Shotgun & Ammo Imports Way Down

The NSSF tracks and reports monthly gun, ammo, optics, and hunting knife imports from overseas by crunching data from the U.S. International Trade Commission. This data runs a couple of months behind because, well, the government runs a couple of months behind.

However, by comparing the most recent figures– those from April 2022– with the same month in 2021, a few interesting things emerge about the industry.

While April Handgun imports increased 4.2 percent from 452,378 to 471,589 units, and April Rifle imports were up 9.1 percent from 96,197 to 104,995 units, the April Shotgun category posted a 60 percent decrease in imported units from 316,491 to 126,677. This means the oversaturated market may finally get a breather from the deluge of low-quality Chinese and Turkish-made shotguns that are currently being clearanced out everywhere.

In unwelcome news, the number of Cartridges (excluding Shotgun shells) decreased 27.3 percent from 439.2 million to 319.1 million units while Shotgun shells likewise dropped 18 percent to 39.8 million units as compared to last year’s 48.5 million. While demand is still sky high, it is possible this drop came as Europe and Asia are selling and donating more shipments of popular ammo calibers to Ukraine– as well as keeping more for their own potential domestic needs.

For those curious, the assorted Telescopic Sight categories all dropped slightly (around 8-9 percent) while the April Hunting Knives (with fixed blades and wood handles) category dropped 79.9 percent from 121,347 units to 24,410 units. With that, it is likely there will be fewer “Scream” style blades at your local sporting goods retailer this season.

By Michael Crites

Michael Crites is el jefe around here. He has spent more than 30 years shooting, learning about guns, and collecting firearms old and new. He holds his Oregon Concealed Handgun License, and enjoys testing products in the back 40 of his farm.

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