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Which Handguns are Really Popular?


As shooters, we tend to get our handgun information from three sources. The range, the local gun shop, and of course YouTube/social media. The range and local gun shop, depending on where you live, likely feed one another and so can be a bit of an echo chamber. YouTube and social media is of course mostly about marketing and so we get wave after wave of THIS gun being the hotness, then a week later that gun is forgotten and something else is the topic. Additionally, your favorite YouTuber or social media source may have their own favorites, or companies they have closer ties with that can inadvertently skew the volume of content you see about that brand.

Additionally, your local shop has a difficult business to operate and is incetivized by certain manufacturers and distrubutors to stock and sell certain makes and models. We can't blame them for trying to run a business, but it's also why you may have noticed some brands are in every gun shop and other brands and hard to find on a shelf.


Why should you care? It is correct that what works for you is best for you, but there are other things to consider when looking at the poluarity of a gun.

  • For enthusiasts: The more copies of your gun that are out there the better. More people using that gun means a higher chance to holster makers creating options, a bigger pool of parts, and more temptation for aftermarket companies to step in.

  • For collectors: Fewer guns in circulation is better. Waiting weeks or months to get your hands on something you paid a premium for may not be worth it in the long run if it turns out hundreds of thousands of others did the same.


Breaking free of the echo chambers we can look at industry reports and large national events. The information below comes from ORCHID Advisors which handles a lot of industry data as well as A Girl and a Gun which hosts an annual event that attracted shooters from 45 states at their most recent event.

Below is part of the report from Orchid Advisors (see link for full data). For various reasons this data is always a little behind. What I found interesting was that these were wild years in the market.

As you may recall, starting in 2020 and through 2022 just about anything with a trigger sold. I believe companies that were able to maintain or increase production were those who had a good supply chain while those retracting likely simply couldn't make more. Another factor could be workplace environment. Corona Virus precautions were controlavirus restrictions in some states, but not in others. We also see a large hit to Smith & Wesson which may coincide with their move.

Another interesting number lower on the list were the 2022 production numbers from 19th-ranked Stacatto (30,390) and 18th-ranked Diamondback Firearms (31,866). Waitlisting Stacatto produces nearly as many pistols as the more common Diamondback Firearms.


So what's actually at the range? A Girl & A Gun does a great job of polling shooters at their annual event. With a sample size of nearly 1,000 pistols this shows us what dedicated enthusiasts are using. Remember, this is an event that drew shooters from 45 states; it's a level above your basic gun owner to travel for a shooting event.

Some of these are not produced in the US and so are not on the ORCHID report, but I believe we may also be able to suggest some correlations between production numbers and use numbers.

Looking at the two it's easy to see Sig Sauer and Glock as the leaders. Considering most of these brands offer pistols of similar configurations it's very interesting to ponder why some brands lead and others don't. I'd love to hear your theories in the comment section.

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10 comentários


Rich Dubbya
Rich Dubbya
09 de jul.

IMHO. the only significance to popularity is a large aftermarket. I'm pretty suprised PSA outsells Beretta. I find that frickin crazy. But kudos to PSA. They ARE stepping up their game.

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elsullo2
elsullo2
09 de jul.

Forgive me if I repeat my themes, but I do tend to harp on some things. I follow a lot of gun channels of YUUUUtoooob and over twenty years I have seen some trends. I believe that major manufacturers fight very dirty with fake posters and posts and commentors running down their lower-priced competitors: "Kel-Tec is JUNK---Jamomatic!" "Taurus is JUNK---I have blown up THREE of them!" "SCCY will not shoot an entire magazine, ever!" Etc. Anybody can just make stuff up on the TOOOB to sound smart with no fact checking. Somewhere there may be a "troll-farm" that does nothing but firearm comments for money! Taking these comments with a pinch of salt is a polite hint! The bi…


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Bryan Propp
Bryan Propp
09 de jul.

Good point. My first pistol was a Ruger Mark II with a bull barrel. It’s the one gun I regret selling.

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It's really not surprising that Glock was #1 at the "A Girl & A Gun" event - they are Ubiquitous. Reminds me of VW Bugs during the 1970s - even people who had never driven a car knew what a Bug was. Everybody has heard of Glock even if they don't own a gun. Sig being #2 at the event probably has as much to do with their higher production level as anything else. If it's Monday there' s probably a new P365 or P320 variant being announced.

I recently saw a statistic that 70% of American gun owners shoot once a year or less. I question that, but even if it is only half right that makes people like…

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Surprised Canik isn't a little higher considering the value.

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Graham Baates
Graham Baates
09 de jul.
Respondendo a

Canik isn't a US producer yet.

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