National Shooting Sports Foundation Survey Sheds Light on AR Owners

I won't bore you repeating the stereotypes that are associated with people who own AR-style rifles (or "Modern Sporting Rifles," in the industry parlance). You could probably reel off half a dozen false statements about fans of black guns without breaking a sweat.

But what do these MSR fans look like? Even though I see an AR nut every time I look in the mirror I still found the results of a new survey conducted by the NSSF very interesting.

Here are "21 fascinating facts" about ARs that the survey highlights. Sound like anyone you know?

- 60 percent of MSR owners that responded to the study own multiple MSRs, with the average owned being 2.6.

- 30 percent of all MSR owners purchased their first rifle in 2009 or 2010.

- 99 percent of all MSR owners owned some type of firearm prior to their first MSR purchase.

- 9 out of 10 owned a handgun prior to acquiring their first MSR, and 34 percent of those under age 35 owned a paintball gun before owning their MSR.

- Nearly half (44 percent) of MSR owners are current or former military or law enforcement members.

- 51 percent of MSR owners have a shooting-range membership.

- 8 out of every 10 MSR owners purchased their MSR new.

- 39 percent of all MSR owners purchased their most recent MSR at an independent retail store, with the average purchase price being $1,083.

- 3 out of every 4 MSRs most recently purchased were chambered in .223/5.56mm.

- MSR owners consider accuracy and reliability to be the 2 most important things to consider when buying a MSR.

- 84 percent of MSR owners have at least 1 accessory on their rifle, and they spend an average of $436 on after-market accessories and customization.

- 71 percent of MSR owners use a scope or red-dot as their primary optic. Older owners prefer scopes; younger owners prefer red-dot optics.

- One-third of MSR owners use a 30-plus round magazine most often in their MSR.

- The 3 most-owned accessories were a rifle sling (81 percent), soft carrying case (70 percent) and mounted rifle scope (68 percent).

- 25 percent of those who own 3 or more MSRs describe their MSRs as heavily accessorized (4-plus accessories).

- Recreational target shooting (8.9 out of 10) was the No. 1-rated reason for owning a MSR in terms of importance. Home defense was next (7.7/10), followed by collecting (6.28/10) and varmint hunting (6.23/10).

- 95 percent of owners said they have used their MSRs in the last 12 months, and 29 percent of owners shoot their MSRs more than once per month.

- 25 percent of owners shot more than 1,000 rounds out of their MSR in the last 12 months.

- 8 out of 10 owners feel they have not been able to shoot their MSR as much as they would like in the last 12 months.

- Not having enough free time and the cost of ammo are the 2 main issues preventing MSR owners from shooting as much as they would like.

- The typical MSR owner is 35-plus years old, married and has some college education.