Bucking a growing trend in which online-content growth is outpacing print media, A Southwick Associates study showed that print magazines remained a go-to source of information for outdoor enthusiasts. In the third quarter of 2018 (July to September), Southwick Associates’ Media Monitor determined printed magazines edged out the Internet and social media outlets as the top sources of information and entertainment for shooters and hunters. The National Rifle Association's American Rifleman was listed as top periodical among gun enthusiasts, a glowing endorsement of the organization and its publications as the most trusted source of firearm news. Polled anglers preferred the World Wide Web and YouTube.
The recently released 2018 edition of “America’s Sporting Heritage” [PDF]—a Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation annual—provides a look at the positive role recreational shooting plays in the economy. It estimates the economic impact of target shooting and hunting in 2016 was $55.4 billion, roughly the same as generated by the manufacture of electrical equipment, appliances and components. That year, $3.5 billion was spent on ammunition alone, with another $7.8 billion on firearms. Target shooting and hunting supported or created a total of 854,000 jobs that year and generated $13.8 billion in local, state and federal tax.
The report also found that female participation in the shooting sports increased by 81 percent between 2001 and 2016. “These activities are perfect for families to experience together, providing quality time for couples or parents and children to have fun and learn, all while instilling a sense of responsibility and an appreciation for our natural resources,” it explains.
“Target Shooting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation,” a report issued earlier this year from Southwick Associates, estimates U.S. target shooters pay $14 million a day in taxes. That study found participation in the sport is up 28 percent since 2001, with more than 50 million taking aim at a target at least once a year. Handgun shooting was the most popular pursuit among those surveyed, with an estimated 13.8 million enthusiasts.