By The Numbers: Shotgun Sales in the United States

posted on July 29, 2018
tristar-compact-12-gauge-shotgun-f.jpg (1)

Shotguns like the TriStar Arms Compact shown above, introduced in 2018, make up the growing number of imported guns produced in Turkey, the largest exporter of foreign-made shotguns into the US, according to 2016 numbers released by the ATF.

Figures compiled by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from the record-setting gun sales year of 2016—the latest numbers available—indicate there was a total 11,497,441 firearms manufactured and offered for sale in the United States. Another 5,137,771 were imported, which brings the total to 16,635,212.

Only 1,585,099 of them were shotguns, and 736,482 of those were made in another country. The figures convert to a total shotgun marketshare—the same year the National Shooting Sports Foundation estimated 15,700,471 NICS checks were processed by the FBI for a gun purchase—of 9.5 percent.

The figure is down significantly from 1987, when 1,200,062 freshly minted scatterguns accounted for 26 percent of the 4,623,176 new firearms offered for sale in the United States. Buying preferences may have changed, but total shotgun sales volume has still improved by 385,037 in the 30-year period.

The landscape among top manufacturer, however, is also different. Going back only a decade, to 2007, the leading shotgun manufacturers in the country were Mossberg (317,042), Remington (238,245), H&R (73,145) and Beretta (4,455) and Ruger (2,479). The 2016 list has a few of the familiar names, but newcomers as well. It includes Remington (385,871), Mossberg (367,542), Kel-Tec (29,329), Beretta (28,067) and Savage Arms (16,170).

The approaches are vastly different, too. Mossberg’s new Shockwave line could probably reclaim the company’s 2007 title, were it not for the fact that its short stature means figures will probably wind up in BATFE’s pistols category. Kel-Tec wasn’t even making shoguns in 2007, yet it’s clawed into the top three at a scalding pace by producing a radical take on pump-actions in versions like the KSG-25.

Even the trio of countries where the most imported shotguns originated have changed, significantly. BATFE’s 2010 figures (the earliest available on foreign makers) put the top three at Brazil (169,136), Italy (139,181) and Turkey (122,721). In 2016—in descending order—they were Turkey (335,190), Italy (182,396) and soon-to-be-tariff-saddled China (149,091).



Why A Shotgun Is Best for Home Defense (And All Sorts Of Other Things)

Have you lost that lovin’ feelin’ for your scattergun? Here’s why it should be a go-to choice for home defense.

KelTec Sub2000 Carbine Selected for School Resource Deputies

KelTec's Sub2000 carbine has been selected for school resource deputies in Brevard County, Florida.

First Look: Smith & Wesson Model 350 Revolver

Smith & Wesson brings the 350 Legend cartridge to its X-frame revolver line.

Smith & Wesson CEO Issues Strong Statement in the Face of 2nd Amendment Attacks

The CEO of Smith & Wesson issued a strong statement recently in the face of attacks on the 2nd Amendment.

First Look: Brownells MPO LPVO Riflescope

Brownells is now shipping their new LPVO (Low Powered Variable Optic) scope, the 1-6X magnification MPO scope.

2022 New Optics Guide

Optics are an increasingly vital part of more and more firearms, from traditional rifles to MSRs to shotguns and even ultracompact, concealed-carry handguns. With few exceptions, however, nearly every optic is made overseas, and every manufacturer uses at least one or two components of foreign origin. 


Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.