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America’s New Target Shooters: Younger, Female and Urban

As shooting sports continue to spread across the nation, more and more new “non-typical” shooters are continually surfacing from coast to coast. Even amidst the political posturing and debates involving gun rights, America’s youth, its females and shooting enthusiasts in urban areas are changing the statistics – for the better.

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the demographic findings of the Analysis of Sport Shooting Participation from 2008-2012 for new shooters has risen dramatically.

  • Younger: 66 percent of new shooters fall into the 18 to 34-year-old category compared to 31 percent in the same age category for established shooters.
  • Female: 37 percent of new target shooters are female compared to 22 percent of established target shooters.
  • Urban: 47 percent of new target shooters live in urban/suburban settings versus 34 percent of established target shooters.

The report shows that one-fifth of target shooters in America first started participating in the shooting sports between 2008 and 2012. That means 20 percent of all target shooters began participating in the past five years. Additionally, the expansion of younger, female and urban-based participants (like Natalie Foster, the competitors who belong to Team Triangle and the women of SureShots) coincides with the surge in firearms sales that occurred over the same 2008-2012 period.

“The landscape of target shooters has shifted,” said Jim Curcuruto, NSSF's director of research and analysis. “This is data that everyone doing business in our industry should be aware of.”

Mark Damian Duda, executive director of Response Management, pointed out, “While mentoring by family members in a generally rural setting is the traditional pathway for newcomers to participating in target shooting and hunting, the research shows that new shooters today include many who did not follow or have access to the traditional pathway.”

Any new shooters who are truly invested in the education, safety, responsibility and downright fun of shooting sports are a welcome sign for the future of what we hold dear as shooting and firearm enthusiasts. The younger generation, female shooters and urban/suburban supporters are three very important groups to educate and develop the future of shooting sports and to continue the legacy of an intelligent, informed and indefatigable shooting community.


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