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Sharp Shooting Indoor Range Spokane

By now you’ve probably heard that according to the FBI, which is responsible for maintaining and running the National Instant [Criminal Background] Check System (NICS), Black Friday 2016 broke the all-time single-day NICS check record. With 185,713 background checks processed, the previous record — set on Black Friday 2015 — was surpassed by a whopping 368 checks.

Tribunist points out that, if a single gun was sold for each of these NICS checks, it would be more than “enough firearms to arm each of the 182,000 active duty members of the United States Marine Corps.” 

Images are from Sharp Shooting Indoor Range & Gun Shop in Spokane, WA

Of course, as they also accurately pointed out, one check doesn’t always equal one gun sold. Multiple firearms can be purchased on a single NICS check — I think my transfer record on one NICS is like…six guns? — and 20 states don’t require this Federal check if the purchaser has a valid concealed carry permit in that state. States like Texas.


And yes, it’s also true that a NICS check doesn’t commit the prospective purchaser to buying and that some checks result in denials, but both of those scenarios are very few and far between. In nearly every case the check is only run after the customer has fully made their decision to purchase.

The historical denials rate is only about 0.05% (it was 0.046% in 2015). Applying that denial rate to this year’s Black Friday number, that’s 855 no-go decisions. I think it’s more than safe to say that enough guns were indeed sold on November 25th to fully equip the Leathernecks. Semper fi.


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  1. Remember to with the NICS numbers that some states may have their own system too. At least in PA we do, so that number doesn’t even include any purchases in PA (which was a lot) on top of all the purchases in other states that have their own system or don’t require a NICS with a carry permit. Now PA should probably go and be a part of the federal system because it seems like our system goes down too often like it did for a little while on black friday.

    • This is an interesting point; the so-called Point-of-Contact States have their FFLs clear BCs through the State system. You (Cole) assume that the PoC States’ BCs are not counted in the NICS tally. Perhaps you are right; but I had always assumed that the PoC States routed FFL BCs to NICS AND checked their own State databases as well. (In so doing they might have access to mental health records not submitted to the FBI and some criminal records that would not be disqualifying under Federal law but are disqualifying under that State’s laws.)

      Does anyone really know how the PoC systems work? Do their BCs run through NICS? Do they get counted as part of the NICS count? (One could IMAGINE that the FBI might download their Federal databases to the States periodically – say daily – and then the States check the Federal records without individual queries to NICS. )

      In any case, it’s my understanding that the NSSF has calculated that each NICS check implies the sale of 0.6 new gun(s). Assuming NSSF knows what it is doing, then the NICS check count multiplied by 0.6 is a pretty good estimate of the addition of new guns to the civilian inventory.

      I imagine that the substantial discrepancy: 1 – 0.6 = 0.4 missing guns is accounted for by a thriving market in used guns re-sold by FFLs. The sale of a used gun by an FFL does not add another gun to the civilian inventory. This gun went from one civilian into a dealer’s inventory and then back-out to another civilian. No net increase in the civilian stock.

      • NSSF adjusts with a ~72.5% figure (e.g. 1,000,000 NICS checks = 725,000 sale transactions — not individual firearms, mind you, but sale-related transactions).

        This method works better on a year-long basis, as that adjustment is specifically because NICS checks are not all run by dealers for the purpose of a sale but sometimes (well, the ~27.5% of the time) run by government entities for the purpose of a background check for CCW license and other reasons. So, NICS is used for things other than gun sales. However, in looking at a single sales-focused day like Black Friday, it’s fair to say that the spike is due to people buying guns. No reason to expect a spike in government agencies processing background checks on any particular day…least of all on the day after Thanksgiving. Or, for example, NICS numbers on Saturdays and Sundays. Those are probably 100% sale-related and 0% government application-related background checks.

  2. I wonder what people bought? I for one bought a Henry .22, felt I could relax and not buy something with semi auto and standard capacity. Also my purchase had no NICS due to cpl.

  3. I’m not sure how significate the Friday number is. Local gun stores had one day only sales all that week. I bought a Tuesday only rifle. On Monday, their sale guns were sold out by lunch. They did those sales all week

    • Sure. I mean, people buy guns literally every day of the year. Just so happens that Black Friday has been the #1 gun purchasing day of each year for most years since NICS was established, I do believe, and this year’s set the record. Which meant not only the Black Friday record, but the all-time any single-day most firearms sold in the U.S. ever ever record. So I think it’s fair to say that’s significant.

