First-Time Gun Buyers Are A Dynamic Force

First-time gun buyers are establishing new trends and creating a dynamic customer base for long-term stability in the market. These are indicators gleaned from a recently released study, “NSSF Report: First-Time Gun Buyer.” The data-packed, 55-page report provides invaluable insight into this new class of gun owners — a subject many firearm dealers have talked about since early 2012.

NSSF compiled the report to better understand what motivates first-time gun buyers and how their firearms are being used. The online research by InfoManiacs Inc. was conducted in March and April 2013, involving consumers ages 22 to 65, who purchased their first firearm during 2012.

NSSF reports the most important factors driving first-time gun purchases are: home defense (87.3 percent), self-defense (76.5 percent) and the desire to share shooting activities (73.2 percent). Secondary factors include: self-sufficiency (69.6 percent), desire to learn to hunt (63.8 percent), involvement in shooting sports (60.1 percent) and before firearm is no longer available (51.7 percent).

Women, in particular, are highly focused on personal defense and self-sufficiency. The majority of first-time buyers (60.3 percent) tend to be active, using their gun once per month or more, with one in five reporting usage of once a week or more. Target shooting is by far the most popular shooting activity among first-time gun owners (84.3 percent), followed by hunting (37.7 percent) and plinking (27.4 percent). First-time gun owners who have participated in hunting (53.2 percent), practical pistol shooting (46.3 percent), clay-target sports (44.0 percent) and gun collecting (42.4 percent) said they want to increase their participation in these activities.

According to the report, local gun shops were where most first-time buyers made their purchases (43.6 percent), followed by mass retailers (33.6 percent). First-time gun buyers spent an average of $515 for their first gun, and nearly as much for accessories ($504). Nearly a quarter of first-time buyers bought at least one more firearm within the first year after their first purchase, on average spending more on the follow-up purchase.

There’s much more data in the report including: additional purchasing factors, firearm training, hunting activity and a detailed review of the consumers who were included in the study.

Bottom line: these new buyers are forming a new and refreshing customer base.

The report is exclusive to NSSF members, and can be accessed by logging in at, and selecting “NSSF Industry Research.”
By Russ Thurman

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