2001 was a tough year! U.S. companies confront harsh economy and increased imports.

Author:Thurman, Russ
Position:Firearm Production
 
FREE EXCERPT

United States firearm production declined in 2001, according to the latest data available from the ATF. In 2001, U.S. companies made less than three million guns, a first in modern history.

In another first, a long-gun company became the country's top firearm manufacturer. Remington Arms took the top position in 2001 on the strength of a 16 percent increase in rifle production.

Sturm, Ruger, the perennial top U.S. manufacturer, posted a 23-percent decline in production, moving it to the second spot.

While U.S. production dropped in 2001, the number of imports increased. From 1997 to 2001, U.S. firearm production dropped 19 percent. However, foreign imports increased 43 percent. When U.S. exports are deducted from the U.S. inventory, this leaves a less-devastating 4-percent decrease in the number of guns available to the U.S. market from 1997 to 2001.

Imports, of course, help the distribution system and gun dealers, but challenge U.S. manufacturers. In addition, exports by U.S. companies have dropped significantly. From 1997 to 2001, exports decreased 41 percent. In 2001, there was an 89-percent trade deficient in firearms.

The result: U.S. companies face extreme challenges of a harsh economy, loss of sales to imports and a demanding marketplace.

Still, overall U.S. production will increase in 2003, driven by post-9/ 11 homeland-security contracts and demands of everyday citizens seeking self-protection. Outdoor activities also are making a comeback, which will help drive demand for recreational firearms.

Total 2001 Production

Total firearms production in 2001 dropped 23 percent, exceeding the dramatic 16-percent loss in 1995. In 2001, manufacturers made 2,907,589 firearms, 855,765 fewer than the 3,763,345 in 2000. Production in 2001 fell in all firearm categories. Handgun production was hit the hardest, with a 26-percent drop in production.

Top Manufacturers

The top three firearm manufacturers in 2001, and the number of guns they produced, were:

* Remington Arms: 565,586,

* Sturm, Ruger: 515,031,

* Marlin Firearms: 258,363.

In 2001, Remington produced 289,470 rifles (+16%) and 276,116 shotguns (-22%), an overall decrease of 7 percent from 2000.

Ruger made 263,691 handguns (-24%), 243,600 rifles (-21%) and 7,740 shotguns (-57%). Overall, Ruger's 2001 production was down 23 percent from 2000.

Marlin manufactured 258,383 rifles in 2001, a 10-percent drop in production over 2000.

The top three handgun manufacturers for 2001, the number of guns made, and the percentage of change from 2000, were:

* Ruger: 263,691 (-24%),

* Smith & Wesson: 155,560 (-30%),

* Bryco Arms: 66,874 (-43%).

The top three rifle producers in 2001 were:

* Remington: 289,470 (+16%),

* Marlin: 258,383 (-10%),

* Ruger: 243,600 (-21%).

The top three shotgun companies in 2001 were:

* Remington: 276,116 (-22%),

* Mossberg: 168,733 (-52%),

* H&R 1871: 140,758 (-13%),

Handgun Production

In 2001, handgun production decreased to 943,213, the first time pistol and revolver production dropped below the one-million mark in modern gun history. The 26-percent decrease from the 1,281,861 handguns made in 2000 is a loss of 338,648 firearms.

Pistol production decreased 35 percent in 2001, with 623,070 guns manufactured. This is again the hardest hit category within the industry.

Every pistol category decreased in 2001. Decreases occurred in .22s (-33%), .25s (-75%), .32s (-5%), .380 (-62%), 9mms (23%) and .40/.45/.50s (-40%).

Revolver production increased less than 1 percent in 2001, with 320,143 revolvers made, compared to 318,960 in 2000. There were increases in .32s (+213%), .357s (+7%) and .45/.50s (+23%). Decreases occurred in .22s (-3%), .38s (-16%) and .44s (-16%).

Long-Gun Production

Manufacturers made 1,284,554 rifles in 2001, a drop of 19 percent over 2000 when 1,583,042 were produced.

In shotguns, the total 2001 production of 679,813 was 218,629 fewer than the year before. This 24-percent decrease comes on top of a 19-percent drop in 2000.

U.S. Exports And Imports

U.S. companies exported 161,672 guns in 2001. The top three U.S. exporters, and the percentages of change from 2000, were:

* Smith & Wesson: 36,184 (-28%),

* Remington: 32,119 (+43%),

* Sturm, Ruger: 14,914 (-26%).

In 2001, there were 1,411,979 firearms imported into the U.S. The top importers were:

* Italy: 298,703 (+85%),

* Brazil: 241,020 (-3%),

* Austria: 234,566 (-8%).

[GRAPH OMITTED]

U.S. FIREARM PRODUCTION Total U.S. Firearm Production By Type 1982 - 2001 Year Handguns Rifles Shotguns Total 1982 2,628,623 1,622,890 878,568 5,130,081 1983 1,966,836 1,109,930 959,663 4,036,329 1984 1,580,551 957,518 772,993 3,311,062 1985 1,550,071 1,140,669 769,505 3,460,245 1986 1,427,627 970,541 641,482 3,039,650 1987 1,658,832 1,006,100 857,949 3,522,881 1988 1,745,722 1,144,707 928,070 3,818,499 1989 2,031,425...

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