Meet The Firearms Industry: Trade Associations

Written by Orchid


September 03, 2021


White text atop red background next to NSSF logo on blue background of SHOT Show floor

Think of almost any product- or service-based industry and odds are good there’s at least one related trade association. For clothing and shoe manufacturers, there’s the American Apparel & Footwear Association. For hiking, biking and skiing brands, there’s the Outdoor Industry Association. From film studios to financial institutions, beer to boats, and seemingly everything in between, businesses in specific industries often form trade groups or associations to handle public relations and marketing, advertising, education, political lobbying and more.

Like many industries, the firearms industry is supported by multiple trade associations, representing the entire industry, as well as specific sectors within. This article will look at each from a high level, detailing their missions, work and contributions to shooting sports.

National Shooting Sports Foundation
Representing the entire firearms industry is the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). Formed in 1961, the NSSF is the top firearms industry trade association for all firearm manufacturers, distributors, retailers, shooting ranges and media, directed by executives from throughout the industry.

Guided by a mission to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports, the NSSF is deeply involved in conducting industry research, educating FFLs and gun owners about business strategy, regulations and firearm safety, sponsoring National Shooting Sports Month (August) and the annual SHOT Show, and engaging all levels of government in support of Second Amendment rights.

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National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers
Bridging the gap between firearm industry buyers and sellers, the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers (NASGW) represents shooting sports wholesalers and distributors, manufacturers and sales professionals.

Founded in 1953, the NASGW strives to promote the common interest of the sporting goods industry through education, marketing and communications, organizing the NASGW Expo & Annual Meeting and analyzing business insights with its NASGW SCOPE program.

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American Suppressor Association
Formed in 2011, the American Suppressor Association (ASA) was born out of the idea that all law-abiding citizens should be able to use suppressors to help protect their hearing.

Led by suppressor and firearms executives, the ASA has been fighting for pro-suppressor reform for over a decade, lobbying to legalize and deregulate suppressor ownership and use nationwide through education and grassroots campaigns. As a result of their efforts, nearly two dozen states to date have changed their regulations for suppressor ownership and use while hunting.

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Sporting Arms & Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute
With origins pre-dating WWI, the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) was founded in 1926 at the request of the U.S. Department of Commerce to create an exchange of technical information between firearm, ammunition and component manufacturers.

Today, SAAMI continues to coordinate such information, creating standards for terminology, performance, interchangeability and safety, including responsible transportation, storage and use. Notably, SAAMI Cartridge & Chamber Drawings establish standardized loadings for newly introduced ammunition, such as the recently added 6mm Creedmoor, .350 Legend and 12GA 1-3/4” “minishells.”

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Firearms & Ammunition Import/Export Roundtable
A nonprofit lobbying trade association, the Firearms & Ammunition Import/Export Roundtable (FAIR) has been protecting the interests of the firearms and ammunition import/export community since 1994.

Working closely with U.S. Department of Justice, State and Commerce agencies, FAIR has been effective in promoting policy and statutory regulation on behalf of its members, including successfully extending the International Import Certificate validity period, restricting changes to the current Curio & Relic List and increasing the exemption value of firearm parts exported to Canada. FAIR also co-sponsors the annual Firearms and Ammunition Import/Export Conference with the Society of International Affairs.

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Archery Trade Association
While not directly related to the firearms industry, archery, hunting and shooting sports can and do overlap. Serving manufacturers, distributors and retailers since 1953, the Archery Trade Association (ATA) works to inspire growth, increase participation and preserve the sports of archery and bowhunting.

Similar to the NSSF, the ATA is the top trade association for the archery and bowhunting industry, helping to educate both its members and consumers, implement business best practices, advocate for policy initiatives and promote the sport. Held prior to SHOT Show each year, the ATA also operates the industry’s largest event in the ATA Trade Show.

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Together, these trade associations are responsible for making the firearms industry what it is today and continue to fight restrictive Second Amendment legislation, promote the growth of hunting and shooting sports, and educate FFLs and consumers about business, technology and politics.

For over a decade, Orchid has proudly supported and partnered with firearms industry’s trade associations and their members, sharing our expertise at industry events, highlighting group news and offering membership discounts to our customers.

If your business is new to the firearms industry, we strongly urge you to join, support and participate in our industry’s trade associations. Contact us today to find out how you can receive a membership discount.

Orchid Industry Partners


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