NASGW Reports Massive Growth in Ammunition Sales

Shooting Industry Trade Show NASGW
Shooting Industry Trade Show NASGW

Ankeny, IA -( As we pass the 15-day mark, in the U.S.’s Flattening the COVID-19 Curve timeline, the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers (NASGW) SCOPE data platform reports another record week in firearms and ammunition shipments. Ammunition sales nearly doubled for the week ending March 21. When we look at year-to-date (YTD) numbers for 2020, ammunition sales are up 49% compared to the three-year average (3YR AVG), and 188% and the week-over-week, growing from $9.9m to $18.6m.

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NASGW Sales March 21 2020
Ammunition data from Jan 1st to Mar 21st shows a massive climb in sales.

Firearms shipments were up 67% on the week. As of the 21st, they posted a more modest growth of 2% YTD against the 3YR AVG. As firearms shipments keep rising, keeping the supply chain moving will be the challenge in meeting the demand.

Jan to Mar 2020 Firearms Shipments
The number of firearms shipped has increased more than 100% from last year at this time.

All in all, SCOPE DLX revealed that it was another massive week for the ammunition market and our distributors, as COVID-19 continues to have a widespread impact on our industry. This unparalleled industry tool helps distributors and manufacturers by providing them with easy to understand data and information about real market situations so they can make better decisions. “Our partners continue to navigate the uncharted waters of COVID-19 with SCOPE DLX as a ‘compass,'” says Easton Kuboushek, NASGW Director of Data Programs. “It’s rewarding to see members ask questions and engage in SCOPE more frequently.”

While still on the rise, optics shipments were still below the 3YR AVG at -4%. For the 2020 YTD shipments, they rose 5%, and their year-over-year growth was a little over 28% YTD.

NASGW Optic Sales Jan Mar 2020
Sales of optics are up too, though not the same extent as arms and ammo.

NASGW SCOPE is an industry-leading data analytics platform. Built, in partnership, with shooting sports manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, SCOPE DLX collects weekly shipment data from 20 leading distributors that represent demand from thousands of FFLs across the United States.

NASGW SCOPE is an industry-owned, distributor led initiative designed to help shooting sports businesses collect and analyze data. NASGW recently announced the acquisition of CustomerLink Exchange (CLX) and the integration of point-of-sale data into the SCOPE platform. SCOPE CLX, powered by eComSystems, Inc, will soon be released with benefits for shooting industry manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. To learn more about SCOPE and the upcoming launch of SCOPE CLX, visit or contact [email protected] to see how SCOPE data can benefit your business.


National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers (NASGW)The National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers is comprised of wholesalers, manufacturers, independent sales reps, media and service providers – both national and international – all of whom are primarily focused on shooting sports equipment and accessories. As a trade association representing the business interests of its members, NASGW’s mission is to bring shooting sports buyers and sellers together. For more information about the NASGW, visit the association’s website at

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Will Flatt

This data is consistent with the purchasing behavior of Americans in past times of uncertainty. We tend to run out & buy lots of ammo whenever we perceive there is an upcoming interruption to the ammunition supply chain. Yes, Americans expend a LOT of ammo every year for things like hunting, competition, PRACTICE, ALWAYS LOTS OF PRACTICE, plinking for fun, and pest control (as opposed to proper hunting for actual game). In addition to this huge sum of ammo bought every year, we Americans buy ammo for the explicit and sole purpose of preparedness. It gets cached in or under… Read more »


We’re real good for now. If we don’t go to a civil war and when this Covid-19 goes away, if it does, there will almost be wholesale prices on ammo especially defensive stuff. It would be cool to pay 45 cents a round for Critical Defense.


@OM – Not a fan of Critical Defense. In my opinion if you’re going with Hornady (sp?) Critical Duty is better choice. Penetration is minimal at best for Critical Defense. About to order a 10mm conversion for my 40cal. Been meaning to do so anyway, and for defensive ammo that caliber seems to currently be the cheapest. Even crappy 10mm beats most 9mm, so once I find a way to properly function test I’ll be good. Have plenty of practice ammo stocked, because that is what I use – but defensive stock is limited. Have plenty for one load out… Read more »


“About to order a 10mm conversion for my 40cal.” Really?


@RoyD – Chose to just wait for 9mm prices to come down. Have an EAA Witness, full-size steel frame in 40cal. Frame is built for 10mm and 45acp, so 40cal is technically a factory conversion from 10mm. Magazines have aa welded in insert for reduced length of 40cal. Swap takes barrel, recoil spring and magazines without the insert. Further research reminded me that these guns have a reputation of failing under heavy use of higher powered rounds. Like this reputation was earned by users using insufficient recoil springs, but would rather not turn a functional tool into a paper weight.… Read more »

Ansel Hazen

I went the other way. I bought .357 sig barrels for my 40’s. That lets me load ammo for both 9mm and the Sigs using the same 124 gr hollow point.

American Patriot

I expected the panic buying this year, however I expected it in the summer closer to the election time. Glad I stocked up during the last couple yrs, I’m good for the “A-pac-a-lips”

Get Out

When the run on guns and ammo began when Obama was running for office I broke out the shotgun, rifle and pistol reloaders and didn’t worry about ammo shortages then either. After the run was over I replenished what reloading components that had been used up. I also bought a couple boxes of .22 ammo a month after that too.


@OV – Because preppers and competitive shooters typically have 223 and 9mm firearms. Those people drive continuous demand which stores ate stocked to supply. Both of those groups are likely well stocked already, so are typically not panic shopping – while people with 22s are likely to be less well prepared. Some also consider the 22lr to be the best apocalypse firearm. Ammo is light so you can carry more rounds. For survival hunting one is more likely to be eating small animals for which 22 is a great hunting round. Also as someone recently commented to me – 22LR… Read more »

Get Out

@OV, I’m not sure why people panic buy .22 ammo, but for me it’s better practice ammo leading up to hunting season to help ID and correct any bad habits.