Champion Hunting
Participation This Fall


Photo: Howard Communications

With the imminent arrival of fall, sportsmen and women will be clamoring for range time to zero their rifles, tune up their shotguns or bows and dream of the prospects of taking a trophy buck or the rarity of snagging a banded bird. Your store can be a pivotal resource to outfit these customers, as well as encouraging participation in the fall hunting season.

One tailor-made opportunity to promote hunting takes place later this month: National Hunting & Fishing Day (NHF Day) is Sept. 25. Celebrated the fourth Saturday of every September, NHF day is in its 49th year — first signed as a proclamation by President Nixon in 1972.

This federally recognized holiday aims to celebrate the rich tradition of hunting, sport shooting and fishing through organized events. Your store can use this opportunity to continue the momentum built through initiatives like August’s National Shooting Sports Month and NSSF’s +ONE Movement.

Value Of Services

In this month’s Personal Defense Market column, Massad Ayoob contends stores and ranges can sell “intellectual property” (i.e., training) when hard goods are difficult to come by. In the same vein, services like scope mounting, boresighting, cleaning or adding specialized coatings (Cerakote/Duracoat) to get guns “field-ready” can be a way to capitalize on the intellectual property your team has.

Hosting hunter education classes represents another potential revenue stream, an opportunity to highlight your store’s expertise in outfitting hunters.

Promoting these services — via social media, in-store flyers or digital marketing — is key, and may even be worth adding a temporary landing page on your website to direct these customers to the services offered at your store.

New-To-Hunting Kits

Millions of first-time gun owners have joined our ranks over the past 18 months. Some have already taken their first steps into hunting, while others may be overwhelmed at the prospect.

Developing curated packages — something SI has explored in recent issues — takes the guesswork out of what’s needed to get started in hunting (think: camouflage, blinds, apparel, game cameras and accessories like flashlights, knives, mosquito repellent, bear spray and first-aid kits) and adds value.

Interest in firearms ownership and training remains high, and now’s a perfect time to channel interest to the hunting segment.

“Bundles, especially across multiple products or brands, diffuse savings,” said Trent Marsh, SPYPOINT editorial manager in last month’s “Showstopping Deals!” feature. “Everything maintains its value while you move multiple products.”

Pairing guns and ammunition, when you can get them, with optics represents another way to create bundles for consumers.

Prepping For End-Of-Year Rush

As customers gear up for hunting season, the end-of-year buying rush will be here before we know it. (For many, it might not seem like the buying rush has ceased since March 2020.) While hunting customers are in your store, why not begin promoting Black Friday deals? Perhaps you could even incentivize purchases for early entry into future sales events or manufacturer days? Interest in firearms ownership and training remains high, and now’s a perfect time to channel interest to the hunting segment.

First Look At 2020 Firearms Production

In July, ATF published its interim 2020 Annual Firearms Manufacturing & Export Report — providing an early look at U.S. firearms production during a year that shattered several records. Surprisingly, U.S. firearms manufacturers produced 9,341,555 firearms — a total bested by both 2013 (10,349,650) and 2016 (10,664,318).

U.S. pistol production totaled 5,331,355 (a record) — buoyed impressively by 3,189,701 pistols in the “To 9mm” category (another record). U.S. revolver production surpassed the 1 million mark for the first time, according to our records, totaling 1,000,226. Nearly 60% of the revolvers produced in 2020 were in the “To .22” category.

Rifles and shotguns climbed above totals observed in 2019, but the increases were marginal — 12.6% (from 2,226,625 to 2,507,293) and 0.5% (from 499,885 to 502,681), respectively.

Total U.S. exports totaled 521,502, not far off from 2018’s record figure of 548,111. Pistol exports more than doubled in 2020 (382,342) from 2019 (138,683).

The ATF’s final report — which will include production breakdowns by manufacturer — will be published early next year.

