Author:Southwick, Rob

The handgun market has many different types of consumers, each wanting to buy for different reasons and uses. With high rates of representation across women, minorities and communities along the urban edge, many of these growth segments report little knowledge of firearms and limited shooting experience--but high rates of interest.

Southwick Associates and NSSF recently published a new report, "Handgun Consumers: An In-Depth Exploration." This report examines the demographics, firearm-related activities, motivations, needs, purchase drivers and shopping habits of those who own a handgun and those looking to buy one. This study, a supplement to the "Consumer Segmentation Analysis on the Commercial Firearms & Accessories Market" takes an in-depth look at two distinct groups:

1) Handgun Owners: Defined as those who owned a handgun as their first firearm and/or recently purchased a handgun in the past 5 years.

2) Intending To Buy: Defined as those who plan to buy a handgun in the next 5 years regardless of whether they currently own a handgun or not.

According to the study--compared to current and traditional handgun owners--the new handgun consumer is younger, skews female and is ethnically diverse. More than half of women and Hispanics who owned a handgun as their first firearm are most likely to express interest in buying another in the next 5 years. There are also active target shooters and hunters who want to purchase a second handgun or buy their first one. Although they come from different backgrounds, their passions for home- or self-protection and the desire for proficiency are driving them to put a "handgun, especially a semi-automatic" on their shopping list. Many of these new segments are seeking reliable firearms from reputable brands, and are most likely to talk with friends, family and co-workers, and read reviews to determine which brand best meets their needs. They're also likely to try different firearms at a range...

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