Guns

15% of U.S. Population Goes Target Shooting; Most Ever, Study Says

Who are the most active shooters? Those who use modern sporting rifles.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has released the results of the first comprehensive survey to look at ownership and use of modern sporting rifles. The study reveals that 8.9 million Americans went target shooting with AR-style rifles in 2009, and that participants using this type of rifle were the most active among all types of sport shooters.

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The versatile modern sporting rifle has been embraced by target shooters everywhere and, increasingly, by hunters. While this trend has been widely reported, the NSSF study is the first to meticulously research participation with one of America’s most popular firearms.

Commented Steve Sanetti, president of NSSF, "These findings underscore that modern sporting rifles are becoming commonplace in America and are among the most desired firearms by sport shooters. Those who want to ban these civilian sporting rifles simply because they look like military rifles must acknowledge after seeing this study that AR-style rifles are exceedingly popular with millions of Americans. These rifles are our industry's high-tech, cutting-edge product -- rugged, accurate, versatile, fun to shoot and easily accessorized -- and they're here to stay."

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The statistics related to modern sporting rifles were part of a wide-ranging survey that revealed a new high-water mark for annual participation in formal and informal sport and target shooting. The study showed that 15 percent of the U.S. population, representing 34.4 million people nationwide, went target shooting in 2009. This number surpasses all other previous survey estimates of annual sport shooting participation.

Read the complete NSSF press release and view the findings of the "Shooting Sports Participation Survey in the United States in 2009."