Amber English and Vincent Hancock gave the USA Shooting team a “skeet sweep” at the Toyko Olympic
Games. English won gold in her first Olympics, while this was Hancock’s third Olympic triumph.

Olympics Roundup: USA Shooting Matches Best Performance

USA Shooting earned six medals at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, matching its best performance at the Games since the 1964 Toyko Olympics.

USA Shooting athletes won three gold medals in Men’s Air Rifle (William Shaner), Women’s Skeet (Amber English) and Men’s Skeet (Vincent Hancock), two silvers in Mixed Team Air Rifle (Mary Tucker, Lucas Kozeniesky) and Women’s Trap (Kayle Browning), and one bronze in Mixed Team Trap (Maddy Bernau, Brian Burrows).

“I’m proud of the contributions made by every member of this team. In a period when training and competitions have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, our shooters came prepared to compete and win,” said Matt Suggs, CEO of USA Shooting.

This summer’s performance marks the third time USA Shooting has won six medals since 1964. In 1984 the U.S. team won three gold, one silver and two bronze in Los Angeles, and in 2008 the team won two gold, two silver and two bronze medals at the Beijing Games.

Shaner won the first gold for USA Shooting in Tokyo in Men’s Air Rifle. Aged 20, he is the youngest USA Shooting athlete to medal in an Olympic rifle event and the only gold medalist in that event in history for Team USA.

English won gold in Women’s Skeet immediately followed by Hancock’s gold, marking a gold medal Team USA “sweep” in the Shotgun Skeet Event. This is Hancock’s third Olympic Skeet title (2008, 2012).

After making the finals and finishing sixth individually, Tucker and Kozeniesky teamed up to win silver in Mixed Team Air Rifle.
Browning fought hard and jumped from ninth place to fifth during the Women’s Trap Qualification to secure her spot in the final and ultimately win silver.

Bernau and Burrows took bronze in the new Trap Mixed Team event in a thrilling shoot-off against the team from Slovakia.

The rest of the 2021 season includes Junior World Championships, September, in Lima, Peru; USA Shooting Shotgun Nationals, this September in Hillsdale, Michigan; and USA Shooting Rifle and Pistol Nationals, October, in Ft. Benning, Georgia.

Salutes, USA Shooting athletes for representing our country — and industry — impeccably.


Industry’s Conservation Support Crosses $14 Billion Threshold

NSSF marked a milestone achievement when firearm and ammunition manufacturers topped $14.1 billion in contributions to the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund since its inception in 1937.

“This is truly a remarkable win for wildlife conservation,” said Joe Bartozzi, NSSF president and CEO. “This fund has been responsible for the restoration and recovery of America’s iconic game species, including the Rocky Mountain elk, whitetail deer, pronghorn antelope, wild turkeys and a variety of waterfowl. It’s also responsible for funding the recovery and conservation of nongame species, including the American bald eagle, reptiles, fauna and conservation lands that allow them to thrive. The firearm industry is proud to perform such an important and vital function to ensure America’s wildlife remains abundant for future generations.”

The Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund, commonly known as the Pittman-Robertson fund or Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax, is a tax paid by firearm and ammunition manufacturers on the products they produce. The excise tax is set at 11% of the wholesale price for long guns and ammunition and 10% of the wholesale price for handguns. The excise tax, paid by manufacturers and importers, applies basically to all firearms produced or imported for commercial sales, whether their purpose is for recreational shooting, hunting or personal defense.

The tax is currently administered by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) in the Department of the Treasury, which turns the funds over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). USFWS then deposits the Pittman-Robertson revenue into a special account called the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund, which is administered by the USFWS. These funds are made available to states and territories the year following their collection.

These 10 to 11% excise tax dollars collected since 1937 under the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act are specifically designated to be used by state wildlife agencies for conservation. Collectively, purchasers of firearms and ammunition, hunters and the industry are the greatest source of wildlife conservation funding.


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