Gun sales across the country have skyrocketed in the last few years. In 2020, 21 million guns were purchased across the country, a record figure spanning decades of available data. In 2021, sales fell slightly, to 19 million, according to estimates from SafeHome.org. The previous record was set in 2016, when 16 million guns were sold to Americans. While firearm sales continue at this historic pace the share of households with one or more firearms, based on a Gallup poll, spiked from 37% to 45% between 2019 and last year. (Also check out: these are the Americans who own the most guns.)
This trend, which brought in record shattering revenue for many of America’s largest gunmakers, was fueled by a combination of factors. One study found that these included a loss of trust and heightened anxiety as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the most popular guns sold last year, Americans seem to bbe looking for models specifically designed for home defense and personal protection.
Using a report from Gungenius, which uses data from Gunbroker.com, an online firearm sales marketplace, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 22 most popular guns in America. Firearm models are ranked by 2022 sales, the most recent available, reported by the online platform, though exact sales numbers were not provided.
Handguns – a category that includes both pistols and revolvers – are easily the most popular type of firearm in the U.S. Licensed gun makers in the U.S. produced over 21.7 million handguns between 2016 and 2020, nearly double the 11.1 million rifles produced over the previous five-year period, according to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Tobacco data. Not surprisingly, over half of the best-selling firearms in the U.S. in 2022 were handguns.
Handguns are popular not only as home defense weapons, but are also well suited to personal protection and self-defense. Several of the pistols on this list are marketed explicitly as concealed carry weapons. (Here is a look at America’s top pistol companies.)
Shotguns are another firearm category often purchased for home defense. Three of the firearm models on this list are shotguns, including the Mossberg 590, a model marketed exclusively as a tactical firearm. The two other shotguns on this list, the Mossberg 500 and Remington 870, are perennial favorites among American gun owners, each selling over 10 million units since their introduction over half a century ago. (These are the most popular American-made guns abroad.)