According to the final figures for last year, it turns out that Americans still really like guns. 

The year-end data published by the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System show 28,904,713 checks were logged between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2022, with the busiest day being "Black Friday," which saw 192,749 checks. 

The National Shooting Sports Foundation poured over the figures for 2022 and, after removing checks and rechecks for firearms permits, found that no less than 16,425,484 checks were for likely retail gun sales. This stands as the third-highest year on record, exceeded only by 2020 and 2021. 

Of course, even this figure is the minimum threshold for sales as each check could have covered multiple firearms transferred, person-to-person sales in most states do not require checks, and 25 states accept CCWs in lieu of checks. Plus, there is the cherished national pastime of crafting personally manufactured firearms, something the ATF has been trying to put on record as much as possible

Still, it is a lot of guns by any measure, and industry experts point out that it could be the new normal. 

"The total of over 16.4 million background checks completed for the sale of a firearm in 2022 demonstrated that, while retail sales of firearms were lower than the record-shattering years of 2020 and 2021, there continues to be a strong desire from law-abiding Americans to purchase the firearms of their choice," NSSF’s Mark Oliva told

Oliva explained this trend is similar to what the trade group has seen in the past. When a new ceiling is reached on background checks for retail gun sales, the market settles to a “new normal.” That new normal typically exceeds the trend line seen prior to the spike. In this case, there were only 13.2 million checks seen in the year leading up to the historic 2020 high tide mark of over 21 million background checks conducted for a gun sale.

"The 16.4 million figure shows that the industry continues to meet a signal from the today’s gun buyers," said Oliva. 
Banner image: Tisas PX-9 Gen3 Tactical on the range, quietly. (Photo: Chris Eger/

revolver barrel loading graphic