February 17th, 2009

No Surprise — Older Shooters Dominate NRA Rifle Competition

A new study by Target Sports Marketing, based on surveys of Camp Perry competitors, provides some interesting facts. First, and this is no surprise, more than 80 percent of competitive shooters reload their own ammunition. The majority of these shooters (60 percent) compete year-round while a larger percentage (70 percent) practice year-round.

Rifle Shooting Demographics

Shooters in 50s and 60s Outnumber Younger Participants
Interestingly, there is a significant “generation gap” among shooters. According to the survey, shooters in their 50s compose the largest segment of competitive rifle shooters. And, the combined number of rifle shooters in their 50s and 60s exceeds all other age categories combined. Keep in mind, Camp Perry focuses on traditional NRA High Power, Palma, and long-range events. Were you to survey other disciplines (such as 3-Gun Matches), you’d likely find a different age distribution. Nonetheless, the numbers do demonstrate the need to increase the number of younger rifle competitors. Unless there is a major effort to attract new, younger shooters, it appears that competitive rifle shooting could decline in popularity dramatically in a decade or so, as the Age 50s cohort gets older.

Rifle Shooting Demographics

The findings are based on the feedback of nearly 400 rifle and pistol competitors at the 2008 U.S. National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio, hosted by the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). The study focuses on individual competitor demographics, shooting sports engagement and brand preferences for firearms, ammunition, components and accessories. An animated, narrated summary of the report is available at css.targetsportsmarketing.com. Definitely click the link — many interesting facts are revealed. This particular presentation focused on 186 CMP competitors, two-thirds of whom were rifle shooters.

Graphs and data created by Target Sports Marketing for the CMP.

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