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Hitting The Fiscal Bull’s-Eye

How Target Shooting Reinforces The U.S. Economy.

In recent years, millions of target shooters have descended on ranges and fields in droves, accounting for billions of dollars for the U.S. economy. In early 2014, the NSSF released a report titled, “Target Shooting In America: Millions of Shooters, Billions of Dollars,” which examines the fiscal impact target shooting has on the U.S. economy.

Determining the exact amount of active recreational shooters in the U.S. is a difficult task — estimates range from 20 to 40 million. In 2011, target shooting alone supported 185,402 jobs across the United States; creating $23 billion in economic activity and producing $3.5 billion in state and federal tax revenues.

This substantial consumer population continues to grow, as research indicates half of active target shooters introduce a newcomer to the sport each year. With this steady growth, spending will increase across the industry.

“More people target shooting is good news for the industry, and it is equally good news for America’s economy,” said Steve Sanetti, NSSF president and CEO.

Sixty-five percent of target shooters prefer using rifles, with handguns following less than a percentage point behind at 64.7 percent. While rifles are used more often, handgun target shooters spend more time shooting — due to the convenience of indoor ranges in areas with more concentrated populations.

Target shooters spend $9.9 billion annually — more than the annual revenue of the National Football League — with individual shooters spending approximately $493 per year. Mirroring their rates of usage, rifle shooters generate the highest amount of annual consumption, spending $3.6 billion. Handgun shooters spend $3.5 billion annually, while shotgun and muzzleloader shooters spend $2.1 billion and $668.7 million, respectively.

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*TOTAL ANNUAL SPENDING FOR TARGET SHOOTING, 2011

Target Shooting And Hunting: Profit Powerhouses

The NSSF report draws comparisons between target shooters and hunters, both of which have seen higher participation rates in recent years. Combining the information found in this report with the 2013 report “Hunting In America,” the considerable economic impact of the shooting industry is clear. In 2011, target shooters and hunters added $110 billion to the nation’s economy, fueling more than 866,000 jobs.

Although each group maintains an active population, there is a notable difference in spending. Target shooters spend significantly less money on travel in comparison to hunters.

Proximity to ranges is vital to maintaining target shooting’s economic impact — if a range is over 30 minutes away from a target shooter, participation levels decrease and consequently, spending declines.

Hunters spent $16.8 billion in 2011 compared to $9.9 billion spent by target shooters, with this difference largely due to travel expenses. Hunters spend more than target shooters because of additional necessities, such as fuel, food, accommodations and transportation.

Equipment accounts for 82 percent of target shooter spending, with the average shooter putting $406 towards equipment and $87 towards trip-related expenditures annually. Equipment expenditures are almost equal between the two groups — $8.2 billion from shooters versus $8.4 billion by hunters. Equipment can include a range of items, covering everything from firearms and ammunition to range fees and concealed-carry classes.

With strong financial numbers, the positive effects target shooting and hunting have on sectors outside of the industry cannot be denied.

“The ‘Target Shooting In America’ and ‘Hunting In America’ reports give us a more complete understanding of the economic importance of the shooting sports in America,” Sanetti said. “We’ve long known about the recreational benefits of these activities, and now we know how much they contribute to our country’s financial well-being.”

To read the full report, visit www.nssf.org/research. SI Digital readers, click the “Hot Link” logo.
By Holly Parker

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