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Firearm Production Report: Nearly 20 Million Modern Sporting Rifles in Circulation

National Shooting Sports Foundation releases most recent production figures.

Firearm Production Report: Nearly 20 Million Modern Sporting Rifles in Circulation

Photo courtesy of NSSF

NSSF®, the firearm industry’s trade association, released the 2020 edition of its Firearm Production Report to members. The report compiles the most up to date information based on data sourced from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF’s) Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Export Reports (AFMER) as well as the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). Key findings for public release showed:

  • In 2018, 11.4 million total firearms were produced or imported in the United States (less exported firearms).
  • Approximately one-half (48%) of all rifles produced and imported (less exports) in 2018 were Modern Sporting Rifles.
  • Since 1990, there are an estimated 19.8 million Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) in circulation today.
  • An interim 2019 estimate showed a total of 6 million total firearms were produced in the United States. Of those, 3.6 million were pistols and revolvers, 2 million were rifles and 480,000 were shotguns. Those are interim figures that will be updated when complete reports become available from the ATF.
  • In 2019, there were approximately 3.3 million firearms imported into the United States which included 2.3 million pistols and revolvers, 301,000 rifles and 678,000 shotguns.
  • From 1991 to 2019, nearly 214 million firearms have been made available to the U.S. market.
  • According to reports such as: ATF Firearms Commerce in the United States, ATF AFMER and Congressional Research Service data, there are an estimated 434 million firearms in civilian possession in the United States.
  • There are approximately 71.2 million pistol magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds, and 79.2 million rifle magazines capable of holding 30 or more rounds in circulation.
  • Firearm and ammunition manufacturing accounted for nearly 12,000 employees producing over $3.9 billion in goods shipped in 2018. An estimated 8.7 billion rounds of all calibers and gauges were produced in 2018 for the U.S. market.

“These figures, combined with the record-breaking 17.2 million NSSF-adjusted background checks for the sale or transfer of a firearm in the first ten months of 2020, demonstrates that Americans have a strong desire to continue purchasing firearms for lawful purposes,” said Joe Bartozzi, NSSF’s President and CEO. “The Modern Sporting Rifle continues to be the most popular rifle sold in America today, and with nearly 20 million in circulation, is clearly a commonly-owned firearm that is being used for lawful purposes every day in America. The continued popularity of handguns demonstrates a strong interest by Americans to protect themselves, their family and homes, as well as to participate in the recreational shooting sports.”

Today’s report also shows that as lawful firearm ownership in America continues to grow, criminal and unintentional misuse of firearms is falling. During the 28-year period covered by this report (1991–2018) the violent crime rate has decreased by 51.3 percent and unintentional firearm-related fatalities have declined by 68.2 percent.

About NSSF


NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers nationwide. For more information, log on to www.nssf.org.


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