April 21st, 2010

34.4 Million Americans Participated in Target Shooting in 2009

NSSF SurveyThe National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has released the results of a survey of Americans 18 years or older. The study showed that 34.4 million adult Americans (11.2% of the U.S. population*), went target shooting in 2009. This number surpasses all previous survey estimates of annual sport shooting participation. The study, “Shooting Sports Participation Survey in the United States in 2009,” was conducted for the NSSF by Responsive Management through a random digit dialing telephone survey of 8,204 U.S. residents ages 18 and older.

Mark Duda, executive director of Responsive Management, declared: “This was a highly scientific study with the sample meticulously developed on a state-by-state basis to construct the national number. Both landline and cell phones were utilized in the actual proportions they exist within the American population.” Duda said this type of telephone survey yields a 95 percent confidence level. The report’s sampling error is ± 1.08 percentage points. Added Duda, “This study measured all shooting participation— from hunters sighting in, to friends going shooting with friends who own firearms, to women practicing their self-defense skills. This study measured the full range of shooting activities across America.” CLICK HERE for NSSF Survey Report.

NSSF shooting participation survey

24 Million Adult Rifle Shooters and 22 Million Adult Handgunners
In the NSSF survey, respondents were asked about their use of particular types of rifles. An estimated 24 million adult Americans shot traditional sporting rifles, while 22 million adults shot handguns. Users of AR-style rifles (aka “modern sporting rifles”), numbered an estimated 8.9 million adults. Interestingly, however, the AR owners went shooting more often than did sport shooters using other types of firearms. The estimated 8.9 million adults who shot a modern sporting rifle in 2009, did so on 22.9 days per year on average. Though more people shot other types of rifles (24 million) and handguns (22 million) than shot modern sporting rifles, they ranked below modern sporting rifle shooters in activity, with traditional rifle users participating on 17.3 days and handgun shooters 16.7 days.

AR Shooters Outnumber Trap/Skeet Shooters
More people shot with modern sporting rifles (ARs), and more often, than with shotguns in the established sports of skeet, trap and sporting clays. As noted above, 8.9 million Americans used their ARs for sport shooting. The survey showed 7.6 million people went trap shooting on 14.8 days, 7 million went skeet shooting on 15.5 days and 8.4 million participated in sporting clays on 13.7 days.

The survey sought to define the demographic makeup of those who shoot with a modern sporting rifle, such as an AR-15. As expected, men represented 84 percent of modern sporting rifle shooters and women 16 percent. Most modern sporting rifle users reside in small cities or towns (25 percent) and non-farm rural areas (25 percent) compared with urban areas (19 percent), suburban areas (16 percent) and farms/ranches (15 percent). Modern sporting rifles appealed to younger shooters, with 64 percent of users ranging in age from 18 to 44. Modern sporting rifle users were 86 percent white, with Hispanic/Latinos the next largest ethnic group at 5 percent.

*The US population was 307,006,500 in July 2009, according to U.S. Census Bureau Data.

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