Study Shows AR Market Share

Bushmaster Firearms, part of the Freedom Group of companies (along with Remington, DPMS and others) holds a 12 percent market share of modern sporting rifles (MSRs), the largest single chunk of a fragmented market. The study is based on a comprehensive 2010 market research report issued by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).

Other manufacturers each control less than 10 percent, while Colt owns 6 percent. The precise data from other manufacturers is not available at the time of this writing, but I’ll update the market share information as soon as possible. Overall, 52 percent paid less than $1,000 for their MSR, but the average price was $1,083.

Last time, the Insider looked at some of the “big picture” results of the survey in a previous story and found that a statistically average MSR buyer is a college educated married male between 35 and 54 without children in the home earning between $45,000 and $110,000 who has never served in the military.

Now I’m going to explore in more detail just how important accessories are to MSR owners. As a quick refresher, we learned last time that only 76 percent of “most recent” MSR purchases were in 5.56 mm with the other one-quarter scattered among various other calibers.

The survey reveals that 84 percent of MSR purchasers accessorize within 12 months: 22 percent at the time of purchase and 62 percent within a year. Only 13 percent of the respondents said that adding accessories to an MSR is “not applicable.”

Given that red dot type optics are used on military and law enforcement rifles, I was stunned to see that a 3-9x riflescope is the most popular optic (36 percent) while an Aimpoint, another brand of red dot sight, garnered only 28 percent. Fully 27 percent rely on iron sights only!

A low power scope of between of 1x and 4x came in with 24 percent—I assume Trijicon has most of that.

Not surprisingly, 83 percent of all MSRs came with a flat-top receiver (16 percent with a removable carry handle). The breakdown of fixed versus a collapsible stock was 60 percent for the M4 style and 35 percent for the traditional M16 style (the remaining 5 percent were target-style stocks).

Eighty-three percent of the guns were black while only 3 percent were camouflaged, and Picatinny rail fore-ends came on 49 percent of the rifles—an even split with traditional non-M4 style forends.

Clearly, accessorzing an AR is a very important part of the overall MSR niche. Profit margins being notoriously low on firearms, accessories are vital to the overall business.

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