Courtesy NSSF
Previous Post
Next Post

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has just released their tally of adjusted NICS background checks for April. It’s the best indicator of retail gun sales activity. The number show that during the COVID-19 emergency, with prisons and jails continuing to release criminals and police forces reduced by infections, Americans are buying more guns than ever before.

On top of the personal defense motivation, new uncertainty about meat supplies due to infections at processing plants has more people thinking about getting their protein the old fashioned way.

Here’s the NSSF’s press release . . .

The April 2020 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 1,678,223 is an increase of 69.1 percent compared to the April 2019 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 992,642For comparison, the unadjusted April 2020 FBI NICS figure 2,878,176 reflects a 24.9 percent increase from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,305,136 in April 2019.

Please note: Twenty-five states currently have at least one qualified alternative permit, which under the Brady Act allows the permit-holder, who has undergone a background check to obtain the permit, to purchase a firearm from a licensed dealer without a separate additional background check for that transfer. The number of NICS checks in these states does not include these legal transfers based on qualifying permits and NSSF does not adjust for these transfers. Recently, the states of Alabama and Michigan had law changes that affected their Brady Law standing which removed qualifying alternate permits usage for firearm transactions. These changes went into effect July 22, 2019 for Alabamaand March 3, 2020 for Michigan. In April 2020, Alabama state’s NSSF-adjusted NICS was 263.0 percent higher than April 2019, which accounts for an additional 35,564 checks over this time last year. April 2020 NICS numbers for Michigan were up 114.8% over April 2019 and account for an additional 21,862 checks.

April adjusted NICS checks
Courtesy NSSF

The adjusted NICS data were derived by subtracting out NICS purpose code permit checks and permit rechecks used by states for CCW permit application checks as well as checks on active CCW permit databases. NSSF started subtracting permit rechecks in February 2016.

Though not a direct correlation to firearms sales, the NSSF-adjusted NICS data provide an additional picture of current market conditions. In addition to other purposes, NICS is used to check transactions for sales or transfers of new or used firearms.

It should be noted that these statistics represent the number of firearm background checks initiated through the NICS. They do not represent the number of firearms sold or sales dollars. Based on varying state laws, local market conditions and purchase scenarios, a one-to-one correlation cannot be made between a firearm background check and a firearm sale.

Previous Post
Next Post


    • But it will be worth it…nice solid steel wheel gun…
      will last for 100+ years if taken care of

  1. Keep an eye on Ruger this week as the usually report their 1st quarter results in the first full week of May (COVID could delay). They generally provide solid color on the state of the industry in their earnings release and subsequent SEC filings.

    • I don’t know, Rug. Mini 14 is most popular rifle in Canada and those sales will now be zero. I personally think 10/22 and not home defense when I think of ruger. I don’t know that ruger stock will be much of a bell weather reflective of the tsunami of Sales and profit glock, smith and sig are surely seeing and will persist for a year if things go south electorally in nov.

      I think the upcoming elections are more of a factor for sales.

      Also most people I know might have elevated spends for lowers, base pistols driving nics checks and ammo during times when current or accute risk to gun ownsship rights, but also spend on other items like optics, accessories, non ammo supplies, and training the rest of the time. I did some top level training, and bought a couple of night sights, a top end scope in 2017-18.

      So take the nics data and Ruger stock with more than a few grams of sand. Relevant data? Yes. Really reflective of firearms and firearms related industry? Nope.

      • “Mini 14 is most popular rifle in Canada and those sales will now be zero.”

        You may be correct on that, but the cliff-drop in sales will affect Q2 and beyond. Mark mentioned Q1, so…

      • Of note if there is a Dem White House and Dem senate I thing “AW” Rifle ban Is a certainty and that mini 14 will be in it. Self defense s/a pistols, in which ruger is a relative bit player wont be, and those sales will skyrocket, making ruger numbers less relevant

      • From most recent to oldest I have bought new:
        Ruger PC Carbine (late Dec 2019)
        Ruger 10/22
        Ruger American Rimfire Magnum
        Ruger American Rifle .30-06
        Ruger SR9
        Ruger Blackhawk .45 Colt
        Ruger 10/22 (back when they cost $49 new)

        That’s not counting other brands and models of course. Including a Remington R51 at half price sale end of the year 2019.

