The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s initial Modern Sporting Rifle Report, conducted in 2010, provided the first professional survey data on ownership of these popular semiautomatic rifles.
The report revealed that owners were passionate about their MSRs, that most used them often and largely for target shooting, that they owned multiple modern sporting rifles and they enjoyed accessorizing them.
The newly released update of the report—NSSF Modern Sporting Rifle Comprehensive Consumer Report 2013—shows these characteristics remain true, with much of the data falling within the range of the earlier report.
Nearly 22,000 owners of AR- and AK-platform modern sporting rifles participated in the survey, which was commissioned by NSSF and conducted by Sports Marketing Surveys.
Among the findings were that most modern sporting rifles were purchased from an independent retail store, with the average cost $1,058, which is $25 less than the average from the 2010 study. The preferred calibers were not surprising—.223/5.56mm for the AR platform and the usual 7.62mm x 39mm for AK-platform rifles.
The new report shows 35 percent of MSR owners had some military or law enforcement background—a figure lower than the 44 percent in the 2010 report.
“The owner base for modern sporting rifles has expanded,” said Jim Curcuruto, NSSF’s director of industry research and analysis. “MSRs have been among the most popular selling firearms in recent years. While the rifle remains popular with those who have military or law enforcement experience, ownership has expanded to other gun owners. Given the popularity and versatility of MSRs, I don’t think that will come as a surprise to anyone.”
Additional findings in the report include:
- Of those who own only one MSR, 49 percent said they purchased their first in 2012 or 2013, with 82 percent of recent purchases AR-platform rifles.
- The amount owners spent on accessorizing their ARs rose from an average of $211 to $381.
- Those who own multiple MSRs are more active shooters, with 92 percent target shooting, almost 50 percent of them hunting and 19 percent using them in competition.
- Those who own 4 or more MSRs are more likely to own an AK-platform MSR.
- Over a third of MSR owners gained interest in the rifle through a friend.
The NSSF Modern Sporting Rifle Comprehensive Consumer Report 2013: Ownership, Usage and Attitudes Toward AR- and AK-Platform Modern Sporting Rifles is available to NSSF business members as a member benefit at www.nssf.org/research.