June 30th, 2013

First-Time Gun Buyers Shoot Regularly, Study Shows

A study commissioned by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) reveals that most first-time gun buyers are active in one or more shooting activities and that women purchase their first firearm predominately for personal defense. The study is based on online surveys of consumers aged 22 to 65 who bought their first firearm during the spring of 2012. Key findings include:

— The majority of first-time buyers (60.3%) 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% of respondents used their firearms for this purpose, followed by hunting (37.7%), plinking (27.4%), practical pistol shooting (17.3%) and clay-target shooting (14.6%).

— First-time gun owners who have participated in hunting (53.2%), practical pistol shooting (46.3%), clay-target sports (44.0%) and gun collecting (42.4%) said they want to increase their participation in these activities.

First-Time Buyers Acquire Guns for Defensive Use as Well as Sporting Use
The top-ranking factors driving first-time gun purchases are home defense (87.3%), self-defense (76.5%) and the desire to share shooting activities with family and friends (73.2%). Women, in particular, are highly focused on personal defense and self-sufficiency.

Fear of Gun Bans Motivates Older Buyers
Older first-time buyers–the 55 to 65 age group–indicated concern that firearms may no longer be available to them was one of many reasons for their purchase. [Note: The surveys were conducted in March and April of 2012, before the recent wave of anti-gun legislation. We expect that, if the survey was taken in 2013, all age groups would express concerns about restrictions on sales of firearms.]

Many Buyers Make Repeat Gun Purchases
Most first-time buyers purchased their guns through local gun shops (43.6%) and mass retailers such as Walmart and Cabela’s (33.6%). First-time gun buyers spent an average of $515 for their first gun and nearly as much as for accessories ($504). Apparently, one gun is not even for many buyers. Nearly a quarter of first-time buyers bought at least one more firearm within the first year after their first purchase spending more, on average, on the later purchase.

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