        So I’ve missed out of the current frenzy. 🙁

        But I look forward to the used gun markets in the next couple of years. 🙂

  2. Waiting for my Hellcat and Sig optic now.
    No rush…price was good…have plenty on hand already.
    Will count towards the May or June or whenever total.
    Hoping everyone out there is safe and healthy and prepared.

  3. Done with buying guns. I have enough, plus extras.

    Done with stockpiling ammunition. I have enough for literally years of training. (although one more box won’t hurt…just one more…then one more after that…)

    Almost done with accessories and gear. The next phase of my spending will be optics and upgrades, like triggers, etc.

    • “Done with buying guns.”
      Hey, hey, hey! HEY. NOW!!! Nuff wit the krazy-talkin’ tally-talk yammeri’.

      Set yersef down and THINK about what you just said.

    • That ‘flu’ is affecting your thinking. You must go out and do some shooting. Then you will realize the error of your ways. May the fourth be with you! (missed yesterday)

  4. Did not purchase any guns last quarter, but bought about a thousand rounds of 9mm and .380 at surprisingly good prices. Doing my bit to keep the firearms industry in the black. This past weekend, purchased 6 Made-in-USA ammo cans (plastic, but solid). Five for ammo, one for my lunch.

  5. No more guns until I solve some focusing issues, eyesight problems. 20/20 with my glasses, but when I focus on the front sight of my G43, the rear sights become so blurry that aligning them to keep my shots closely grouped is difficult. It’s better with my G17 due to the longer barrel.

    Practicing daily with a laser bullet to re-train my eyes. Seeing some real improvement (yes, I did that). When my grouping get tighter, I will reward my self with another gun…if there are no intervening, unforeseen family expenses…because they are so infrequent…

    • Savor, I been there. Dunno the cause of your focus problem, but I know the cause of mine. Used to be, I could focus on the rear sight, the front sight, and the target all at the same time. Used to be I wasn’t over 70. I currently cannot focus on any sight on a handgun, although my vision is 20/16 without glasses. The answer, friend, is a laser sight. You can focus on the target, and see the laser dot on that target. Eye exercises may delay the time you need the laser, but chances are that’s where you’re headed. Some of my favorite memories are of lining up iron sights on some target or another, but I’m not hanging up life because I am no longer able to do that. Try LaserMax Gripsense sights, they’re pretty amazing.

      • I hear ya…turning 66 soon. I WAS getting an eyetest & probably glasses until the Kungflu derailed 2 appointment’s cancelled. Solved AR sighting with a red dot & magnifier. Exploring getting a red dot for pistol’s. Good luck! I was dead on at 30-50ft a short 9 years ago…

        • LarryinTx, FWW,

          Thank you for your thoughtfulness!

          I have been researching red dots, realizing it my be the future, HOWEVER, I am stubborn. Sooner or later I know I will have to take your advice. In the meantime, I am going to fight like hell. After all, that’s how we stay strong, energized, enjoying life where we can. I am sure you know exactly what I mean.

          Again, thank you!

  6. Ran across two of my wants in the last couple weeks. One I picked up mid April. Winchester takedown 94 in .22 mag.

    Just got shipping notice that my new (to me) pistol is on its way, so I’ll get an early start for May. Loaded up a bit of Elmer Keith loads for this one.

  7. Didn’t see anything that made me want to pull the trigger. My favorite pawnshop has a lonely 22rifle and told me to come back in a few months. Gun shops sucking. Sadly I have $ to spend😩

  8. Bought a Henry in April.

    As an aside, 357 SIG is now cheaper than .45 ACP, but 13 cents a round in some places.

  9. Recently offered a young lady I helped raise to pay her way in professional pistol classes (we’ve a couple of pro lady pistoleros run a school around these parts) and provide the hardware of her choice when she turns 21 in a couple of months. So if the current buying frenzy continues at least that much longer, guess I will get to take part.

    Otherwise, got all I can handle for now.

  10. Notice how 2017, 2018, and 2019 are higher than all previous years except one despite all of the fake news reports that Trump being in office was killing the industry.

  11. Last week Someone might have or have not finished another eighty percent lower for his extra AR10 upper in 6.5 CM, so it doesn’t have to share one with the 308. New rifle, no NICS. Now if I only could go to the range to test it.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here