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Shooting Industry August 2010 - Page 33

LONG GUNS Today’s Trends Reveal Keys For Optimum Sales ooking to boost your long-gun sales? There’s no better time, given encouraging trends from shooters afield and on the range. Both hunting and target shooting continue be on the upswing among long-gun enthusiasts. Dealers can take advantage of this trend to marry hunting and recreational shooters with the rifles, shotguns and accessories they want and need. An online national survey, conducted March 16-18 by Harris Interactive for the NSSF, found that 14.8 million people were participating in rifle target shooting, up from 13.9 million six months prior. The survey also found that 30 percent of all firearm purchases were for target shooting, while 28 percent were for hunting. Rifles were the favored firearms for both activities. Women continue to take to the field and the range in impressive numbers. In recent years, their growth as both a hunting- and target-shooting demographic has been dramatic. The National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) released a report two years ago that confirmed a 72-percent inBenelli PS SBEII Turkey TARGET By Debbie Thurman L crease in women’s hunting participation, along with a 50-percent spike in female target shooting, compared with the previous five years. Long guns are the female firearms of choice in both categories. The NSSF’s “Shooting Sports Participation Survey in the United States in 2009” showed that 15 percent of the U.S. population — 34.4 million people — went target shooting in 2009. That’s a new high-water mark. The study also revealed that 8.9 million Americans did their target shooting with “modern sporting” (AR-style) rifles in 2009, and participants using this type of rifle were “the most active among all types of sport shooters.” And, they edged out shotgunners in individual trap, skeet and sporting-clays shooting categories, though combined shotgun recreational shooters still make up a greater population. “These findings underscore that modern sporting rifles are becoming commonplace in America and are among the most desired firearms by sport shooters,” said Steve Sanetti, NSSF president. “These rifles are our industry’s high-tech, cutting- Modern Sporting Rifles edge product — rugged, accurate, versatile, fun to shoot and easily accessorized — and they’re here to stay.” All this means modern sporting rifles are going to continue to account for a lot of dealers’ long-gun inventory and sales. The NSSF survey also showed the number-one age group of modern sporting rifle shooters is 18- to 44-year-olds, who predominantly hail from small cities or towns, as well as rural areas. And women make up a very respectable 16 percent of these shooters, considering they are 15 percent of the overall shooting population. Rifles of all kinds make up about half of all firearm sales, according to the most recent (March and April 2010) “Monthly Hunting and Target Shooting Participation and Market Trends” reports from Southwick Associates. Sporting rifles made up 56 percent of rifle purchases in April; the remaining 44 percent was composed of tactical rifles. The report also indicates rifle target shooters are outpacing handgun target shooters. Bolt-action, centerfire sporting rifles in .22 or .223 caliber still rule among longgun shooters, and Remington is currently Tradition Still Ranks High 2010 NSSF Survey — Target Shooting/Hunting 14.8 Million Participating In Target Shooting 30 Percent Rifles Purchased For Target Shooting 28 Percent Rifles Bought For Hunting AUGUST 2010 33

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