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Need-Based Gun Ownership

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As a gun owner, you have practical reasons and motivations for owning a firearm.

Based on recent customer segmentation and buyer persona analysis, need-based gun ownership can also be identified as common sense gun ownership. You adhere strictly to all the current regulations concerning possession, transportation and safety.

Understanding the who and why of the need-based gun ownership demographic means individuals who are unfamiliar with the gun market can understand the value of owning a firearm. It also means manufacturers can better tailor products to meet their customer’s needs.

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BasedGun Ownership: Consumer Segmentation

Of all need-based gun owners, 26 percent would describe themselves as a protector. These are the homeowners and business proprietors whose sole purpose of owning a gun is to protect their loved ones and property from unwanted intruders. Often, these gun owners are purchasing firearms for the first time, which makes them more apt to take gun safety training courses . That is always a good thing, no matter what level of experience you have with firearms.

Related to those protectors are the 15 percent of women, known as debbie defense, who make up a subset of the need-based gun owner demographic. According to the NRA, women are the fastest growing group of gun owners . Most women in this segment of gun buyers also have concealed carry permits for their lightweight firearm. Parallel to this, male protectors concerned with the defense of their home and family and are known as the guardian gary segment. These gun buyers represent 15% of purchasers.

Hunters make up 11 percent of the need-based gun owners population. This is probably someone who spends a lot of time outdoors during hunting season. Their firearms have most likely been passed down to them through the generations. Hunters understand the precautions that have to be taken while out on a hunting excursion. That includes the assumption that every gun is loaded at all times and to be aware of not just your target, but also what is beyond your target.

Social shooters and collectors both make up 8 percent of need-based gun owners. A social shooter will often familiarize themselves with several types of firearms and enjoys shooting practice with friends and family. A collector might have several guns on proud display in their home. Many of those guns might never be fired, but are still in working condition and have to be registered.

Completing the need-based gun owner categories are the skills builder and urban recruit. Skills builders typically live in suburban areas and seek proficiency instead of collectability. Their focus is on person protection, and this segment of gun owners makes up 12 percent of the market. Urban recruits are the lowest percentage of gun buyers, comprising 4 percent of the market. This segment desires an affordable firearm, and typically they have a military or law enforcement background.


Most Popular Caliber Types

Considering protectors make up the largest portion of need-based gun owners, you might think the .45 caliber pistol would be the most popular type of weapon in the country. That firearm comes in at 12 percent, just behind the ArmaLite rifle, AR-15, at 14 percent and the 9mm pistol at 17 percent.

Rounding out the top five most popular calibers would be the 12-gauge shotgun at 10 percent and the 22 AR pistol or rifle at 9 percent.

Those numbers might change with new surveys, as the AR-15 is proving to gain in popularity among firearms in production. Between 2011 and 2012, the AR-15 showed a 100 percent increase in manufacturing. That is clearly a significant jump based on customer demand.


States With Most Gun Owners in 2014

The top two states with the most gun owners could be described as a tale of two cities.

Wyoming leads the number with 195.7 firearms per every 1,000 people. Given the landscape, it is right to assume many of these gun owners would fall into the hunter or social shooter category.

The second area with the most guns per capita is the District of Columbia, with 66.4 firearms per 1,000 residents. Given the crime rates in the area , it would seem most of these gun owners would be in the protector category.

Here’s the breakdown of the top 10 gun ownership states:

  1. Wyoming:
    • 195.7 firearms per 1,000 people
    • 114,052 total registered firearms
  2. District of Columbia:
    • 66.4 firearms per 1,000 people
    • 42,897 total registered firearms
  3. Arkansas:
    • 41.6 firearms per 1,000 people
    • 123,130 total registered firearms
  4. New Mexico:
    • 40.5 firearms per 1,000 people
    • 84,471 total registered firearms
  5. Virginia:
    • 30.1 firearms per 1,000 people
    • 248,939 total registered firearms
  6. Idaho:
    • 24.2 firearms per 1,000 people
    • 39,019 total registered firearms
  7. Alabama:
    • 20 firearms per 1,000 people
    • 96,744 total registered firearms
  8. Nevada:
    • 19.5 firearms per 1,000 people
    • 54,436 total registered firearms
  9. Alaska:
    • 15.2 firearms per 1,000 people
    • 11,167 total registered firearms
  10. Louisiana:
    • 15.1 firearms per 1,000 people
    • 69,668 total registered firearms


Need-Based Gun Ownership Is Responsible Gun Ownership

Need-based gun owners agree on responsible gun ownership. And given the data and customer segmentations, you can't group all need-based gun owners into the same category based on purpose, caliber or location. 

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