The United States is the only country in the world home to more civilian-owned guns than people. With a thriving gun culture, America’s gun and ammunition industry is a $70.5 billion-a-year behemoth.
Despite domestic production ranging from 5.5 million to 11.5 million firearms annually in the last 10 years, the U.S. also imports millions of guns each year. And in recent decades, handguns have made up the bulk of firearms imported to the U.S. from overseas. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, of the 48.8 million foreign-made firearms sold in the United States from 2010 to 2020, 62.3% were handguns. (Here is a look at America’s top pistol companies.)
Gun manufacturing is a specialized industry that exists in a relatively limited number of countries. And the countries that can do it well enough, or cheap enough, to generate demand in the United States, are even fewer.
Using data from the ATF’s National Firearms Commerce and Tracking Assessment report, 24/7 Wall St. identified the countries Americans are buying the most handguns from. The 10 countries on this list account for 97% of all foreign-made handguns shipped to the U.S. between 2010 and 2020.
These countries span three continents: Europe, South America, and Asia. Some are home to large and reputable gun manufacturers. Others are home to lesser-known companies that more recognizable American companies have outsourced manufacturing to.
Demand for handguns in the United States has surged as gun restrictions have eased in much of the country. Since 2010, nearly two dozen states have enacted laws allowing gun owners to carry firearms in public without a permit. And every year since, handguns have been the most popular firearm in the country, both in terms of domestic production and international imports. (Here is a look at the law for carrying firearms in public in every state.)
Click here to see the countries Americans buy the most handguns from.
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