July 19th, 2011

ATF Reports Rifle Production Down, Handgun Production Up

Americans are apparently buying more pistols but fewer rifles — that’s the trend suggested by the latest Firearms production statistics from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). According to the ATF’s 2010 Interim Annual Firearm Manufacturing and Export Report, U.S. firearm manufacturers produced more than 5.4 million firearms in 2010. This represented a small (2.7%) reduction in total U.S. firearm production compared to 2009. However, the really notable statistic was a dramatic 18.8% reduction in rifle production. Rifle production decreased 18.8%, while handgun production increased 14.9%. That’s a big swing. Shotgun production remained relatively steady, only dropping 1.2 percent.

Firearms Production ATF

Editor’s Comment: Since these are production numbers, not sales figures, it may be premature to say that American shooters are spending a lot less money on rifles, but we know that sales of AR-type “black rifles” are down significantly. There was a rush of AR “panic buying” after the last presidential election that was not sustained. We are also concerned that fewer young Americans are learning to shoot rifles, while the average age of target rifle shooters continues to climb. We need to expand efforts to get young people involved in rifle shooting and hunting.

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