Firearm Manufacturers Broke Records in 2021

Written by Orchid

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September 06, 2022

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White text atop red background next to photo of SIG SAUER manufacturing rifles

All federally licensed firearm and destructive device manufacturers (Type 07 and 10 FFLs) are required to submit a production report of manufacturing and export activity to ATF using ATF Form 5300.11, Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Exportation Report (AFMER). The agency then compiles submitted data and releases it in a report, of the same name, each January, with a one-year delay to comply with the Trade Secrets Act. 

While it will be several months before the 2021 AFMER report is published, ATF has published an interim report with data for total firearms manufactured and exported by firearm type for us to review in the meantime.

Interim 2021 AFMER Overview

During 2020, firearm manufacturers produced 11,064,078 combined handguns, rifles, shotguns, and miscellaneous firearms. When published, the pandemic year ranked second in total firearm production since ATF began tracking production in 1986, beaten out only by 2016 (11,497,441). However, both totals have since been surpassed with the latest interim report.

In 2021, a record-breaking 13,802,787 firearms were produced, including new highs in pistol and revolver production, and top-two rifle and miscellaneous firearm totals. More than 2.3 million firearms than the previous high of 2016, much of the gain came from the production of handguns (pistols and revolvers), which increased 1.2 million from the category record previously set in 2020.

From 2020 to 2021, nearly 1.3 million more .22, .380, and 9mm caliber pistols were manufactured, with rimfire revolver production also growing 24% from 2020-2021. Most other caliber categories saw slight to moderate declines.

Meanwhile, firearm exports were down 15% in 2021 (458,671) from 2020, despite the export of rifles and shotguns growing 38% and 35%, respectively.

Interim 2021 AFMER Data

Firearms Manufactured

Pistols: 6,751,742
Revolvers: 1,159,916
Total Handguns: 7,911,658

Rifles: 3,933,398
Shotguns: 675,450
Misc. Firearms: 1,282,281

Total Firearms: 13,802,787

Firearms Exported

Pistols: 237,194
Revolvers: 25,651
Total Handguns: 262,561

Rifles: 160,281
Shotguns: 27,487
Misc. Firearms: 8,342

Total Firearms: 458,671

AFMER Data Comparison (2019-2021)

Below is a comparison of firearm manufacturing totals from 2019-2021, per ATF AFMER reports.

TYPE
2019
2020
2021
PISTOLS
3,046,013
5,509,183
6,751,742
REVOLVERS
580,601
993,078
1,159,916
RIFLES
1,957,667
2,760,392
3,933,398
SHOTGUNS
480,735
476,682
675,450
MISC
946,929
1,324,743
1,282,281
TOTAL
7,011,945
11,064,078
13,802,787

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