February 22nd, 2019

Most Popular Hunting & Shooting Products — Survey Results

hunter rifle shooting survey Southwick Associates 2018
Hunting image courtesy NSSF Where to Hunt.

Sportsmen spend millions of dollars on hunting and recreational shooting equipment, but which brands are they buying? In 2018, Southwick Associates surveyed more than 20,000 hunters and recreational shooters to find the top brands in the market. The product preferences of hunters and recreational shooters were determined via HunterSurvey.com and ShooterSurvey.com online polls.

The top handgun maker was Smith & Wesson and the top handgun ammo brand was Federal. Those choices make sense. But some of the other choices were a bit surprising…

IMPORTANT COMMENT: Keep in mind these are just survey results. In many cases, the top choices are simply the cheapest options that sell the most. For example the top choice in reloading dies was Lee Precision. Lee makes some decent products (we like Lee decapping dies), but you won’t find many National Champions using Lee seating or sizing dies.

So assess the survey results with a “grain of salt”, understanding that these aren’t necessarily the best products when gauged by quality or performance. They are just the most popular among those surveyed. A Big Mac isn’t better than a filet mignon, but more Big Macs are purchased. You get the idea…

hunter rifle shooting survey Southwick Associates 2018

SURVEY Results — Most Purchased Hunting & Shooting Brands:


Top rimfire rifle brand: Ruger/Sturm Ruger

Top handgun brand: Smith & Wesson

Top handgun ammunition brand: Federal (including Fusion)

Top holster/ammo belt brand: Uncle Mikes

Top reflex/red dot sight brand: Vortex

Top laser rangefinder brand: Nikon

Top laser sight brand: Crimson Trace

Top scope mount brand: Leupold

Top reloading powder brand: Hodgdon

Top reloading bullets brand: Hornady

Top propellant/powder brand: Triple Seven

Top reloading dies brand: Lee Precision

Top gun cleaning brand: Hoppes

Top hunting knife brand: Gerber

Top game call brand: Primos

Top crossbow brand: Barnett

Top arrow brand: Easton

More than one hundred products are examined in the 2018 Hunting & Shooting Participation and Equipment Purchases Report (CLICK HERE). This in-depth resource covers buying preferences, including the percentage of sales occurring across different retail channels, brand purchased, price paid, and demographics for hunters and shooters buying specific products. Additional information tracked includes total days spent per activity, type of hunting / shooting activity, preferred species and where they hunt. In addition to the topline reports covering hunting and target shooting, annual reports are also offered for special segments including archery consumers, deer hunters, turkey hunters, and waterfowl hunters. To purchase a report or discuss custom research, email Nancy [at] SouthwickAssociates.com.

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September 13th, 2018

Target Shooting Adds $16.9 Billion Annually to U.S. Economy

NSSF Target shooting statistics tax revenues economic impact gun sales

Did you know that target shooting (pistol, rifle, shotgun) represents a $16.9 Billion per year industry in America? Or that 20 million Americans enjoy target shooting regularly? In fact, target shooting-related spending contributes more than $46 million per day to the U.S. economy. Plus an estimated 329,000 American jobs are supported by target shooting in the USA. These and other remarkable facts were revealed in a new NSSF report from Southwick Associates.

NSSF Target shooting statistics tax revenues economic impact gun sales


CLICK HERE for Full Target Shooting Report PDF »

Not surprisingly, pistol shooting is the most popular form of target shooting, with 13.8 million handgun shooters. The number of rifle target shooters is about 12% less — 12.2 million enthusiasts. Just over 10 million people take part in shotgun sports, and 3.3 million shoot muzzleloading firearms.

NSSF Target shooting statistics tax revenues economic impact gun sales

Firearms Excise Taxes Support Conservation
Target shooting activities not only support local and national business, but the transactions generate vital revenues for federal, state, and local governments. In fact, target shooting generates, on average, over $14 million dollars per day in total tax revenues (i.e. federal, state, and local). Excise taxes on gun and ammo sales are also key to conservation. 2016, the total excise taxes returned to state wildlife agencies through fireams and ammunition sales totaled over $780 million.

NSSF Target shooting statistics tax revenues economic impact gun sales

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February 27th, 2016

What Gun Guys Buy — 2015 Favorite Brands Survey Results

Hodgdon Federal Winchester Hornady brass bullets ammo powder reloading consumer survey Southwick Associates

What brands are favored by gun guys? Well here are the results of 2015 consumer surveys conducted by Southwick Associates. The surveys asked hunters and shooters to indicate their favorite brands for hunting and shooting product categories. This “Top Brand” list was compiled from 2015 internet-based surveys conducted through HunterSurvey.com and ShooterSurvey.com websites.

In 2015, most frequently purchased brands included:

  • Top reloading powder brand: Hodgdon
  • Top reloading bullet brand: Hornady
  • Top reloading primer brand: CCI
  • Top rifle ammunition brand: Federal
  • Top handgun ammunition brand: Winchester
  • Top shotgun ammunition brand: Winchester
  • Top blackpowder brand: Pyrodex
  • Top scopes brand: Leupold
  • Top binoculars brand: Bushnell
  • Top GPS device brand: Garmin
  • Top trail camera brand: Moultrie
  • Top muzzleloader brand: CVA
  • Top knife brand: Buck
  • Top holster/ammo belt brand: Blackhawk

The list above is only a fraction of all hunting and shooting categories tracked by Southwick Associates. Along with many other product categories, Southwick Associates also tracks the percentage of sales occurring across different retail channels, total spending per category, average prices, and demographics for hunters and shooters buying specific products. Additional information tracked includes total days spent hunting and shooting, type of hunting, preferred species and where they go.

Information for many other product categories is available from Southwick Associates, a market research firm specializing in the hunting, shooting, sport=fishing, and outdoor recreation markets. Additional details available include total consumer spending by category, breakouts for caliber and gauge, type of retailer, average retail prices, customer demographics, and more.

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