November 2020 NICS Background check volume
The previous format of the FBI's NICS report
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November, 2020 FBI NICS background checks guns
Courtesy FBI

Yawn. It’s no longer considered news that Americans continue to buy guns at a never-seen-before pace. We’ve been beating down the doors of gun stores since March due to the pandemic and then civil unrest (not to mention prisoner releases and the defund-the-police movement). Throw in the usual Presidential election season bump in sales and now the potential for a Biden presidency and you have all the makings for a perfect storm of firearms demand.

November, of course, was no different. It’s always been an up sales month anyway given Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the traditional beginning of the Christmas buying season. November 2020, though, with the aftermath of the election still playing out, saw the numbers reach new heights.

Year to date through October, 2020 background check volume was already up about 14% over 2019. The year-to-date 2020 NICS volume surpassed all of 2019 back in September.

Now, the more than 3.6 million FBI background checks in November represents a 10% increase over October and a whopping 41% jump over the year-ago total. And November’s total is still only the fourth largest this year.

Again, the requisite caveat: FBI background checks do not equal gun sales. The NSSF will be out soon with their adjusted numbers which are a better measure of actual gun sales. Still, the overall trajectory of background checks in the monthly FBI NICS volume reports are a good indicator of the overall trend in gun sales and the demand for them by Americans. A trend which is continually, unrelentingly upward.


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  1. I am from the UK and still do not understand the ongoing obscession of Americans with gunsWhilst I do have some sympathy with the need for personal and home protection in a Nation wher firearms outnumbe citizens by a margin I might even join THAT queue myself. I, am by the way, familiar with fire arms having been Armourer and Smallarms instructor in the UK Forces for the best part of two decades. What I do not understand is why anybody would need more than ONE good rifle for aybe hunting, or more that one sideram for persona or home protest or why some of those just have to be of large and unmanageable calibre. There is a professional reason why most of the worlds Armed Forces and Police use 9mm Parabellum and that is recommendation enough for me. I found anything else bigger unweildly inaccurate and in any kind of ‘combat’ situation just plain and could not carry sufficient ‘load and In that I include the COLT.45 CAP, MY own personal weapon sidearm when needed was a BROWNING Hi-Power 9mm and with it’s 14 shot load was as much as felt I ever needed though I might bwe tempted nowto swop it for a SIG or a Glock but would not loose any sleep if I couldnt

    • Albert, here in America we’d like to thank you for your curiosity as to our way of life. But honestly, we haven’t cared what British subjects thought since 1776.

      • The perfect answer to satisfy the Kings subjects questions.
        Americans are no ones subject due to our Constitution and Ten Amendments coupled with our Soldiers,Sailors, Airmen,Marines and LEO’S.

        • Albert L J Hall says “What I do not understand is why anybody would need…”

          Your comment to you seems valid, however your curiosity says more about the repressive manner in which your government treats its “subjects”. What you are really asking is the difference between a “Right” and a “Privilege”.

          However I am curious too, please tell us why, from the country that brought us John Locke and Thomas Paine, people are being arrested, fined, and jailed for comments that should be considered free speech?

          Here is but one example; Mark Meechan was arrested for breaching the Communications Act 2003 because he committed a supposed hate crime of making a joke video in which he taught a pug to do the Nazi salute.

          When you can tell us how the UK lost free speech, and the difference between “Subjects” and “Citizens”, you might just answer you own question.

          • “Mark Meechan was arrested for breaching the Communications Act 2003 because he committed a supposed hate crime of making a joke video in which he taught a pug to do the Nazi salute.”

            Now that is freedom right there I tell ya

      • Albert
        You’re not understanding Americans is in part of your being a subject of the crown and Americans being Free.

        I have a friend who emigrated to America from your land of sebjects and he fit’s right in with the rest of Americans,he is armed to the teeth

    • It’s like anything else people enjoy or collect. Why does a train enthusiast need more or different train cars or scenery? Why does my wife need so many purses? And shoes? She had shoes I am sure she doesn’t even know she has. Why does a gardener need more than just a single potted plant? Why does Jay Leno need hundreds of cars? Why does he need a steam powered car? Surely that is too big and antiquated to drive on the street. He would be much better off with a good hybrid mini van.

      Does that make it any clearer?

    • Its not about personal protection at all, its about removing tyrant government which we did in 1776 and will need to do soon again.

    • Reason to have more than one hunting rifle, we have a wide range of animals here in USA. Someone like yourself may think its unethical to shoot a moose with a 22lr through the eye to dispatch it or a 404 Jeffery to shoot a squirrel out of a tree. I myself have many varmint caliber rifles so when I am decimating a prairie dog town I dont burnout a barrel. That and some shots are of excess of 600yrds which the 223 isnt as enjoyable to make.

    • albert old chap…Here in the USA 🇺🇸 we do not have a Bill of Needs we have a Bill Of Rights.

