June 26th, 2007

Shooting Sports More Popular Than Tennis, Softball, and Mountain Biking

Well folks, we don’t have to be shy about being shooting enthusiasts–you can join the crowd. A recent 3-year study shows shooting sports, including handgun, rifle, and shotgun disciplines, are more popular than many other highly advertised and promoted outdoor sports.

Photos courtesy NSSF

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) commissioned a long-term study by American Sports Data (ASD), a consumer research firm for the sporting goods, fitness and health club industries. Statistics gathered over the past three years show that target shooting–with rifle, handgun and shotgun–is actually more popular than many pastimes historically considered mainstays of warm-season recreation.

In fact, participation in shooting sports tops tennis, softball, jet skiing, water skiing, mountain biking, most team sports and virtually all of the technical sports like rock climbing and kayaking, according to the most recent numbers from ASD. ASD has tracked rifle and shotgun shooting participation for many years, and began tracking handgun target shooting in 2003.

ASD research shows more than 18 million Americans enjoy the shooting sports. In a 2006 survey commissioned by NSSF, 17 percent of Americans, or about 50 million people, said they had been shooting with a rifle in the past two years. Fifteen percent went target shooting with a handgun and eight percent with a shotgun.

In overall numbers, California is No. 1 with over 2.1 million shooters, including the most rifle, handgun and shotgun shooters of any state. Texas, Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio follow. Per capita, ASD shows Idaho as the most avid shooting state (18 of every 100 people participate), followed by Utah, Wyoming, Montana and Arkansas.

For more info on the ASD survey, visit the NSSF web site, huntandshoot.org. The NSSF also offers an interactive database showing shooting ranges and clubs nationwide (See AccurateShooter Bulletin, March 18, 2007).

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