Canada Rifle Imports Rise, on Course for First Annual Gain in 3 Years

Imports reflect long-term trends in the firearm industry. In 2020, three major factors are boosting gun sales.

4 Nov 2020

2 min read

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TheGunBlog.ca — Canada’s rifle imports rose 6.4% in the first nine months of the year, Statistics Canada data showed today, putting shipments on course for their first annual increase in three years.

The value of shotgun and handgun imports dropped.

Why Imports Matter

  • Canada’s 2.2 million adults with a federal firearm licence buy almost 1,000 guns every day on average, and almost all of them are imported.
  • Import statistics are one of the only publicly available economic indicators of the firearm industry. Gun stores order more when they expect sales to rise, and order less when they expect sales to fall.
  • Imports reveal long-term trends, not the current market. The deliveries StatCan reported today are from orders placed 6-12 months ago based on the outlook at the time.

2020 Import Highlights

Gun Imports January – September 2020 Vs. 2019

Key Trend: U.S.A. No. 1

  • The U.S. was the No. 1 country of origin for the rifles, shotguns and handguns imported into Canada.
  • U.S. shipments to Canada rose for all three product types.
  • More than 58% of Canada’s total firearm imports came from the U.S., including more than 84% for handguns.

Key Drivers By Firearm Type

  • Rifles
    • Up: From U.S., +11.1% to $37.1 million
  • Shotguns
    • Down: From Italy, -35.4% to $5.4 million
  • Handguns
    • Down: From Czech Republic, -76.0% to $1.4 million

Data Table

CAD Million

Firearm Type% ChangeJan-Sep 2019Jan-Sep 2020
Rifles+6.4%$58.4$62.2
Shotguns-12.6%$27.3$23.8
Handguns-17.9%$34.8$28.6
Muzzle Loaders-30.9%$1.4$1.0
TOTAL–5.2%$121.9$115.6

2020 Gun-Market Snapshot

  • Many larger gun shops have reported strong sales this year amid Covid-19 shutdowns and political attacks that forced smaller stores out of business.
  • Three main factors are driving demand for guns and ammo in 2020, in addition to standard shopping for protection, hunting, predator control, sport shooting, and collecting.

Three Major Trends Are Boosting Gun Demand in 2020

  1. Concern of Supply Shortages and Price Increases
    • Covid-19 disruptions to manufacturing and shipping.
    • U.S. shoppers draining supply amid violent protests.
    • U.S. election uncertainty.
    • Affected Products: All categories (rifles, shotguns, handguns, ammo, parts, accessories, etc.).
  2. Home Defence In Case of Crime or Social Unrest
    • Concern of civil disorder from Covid-19-related economic crash.
    • Rising social-political protests and tensions (anti-police brutality, anti-racism, anti-government corruption, …).
    • Concern of reduced policing in response to “Defund the Police” movement.
    • Affected Products: Shotguns, handguns, ammo.
  3. Political Attacks of May 1 By the Liberal Party and RCMP
    • Response: Buy what you can while you can.
    • Factoid: Rifle imports jumped 10.7% in May-September 2020 from the same period in 2019.
    • Affected Products: Semi-auto, centre-fire rifles.

What Gun-Shop Owners Say

James Cox, the owner of The Shooting Edge in Calgary and Target Sports Canada near Toronto, told TheGunBlog.ca:

“There’s increased demand across the industry, period.”

“We’re getting stuff now that we ordered in January-February. All the big distributor buying shows are in November-December.”

Update Nov. 5: Scott Patience, the owner of Bullseye North in London, Ontario, said:

“Our sales are up overall, but given the level of variance it would be pretty impossible for me to give any definitive cause.”

“The industry is in such disarray with the USA madness causing most of the issues lately.”

“If I had to say, I think it is just overall more product being sold.”

More Import Charts


Related

Updates

  • Nov. 5: Adds comment by Scott Patience of Bullseye North.
  • Nov. 6: Adds section on 2020 Import Highlights

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