Welcome to the mother-lode of ATF-related data on firearms in commerce!

Each year the ATF publishes a report that includes data on the number of firearms in commerce (made, exported, and imported) and statistics on NFA firearms (forms, revenue, and distribution) and FFLs (applications and inspections.

In the ATF’s Firearms Commerce in the United States Annual Statistics Update 2020, they share information on:

  • how many firearms were made in the United States,
  • how many firearms were exported,
  • how many firearms were imported,
  • the total number of import applications,
  • a break-down of country of origin for imported firearms,
  • National Firearms Act (NFA) taxes paid,
  • how many of each NFA form was processed,
  • NFA firearms registered by state,
  • number of Special Occupational Taxpayers (SOTs) by state,
  • how many of each Federal Firearm License type are active,
  • a break-down of the number of FFLs by state,
  • a summary of FFL applications by year, and
  • how many ATF compliance inspections occurred.

I told you that it was the mother-lode of data!

In this article, we’ll stick to the firearms in commerce information to keep the information manageable.

If you’re interested in the rest of the ATF data, check out our articles on NFA Firearms Statistics and FFL Applications and Inspections Statistics.

Number of Firearms Manufactured in the United States

The ATF purposefully delays the data they publish on firearms manufactured in the United States. The ATF only releases information that is two years old in an effort to keep manufacturers from having a competitive advantage over one another.  Although the most recent data published is from 2018, it is still useful to see trends in our industry.

As you can see in the graph below, overall firearm production in 2018 is higher than it’s ever been in recorded history.

Firearms Manufactured in US

The ATF’s report includes data back to 1986.

In 2019, there were 7,011,945 firearms made in the United States.  Of that total, 3,046,013 were pistols, 580,601 were revolvers, 1,957,667 were rifles, 480,735 were shotguns, and 946,929 were “misc.” firearms.

Firearms Manufactured in the US

YearPistolsRevolversRiflesShotgunsMisc.Total
20193,046,013 580,601 1,957,667 480,735 946,929 7,011,945
20183,881,158 664,835 2,880,536 536,126 1,089,973 9,052,628
20173,691,010 720,917 2,504,092 653,139 758,634 8,327,792
20164,720,075 856,291 4,239,335 848,617 833,123 11,497,441
20153,557,199 885,259 3,691,799 777,273 447,131 9,358,661
20143,633,454 744,047 3,379,549 935,411 358,165 9,050,626
20134,441,726 725,282 3,979,570 1,203,072 495,142 10,844,792
20123,487,883 667,357 3,168,206 949,010 306,154 8,578,610
20112,598,133 572,857 2,318,088 862,401 190,407 6,541,886
20102,258,450 558,927 1,830,556 743,378 67,929 5,459,240
20091,868,258 547,195 2,248,851 752,699 138,815 5,555,818
20081,609,381 431,753 1,734,536 630,710 92,564 4,498,944
20071,219,664 391,334 1,610,923 645,231 55,461 3,922,613
20061,021,260 385,069 1,496,505 714,618 35,872 3,653,324
2005803,425 274,205 1,431,372 709,313 23,179 3,241,494
2004728,511 294,099 1,325,138 731,769 19,508 3,099,025
2003811,660 309,364 1,430,324 726,078 30,978 3,308,404
2002741,514 347,070 1,515,286 741,325 21,700 3,366,895
2001626,836 320,143 1,284,554 679,813 21,309 2,932,655
2000962,901 318,960 1,583,042 898,442 30,196 3,793,541
1999995,446 335,784 1,569,685 1,106,995 39,837 4,047,747
1998960,365 324,390 1,535,690 868,639 24,506 3,713,590
19971,036,077 370,428 1,251,341 915,978 19,680 3,593,504
1996987,528 498,944 1,424,315 925,732 17,920 3,854,439
19951,195,284 527,664 1,411,120 1,173,645 8,629 4,316,342
19942,004,298 586,450 1,316,607 1,254,926 10,936 5,173,217
19932,093,362 562,292 1,173,694 1,144,940 81,349 5,055,637
19921,669,537 469,413 1,001,833 1,018,204 16,849 4,175,836
19911,378,252 456,966 883,482 828,426 15,980 3,563,106
19901,371,427 470,495 1,211,664 848,948 57,434 3,959,968
19891,404,753 628,573 1,407,400 935,541 42,126 4,418,393
19881,101,011 754,744 1,144,707 928,070 35,345 3,963,877
1987964,561 722,512 1,007,661 857,949 6,980 3,559,663
1986662,973 761,414 970,507 641,482 4,558 3,040,934

Miscellaneous firearms are any firearms not specifically categorized in any of the firearms categories defined on the ATF Form 5300.11 Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Exportation Report. (Examples of miscellaneous firearms would include pistol grip firearms, starter guns, and firearm frames and receivers. Most of the increase of this section is likely due to the new category of firearms with “shockwave” pistol grips that are neither rifles, shotguns, nor handguns.

Firearms Manufactured Each Year in United States

Exports of Firearms by Manufacturers

The information from the ATF on the exports of firearms does not give complete picture of the number of firearms exported from the United States.

This is an incomplete picture for two reasons:

1) this information comes from ATF Form 5300.11 Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Exportation Report (AFMER) which is only submitted to the ATF by manufacturer FFLs.

2) the ATF is not in charge of firearms exports.  As you’ll learn in the Basic Firearm Compliance section of our Get Your FFL course, the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Department of Commerce oversee firearms exports and they will have the accurate data.

firearms exported 2018

Firearms Imported into the United States

Unlike with exports, the ATF does oversee all firearms imports – therefore, this information will give a complete picture of how many guns we’re bringing into the country.

Of course, I doubt that these figures account for the number of firearms the Obama administration smuggled out of the country to drug-dealers in Mexico and then allowed to come back into our country illegally resulting in the deaths of Americans during Operation Fast and Furious.

firearm imports 2018

It sure looks like we’re bringing in a lot of firearms!  That’s great news for our industry as a whole, but bad news for our American manufacturers.  Note the big influx of imported firearms starting around 2009 when some of our major American firearms quality and design started to slip.

In 2016, we imported 4,492,256 firearms!  That number is HUGE!

[bctt tweet=”In 2017 we imported almost half of the number of firearms made in the U.S, in 2017″ username=”rocketffl”]

Interestingly (well, to me anyway), the number of import applications has decreased.

import application 2018

Source Countries for Firearms Imported into the United States

The vast majority of firearms, 1,202,149 in 2017, are imported from Austria.  I wonder why…cough…Glock…cough.  In second place with nearly half as many firearms imported is Brazil with 760,017 (mostly Taurus), Germany with 394,449 is third, and Croatia with 326,653 (this is where Springfield XD handguns come from) dropped from 3rd place the prior year to fifth place this year.

firearms imported by country 2018
HandgunsRiflesShotgunsTOTAL
3,287,842572,309632,1054,492,256
imported firearms by type 2018

If these stats are interesting to you and you’re not yet a part of the firearms industry, you might want to consider it by getting your FFL.

You’ll stop having to worry about spending so much money on guns and you’ll start making money with them!

I look forward to having you in our industry,