    • Let’s see if we can come up with a few typical firearms that meet the needs many Americans have for more than one of each type:

      1) Ruger LCP (pocket gun, easily concealable in any situation)
      2) SIG SAUER P356 (ideal everyday concealed carry pistol with adequate capacity for most situations)
      3) FN FNX-45 (full-size pistol in a larger caliber with plenty of capacity, good for home defense and some hunting applications)
      4) Mossberg 930 Hunting (for ducks, geese, turkey, pheasant, quail and even a little skeet and trap just for fun)
      5) Remington 870 DM (6 plus 1 round capacity magazine-fed pump gun ideal for home defense)
      6) Savage 110 Hunter (all-around bolt action rifle good for taking North American 4-legged game depending on caliber)
      7) Smith & Wesson M&P Sport II (infinitely configurable, highly adaptable rifle useful for home defense, varmint control, smaller game, target shooting and even some competition)
      8) Browning X-Bolt Max Long Range (good entry level bolt gun for precision rifle shooting and competition)
      9) Ruger 10/22 (because everyone needs a rimfire rifle for plinking, training new shooters, small game and just plain fun)

      There…nine different firearms off the top of my head that a large number of Americans would have plenty of use (and, if it makes you feel better, need) for. Some will have use for more, some fewer depending on their circumstances.

      This is why we have at least 450 million civilian-owned firearms in the United States — probably far more — and why no one will ever disarm us.

      Oh, there’s one other reason for Americans to own more than one type of each kind of gun that comes to mind…because we can. And notice I didn’t even mention them as a bulwark against tyranny, as the Founders intended.

      • As a fairly new gun owner, I can tell you that I followed a very similar path that Dan outlined above, except I don’t have a second shotgun or long range bolt gun…yet.

        • Albert L J Hall, why do you care or even entertain the idea of how “many” guns Americans own, need or want. We don’t care how many sips of tea you have had(need).

    • NEED is a word that’s thrown around in the most silly of fashions. I don’t even NEED to go hunting. I choose to hunt as I like the taste, the challenge, and I don’t like to support big farms. I don’t NEED to hunt birds, but I choose to. I didn’t NEED to inherit my grandfather’s WWII Lee Enfield that he used to put food on the table with. I don’t NEED the pair of Civil War revolvers that I own. I don’t NEED any of the things I collect.

      “I don’t understand why you need”. What a stupid argument

    • “I might even join THAT queue myself.”

      “why anybody would need more than ONE good rifle for aybe hunting, or more that one sideram for persona or home protest”

      In other words, your entire comment is pointless, but since you’re begging for some attention…

      “I might even join THAT queue myself.” You want to criticize others for the same thing you do? That you Alyssa?

      “why anybody would need more than ONE good rifle for aybe hunting, or more that one sideram for persona or home protest”

      Why does anyone need more than one pair of shoes? Why does anyone need more than one vehicle? Why does anyone need more than one house? Are you three years old? Some people NEED different shoes and vehicles for different tasks. Some people WANT different shoes and vehicles for the heck of it. It’s a free country over here, or at least it’s supposed to be. Who the hell are you to judge? Enjoy your authoritarian, free speech not allowed, government. You obviously hate freedom.

    • The previous article demonstrates why one defensive firearm is insufficient. If you ever need to use one it will likely be taken as evidence.

    • It’s not an obsession with guns. It’s a obsession with Freedom. But since you’re in the UK, you wouldn’t understand that.

    • Mr. Hall; allow me to extend my greetings from the U.S.
      You exemplify a utilitarian approach to firearms ownership. There are American gun owners who share this mentality – they buy an AR-15 in 5.56, a G19, and a Mossberg 500 – maybe a bolt action of some kind in .308 or a lever action in 30-30. It is a practical approach to firearms.

      Keep in mind however that Americans use firearms to defend themselves millions of times a year, often without firing a shot. An armed target is not of interest to a criminal. We also have far more hunting opportunities than the UK. Between these two factors Americans are quite fond of their firearms. Many of us view firearm ownership as primary distinction between a subject (a glorified serf) and a citizen (one who has a voice in his governance).

      I never expected to become a “gun guy”. I thought I’d buy a pistol, maybe a rifle, and call it a day.
      Then I started carrying that pistol, and realized that having different models in different sizes would be necessary if I didn’t want to buy a new wardrobe. I have always loved history and I made the mistake of handling milsurp.. and I am looking forward to the day I’ll own one of every (legally allowed) firearm of the wars of the 20th century. Then I started going to an outdoor range regularly and I learned the joys of shooting at a distance. The differences between a 6.5×55 at range and a 45-70, and enjoying both the flat-shooting and accurate Swede, and mortaring 45-70 rounds onto target.

      The closest thing in the UK I could compare it to is people who collect cars, or own multiple vehicles for practical and aesthetic purposes. The best part is, that in the US we are (relatively) free to do so.. thus far, at any rate. If you’re ever in the U.S. for any reason, email TTAG and let them know, I know there are plenty of people (myself included) who would love to show you a good time with an afternoon at the range and BBQ after.

      To borrow the vernacular – cheers mate

    • In America, we have rights. We do not need to justify them.

