Retail Sales Up, More Women Buying Guns

Each year the National Shooting Sports Foundation surveys FFL retailers around the country to see what products are the biggest sellers and what demographics are buying guns. The highlights from the latest survey are …

For the third year in a row, the number of female customers increased. For the year 2012, 78.6 of retailers surveyed said more women came to their stores, compared to 72.8 in in 2011 and 61.1 in 2010.

Firearms most often purchased by women were a semiautomatic handgun followed by revolvers, modern sporting rifles, shotguns, traditional rifles and muzzleloaders.

84 percent of retailers surveyed reported that overall sales in 2012 exceeded sales from the previous year.

76.9 percent of retailers surveyed said sales of AR-style modern sporting rifles in 2012 exceeded sales from the previous year (60.1 percent), the largest increase in the firearms category.

Retailers surveyed said that 25.8 percent of their customers were first-time firearm buyers in 2012 compared to 25 percent in 2011 and 20.8 percent in 2010.


Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Jacqueshacques

    You dudes are great, but you could really use a copy editor.

  • Hungry_Tiger

    Those are interesting numbers. Would you happen to know the margin of error for that survey?

  • 5

    Why can’t I get that White Zombie song outta my head?
    More woman than is woman….

  • noob

    This is great news! yay!

  • gunslinger

    what the hell is a “traditional” rifle? bolt action? semi-auto with a wood stock???? is a 10/22 breakdown considered a MSR or TR? aren’t MSR just Semi-auto, and bolt actions are BA-Rs (not to be confused with the awesomeness that is the BAR)

    • JumpIf NotZero

      If it’s not scarey enough it’s traditional, I guess…

      Scarey + Enough Time == Traditional

    • Avery

      Likely bolt-action, large caliber (.308 and above), and/or wood stocked. I know that most women shooters prefer light recoil firearms, especially starting out, like .223s and 16 to 20 gauge shotguns. It’s hard not to admit that the AR is going to be an easy sell to women, with it’s light-recoiling cartridge and buffer tube easing things even more, as well as being lighter than most long arms.

  • JumpIf NotZero

    “76.9 percent of retailers surveyed said sales of AR-style modern sporting rifles in 2012 exceeded sales from the previous year”

    So all this means to me is that 23.1% of retailers surveyed do not carry ARs at all. You REALLY need to be messing up if sales of AR type rifles have not increased in your store.