The firearms industry is everchanging, and there’s no better illustration than the annual SHOT Show. While this year’s show may have been without some notable exhibitors, the ongoing pandemic hasn’t slowed manufacturer innovation.
After scouring aisles of booths and reading countless new product press releases, we compiled our findings into five firearm manufacturing trends for 2022.
Firearm Manufacturing Trends
In April 2020, the ATF reported more than 620,000 suppressors were registered in the U.S. By May 2021, that number had grown to over 2.6 million suppressors – an annual increase of 30%. Thanks in part to ASA lobbying efforts, greater consumer education and widespread adoption by gun owners, the growth of the suppressor market can also be linked to the growing number of suppressor manufacturers.
This year continues that trend, with the likes of Aero Precision and Nosler joining the ranks, while manufacturers such as SIG SAUER, Maxim Defense, Silencer Central, Gemtech and HUXWRX Safety Co. – formerly OSS Suppressors – continue to expand their lineups. Swiss-based manufacturer B&T is also bringing suppressors stateside for the first time, where the once silent part of the firearms industry is looking to make big noise in 2022.
Pistol Caliber Carbines
Like suppressors, pistol caliber carbines (PCCs) have been a popular trend among firearm consumers in recent years. Manufactured by the likes of CZ, Ruger, CMMG and others, PCCs offer light recoil, easy handling and ammunition compatibility ideal for home defense and competition uses.
This year, first-time entries into the PCC market by LMT and CAA USA were joined by line extensions and new firearms from Angstadt Arms, B&T USA, Four Peaks, POF-USA, SIG SAUER and more, further proving consumer demand for pistol caliber firearms in larger platforms.
Long Range Shooting
From hunting big game in the Rockies to competing in the Precision Rifle Series, more gun owners are shooting farther than ever, and manufacturers have responded with firearms and optics to support their long-range endeavors.
New this year were new bolt-action rifle chassis and complete rifles from Aero Precision – another new market for the manufacturer – Bergara, Browning, Cadex Defense, Christensen Arms and MDT, and long-range optics from Leupold, Vortex, Sightron and others as the long list of options continues to grow for long range shooters.
It wouldn’t be a new year without the introduction of new calibers. With the ammunition market finally restabilizing, manufacturers and their ballisticians have been busy cooking up the latest rounds for training, hunting and self-defense.
Headlined by Federal’s new 30 Super Carry, offering greater capacity than 9mm and performance than .380 ACP, newly available calibers also include True Velocity’s 6.8 TVC for the commercial market, Faxon and Q’s joint 8.6 Blackout project, and the hard-hitting .375 Bishop from Bishop Ammunition & Firearms to name a few. New calibers and projectiles were also added to numerous lines from Berger, Federal, Hornady, Winchester and others.
Following the conclusion of the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun System (MHS) competition a few years ago, firearm manufacturers such as GLOCK, FN Herstal, Smith & Wesson and winner, SIG SAUER, began offering their designs originally intended for military use to the civilian market. This year, consumers won’t have to wait for the winner of the ongoing Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGWS) program to be announced as both SIG SAUER and Beretta (with the help of True Velocity and LoneStar) will bring civilian versions of their latest military rifles to market.
Only one company may earn the military contract, but all firearm consumers will benefit from the development of the future weapon systems hitting gun dealer shelves at home.
Despite all the struggles of the pandemic, the annual SHOT Show is proof firearm manufacturers continue to innovate, listen to consumer demand and advance the shooting sports industry for new and existing gun owners.