Industry Report: All-Time High Gun Sales Recorded in November

Industry Report: All-Time High Gun Sales Recorded in November

The firearms industry had an awful lot to be thankful for this past November.

According to a PowerPoint presentation released by Smith & Wesson, gun sales hit an all-time high in November with the most background checks in recorded history, according to data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

The Smith & Wesson presentation also cites Black Friday as the largest gun sales day in recorded history.


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The FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) reported 2,006,919 background checks in November, breaking the previous record of 1,862,327 set in December 2011. As of Nov. 30, the FBI had conducted 16,808,538 background checks — also an all-time high.

According the FBI, the number of annual background checks has increased since 2002, when a total of 8,454,322 background checks were recorded.

The NICS was launched by the FBI on Nov. 30, 1998, to determine whether prospective firearms customers are "eligible to buy firearms or explosives." Cashiers are required by law to call in a check to the FBI or "other designated agencies" to determine whether the customer has a criminal record or is otherwise prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm. According to the FBI, more than 100 million checks have been made in the last decade, and over 700,000 denials have been issued.


These record sales should come as no surprise. Companies across the industry have recorded unprecedented growth in recent years, including Sturm, Ruger & Co., Smith & Wesson and Hornady, to name a few. Though Ruger's stock slipped 2 percent Tuesday, the company was ranked No. 4 on Forbes' Best Small Companies list. Meanwhile, Smith & Wesson reported a 48-percent increase in sales and a backlog of orders valued at approximately $392 million for the first fiscal quarter of 2012. In the meantime, ammunition manufacturer Hornady's continued growth earned the family-owned business the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers Ammunition Manufacturer of the Year award for the third year in a row.

And with plenty of time left in the calendar year, it's safe to say numbers will continue to climb.

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