2019 Firearms Production

To say things have changed dramatically since 2019 would be an understatement. Released Jan. 2021, ATF’s 2019 Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Export Report (AFMER) is the latest data available — in accordance with the Trade Secrets Act — to provide context for the state of the U.S. firearms industry.

In a pre-pandemic world, it was in a very different situation. U.S. firearms manufacturing reached its lowest level since 2011 with 6,353,124 firearms produced in 2019. In “regular” years, this would be cause for concern — but the events of the previous 15 months have drastically altered the landscape. That said, we’ll carry on a Shooting Industry tradition that began in the 1980s and analyze the most recent AFMER data.

From 2018 to 2019, firearms production dropped 20.2% — not quite as steep as the decline in production from 2016 to 2017 (-29%), but still significant. 2019 marked the third time the industry experienced a 20% contraction or greater in the 2000s, with the other occurring in 2001 (down 22.6% from 2000).

Like the firearms category as a whole, handgun and rifle production were each at their lowest levels since 2011, while domestic production of shotguns dropped to a several-decades low (499,885). Miscellaneous firearms, not included in the annual firearms total, also experienced a YOY decline, but not as sharp — from a record 1,089,973 in 2018 to 946,929 in 2019 (-13.1%).