Growth in Sport Shooting Participation in the United States 2009–2019

Target Shooting Participation Update
Target Shooting Participation UpdateNSSF.Org

For the past decade, NSSF has contracted with Responsive Management to research and monitor sport shooting participation among adults in the United States. Our latest report, “An Overview of the Growth in Sport Shooting Participation in the United States 2009–2019,” followed and documented the surge in firearms ownership and use, showing an increase in overall shooting participation between 2009 and 2014 before leveling off in 2016 and then rising again in 2018. Participation rates for 10 shooting sports activities were measured. Here are just a few of the takeaways from this extensive report:

• The 2018 adult participation rate in target/sport shooting overall was 22 percent, an increase over the 15-percent rate among adult Americans in 2009 and the highest yet measured in these surveys.

• The rates of participation in the various shooting activities are essentially stable compared to 2016: They all rose, but just slightly (except long-range shooting, which stayed the same).

• The most popular shooting activities in 2018 were target shooting with a handgun (16 percent of Americans participated), target shooting with a rifle (approximately 14 percent), and target shooting at an outdoor range (approximately 13 percent).

• Among the entire population of hunters and sport shooters (those who target shot but did not hunt in 2018, those who hunted but did not target shoot, and those who did both), a majority, 53 percent, are now non-hunters. There has been a steady trend among the entire hunting/shooting population moving to non-hunting, with 3 percent of this population being non-hunters in 2012, 44 percent in 2014, 51 percent in 2016, and 53 percent in 2018.

New shooters were examined in the study. They are more likely than established shooters to go to an indoor range. New shooters are also more likely to be urban or from a small city/town, more likely to be female, and more likely to be non-white than are established shooters.

This report is available free to NSSF members by visiting and logging into the member portal. For additional NSSF research, visit