IWA hits back whilst EnforceTac continues rapid growth


With global defence a huge priority right now, with the Russia-Ukraine War continuing to rage on, it is no surprise that Enforcetac is welcoming record numbers of visitors and exhibitors to an extended show floor.

The exhibition, developed to attract professionals from the armed forces, defence and law enforcement sectors, has taken on even more importance due to the developments of the last year. The demand on Governments to equip their armed forces, police and similar entities with the latest high-performance products has never been so great and with technology and threats constantly evolving, EnforceTac will certainly be a show that will continue to develop with increasing success.

This 10th incarnation of the show was, for the first time, held over three halls which was for good reason, as the show attracted over 2,000 additional visitors than last year’s exhibition.

It felt busy. The halls were bustling with professionals, eager to learn about the latest developments within this booming global sector.

The Gun Trade World team felt that the 2023 version of EnforceTac perhaps represented the beginning of a fast, upward curve for the show and with even more halls planned for next year’s event and demand already showing to be strong, the future is certainly bright.

“We have already thought of something new for Enforce Tac 2024,” reveals Isabelle Teufert, Exhibition Director Enforce Tac. “We are designing the Enforce Tac Village, a realistic training ground in one of our exhibition halls. Our visitors will be able to test the exhibitors’ products there in a realistic, spacious environment, as well as training in processes and expanding their know-how.” For the 2024 event, Teufert’s team will also reappraise the subject of security once again. “Domestic and external security are more inseparable than ever,” Teufert asserts. “That is why Enforce Tac will be devoted to both aspects equally, providing ongoing support to the security and defence industry.”

IWA hits back

The team at IWA OutdoorClassics described its 2023 exhibiton as a “Turnaround Confirmed”. Although not completely agreeing with this statement, we certainly felt that the show had bounced back from last year’s event and mostly positive feelings were highlighted to our team as we visited booths across the shows' many halls.

Thomas Preutenborbeck, Member of the Executive Board of NürnbergMesse GmbH commented: “The entire sector, which has supported us throughout the years and thus safeguarded its home ground, can collectively be very pleased with this powerful and successful return by IWA OutdoorClassics.” He directed specific thanks to everyone who held fast to the concept of IWA OutdoorClassics.

Preutenborbeck is especially pleased with the many “positive feedback discussions with the exhibitors and the large number of satisfied trade visitors”. He is confident that “the foundations for a successful future are now in place”.

IWA took the decision to decrease the square footage of the show this year and this, along with the extra 14,500 visitors, created the show ‘buzz’ we all know and love, something that was missing from last year’s event. We should point out that this was through no fault of the IWA organising group - Covid-19 and the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine War both contributed to last year’s disappointing numbers. It was a success just to have been able to have had a show in 2022.

Therefore, we feel it best to compare the 2023 exhibition with the last pre-Covid IWA OutdoorClassics, way back in 2019. As you can see from the figures at th bottom of this article, visitor numbers in 2023 were down by around 13,000 on 2019 numbers and there were just over 500 less exhibitors. Gun Trade World believes that numbers will begin to rise back towards pre-Covid levels, year-on-year, as companies slowly begin to gain confidence with attending global trade events. Covid-19 is still present at our global trade events (Rob the Editor took Covid-19 away from SHOT Show 2021 and 2023 and knows of at least four people who left IWA 2023 with the infection.). This may stop elderly individuals or business professionals with underlying health conditions from attending, as well as companies that believe the risk to their staff is still too great to have a presence at the show.

Another reason as to why exhibitor numbers haven’t been able to reach pre-Covid levels is that some companies haven’t seen a decrease in business from not being present at the show. They’re happy with how business is going and don’t see that the large investment needed to attend IWA is in the best interests of their business. 

On one hand we can understand this logic but on the other hand this is a clear way of allowing competitors to gain an advantage. Business may be strong now, but it may not last and those relationships built at IWA could be crucial in years to come.

A nice analogy is to look at successful sports teams – those that stay at the top for longest invest in new players even when they are winning. This allows them to stay ahead of their competitors.

We feel there is no better place than IWA for a company to conduct business, to see a huge number of partners and prospective partners and to keep on top of the latest trends. 

One IWA OutdoorClassics visitor, who requested to remain nameless, told Gun Trade World:

“The nay-sayers were wrong. There will always be room for trade fairs. Maybe not with huge booths filling up half a hall or more, with crazy budgets, but people want to deal with people, shake hands, look each other in the eye, have a laugh and share a drink, exchange views and experiences.

“Sometimes we tend to forget that B2B is a people’s business and people like to do business with people. Trade fairs are an awesome, hugely efficient way to meet many, many interesting people and products and companies in a very short space of time.”

About next year…

For 2024, manufacturers, dealers and opinion leaders from the entire sector will gather for the fiftieth anniversary of IWA OutdoorClassics in Nuremberg. “IWA has reached Gold status,” says Preutenborbeck. “We will build on the wave of euphoria to work with our customers and partners to put together a programme that is fitting for the jubilee.”

The next edition of IWA OutdoorClassics will take place at the Exhibition Centre Nuremberg from 29 February to 3 March 2024.


IWA 2019

VISITORS: 45,476


IWA 2022

VISITORS: 19,500


IWA 2023

VISITORS: 34,000







VISITORS: 4,759