Key Statistics of Firearms Sales During COVID-19 in 2020

Luke C.
by Luke C.
Key Statistics of Firearms Sales During COVID-19

There is no debate that COVID-19 has changed the world in a significant way. The firearms industry is often subject to the ebbs and flows of society but in particular, the situation surrounding COVID-19 has significantly impacted both firearms owners and the industry itself. The guys over at Bear Creek Arsenal have collected 10 key statistics about firearms sales during COVID-19. Big thanks to those guys for gathering this data.

Key Statistics of Firearms Sales During COVID-19 in 2020

Bear Creek Arsenal collected data over the course of the year using statistics from both the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The NSSF often takes a closer look at the industry itself and has a tighter focus on industry growth while the FBI is a pure statistics engine.

Background Check Records

Key Statistics of Firearms Sales During COVID-19

A trend we’ve seen throughout the year is ever-increasing background check records across the nation. In previous news articles, we covered how the various situations in the nation have led to this. Some of it is most assuredly a direct result of uncertain times generated by the preception of a global pandemic while another portion of it – specifically between March 16th and June 1st can probably be attributed to mass civil unrest across the nation.

Background Check Increase – a sign of things to come?

Key Statistics of Firearms Sales During COVID-19

Previous years have also been full of firearms sales with Black Friday weekend of 2019 nearly cracking a previous post-election year record. This year however we have seen consistent massive increases in background checks. The NICS system isn’t just used for firearms purchases though. In some states, chiefly California, each ammunition purchase is accompanied by a NICS check. With a 49% increase from last year, we can safely assume that it’s not just firearms being purchased but also concealed carry licenses being acquired.

Texas Arms Up

Key Statistics of Firearms Sales During COVID-19

The top 5 leading states in firearms sales pictured above should only partially come as a surprise. I fully expected Texas to be up there. After all, Texas is by far the most heavily armed state in the nation. However, of particular note is California coming in at the number 3 position with over half the firearms sales of Texas. Despite all the restrictions in the state of California barring everything from magazine capacities to certain firearms being unavailable altogether, California has managed to get into the top 5 for overall firearms sales for 2020.

Handguns double in figures compared to long guns

Key Statistics of Firearms Sales During COVID-19

The type of climate we are in will largely drive firearms sales. While long guns are just as valid for self-defense in many situations, handguns are topping the list with a 112% increase in sales figures between March and June. Many of these sales are most assuredly first-time buyers who are looking to protect themselves with a firearm that can be close and concealed at all times should the need arise.

Personally, I feel that the 77% increase in long gun purchases is more due to the uncertain times which could lead to either severe restrictions in firearms availability and/or simple supply and demand shortages driving more sales. These days it’s hard to find even a stripped AR lower for sale that isn’t massively overpriced.

Ammo Shortages, and prices

Key Statistics of Firearms Sales During COVID-19

The two highest selling calibers are probably no surprise. In fact, these numbers would likely be the same regardless of the times. Simply put, 5.56 and 9mm Luger are two of the most popular rifle and pistol cartridges in the nation with 22LR being a close third as far as overall usage goes. Now in the month of September, you’re hardpressed to find any of these calibers available and priced normally. It is not uncommon right now to see 5.56 go for north of 50 cents per round and 9mm going for up to 25 cents per round.

New Owners Brought into the Fold

Key Statistics of Firearms Sales During COVID-19

At a time when the nation is being divided by social and political ideologies more than ever, one thing that most people seem to be agreeing on is the need for the ability to defend one’s self. With 40% of the sales between January and April being for first-time gun owners, it seems that despite any negative predilections regarding firearms ownership, when it comes down to brass tax, having a weapon is more of a comfort than some staunch opposers think.

More to Come?

2020 is about to enter its final quarter and the firearms and ammunition sales are showing no signs of slowing down or coming to a halt. The Industry is selling at an all-time high and ownership is similarly growing. By the end of 2020, we could quite possibly see some earth-shattering records as it seems the globe has experienced the perfect storm of situations that are driving everyone to buy more guns and ammo – and perhaps for good reason.

However, I am curious myself as to whether or not this is a bit of a reach. Personally, I don’t mind having more guns and more ammo at my personal disposal. I wonder if it’s possible that by this time next year we could see a big slump in firearms sales or perhaps even a massive influx of unused firearms being sold on the private market? What are your thoughts?

I’d like to extend a big thanks to Bear Creek Arsenal who has graciously allowed us to use their infographic. If you’re looking for AR-15 and AR-9 parts and accessories you can check out their website for some great products.

Luke C.
Luke C.

Reloader SCSA Competitor Certified Pilot Currently able to pass himself off as the second cousin twice removed of Joe Flanigan. Instagram:

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3 of 75 comments
  • Andrew Johnson Andrew Johnson on Sep 25, 2020

    Americans are weak minded thinking bullets can stop the COVID.

    • Andrew Jackson Andrew Jackson on Sep 26, 2020

      @Andrew Johnson Nah your just mad u can't own any guns. Btw so which shethole third world cuntry are you from???

  • Dead Sirius Dead Sirius on Sep 26, 2020

    I'm surprised to see Texas on here, but not surprised that Utah isn't. Utahns are generally very well-armed. I would have expected the same from Texas.

    As for all those Californians jumping through hoops to get their guns and ammo, they made that bed.