Firearm Sales Increase, Despite Weak Economy

The firearms industry continues to post increased business numbers, even as the rest of the country is awash in economic uncertainty. Economists report weak consumer spending in September, and forecast a bleak fall for most industries.

While the firearms industry is not immune to economic downturns, reports indicate consumers continue to purchase firearms, ammunition and firearms-related products.

For the 15th straight month-over-month, the number of background checks conducted by NICS increased. For August, there were 815,858 checks (NSSF-adjusted figure), an increase of 13.5 percent over the NSSF-adjusted number for August 2010.

In early September, Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. reported an 18-percent increase in firearm sales for the first quarter of Fiscal 2012, which ended July 31. The increase, compared to the same quarter in 2011, resulted in firearm revenues of $91.7 million.

“Firearm unit sales in our consumer channel were up 44.4 percent, compared with the (NSSF) adjusted NICS increase of 10.8 percent for the same three-month period ending July 31,” said Michael Golden, president and CEO.

In August, Ruger received rave reviews from Bill Gunderson, who wrote a column titled “Sturm, Ruger Looks Better Than Gold” on the financial website Seeking Alpha.

“Consider the following facts. Sturm, Ruger has outperformed Gold over the last one month, three months, six months, 12 months, three years and five years!” Gunderson writes.

To read the article, visit Search: “Sturm Ruger.”

Not all areas of the industry are posting increases. NSSF reports overall U.S. quarterly imports (in U.S. dollars) of all sporting arms and ammunition declined 19 percent in the second quarter, compared to the same period in 2010. From April to June, imports were $273 million, down from $337.1 million, as reported in the same quarter last year. For more information, visit

Southwick Associates has released its July data for firearms sales, as determined from its consumer monitoring services. For the three-month period of May, June and July, Remington dominated long-gun sales, with Hi-Point Firearms, Smith & Wesson and Taurus vying for the top handgun position.

For a look at the top sellers for January through April, see the “Firearms Industry Today” report in the July issue of Shooting Industry. Also, visit

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