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The Gun Safe

What Guns and Rifles Are Americans Buying (At Near Record Numbers)?

Image: Creative Commons.

American firearms sales have remained strong throughout this year. Even as July saw a slight decline from the record-setting numbers of 2020, when a combination of factors including lockdowns from the pandemic and increased social unrest served as a catalyst for the best year the industry has had, it was still the second-highest July for overall firearms sales, ever.

Who Is Making Money?

Firearms makers big and small have reported increased sales, and last month Springfield, Mass.-based Smith & Wesson reported that its sales more than doubled in its last fiscal year to $1.1 billion. The company’s sales certainly remained strong into July, when the company claimed the top spots on top firearms sales charts for the month with its M&P 15 Sport II Optics Ready, an AR-style modern sporting rifle that the company noted was engineered for a wide variety of recreational, sport shooting and even professional applications.

Chambered for .556mm NATO and .223, the M&P 15 Sport II has been seen as an affordable AR with an MSRP just under $800, while according to sales could be found online for less than $700. In addition to being the top seller according to, the rifle was also the fourth-best selling semi-automatic rifle on the online firearms auction platform

Other Strong Sellers

Despite the recent calls from the Biden administration to ban the sale of AR-style semi-automatic modern sporting rifles – or more likely perhaps because of those calls – the popular category of consumer firearms has continued to see strong sales.

The Kel-Tec SUB2000, Henry AR-7 U.S. Survival Rifle, the Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 Sport, and the Ruger AR-556 rounded out the top five for semi-automatics in July; while reported that the German-designed and manufactured Heckler & Koch HK416 was its top seller for the month, followed by the Ruger PC Carbine and Ruger 10/22 in the second and third spots respectively, with the Hi-Point Firearms 995 in fifth position.

The H&K HK416 has been an in-demand firearm for months.

It is notable that while it features a design based on the AR-15 class, notably the Colt M4 carbine, it also utilizes a proprietary short-stroke, gas piston system that was developed by H&K’s from its earlier G36 family of military rifles. The military version of the H&K 416 is currently used by the German Army, the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team Six, and the Irish Ranger Wing. The civilian variant was released in 2007 with several sporterized features. It has remained one of the pricier modern sporting rifles on the market today, and currently retails for around $1,800, while even used models were being found for more than $1,000 according to

Joe Biden AR-15 Tax

AR-15. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

.22s Still Selling as Well

When ammo supplies are low, as they are this summer, it isn’t surprising to see .22 LR firearms jump in price, as shooters look to fill the void with the smaller (and typically cheaper) caliber to use at the gun range. These are not the average “plinker” guns, however, and the top-selling Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 Sport is essentially the little brother of the top-selling Sport II.

As with larger AR-style rifles, this rifle can be customized with various accessories, including M-LOK-compatible products. It is currently available from dealers with an MRSP of $475, and could be a good alternative for sport shooters who want to get to the range and not break the bank with the more expensive 5.56 NATO or .223 ammunition right now.

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on

Written By

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Suciu is also a contributing writer for Forbes Magazine.



  1. Sam-I-Am

    August 9, 2021 at 2:03 pm

    Sign at gun show: “If you voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris WE CANNOT SELL YOU A GUN…you are too stupid to own one.

    The feckless clown a piece of human waste Barack Hussein Obumbler once said of conservatives, “They cling to their guns and religion”. Hope he and the rest of the DemocRATs and left wing idiots remember that…especially the “guns” part.

  2. GhostofJanetReno

    August 9, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    Smith & Wesson pistols are FLOODING inventories– kudos to them for seeing the market opportunity and responding in a way no one else has– just now seeing some Glocks roll in, and still nothing from the German brands.

  3. Heretic

    August 9, 2021 at 6:03 pm

    What guns are we buying? All of them.

  4. John

    August 9, 2021 at 6:17 pm

    Your article is wrong – good luck finding an hk 416 anywhere near 1800, or “1000 used”.

  5. Huapakechi

    August 9, 2021 at 10:31 pm

    I’m glad I bought my rifles, handguns, and shotguns before the “o”boy administration when they were still relatively cheap. The ammunition though, does not keep. A few dozen rounds a week need to be replaced and even reloading supplies are scarce.

  6. Donnie Brite Jr

    August 10, 2021 at 6:17 am

    What the he’ll is a 5.53 cartridge LoL! The whole article was going great until the very last sentence LMAO. Cool the market needs to return to some form of normalcy here in the US…as a reloader, and avid second amendment supporter I’m glad tons of people who are first time gun owners. Have decided to take the personal saftey of themselves and families much more seriously. This current administration has been relentless in their efforts to put further freedom restrictions on not only our second amendment but also our first amendment rights as well. The continued soaring gun sales is just further proof of 1.people don’t support the banning of America’s rifle the AR platform style rifle, and 2.Also shows that the increased saled prove theirs no better gun salesman than the gun grabbers of the left.
    In all seriousness though I’m glad so many new owners are entering the 2nd amendment family I love it, but the reloader sixe of me wishes people would stop buying ammo for like a month…because two things would happen then. 1.would be all the factory loaded ammo shelves would be jam packed and the prices of it would drop to incenticvize consumers to buy again. And mkre importantly 2.I would be able to get some dam primers, and powder instead of having to resort to buying factory loaded ammo…its expensive and not as accurate as the loads I’ve worked to my pistol and rifles. I started handloading about 6 months before the pandemic hit and if I could go back knowing what I know now I would have grabbed all the primers and powder I could find. I definitely learned the hard way on that one. I cast my own target ammo for my 45. That dramatically cuts costs down. I haven’t been able to cast my AR bullets though they’re moving too fast and either fragment as soon as they touch something or are soft enough they go anywhere but my POA. Though since selection is limited I picked up some accurate 2230 because it was all I could find, and it is actually very impressive behind a 55grain Hornady SPBT W channelure. I discovered 25.5 grains made my rifle dial in so well that I was putting sub moa groupsof 6 to 10 shots at 100 yards. So there is that one positive. I wish people would ease up a bit and let the manufacturers catch up so reloading consumables could be available again.

  7. Karson

    August 10, 2021 at 10:55 am

    It is my opinion that the term “sporting rifle” has been one of the worst blights upon the 2A community & communicating the purpose & nature of firearms and the 2nd Amendment. Hate to see it used in the community because it continues the false narrative that the 2nd Amendment is for hunting & sporting purposes.

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