New data shows over 473 million firearms in U.S. civilian possession

NSSF®, The Firearm Industry Trade Association, released the Firearm Production in the United States including the Firearm Import and Export Data 2023 Edition (reporting 2021 data) to its members.

The report compiles the most up to date information based on data sourced from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF’s) Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Export Reports (AFMER).

Key findings for public release showed:

  • The estimated total number of firearms in civilian possession from 1990-2021 is 473.2 million, according to data in reports such as ATF Firearms Commerce in the United States, ATF Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Exportation Reports and Congressional Research Service and including the collective ATF Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Exportation Report (AFMER) reports up to the 2021 edition.
  • Total domestic firearm production reported in the 2021 AFMER was 12,521,614 – an increase of 28.6 percent over 2020 reported figures.
  • Data indicates that 28,144,000 Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) are in circulation since 1990.
  • MSR production increased 32 percent from 2020 to 2021. This increased the estimated amount of MSRs produced (since 1990) by 15 percent from 24.4 million to 28.1 million.
  • In 2021, 21,037,810 total firearms were made available for the U.S. market, which includes firearms that were domestically produced plus those imported, minus exported firearms. Of those, 12,799,067 were handguns, 4,832,198 were rifles and 3,406,545 were shotguns.
  • An interim 2022 estimate showed a total of 11,217,388 total firearms were domestically produced. Of those 6,148,877 were pistols, 830,800 were revolvers, 3,575,322 were rifles and 662,389 were shotguns. Those are interim reports and will be updated when complete reports are available from the ATF.
  • Firearm and ammunition manufacturing accounted for over 12,400 employees producing over $5.6 billion in goods shipped in 2021.
  • From 1990 to 2021, 254,753,372 firearms have been made available to the U.S. market.

"This report demonstrates the strength and durability of the U.S. firearm manufacturing sector and the U.S. firearm sales markets," said Joe Bartozzi, NSSF’s President and CEO.

"The data continues to show that the Modern Sporting Rifle is the most popular centerfire rifle sold in America today with over 28.1 million in circulation and being used for lawful purposes every day. The continued popularity of handguns demonstrates a strong interest by Americans to protect themselves and their homes, and to participate in the recreational shooting sports."

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