  4. I did my part on Black Friday. And the gunshop was quite crowded. Because a deal is a deap. So much for sales slowing because of Donnie. I’m cool with black folks,gay folk and Moose-lims buying. America…

  5. I like how in 2008 the record broke due to all the racists afraid of Obama. In 2012 again those darn racists broke the record. This time those racists are at it again striking fear into the hearts of all the minorities (according to NBC News) and forcing them to buy guns to defend themselves from Helter Skelter.

    Seems like the anchor in the narrative was locked decades ago and each time they write this story they always begin with “how are racists affecting gun sales?” If sales should drop next year I guess that would mean there are fewer racists among us.

    • If you’re interested in “narrative was locked” try tuning in to National Peoples Radio. I’ve been researching alien culture this week and have had NPR on. Seriously wacko and delusional.

  6. I feel bad for not contributing, but my big year paycheck comes the week after. (All the OT and holiday pay for that week) so I buy first week of Dec. I also use layaway all year to avoid credit issues.

  7. With approximately a Marine Corps worth of guns purchased by civilians in one day we’re all still going about our business as before. Apparently, unless bundled with a Marine, a gun makes a relatively poor assault and occupation tool.

  8. ‘Tribunist points out that, if a single gun was sold for each of these NICS checks, it would be more than “enough firearms to arm each of the 182,000 active duty members of the United States Marine Corps.”’ Sounds scary but…

    Did they bother to point out that at the end of last year, when the Corps reached 182,100 active duty Marines that the Corps was rated as “weak” in capacity, “marginal” in both capability and readiness after dropping from 25 to 23 battalions 2014, to 21 in 2015 AND that it’s slated to drop to 174K active duty Marines by the end of 2017?? Or that in a 2014 report to Congress it was stated that “60 percent of [the Corps’] non-deployed units [were] experiencing degraded readiness in their ability to execute core missions.”?

    These days the Corps might actually need those 185K firearms.

  9. “How about a nice bullpup for the little lady? This one has a shiny, red and yellow bakelite finish that looks sort of like bloody vomit.”

  10. Wait — didn’t the MSM just tell us that nobody was buying guns anymore because Hillary was defeated? And that 3% of the gun owners have 900% of all the guns in the world?

    Do you really expect me to believe that the MSM lied? That’s unpossible!

    • They already explained that it’s racial minorities, muslims and homosexuals who are arming themselves against the racist, bigoted, homophobic white rednecks who can now attack anyone they want with impunity because Trump.

      But in order to comprehend that logic, you have to smoke what they’re smoking.

      • That’s at least based on a kernel of truth. Mainly, that minorities of various sorts, [overly-] concerned liberals, women, etc, are arming themselves in record numbers. Basically, the most whipped up and fervent of the “nobody needs guns and if you think a gun will protect you from the government you’re delusional” crowd is out there buying guns because they’re afraid of the effects of a tyrannical government. Suddenly, they “get it.” They can actually now envision a scenario in which they could end up fighting for their rights and needing firearms to do that effectively.

        And this is good, of course, for gun rights. As these folks go to gun shops and learn just how much red tape there actually is to buying a gun and become frustrated at 10-day cooling off periods and various licenses, registration, taxes, etc.

  11. How about the oppressed 2nd amendment rights of US citizens/residents of NJ, N.Y., Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, D.C, etc…While everyone else enjoys liberty in “Free-States” with indifferent background,or instant check POS…Unlike those that get the full meal deal of 2nd amendment infringements through local/state police permissions, denials, bureaucracy, or licensing….It should be freedom for all…under the 14 th amendment…Or as It was stated in the constitution ; any person from one state. Going into another has the same rights as any other person in any other state….

    • Indeed, this article could have been titled, “Black Friday Gun Sales Flat.”

      But when the totals for 2016 are compared to 2015, we will have plenty of reason for optimism.

    • In Willy World, setting a new record is damning because it wasn’t a big enough record. WTF?

      In the real world, it means that more guns were purchased this Black Friday than any other Black Friday since the count began.

      • Any other single day, period.

        I was impressed it wasn’t down, let alone keeping pace or up. There was a decent amount of pre-Hillary “panic buying” in the lead-up to the election, and a lot of speculation that sales would drop off a cliff if Trump won. Did you see what happened to S&W and Ruger stock prices after the election, for instance (~15% drops)? So despite the Trump win and despite the fact that many would-be Black Friday gun shoppers had already made purchases in the lead-up to the election, it still set the all-time single-day record. I don’t think this is insignificant. It’s continued growth despite the near elimination of fears around new Federal regulations.


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