Home to many of the world’s largest gunmakers, the United States is a global leader in firearms production. Data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives shows that over 13.8 million firearms were manufactured in the U.S. in 2021 alone.
While a small portion of American-made firearms are exported and sold abroad, our nation’s $32 billion a year arms and ammunition industry caters primarily to the domestic market, as consumer demand for firearms in the U.S. is second to none. According to the industry trade group National Shooting Sports Foundation, there are over 434 million guns in circulation in the United States. And with a population of 335 million, the U.S. is the only country in the world with more civilian-owned firearms than people.
There were over 3,200 federally licensed gunmakers in the U.S. in 2021. And while these companies are spread out across the 50 states, American firearm manufacturing is heavily concentrated in certain parts of the country.
According to the ATF, there were 20 active firearm manufacturing facilities in South Dakota in 2021. Between them, output totaled 906 firearms in 2021, the sixth fewest among the 50 states.
The state’s single largest firearm manufacturing facility, as measured by annual output, is located in Sturgis and run by West River Rifle Company LLC. This plant alone accounted for 30.6% of all guns produced in South Dakota in 2021.