , but most people do think so and things will not change because the political will is not there. The status quo has political support because as you say there is a large block of shooting gun owning voters, but winding… Read more »

Cal Lamoreaux

Gotta watch our for those dangerous journalists. Flag them with fluorescent vests. LOL


They are dangerous. A Lot of them are contaminated with a disease called Fakenewsilitus. It’s very contagious


I just find it hard to believe that the Aussies cant get enough people together to vote out the people implementing their extreme gun control laws.

joe martin

You could say the exact same thing for California.


The system here in Australia is very different from what you have in America. In Australia we have two major parties. The liberal party which is the equivalent of the Republican Party and the labor party much like the democrats. Our system is more like the Westminster system than the constitutional republic that you have in and at the time when the gun control laws were put on us we had one pro gun party called the national party which had massive support from the shooting community and held the balance of power when they agreed to support the liberal… Read more »


Michael, thank you for the information. I have a LOT of relatives in OZ but they don’t say a thing about the absolutely bonkers political system.

Sounds almost as bad as Kommieforniastan, except we have one party rule, the idiot party.

Perhaps sanity will return, but it’ll be hard, for both of us.

Jay Carter

Hi Ken Unfortunately our system is a lot less bonkers than yours. it’s a strange thing for people outside the US to see Americans say how ‘democratic’ and ‘free’ their society is when you look at your voting system and how decidedly undemocratic it is. Australia has compulsory voting with a 95% turn out. Of this on average less than 7% are invalid votes. We have preferential voting systems, so you don’t have someone like Ralph Nader take democratic votes to the point where George W Bush can win an election without getting anywhere near a majority. Everyone has their… Read more »


Jay carter you speak only for yourself when you are talking down like someone who lives in an ivory tower and I don’t buy that you have been around the world as it seems you are completely ignorant of the world around you

Jay Carter

Hi Michael. Yes I am speaking for myself, just like you only speak for yourself. Thing is most Australians support our current gun laws, so my opinion is far closer to the majority opinion than yours. If the majority opinion was to relax the gun laws then our populist politicians, our truly democratically elected politicians, would legislate as such. It’s not even a close debate Michael. If you can’t accept this and there is something you can’t do here with guns that you’d like to, you better move. Enter the Green Card lottery perhaps or get a ‘special talent’ visa… Read more »


Jay I can’t afford to move anywhere. Also why should I have to move, Australia is my home. Also how can you claim that 90% of Australians support gun control much like how you claim 95% support gun control in America as we have seen in both Brexit and the election of Donald trump that polls are completely unreliable. Also since when has any government throughout history ever worked in the best interests of the majority of the people?