This article was originally going to be written about American-made scopes. However, after some searching I realized that most companies in that market source their products from overseas or use a combination of imported & American parts and assemble their products in the United States. This got me thinking, how much of the gun industry is imported vs American-made?
It’s well-known that people are more inclined to buy products, and pay more for them, if they know it will help support families in the United States. “Sixty-seven percent of adults in the United States would be willing to pay more for products if they knew doing so would support American manufacturing, according to a Morning Consult poll conducted Oct. 26-30.” This speaks to the proud American heritage of manufacturing and the trades.
The Gun Industry itself is another defining piece of proud American history. The United States is the world leader in civilian gun ownership, with an estimated 270 million firearms possessed by civilians (Small Arms Survey).
Companies like Smith & Wesson, Mossberg, and Remington Outdoor have been around for quite some time manufacturing their way to the top. These companies do virtually all of their manufacturing and assembly in the United States, which isn’t too surprising. Aside from the brand-name companies, thousands of small manufacturers contribute to the sum of American-made firearms. In 2013, approximately 10.8 million pistols, rifles, shotguns, revolvers, and misc firearms were manufactured in the United States (ATF).
In contrast, approximately 4.3 million firearms were imported to the United States in 2016 (Statista). Austria, Brazil, and Croatia lead the pack in imports, and it’s not hard to see why as they host the companies like Glock, Taurus, and HS-produkt.
The imported gun market has grown exponentially since the 1980’s, when only Beretta was among the top ten pistol manufacturers. In 2010, the top ten included five foreign brands, including Beretta, Sig Sauer, Taurus, Glock, and FN (Small Arms Survey).
Will the imported gun market continue to grow? It’s very likely, considering the expansion of globalization. Through the internet, foreign products are increasingly accessible. The American-manufactured firearms market will always have a place, however. Guns are tied to the United States through history, policy, and culture.