The first edition of the HIT Show − held February 14th thru 16th at the city fairgrounds in the northern Italian town of Vicenza as a heir to both the Hunting Show and the EXA expos as a privileged showcase for the Italian civilian gun industry − saw a good success for the simulation events and stages dedicated to individual protection techniques.
Organized by the Vicenza city fairgrounds management in collaboration with all4shooters.com, those events were truly groundbreaking in that for the first time in Italy a non-trade only gun show hosted a plethora of real-life simulations and demonstrations that were previously seen only at the IWA & OutdoorClassics expo − held yearly in Nuremberg, Germany.
During the course of three days, a group of expert instructors with a solid professional background − all of them being on-duty or retired members of the Italian military or law enforcement − held ten events dedicated to personal defense and individual protection techniques for average citizens and professional operators alike.
Some more generalistic stages and demonstrations were indeed held in areas open to the public, and the visitors of the show were invited to take part; others were instead held behind close doors, and participants had to show a military, law enforcement or private security ID to attend.
Although not beckoning the exact amount of people expected, the simulation and demonstration stages were met with enthusiasm by the visitors of the 2015 HIT Show; all of them − including several younger members of the audience − were briefed about the best ways to counter (and escape unscathed) a criminal aggression such as those than any common citizen may have to face in his or her everyday life.
The simulations and stages concerning the basic concepts of individual protection were especially based upon the use of hammerlock and submission techniques, along with the use of non-blunt objects such as tactical flashlights, to subdue an assailant and render him or her harmless with minimum use of force.
Other events, restricted to professional attendees, focused on defensive shooting, "attention indexes" and stress management in dangerous situations.
At the same time, in other areas of the Vicenza fairgrounds, events and simulations of a different nature took place, such as the introduction to practical shooting disciplines on scaled-down stages using airsoft replicas.
This kind of real-life simulations had already been organized in the past by FITDS (the Italian Practical Shooting Federation), but it never earned the right space and relevance at the EXA show; now, it may have its chance to catch the interest of the younger visitors − possibly putting them in the right tracks to become the champions of tomorrow.
The "Vieni, Vedi, Prova" ("Come, See, Try") initiative, organized by TFC − a well-known Italian importer and distributor of fierarms − allowed the visitors to try some of the latest semi-automatic pistols manufactured by Heckler & Koch, Steyr Mannlicher and Tanfoglio in a mobile shooting range installed within the fairgrounds, in the "Demonstrations" area.
Although anti-gun and anti-hunting activists lit up a controversy over the HIT Show right before its opening, forcing the organizers to limit the access to the mobile shooting range (only visitors with a valid firearms license were allowed, and they would have to book in advance), the mobile range itself was crowded all throughout the three days of the show, as yet another evidence on how the interest on shooting and gun ownership − particularly for home protection − is on the rise between law-abiding citizens in Italy.
Hope is that these events may grow up to become a "fixed appointment" and an excellence for the next editions of the HIT Show, maybe even bypassing (or ignoring) the uproar of politically correct supporters that deplore anything that has to do with "personal defense" − guns, tools, techniques − particularly when they come from individuals who would like to see common citizens disarmed and defenseless while at the same time enjoying armed escorts for their protection.