September 24th, 2014

Target Shooting Participation Rises 19% in Recent Years

The shooting sports are thriving in the USA. Target shooting participation levels have increased 19% over a recent 4-year period, from 34.4 million shooters in 2009 to 40.8 million in 2012. That means 6.4 million more Americans are shooting. By contrast, golf and some other hobby activities have seen their participant base decline by millions. Despite pressures to close shooting ranges and the high cost of ammunition and reloading components, more people than ever before are enjoying target shooting. The increase in target shooting has been driven by an influx of new shooters.

Demographic Changes in Ranks of Target Shooters
Compared to those who took up shooting 20 or 30 years ago, these new shooters represent a generational change. Newcomers — defined as those who have taken up target shooting in the last five years — are trending younger and female. Also, more new shooters are city and suburban dwellers (compared to older shooters who typically live in rural areas). In these ways, the demographic profile of new shooters is different than that of established participants.

nssf profile target shooting

Although they may be different in age, gender, and geo-location, newcomers share one important thing with established participants — their passion for firearms ownership and the shooting sports. The traditional pastimes of handgun, rifle and shotgun target shooting continue to have a broad appeal to new generations of Americans.

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September 8th, 2013

NSSF Study Profiles Next Generation of Target Shooters

NSSF Target Shooting Report urban female junior shootersAre target shooters a dying breed? Apparently not according to a new NSSF study. Remarkably, 20% of all target shooters began participating in the past five years. That’s great news. The next generation of target shooters is more diverse and more urban than ever before — and there are more females getting involved in target shooting — a lot more. 37% of new target shooters are female, a big number compared to older generations. The NSSF’s newly-commissioned study shows that, in years ahead, our shooting ranges will see more lady shooters and more participants who come from urban/suburban areas (as opposed to rural communities).

The NSSF report shows that one-fifth of target shooters in America first started participating in the shooting sports between 2008 and 2012. That means 20 percent of all target shooters began participating in the past five years. That’s promising news.

Here Are Some Key Findings:

  • Younger: 66 percent of new shooters fall into the 18-to-34-year-old category compared to 31 percent in the same age category for established shooters.
  • Female: 37 percent of new target shooters are female compared to 22 percent of established target shooters.
  • Urban: 47 percent of new target shooters live in urban/suburban settings versus 34 percent of established target shooters.

NSSF Target Shooting Report urban female junior shooters


Introducing New Shooters to the Sport — Tips from a Champion
In this video, Champion pistol shooter Doug Koenig offers advice on how to introduce newcomers to the shooting sports. With new shooters, Doug says you need to keep the experience safe and fun. Start with low-recoil firearms and use reactive targets to increase the “fun factor”.

Koenig’s Tips for Successful Range Sessions with New Shooters
1. Start off a new shooter with an airgun or a .22 LR. “You don’t want to start them out with the biggest, loudest firearm you have in your collection.”

2. Make sure the shooting is fun. “Use [reactive] targets — steel targets, knock-down targets, clay pigeons sitting on the bank — anything reactive, something they can see happen.” You want to keep people interested, keep them excited.

3. Remember the reason we go to the range — to have a good time. Don’t overload newcomers with stress. “Keep it fun, keep it safe, and keep everything in perspective.” Remember that [newcomers] “are the future of the shooting sports for all of us.”

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