Guns, Guns and More Guns

New Data is Eye-Opening
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This March, handgun imports were up 28.2% over the same month last year.

When Barack Obama was in the White House, the firearms community suspected it made his administration crazy that one particular industry thrived selling the product they wanted most to destroy — guns. If he or someone in his administration even whispered “gun control,” sales went up.

Heading into the 2020 election season — when gun sales typically go up because people worry about whether a “good guy” or “not-so-good-guy” will wind up the winner in November — the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) recently revealed import and export figures for the month of March.

Long story short, March 2020 was a lot healthier than March 2019, but only in the handgun category. Long guns, not so much.

Looking at sidearms first, March handgun imports were up 28.2% over the same month last year. Breaking it down further, pistol imports bounced upward 33.4% with 247,757, while revolver imports actually decreased 7.9% from 26,384 in March 2019 to 24,300 in March 2020.

However, NSSF notes that First Quarter handgun imports actually declined 0.8%, which struck Insider Online as a bit strange because that was the first month we saw the big COVID-19 pandemic panic rush on gun shops.

Handgun exports increased a whopping 176.3% from last year’s 9.372 to this year’s March export of 25,899. The breakdown was a 190.2% spike in pistol exports, with revolver exports jumping 78%, though the actual figures aren’t that impressive. This country exported 2,063 wheelguns compared to last year’s 1,159 revolvers.

Still, that’s a lot of hardware changing hands, which amounts to a good thing if you’re a gun dealer, manufacturer, importer or an instructor who benefitted from an increase in training course requests. Many of those handguns went to first-time gun buyers, as we reported last month.


Rifle imports declined in March, down 10.5% from the same month last year.

A Look at Long Guns

March shotgun imports were up during the First Quarter, but rifle imports were down, according to the NSSF.

Rifle imports were down 10.5% in March, dropping to 52,230 from last year’s March figure of 58,389. That also comes as a surprise because of the recent increase in gun buying, but perhaps the inventory was already on dealer shelves. For the entire first three months of 2020, rifle imports dropped 27.4% to 119,506.

Likewise, March rifle exports declined 11.9% from the same month last year to 26,407. For the first three months of the year, rifle exports dropped 4.5%.

Shotgun imports were up a mere 0.3% in March, and up 8.8% for the quarter with 181,029 coming in. Shotgun exports declined 5.7% for the month of March, but they were up 0.8% for the first three months, when 18,980 were exported.


And Ammunition?

Something else contained in the NSSF’s March report suggests people have either been stocking up or doing a lot of shooting.

In March, metallic cartridge imports increased 62.8% from 154.9 million units to 252.2 million. For the entire First Quarter, imports increased 71.7% from 350.2 million to 601.6 million.

Shotshell imports increased 72.7% in March over the same month last year, During March, 17.2 million units were imported, compared to the 9.9 million that came in last year during March. However, for the entire first three months, shotgun shell imports were down 7.4%.

While we were importing all that ammunition, we were also exporting quite a bit as well. Metallic cartridge exports went up 42.8% to 90.9 million units. Shotgun shell exports dropped 17.2% in March 2020 from the same month last year. For the entire quarter, shotshell exports were down 31.5% from the same quarter in 2019.

NSSF tracks reports from the U.S. International Trade Commission to produce this data.

Compact in size, the new Taurus G3c is big in features at a budget price.

New Compact Carry

Recently, Taurus announced a new addition to its G3 handgun series that is going to people interested in an affordable, concealable 9mm.

Enter the G3c, a polymer, striker-fire with textured surface and a contoured palm swell. It also features a flat trigger with Taurus’ 3rd generation trigger system and drift-adjustable rear sight and fixed front. It also sports an accessory underrail, front and rear slide serrations, visual loaded chamber indicator and three safety features including a manual, trigger and striker block.

The pistol comes with three magazines, either 10- or 12-rounders. Overall length is 6.3” and fires from a 3.2” stainless steel barrel. MSRP is just $305.74.


The Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield EZ got the Performance Center treatment.

Performance And Style

As if the new-for-2020 Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield EZ wasn’t already loaded with features, Big Blue’s Performance Center has given the popular model an overhaul.

Available with black, silver or gold accents, the upgraded models include a 3.8” ported barrel, flat face aluminum trigger, tuned action, lightening slide cuts and HI-VIZ Litewave H3 sights.

Reduced down to just 23.2 oz., the new PC M&P9 Shield EZ is lightweight carry gun with style to match its performance. MSRP is $588.


New Duty Holster

Blackhawk and Staccato (previously STI International) have collaborated on the T-Series Red Dot sight duty holster available with Level 2 or Level 3 retention.

Built specifically for Staccato 2011 compensated duty pistols with mounted lights, the holsters are compatible with metallic sights, most red dots and the Surefire X-300U-A, X-300U-B and X-400 weapon lights. They are available in both right and left-hand versions.

Currently available for pre-order, pricing ranges from $149.95-169.95.

Stupid is Forever

Now and then, you run into a story that reads like it just came out of the heartland of Stupid, and so it is with a murder case in King County, Wash.

It begins in mid-March when a fellow identified as Jose DeSantiago, 27, was fatally shot in the head from a distance of 160 feet, according to a report in the Seattle Times. The decedent was a known gang member.

The two suspects in his killing are members of a rival gang, both of which have been in jail since March. This is where the “stupid” comes in. They were bagged by Auburn police after a sharp-eyed detective discovered they had been trying to sell guns on Snapchat, in videos showing both handling firearms. In their case, that was a major blunder because neither one can legally own nor possess firearms.

One of these gents got out of prison last September and was under Department of Corrections “supervision.” That, apparently, is a pretty loose definition.

Eight days before DeSantiago was killed, the two suspects are alleged to have been involved in another serious scrape in which a 15-year-old gang member was beaten and then shot in the arm. If the two suspects are convicted as charged, they’re going away for a very long time.