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Study on Indoor Range Use Reveals New Insights into Target Shooter Habits and Preferences

FERNANDINA BEACH, FL. —Indoor ranges are a critical part of the shooting sports industry, providing shooting opportunities for more than 15 million shooting sports participants annually. However, little has been done to learn if indoor ranges are adequately serving consumers and realizing their business potential. For this reason, Southwick Associates, the nation’s leading outdoor market research and economics firm, examined the issue on behalf of the National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®) to determine how well these ranges are being utilized, who is using them and what can be done to better meet their customers’ needs.

 

NSSF’s report, “Consumer Indoor Range Study” offers a unique snapshot into range users and their habits. Findings show that approximately 38 percent of all U.S. firearm owners shot at an indoor shooting range at least once in the past year. These target shooters also tend to shoot more often than the average firearm owner, most likely due to the convenience of indoor ranges in urban and suburban areas. It was found that indoor range users spend roughly two-thirds of their annual target shooting days at indoor ranges, making these resources valuable not only for the recreational user, but also for the broader shooting sports industry.

 

Maybe even more important to indoor range operators and the firearms industry is that more than two-thirds of all firearms owners who have not visited an indoor range are interested in doing so. Additionally, more than a third of people who go to indoor ranges ultimately buy a firearm after first trying it there, meaning a significant opportunity for rentals plus additional firearm sales. Marketing and advertising efforts can play a huge role in improving income opportunities for ranges and their supporting firearms industry.

 

Other key insights revealed about indoor range users include:

·     Most users (over 80%) use indoor ranges to improve as a marksman. Fun or entertainment and improving self-defense skills are the next two of the six most important factors that inspire people to visit indoor ranges.

·     Three-quarters of indoor range users consider proximity to their home to be an important factor when selecting an indoor range. This demonstrates the fact that location is key to the success of an indoor shooting range.

·     Roughly 50 percent of shooters shoot at least once a month, while 13 percent shoot weekly or more frequently, suggesting ample opportunities to interact with active consumers.

·     Semi-automatic handguns were shot by 96 percent of those who visited an indoor range last year. Revolvers were used by 66 percent of shooters and modern sporting rifles by 41 percent.

·     More than half of indoor range users do not currently have a range membership, instead choosing to pay range fees each time they visit. Converting these casual users into members may help to create more steady revenue streams for indoor range operators.

·     Indoor range users are 10 percent more likely to have purchased a new firearm in the past year compared to all other firearm owners.

 

The study also examined the buying habits and most purchased types of products by indoor range users along with some of the motivations they have for buying those products.

 

“By helping ranges and the shooting sports industry better their customer, this report can help the industry grow,” says Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates. “Plus, considering we learned from other NSSF research that there are 24 million more Americans highly interested in buying their first firearm, indoor ranges face even greater growth opportunities beyond their current customer base.”

 

NSSF’s director of research and market development, Jim Curcuruto, notes “We appreciate the continued hard work by Southwick Associates in assisting us with this report. The insights gained here along with past research provides an advantage and value to our members.” The report is free to NSSF members, $500 to non-members. A free 15 minute NSSF webinar presenting greater detail and possible applications is also available at the link below. Visit https://www.nssf.org/research/consumer-studies/ for additional information on how to obtain the report or to join the NSSF.

 

Southwick Associates is a market research and economics firm, specializing in the hunting, shooting, sportfishing, and outdoor recreation markets. For more than 25 years, Southwick Associates has established a proven reputation for delivering comprehensive insights and statistics assisting business and strategic decisions across the entire outdoor industry; from government agencies, industry associations and non-profit organizations, to affiliated businesses and manufacturers. Aside from custom market research, Southwick Associates also provides syndicated participation, media consumption and equipment purchase tracking studies utilizing their proprietary sportsmen panels. Visit www.southwickassociates.com for more information.