Gun Sales Exceed 1 Million For 38 Months & Counting

posted on October 11, 2022
38 Months

More than a million firearm sales in September resulted in the FBI conducting a National Instant Criminal Background System (NICS) check. Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting (SAAF) puts the 30-day period’s total sales at roughly 1.3 million, making it the 38th month in a row with seven-digit figures.

Purchases during the month, as glowingly reported in mainstream media, are down when compared to the same periods last year and in 2020, when the pandemic, widespread social unrest and calls to defund law enforcement fueled a record-setting gun sales pace. Were it not for those catalysts, 2022 would be on the verge of setting a new, all-time high-water mark for law-abiding citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights.

As for claiming third-place honors in a system that began in 1998, that position is currently held by presidential election-year 2016—with roughly 16.6 million total firearm sales. SAAF estimates that through the end of September, 12.7 million firearms sales during 2022 resulted in a NICS check. That leaves it just 3.9 million short of a podium finish, with three months remaining. The approaching heavy shopping periods of November and December average somewhere around 2 million mark, each—often exceeding that number.

Jurgen Brauer, SAAF Chief Economist, put the heavy purchase volume into perspective in a press release last week. “[T]he estimated sales through September 2022 amounted to about 12.7 million units, about 2.1 million units off the 2021 pace and about 4 million units less than in 2020, but still significantly higher than the 9.7 million units recorded in 2019 (all for January through September of the respective years),” he wrote. “The unit sales drop thus far this year is largest in the Midwest states and least so in the West.”

SAAF estimated 2022’s August sales at 1.28 million and roughly 1.3 million in July. There are, however, variables that drive published figures to the low side, including the fact that 25 states don’t require holders of a valid carry permit to undergo the redundant NICS check to purchase a firearm. They are also not required for private transfers in many regions of the nation. Even if 1.3 million remained a purchasing norm the last quarter of 2022, it would add up to a photo finish in the battle for third-place honors. That prospect seems unlikely with the holiday\s approaching and 2020’s volume of new enthusiasts shopping for something new.


Colt Single Action Army
Colt Single Action Army

Favorite Firearms: A Mystery Colt Single Action Army

Perusing an expired paper-edition Gun List several years ago, I came across an ad for this old 1880-1881 Colt Single Action Army. Can’t remember what I paid, but at that time, it was too cheap to believe it was still for sale.

New For 2024: Inglis High Power Pistols

Inglis Mfg. has been reborn under the SDS Imports brand, and the company is now making classic versions of the venerable High Power pistol.

Preview: Negrini Hybri-Tech RMR Ready Handgun Case

A major supplier of OEM shotgun, rifle and handgun cases for many of the firearm industry’s biggest names for more than 40 years, during the last decade or so, Negrini Cases of Italy has also started putting more of an emphasis on selling its high-quality products directly to consumers.

Gun Of The Week: Tokarev USA TT 12

A 12-ga. semi-automatic shotgun that feeds from detachable box magazines, the Tokarev USA TT 12 provides some familiar features to fans of the AR-15.

The Armed Citizen® May 24, 2024

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

Preview: Herrington Arms HCPDP

A micro compensator designed specifically for use with threaded-barreled versions of Walther’s superb PDP, the HCPDP from Herrington Arms is machined from durable 6061 aluminum to perfectly match the contours of the pistol’s slide.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.