      And brush your teeth, you filthy animals.

    • Your not allowed to have to any kind of firearms by the order of the Crown in the UK and you know that. Handguns were banned after the Dunblane school massacre in 1996 with the exception of Northern Ireland. The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 and Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997 were passed, which outlawed private ownership of all handguns capable of firing a .22 and larger cartridges in the UK. The use of air weapons/pellet guns was taken out of the Firearms Acts and put under the auspices of the new Anti-Social Behavior Act 2003. And do not get me started on the Knife laws in the UK, which are numerous, with the movement in the UK to ban any pointy knife. You cannot carry any knife in public unless you have a good reason in the UK. Now, the Crown is going after historic handguns and rifles collectors and making them banned items also with a soon to be addition to the UK Firearms Acts. So, stop trolling us Americans and stay on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

    • Just got back from a walk around the local area, which consists of acreages and farms scattered amongst lightly wooded pasture and farmland. My wife and one of my grown children accompanied me. I carried a GP-100 .357 revolver with a 3″ barrel. My wife carried a Smith and Wesson M&P Shield in 9mm. My grown child carried a Ruger Security-9 9 mm.

      It was a beautiful day. Chatted with a neighbor open-carrying a Smith and Wesson 686 revolver.

      No stupid masks, either.

      Isn’t freedom wonderful??

      There is a reason we kicked your asses out of this country.

  2. I’m in there somewhere. I ran into a 1924 Eibar .38 Long revolver a couple of weeks ago and it followed me home. I have a bit of a fetish for all varieties of Eibars.

    On the friends and family front, no more since my friend got his Hellcat in October. I did help him find 1000 rounds of 9mm at not too outrageous prices, and mags on sale at So he is GTG for the basics.

    Somewhere he got the idea to get an Urban Carry holster and I have tried to dissuade him.

    I also told him to save his brass. The legends say that one day primers will flow again…….

  3. My state was overwhelming Trump which generally means owning firearms is old hat and a family tradition. Once a democRat stronghold state things changed slowly once all the rot about the democRat Party surfaced and voters wised up. It’s now at a point to where the dictionary definition for Fool should be, “democRat.”

  4. It’s kinda silly that people rush out to buy guns and then vote for politicians who will try to take them away.

    I swear, the only thing dumber than the average American is an above average Brit.

    • I know a Fudd who still has his Biden sign out in the yard.
      I voiced my disapproval at his electoral choice and he responded with some nonsense about how I should be happy because the value of our collections will go up.
      He’d rather flip an LNIB piece for 30% than enjoy the virtues of liberty.
      I imagine assholes like that are not uncommon given how often property value trumps tax burden in home ownership discussion.

    • Have coworker (a veteran no less who continually refers to himself and other likeminded people as “patriots”) who attempted to lecture me that potentially having to register all of my guns was necessary risk that we should be willing to put up with in order to ensure that Donald Trump was not re-elected.

  5. Who cares how many guns are sold….Do you people think only Good guys are buying?
    Soros paid for all the rioting, who do you think is paying for the destruction of America?
    You need guns for that too…..To keep the lawful people in their place until we say Ahhhh f*ck it!

    • I can tell you from talking to people and helping people that for every Antifa who bought a gun this year a shitload of ordinary people who don’t support burning, looting, and murdering also bought their first guns. And most of them either went on to buy more or are planning to.

      They saw what it takes to buy a gun legally. They got to experience the bureaucracy and red tape. They have started to shift. And they are becoming less amenable to laws restricting their rights. t may take time but they are moving in our direction.

  6. It’s crazy to see this considering that every time I walk into my local Cabelas or the indoor range where they sell firearms there is literally nothing on the shelf. So people are basically buying stuff off the truck as it comes in. At this point you are being limited by manufacturing output, and we are still crushing records even with that limit in play. Praise the lord and pass the ammunition!

  7. Again… Imagine if there wasn’t a supply issue! I would tend to guess that those numbers would be near double what they are. Following my retirement, I worked in a gun store for a year ending at the end of March 2020 and I often visit the largest gun store in the state. Every day it’s the same at these stores, people coming in (like myself) to see what was stocked in the morning. By doing this I was able to buy a beautiful new 1911, a rifle, and (only) several hundred rounds of ammo. I didn’t “need” any of these but I love 1911’s and the rifle filled a gap in my collection. When I purchased my first handgun (Glock 26 Gen 4) I became fascinated by the mechanics of the pistol. It became almost a hobby, stripping and reassembling my weapons, making modifications before acquiring something new to start all over again. I have never been bored with this new hobby until recently when availability became an issue. No, I don’t “need” more guns but almost everyone that I purchase represents a new task, challenge, and learning experience that has helped to keep me sharp in my senior years and keep my dexterity. I’ve purchased at least a dozen weapons from and dozens of parts and accessories online but now the incoming administration whats to eliminate my ability to do that. Why? Because they don’t understand guns, the law, or Americans. If the second amendment falls for liberalism the 4th, 5th and 1st are NOT far behind.

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